Cabinet okays IT policy, action plan -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Cabinet okays IT policy, action plan

ISLAMABAD- The Cabinet Wednesday approved the 250 pages National IT Policy and Action Plan. This was announced here by Federal Minister for Science and Technology Dr Attaur Rehman during a Press conference.

Commenting on Customs duty on some major computer components, the Minister said that the issue was being discussed with the CBR and 156 components of computer, he said, can be imported duty free.

The PTCL, he said, has been asked not to make profits on selling bandwidth but to reduce the cost and pass the benefit on to the public. The price of bandwidth, he said, is going to come down by 25 percent. The PTCL he said, would make further reductions.

The nation, he said, required 120-mega bit bandwidth to improve connectivity. The bandwidth, the minister said had doubled in six months from 20 mega bits to 45 mega bits and would increase two-folds in the next six months. He sold approval of the policy was a historic step and would help expand IT to remote parts of the country.

Rupees five billion, the minister, said have been allocated for the development of IT and 60 per cent of it would be spent on training specialists and setting up a virtual university. The Minister also spoke about the setting up a “National Testing Service” which, he said, would help set up standards of IT institutions in the country. Only institutions that meet the requirements of excellence would be given accredition, he said.

The PTV, he said, has agreed to provide three hours time slot for the virtual university programmes. From November, the Minister said people would be able to learn how to make web pages on PTV.

Salman Ansari, the IT expert accompanying the minister said that the IT policy was formulated with the help of experts working overseas and those in the private sector. During his presentation Ansari said that the policy was created at grassroot level with opinions front experts. The government, he said, would not have to bear the burden of selling the policy and it would be the private sector, which would be driving it.

The aim of the policy, he said was to increase the number and quality of experts in IT. Ansari said Pakistan was producing around 4,000 to 8,000 IT graduates who were not of international standards.

Source: The Nation
Date:8/24/2000