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Event Title: A Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Kauda Babar here at Parliament House

Event Date: 2022-03-01

Islamabad, 1st March 2022: A Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Kauda Babar here at Parliament House on Tuesday.

The Committee discussed the ‘’National Information Technology Board Bill “at length and pointed out some legal ambiguities in it. The Chairman Committee was of opinion that if Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin ul Haque himself assured the Committee about the ambiguities, the Committee will pass the Bill in the next meeting. The Chairman also showed displeasure on the absence of the Minister and directed to ensure its presence in the next meeting.

While discussing the Pass Track application, the Ministry apprised the committee that the application has developed in coordination with the Ministry of Health and NCOC for record keeping of the travellers coming to Pakistan in times of Covid-19 pandemic. The Committee was briefed about the salient features of the Application. The Ministry told the committee that the application is user friendly and everyone can install it on their smartphones. So far, 1,530,185 persons have downloaded this app and in January2022, 166,768 passengers travelled through this app, it was informed. Senator Afnan Ullah Khan noted that, the app does not give “Edit your Profile” option, once you upload your profile on it and he recommended the Ministry to included  Urdu and other regional languages in the application as well.

While deliberating on the funds and projects of IGNITE, the Ministry informed the committee that IGNITE has awarded overall 4,761 scholarships from 2007-18 under the umbrella of “National ICT Scholarship Program” which cost around Rs.3.75 billion and 353 scholarships awarded to students of Balochistan from 2011-18, which cost around Rs.230 million. Five Incubation Centers have been established in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta and planning to open in Hyderabad and Faisalabad in 2022 and in Multan and Sialkot in 2023, ministry briefed. The Committee decided to visit the Islamabad Center to,  analyse the working and standards of the Center. IGNITE also funded startups and launched Digiskills project, which provides free online training, in three districts of southern Balochistan including Khuzdar,Turbat, and Gwadar, Ministry told.

Regarding the issue of poor cellular services in Balochistan, Pakistan Member Telecommunication Authority explained that this is mainly due to security reasons and power interruption. The Chairman showed his displeasure on absence of network in Balochistan and other areas of Pakistan. He remarked that the people of the Balochistan pay the taxes on every recharge and yet services are not available to them. If Cellular companies fail to solve the issue at the earliest, then the Committee will take action, the Chairman cautioned. He further directed all the cellular companies should ensure their presence in the next meeting and brief the Committee about the matter in detail. The Committee showed displeasure on absence of Chairman PTA and directed its presence in the next meeting.

The meeting was attended by Senator Rubina Khalid, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Seemee Ezdi, Senator Palwasha Mohammad Zai Khan, Senator Naseema Ehsan, Senator Afnan Ullah Khan, Senator Shahadat Awan, Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, Secretary for Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and other Senior Officers of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) as well.