Govt gives priority to IT sector: PM -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Govt gives priority to IT sector: PM

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that Pakistan was earning around $1.4 billion through Information Technology related exports annually and therefore Government was giving foremost priority to develop IT in the country in view of its importance in today’s rapidly growing communication system.

Chairing a high-level meeting of Information and Technology Board for Utilisation of R&D Fund at PM’s House Tuesday afternoon, the Prime Minister said that the phenomenal growth of this august sector is evident from the fact that 110 universities in the country are offering discipline of information and communication technology (ICT). These universities are producing 20,000 ICT Graduates annually; over 125,000 professionals are working in the country, he added. He stated that more than 1000 IT companies, including 60 international companies are operating in Pakistan. The Prime Minister observed that developing economies are swiftly moving from industrial to information-based economies. If we have to compete with the economies of the region, we need to rapidly adopt the modern information technology in our economy, he added. The Prime Minister stressed upon the need that the research and development fund should be equitably and optimally used for research and human resource. He expressed his confidence that ICT R&D Fund will be utilised to promote IT inline with the Government’s IT vision and policy.

Beyond the routine proceedings of a Board meeting, the following important decisions were taken: National ICT Scholarship programme has already provided 1,700 students from all across rural / non-metropolitan areas of Pakistan the opportunity to study in 15 universities of the country. National ICT Scholarship Programme for the year 2011 would be rolled out to benefit the intermediate (F.Sc) level students from remote and underserved areas of the country, in spite of the shortage of time.

Some necessary changes related to financial capping and programme design were approved so that the scholarships could be provided to the talented and deserving students to the top ICT universities of the country on merit.

Prime Minister’s initiative for extension of ICT education in the remote areas of the country was discussed at length by the Board. A mega-project would be developed for extending state of the art facilities for the remote areas of the country using modern ICTs not only obviating the need for a resident faculty but also to provide instant curricular assistance and online testing. In principle approval was granted by the Board for this also and would encompass all remote areas of the country but would be executed in phases. This would include areas like Turbat, Pishin, Hub, Tank, Upper Dir, Charsadda, Rajanpur, Layyah, Hamidpur, Kanora, Badin, Tharparkar, Thatta, Skardu, Bagh, Poonch and Kahuta to name a few. This project will go a long way in creating a revolution of ICT education at all levels in the country.

The meeting proved to be very useful as key decisions were made and Prime Minister was informed about the vision and mandate of National ICT R&D Fund with a brief mention of the successes achieved so far by the Fund. The Board also approved the appointment of Syed Aun Abbas as CEO of the Company managing ICT’s R&D Funds. It was mentioned that 193 applications were received and after transparent scrutiny / interviews, four candidates were short listed. The views of the Interview Board as well as members of the Board were sought and accordingly Syed Aun Abbas was approved as CEO and Iftikhar Mahmood as alternative if the selected CEO is unable to join. The bio-data of the selected CEO will be released separately.

Various government officials including Secretary IT, Ministry of Information Technology and representatives from industry and academia on the Board also attended the meeting.
Source: The Nation