Minister of State for Information Technology, Ms. Anusha Rehman said that the government is committed to providing connectivity to unserved and underserved areas of the country by December 2018.
She expressed these views while addressing the youth parliament’s extraordinary session on the state of E-Governance and IT in Pakistan said.
She also shared some key initiatives being taken by her Ministry for the development of ICT sector Anusha Rehman said that the ministry brought 3G /4G in the country and got international recognition for most transparent spectrum auction.
“We have witnessed a phenomenal increase in the ratio of broadband penetration which is currently surpassing 24% from less than 3% within the shortest span of two years,” she said.
The minister said that Pakistan’s freelancers in the field of IT had been ranked number 4 in the world. Pakistan is aggressively pursuing an accelerated digitization programme to spur socio-economic growth in the country, she added.
She said that recently launched ICT for Girls Programme was aimed at passing on the benefits of ICT to the less privileged section of society.
Anusha said that under the programme girls from marginalized sections are being trained on coding and computing with the partnership of Microsoft to increase their employability potential.
Besides, under Universal Service Fund the government is spending billions of rupees to provide telecom and broadband facilities to unserved and underserved areas of the country, she added.
Anusha Rehman said that the ministry is simultaneously working on supply and demand side of this sector.
The minister said, “on one hand we are providing connectivity to the people of un-underserved areas while on the contrary, we are working on the affordability and accessibility of these services. So that people of these marginalized areas could get equal benefits of technological advancement in the country.”
Under women empowerment program, she said, the government is doing the feasibility study to provide thirty thousand smartphones and training to the women folk of lowest income strata who have been registered with BISP.
She said the objective of the program is to give access to the basic E-Services to these women living in rural areas.
The minister said the country had successfully countered the menace of Grey traffic with effective policy intervention and brought back the white traffic to over 1.6 billion minutes from less than 400 million minutes.
She said that with strenuous efforts of years, the ministry brought a comprehensive piece of legislation in the shape of cyber crime Act.
“We have given 21 new rights for the people of Pakistan with this new law,” she said.
At the end of the session, she responded to the multifaceted questions of the members of the youth parliament.
Members of the youth parliament paid thanks to the Minister for gracing their session and also appreciated the endeavours of Minister and hailed her vision of socio-economic development through efficient utilization of ICT.