Well-prepared digitalisation can catapult Pakistan to progress: president
Addressing the Digital Government Summit, held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the president said: “Pakistan will be catapulted in the era of technological advancement if it keeps making fast decisions to join the global digital journey.”
The summit, themed “Innovative technologies on transforming the public sector”, gathered information technology and digital policy experts, besides taking onboard the officials of Google Cloud via video-link from Singapore.
Organised by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication in collaboration with TechValley Pakistan, the digital summit focused on Google-powered innovative technologies to transform the public sector.
President Alvi said that in the age of information overload, it was important for countries such as Pakistan to adopt innovative data management tools offered by Google Cloud and find solutions for public services.
The global pandemic made digitalisation imperative for the delivery of public services, including education, healthcare, transportation, security surveillance and building smart cities, he said.
“The future is changing faster than you think…The digital evolution is imminent,” President Alvi said, stressing the importance of pursuing the government’s vision of a Digital Pakistan.
In the education sector, he said, the information and academic knowledge was no longer limited to books, but could be accessed through the data available at Google Cloud and other digital platforms.
Pakistan could greatly benefit by helping its students and professionals join the global digital club of knowledge and ensure their access to the academic lectures of international standards, he said.
As an enthusiast of emerging technologies himself, the president recalled that during his political canvassing in 2016, he personally handled the data of his constituencies by putting ‘layers’ on the Google Map, leading to an increased efficiency to win the election.
Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haq sharing the government’s vision of a Digital Pakistan said the ministry would collaborate with the Google Cloud and TechValley in adopting the cutting-edge technology in the areas, including block-chain technology, artificial intelligence, finding industrial solutions and building smart cities.
Taking the challenge of the Covid-19 lockdown as an opportunity, Haq said that the ministry took the steps to improve connectivity in ensuring facilities in education, health and finance.
He mentioned that 100 million people, at present, were using broadband facilities, adding that a spectrum auction was an option to gain $1 billion. The ministry achieved the export target of $2.1 million with a further target set for $3.1 million, he added.
The minister announced that 5G service would be launched by December. Also, Beep, a mobile chat platform like WhatsApp would be introduced, initially for the government employees.
Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood said that after t7he Covid-19 pandemic, the canvas of the education system in Pakistan was changed with the introduction of distant learning through television and radio schools.
He said the focus would be laid on ensuring e-learning facilities to the students in remote areas for access to academic lectures and teachers’ training.
The Ministry of Education was working with the Google Cloud and TechValley to launch a project in Islamabad based on the concept of blended technology by experimenting with smart boards, tablets and smartphones as per different age groups, he said, adding that the lectures of Khan Academy are being translated into Urdu for the facilitation of students.
Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati said that Pakistan Railways was heading on the path of digitalisation and productivity as the Google Cloud and TechValley had introduced cutting-edge technology to make the institution an emerging public department.
By the end of June 2022, he said, Pakistan Railways would become a profitable public sector entity through technological solutions in environment-friendly transportation, increased passenger and freight trains, checking scrap theft and outsourcing of dry ports.
Managing director of the Google Cloud for Asia Pacific, Paul Wilson, in his video address from Singapore said Google was collaborating with the public agencies to support economic development aligned to the situations, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He expressed pleasure that the government of Pakistan was endeavouring to achieve better outcomes across the public sector through employees’ productivity and effective agency operations.
The Google expertise could be applied to build government solutions in streamlining workflows, intelligent transportation, health and human services platforms, smart and sustainable cities and the remote office and finance platforms, he said.
TechValley Pakistan chief executive officer Umer Farooq said that as a partner with Google Cloud and the Ministry of IT, his company was promoting the culture of technology to pave the way towards economic development.
The TechValley has so far trained 8,000 professionals and conducted 5,000 workshops on areas such as access to world-class services, industry solutions and real-time analytics, he said.
Head of Managed Services Providers Google, Sean Lim, joined via video-link.
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