ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet has approved transfer of the task of land record digitization from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoS&T) to Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoIT&T), official sources told Business Recorder.

On August 24, 2021, Ministry of Science and Technology briefed the Cabinet that it was the national focal point and enabling arm of Government of Pakistan for planning, coordinating and directing efforts to initiate & launch scientific and technological programs and projects as per national agenda for sound and sustainable S&TR base for the socioeconomic development of the country.

The Cabinet in its meeting held on June 18, 2019 decided that “the Inter-Provincial Co-ordination Division will co-ordinate with provincial governments to provide necessary support to Science & Technology Division to digitalize the Gardawari system in order to keep a real time record of cultivation of agriculture products.”

The Ministry of Inter Provincial Co-ordination had coordinated with all provinces for obtaining input on the decision and shared their response with MoS&T through a letter on October 19, 2020.

The Ministry of Science and Technology examined the decision thoroughly and concluded that the case does not fall under the mandate of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

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The MoS&T approached the Cabinet Division for advice to transfer this task to the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunication (MoIT&T) and National Food Security & Research (MoNFS&R) being the relevant forums. The Cabinet Division advised the Ministry of Science and Technology to initiate a summary for the Cabinet in consultation with relevant Ministries/ Divisions.

After consultation MoIT&T endorsed the recommendation of MoS&T and recommended that MoNFS&R may be given the lead role as the mandate of agriculture pertains to them and the MoIT&T will play the role of an enabler and facilitator. MoNFS&R also endorsed the initiative with leading role of MoIPC and supported the digitalization of Gardwari system.

Meanwhile, a Committee was constituted on January 13, 2021 which organized a broader-level consultative meeting with relevant stakeholders and prepared a draft concept paper which requires data from relevant federal/provincial departments.

The land record information management authorities had been established in all provinces of Pakistan. Punjab had digitalized 92 per cent land record and 100 per cent crop reporting system. KPK had digitalized approximately 50 per cent land record and 6-7 per cent crops reporting system. Balochistan had digitalized land record of 4 districts. Land record of Sindh was being scanned and retrieved on demand. Online registration of land record was being developed initially for Karachi Division and also digitalized crops reporting system of Hyderabad district only.

The MoIT&T had formulated the Digital Pakistan Policy (DPP) to create a digital ecosystem with infrastructure and institutional frameworks. One of the tasks of MoIT&T was to facilitate and assist MoNFS&R to create ‘Agriculture Information Portal’.

The MoS&T argued that the land record task was already being carried out by MoIT&T, MoNFS&R and provinces. Therefore, the Federal Cabinet was requested to transfer the task along with draft concept paper prepared by MoS&T to MoIT&T being the relevant forum to avoid duplication of efforts.

After brief discussion, the Federal Cabinet approved transfer for task of land record digitization to MoIT&T from MoS&T.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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