Govt. ponders over IT cadre for computer professionals
ISLAMABAD, January 18,2005: The government is considering career opportunities for young computer professionals by creating IT cadre in a bid to cut expenditures, standardize government processes and decelerate brain drain.
The News learnt has that the government is seriously working on introducing a special cadre, to be called the Information Technology (IT) Cadre, in the public sector to induct finest IT professionals (with specialization in programming, web development, network/database/system administration, software engineering, systems analysis and project management through the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) and Provincial Public Service Commission (PPSC).
The move is being seen as an official acknowledgement of the country abundant talent in IT sector. Due to the massive salary difference and lack of policy guidelines, the public sector has not been offering career attractions for smart IT professionals on permanent basis. With the blessings from the highest offices of the country, the government is now seriously pursuing once-abandoned e-government initiatives and opting for online tendering and bidding.
Every year, the finest Pakistani IT brains are lured by the lucrative job markets ranging from Dubai to London and last but not the least to the Silicone Valley, San Jose, in the United States. Besides offering career opportunities and challenging task of transforming the public sector offices from paper junkyards to paperless workplaces, the initiation of IT cadre would introduce economy of cost as all the government offices and departments would be using the same software. So far, every department or ministry purchases software from open market at high prices or hire developers to get customized solutions for their need by paying hefty salaries.
“This will also reduce the government expenditure incurred on hiring IT consultants on very hefty salaries and perks for developing redundant or over-priced software,” a source said. Sources at the NRB also believe that by getting employed through the IT cadre, the young officers would show greater efficiency and enthusiasm as they would be able to rise to the highest offices in bureaucracy. “This cadre will remind us of the prestige that the district management group enjoyed for decades until the devolution process deflated them for good,” remarked another source.
A senior official in the FIA cyber crime office said: “We are always worried about the network, domain or data security, when working with contract employees. A permanent cadre is the most appropriate answer to the data security headache.”
NRB Chairman Daniyal Aziz told The News: “The government is fully committed to starting the IT cadre not only to tap the talent but also bring harmony in government operation from Taluka and Tehsil level to the office of prime minister and president.”
He said the bureau is fully motivated to create more career opportunities for the country’s gifted youths as the president and the prime minister are fully committed to cut the costs, create new jobs and modernize government machinery in every possible way.
The standardization of general-purpose software – such as budgeting, accounting, auditing, crime control etc – is required from federal level to lowest offices in the district government.
Conservative estimates suggest that some 100,000 to 150,000 youth graduate from computer departments of public and private sector universities every year. The medical transcription courses and various types of diploma holders almost double the same figure every year.
Another proposal being studied is to allow each government organ should establish their own IT directorate instead of e-government directorate (EGD) regulating all the 40 divisions and 15 ministries in a centralized manner.
The Central Board of Revenue (CBR), Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Pakistan Television (PTV), National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have already established their own IT departments and are accomplishing their tasks in time and in the best possible manner.
The News also learnt that the government was also planning to merge the Pakistan Software Export Board into the Export Promotion Bureau. “The idea is being discussed at various levels but no final decision has been made so far,” said a source in the establishment division. “Over the years, the IT and Telecom Ministry as well as the EGD have been handicapped by the bureaucratic procedures as well as lack of innovative thinking and the emphasis has been on counting the numbers of Internet-connected cities on daily basis or developing web portals,” noted a former senior official at the IT&T ministry.
Although the Higher Education Commission is making its bid to regulate the private mushroom sector institutions and bring a uniformity in their standards, the sources believe the creation of a separate IT cadre would make the IT education sector more competitive and the students and parent more choosy and value-oriented.
The government has also been pondering to post bright IT professional inducted through this cadre in missions abroad like USA, the UK, Australia, Europe, Canada and Middle East with a mission to manage the data services at the Pakistan embassy and assist the staff to sublet IT projects in Pakistan.
Source: The News