Pakistan Steps Up IT Projects Roll-Out in Public Sector

IT projects ranging from automated meter reading and computerized land records management to online education and mobile banking are now at various stages of implementation across Pakistan.  In a report released today, the World Bank calls these projects "unprecedented in the public sector in developing countries". The objective of these efforts is to reduce corruption, increase productivity and improve service delivery in both private and public sectors. Here's a brief description of five key areas where information technology penetration is visible:

1. Automated Meter Reading:

Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) project has been rolled out across the country with the help of United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  It is aimed at reducing power theft which accounts for 20-30% of all power generated in Pakistan. It will provide accurate electronic meter readings with little human intervention, using technology to transmit meter readings data via GSM/GPRS and Radio Frequency. It is expected to help power distribution companies (DISCOs) to monitor electricity consumption trends for different consumer categories, understand demand patterns, reduce electricity losses significantly and increase their revenues. Initial AMR pilots indicate significant reduction of power theft in Lahore.

In addition to automatic reading of consumer meters, smart meters have been installed with the support of USAID on incoming and outgoing feeders at all nine government-owned electric utilities. These will help move toward building of a smart national grid to better manage power generation, transmission and distribution in the country.

2. Mobile Governance:

The Punjab government is deploying smartphone applications to crack down on absentee mobile government workers and their corrupt practices. As part of this project, the government employee must send his or her picture and a report of interaction with citizens along with GPS coordinates. For example, a agricultural pest control official required to visit farmers must file reports of his findings and actions in real time via a smartphone app.

An agricultural field monitor uploads a picture of himself and spotted pests on crops using a smartphone. This data is used to ensure visits happen and create easily-accessible time and spatial data. Source: World Bank
An SMS soliciting feedback from citizens is sent out after each such visit or interaction. Responses from users are logged into a central database, and the data then analyzed and mapped. Call centers have also been trained to contact those who do not respond or are unable to read the text due to illiteracy.More than three million users of public services have so far been contacted since the summer of 2012, with both positive and negative feedback, according to the World Bank report. “Sir, we went to the hospital yesterday. They asked for 1500 rupees [in bribes]. We didn’t have the money so we left,” reads one of the reports about a hospital in Lahore, the provincial capital. The feedback is actively monitored by the office the Chief Secretary – the top civil servant in the province – to manage the performance of officials.

Results of Google-sponsored Survey in Pakistan Source: Express Tribune

3. Computerized Land Records:

Provincial land departments in Pakistan regularly show up as the most corrupt in Transparency International surveys conducted every year. In fact, most Pakistanis refer to the culture of corruption in Pakistan as "patwari culture". For the uninitiated, a patwari is a low level official in the land department responsible for keeping land title records. Corrupt patwaris either deliberately misplace such records or delay issuing land title papers when citizens refuse to pay bribes.  With digitization of such records, citizens will be able to check and confirm titles to lands on a computer screen by entering  their computerized national identity card (CNIC) number. Corrupt patwaris are trying to undermine the computerization project.

4. Education and Training:

Pakistan has been at the forefront of using information technology to increase literacy and offer higher education. A pilot program in the country has demonstrated the effectiveness of pushing mass literacy through the use of cell phone text messaging capability.

A UNESCO has recently also started a post-literacy project in Pakistan based on mobile technology. The Mobile Based Post Literacy program is targeted at young rural women, aged between 15 and 25, by keeping them interested in literacy through the mobile phone.

The concept of virtual instruction is finding its way to K-12 education as well. Increasing number of Pakistanis are drawn to various online sites. Silicon Valley NEDians have launched Learntive, an effort to offer digitized lessons in high-school courses.  Virtual Education for All is a local Pakistani initiative extending the concept to primary level.

Virtual University(VU) and Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) offer distance learning programs using information technology. Pakistan's Virtual University (VU) has won the Outstanding New Site Award 2012 for an Open CourseWare website which was created in 2011.

5. Mobile Banking:

Combination of growth of mobile phones and ease of mobile money transfers have enabled many Pakistanis to have access to financial services for the first time in their lives.

In a country where only 22% of the population owns bank accounts and more than 70% owns mobile phones, mobile banking is proving to be the fastest way to promote financial inclusion considered by experts to be essential to lift people out of poverty. Benefits include easy access for rural customers to banking services through agents in villages without bank branches, better documentation of the economy, enlarging of the tax-base and efficiency of economic transactions.


Increasing use of computers and mobile phones is enabling broad adoption of information technology in Pakistan. It has the potential to increase transparency, enhance individual productivity and improve standards of living of ordinary citizens.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Mobile Internet to Overtake Desktop in 2014 in Pakistan

Biometric Information Technology in Pakistan

Power Theft in Pakistan

Mobile Banking in Pakistan

Mass Literacy Through Mobile Phones

Online Education in Pakistan

Pakistan's Telecom Revolution


Riaz Haq said…
Here's a News report about access to Ivy League school courses in Pakistan:

Any student sitting in Pakistan within the comfort of his bedroom or the ease of his armchair having a smartphone or a personal computer and an internet connection will now be able to access courses taught in the classrooms of Harvard, Yale, Stanford and MIT universities.

The Latif Ebrahim Jamal National Science Information Centre of the Karachi University (KU) launched a website, which will connect students in Pakistan to video lectures of professors at Ivy League universities of the world.

The web portal called the LEJ Knowledge Hub will hold thousands of full courses (0.5 lecture hours), skill development modules, research-based lectures and online mentoring lessons for school and university levels. All of this will be for free.

“Pakistan is among the first few countries of the world to launch such an initiative. History is being written right now,” said Dr Iqbal Chaudhry, the director of KU’s International Centre of Chemical and Biological Sciences, at a ceremony hosted at the Governor House on Thursday. President Mamnoon Hussain was the chief guest.

Students who log onto the website can choose if they want to be accredited for these courses or not. “I ask all educationists in the public and private sector universities to use this facility and include these internationally recognised courses in their curriculum,” Chaudhry said.

Schools can also access the portal as video tutorials from the Khan Academy have also been accommodated in the website.

Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, a former chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC), said the website would bring about a new paradigm for Pakistan. “Universities are not about beautiful buildings, they are about beautiful minds,” he said. “Education is the only means of survival and our country has 40 percent children out of school.”

He shared a presentation titled “Higher Education: an Imperative for Social Development”, in which he highlighted what was lacking in Pakistani universities. At MIT, he claimed, graduates have started 4,000 new companies which employ 1.1 billion people. In Korea, only 5 percent of youth had university degrees till the 1960, but by 2010, 95 percent of its youth had attained higher education. Their imports increased over 350 times.

He was also hopeful that the status of the HEC would be restored, as in all countries higher education was a federal subject.

Philanthropist Aziz Latif Jamal, whose father established the LEJ centre, said: “We are one of the first countries to launch a website like the LEJ Knowledge Hub, but Pakistan has a lot of challenges ahead. Our literacy rate is a sorry 56 percent, we have untrained teachers and professors and a single digit education budget. If we are not ready to address these challenges then we are merely paying lip service to the cause of education at a time when our youth bulge is drifting towards militancy and crime.”

The president advised educational institutions to increase their pace of development so that it quenches the thirst for knowledge present in the youth of Karachi. “There was a time when business families of the city tried to outdo each other in their service to education. That is why we had the Ayesha Bawani Academy, Adamjee College and Dawood Engineering and Technology College. I pray those times return to Karachi.”

The government, he added, would resolve the pending status of the HEC and “salvage it from being ruined”.
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an Express Tribune story on the use of tracking devices to monitor Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) through Pakistan:

In an attempt to reduce hurdles to trade, the government of Afghanistan has asked Pakistan to reduce the high cost of tracking containers and prime-movers as it is causing trouble for Afghan importers and businesses.
Afghanistan made the request at the fourth annual meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) held on October 8 and 9 in Kabul.
The Afghan side said their traders were being charged both for the tracking device installed on trucks and containers. They suggested that the cost of the device installed on prime-movers should be borne by the transport operator and also sought a reduction in the device cost.
In reply, Pakistan officials assured them that they would take up the issue with the stakeholders for its resolution.
The request from Kabul comes at a time when the government of Pakistan has vowed that it will set up an advanced information technology database and container tracking system in one month to stop theft of Afghan and Nato containers and discourage smuggling along the Pak-Afghan border.

Afghan officials also said that during the third APTTCA meeting held in October 2012 Pakistan agreed to allow partial shipment of consignments from December 2012, but the facility had not been provided so far.
Pakistan’s delegation responded that they were allowing partial shipment on case-to-case basis. The software and procedure for partial shipment was in place and would be operational in one month to address the hardships faced by Afghan importers.
Shedding long-standing mistrust, the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan are fast coming closer to streamlining bilateral trade by removing barriers that have been encouraging smuggling and discouraging formal business.
In the meeting, the Afghan side was led by Deputy Minister for Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industries Mozammil Shinwari and Pakistan’s delegation was headed by Commerce Secretary Qasim M Niaz.
Riaz Haq said…
Here's Bloomberg on 3G-4G auction in Pakistan:

Pakistan plans to auction licenses by March to run third- and fourth-generation mobile-phone networks, with both existing and new operators eligible to bid, the country’s telecommucations regulator chief said.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has hired Value Partners Management Consulting to advise on the sale, including the base price and number of licenses to be auctioned for a 15-year term, Chairman Syed Ismail Shah said in an interview in Islamabad yesterday.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government expects to fetch between $1.2 billion to $2 billion as a result of the spectrum auction, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told reporters Dec. 11.
“The licenses will be technology neutral and will be offered through an open bidding,” Shah said. “It will not only be for 3G, they can introduce any other advance technology including 4G.”
The telecommunications market was deregulated in 2004, and the number of mobile-phone users in the South Asian nation grew to 129.58 million as of September this year from 12.7 million in 2005, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
The regulator plans to auction 30 megahertz of spectrum to new as well as existing operators that include Pakistan Mobile Communications Ltd.’s Mobilink, Telenor ASA’s local subsidiary, Warid Telecom of Abu-Dhabi group, the Pakistan unit of China Mobile Ltd. and Ufone of Pakistan Telecommunication, part-owned by Emirates Telecommunications Corp.
The government hasn’t specified how to divide the available spectrum. “It could be three lots of 10 megahertz each or there can be several combinations,” Shah said.
The regulator has yet to decide whether to leave it to the market to determine the tariff or if any regulatory intervention was needed. “We don’t want a price war because it compromises quality of services as well as profitability of companies.”
Riaz Haq said…
Here are highlights of a research report on Pakistan's telecom sector:

Despite an overall slowing in the country’s telecom market, Pakistan continues to grow its mobile sector; Mobile subscriber numbers were growing at close to 10% annually in 2011/2012, modest growth indeed compared with the earlier boom years; By mid-2013 there were around 125 million mobile subscribers for a penetration of 70%; Five mobile operators were competing vigorously for subscribers and revenue, all being able to claim a reasonable share of the market; Fifth-ranked Warid Telecom, however, was struggling and by 2013 was being put up for sale by its owner the Abu Dhabi Group; After many delays, 3G licensing looked as if it was proceeding in earnest with the auction scheduled for late 2013; it was more likely to be early 2014; To allow the spectrum auction to happen as planned the Prime Minister had approved relevant policy directives in October 2013; While Pakistan’s broadband internet penetration remained low in relative terms (less than 2% by mid-2013), there has been a significant surge recently in broadband services; The growth in wireless-based broadband has been especially important, representing around over 50% of subscriptions by 2013; Growth in the country’s fixed-line market remained sluggish, fixed teledensity standing at just over 3% in 2013, the numbers having actually fallen at times; One positive factor in the fixed market has been the success of wireless local loop technology which was supporting just over half of all fixed subscribers and looked to still be growing.
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Huffington Post review of a book about second Industrial Revolution:

Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, from MIT's Center for Digital Business, have a new book out this week called, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.
That's why we invited McAfee to join EMC's leadership team in Boston a couple of weeks ago to talk with us about how every business model in every industry is going to be redefined in some form by software. If the first machine age was about the automation of manual labor and horsepower, the second machine age is about the automation of knowledge work, thanks to the proliferation of real time, predictive data analytics, machine learning and the Internet of Things -- an estimated 200 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, all of them generating unimaginable quantities of data.

McAfee and Brynjolfsson's favorite example of automated work is Google's self-driving car, a marvel of ingenuity enabled by technology's ability to capture the data of so many moving variables and act on them instantly, free of human error. If a self-driving car seems far-fetched, how about software that grades students' essays more objectively, consistently and quickly than humans? Or news articles on about corporate earnings previews -- "all generated by algorithms without human involvement."

We used to speak about how organizations had access to databases. Now, leading organizations are building "data lakes" -- giant reservoirs of information in heterogeneous formats, to aid decision-making and to offer new services to customers. Mobile apps collect intelligence from vast networks of drivers on highways to direct us to the least congested routes between points A and B. "Massive online open courses" offer thousands of college level students access to the best lecturers halfway around the world -- at a fraction of the cost.

But progress always has a flip side -- and its critics. Sweeping technology-driven transformations are as much about disruption and dislocation as opportunity. To explore this trade-off, we at EMC are hosting a breakfast conversation in Davos on Thursday with McAfee, Brynjolfsson and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, who has written about these topics in previous books and columns. No conversation about the future can ignore the human costs of progress or the discomforting question of whether everyone is adequately prepared.

On this question, McAfee and Brynjolfsson are generally optimistic about the future of technology and the opportunities for humanity. The good news is, living standards increase with gains in productivity. But why are so many innovative large companies awash in cash while unemployment rates have hardly budged?

Harvard Business School's Clayton Christensen, who has devoted a career to studying disruptive innovation, spoke with us about this recently. The challenge, he notes, is that so much of the innovation we see in the world today is efficiency-based in nature: it's about doing familiar things in cheaper, more efficient ways.

In The Second Machine Age, the great software-defined businesses of tomorrow will be the ones that usher in breakthrough innovations that do new things entirely -- the kind of innovation that generates new value by opening up unforeseen market opportunities: new products, new services, new ways of servicing customers, and new jobs. That's what the first machine age was all about. Ready or not, the second machine age is already underway. And the value and disruption it will generate will stagger us all.
Riaz Haq said…
Installing smart meters at customer premises is an essential part of the smart grid project in Pakistan or anywhere else. It also includes: Advanced Metering Infrastructure solutions including metering and backend software and server system that shall be deployed at all nine DISCOs as well as the National Power Control Center (NPCC). The project has been designed to eliminate incidences of unscheduled load shedding by accurately assessing total load demand information on a near real time basis, and thus shall impact the lives of the hundreds of millions of people connected to the national electricity grid network.
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an APP story on the launch of Open Source Software Foundation in Pakistan:

To make Pakistan a hub of open source technologies in Asia by 2020, Open Source Foundation of Pakistan (OSFP) was launched by a team of dedicated professionals from academia, IT industry and services sector. Speaking at a ceremony here, Founder of OSFP Babar Zahoor said the founding principles of the foundation has been set as “using and developing the local human resources for introducing IT based solutions for local markets, home users and industry”. It is believed that both public and private sector organizations are using billions of rupees to use imported close-ended software programs and technologies.
Many of them have to develop their activities around the imported softwares to save further billions because customization costs are used as traps by these foreign firms to lynch local firms of their valuable resources, he added.
Hence local industries lose the competitive edge not only in production but even in cyber security and data pilferage.
He said the OSFP will provide a platform to the private and public sector organizations and universities, it can help them save billions of rupees.
Babar Zahoor believes, “both private and public sectors can save these monies for human resource development in the country by spending a fraction of the cost they are bearing now by importing not-so-customized software from the monopolized close-ended sources.”
Thinking globally to give local solutions in the field of user friendly and customized IT sector, OSFP held its first elections in Islamabad to elect a five member executive council and a four office bearers.
Newly elected Executive Council Members are Saleem M. Rafik (Director General Operations NADRA), Dr Syed Iqbal Ahmad PhD (Adviser Education Oxfam Novib Pakistan, Ex Chief Scientist Pakistan Agri Research Center), Ms Asma Qadeer, Assistant Professor Linguistics (Vice President Women Wing Baluchistan Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf), Tahir Mahmood Chaudhary (President Computer Society of Pakistan, CEO of Pakistan Institute of Entrepreneurs, CEO of Falcon Engineering and Sarfaraz M. Khan Chief Technology Officer Path Finder, Ex Vice President Vectra Com Pvt. Ltd.
According to by laws, Executive Council Members will arrange first meeting to elect Foundation’s Chair and Vice Chair soon.
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an excerpt of a NY Times Op Ed on Punjab, Pakistan:

Concerns about Punjabi domination have soared since the spring of 2013, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, of the Pakistan Muslim League (P.M.L.N.), was returned to power for the third time. He belongs to a Lahore-based industrial family with close ties to Punjab’s business elite and a can-do attitude to governance that features flashy development schemes. The perception that Punjab is batting in a league of its own has mounted under the Sharifs. During the general election campaign last year, while the Pakistan People’s Party, which is perceived to represent Sindhi interests, was making welfare cash transfers to impoverished women, the P.M.L.N. was distributing laptops to students.

Most of Karachi’s 18 million residents have to rely on private transport. But Lahoris commute on a rapid metrobus system, and a similar initiative in Islamabad will be the federal capital’s most expensive road project to date. While the Punjabi government is digitizing land records, automating administrative transactions and promoting what it calls e-governance, the Sindh government faces a famine in Tharparkar.

Punjab has been able to progress because it has been relatively unimpeded by terrorism. Shahbaz Sharif, Nawaz’s brother and Punjab’s chief minister since 2008, publicly appealed to the Pakistani Taliban in 2010 not to attack the province, and the request was largely heeded. His P.M.L.N. government in Punjab has not clamped down on influential sectarian militant groups in the province, instead befriending their leaders to rally votes during elections.

Likewise, the P.M.L.N. government at the center started pushing for peace talks with the Taliban in September and then even more in November, when the Taliban threatened to carry out attacks in Punjab to avenge the killing of their former leader in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan. The central government is considering concessions, including swapping prisoners, granting an amnesty to Taliban fighters and even giving the group a political role in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the border with Afghanistan.

Government officials have repeatedly stated that a peace deal is necessary because military strikes against the Taliban would lead to reprisal attacks. Given the carnage that Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar have endured in recent years, many Pakistanis describe that policy as a ploy to sacrifice the tribal areas in order to save Lahore. Such perceptions only heighten interprovincial tensions, just at a time when the country needs to be more united than ever.
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an Express Tribune report on E-Commerce in Pakistan:

Pakistan is one of the fastest emerging e-commerce markets in the region.
The level of trust global online groups are showing in the talents of the Pakistani youth and the e-commerce industry here suggests that, in the near future, it is likely to hold a significant share in Pakistan’s economy., a venture of Rocket Internet, a German based internet incubator operating in Pakistan, has built a reputation in the eyes of the decision makers of its parent company within just 15 months since it began operations.
The team, which is successfully operating, has been given a task to launch the same portal in 26 other countries of Europe and the Asian region.
“The level of trust by the parent company shows huge potential and bright future for the e-commerce industry in Pakistan,” said Managing Director Asian Region Ahmed Khan in an interview with The Express Tribune.
“Pakistan e-commerce industry has just started its journey and the youth is driving this sector,” he added. launched in Pakistan in January 2013 and is known as one of the best online platforms with 600 retailers offering their products to online shoppers. Khan believes that they still have a long journey and a big market to cover.
The portal is maturing some 1,000 transactions daily with an average turnover of Rs1.2 million per day. According to Khan, around 40% of the total transactions are of the apparel and jewelry segments. Due to suspicion and other issues with using plastic for payments, more than 99% of transactions are cash-based.
Khan said that the online transaction ratio will surge once the use of plastic money becomes common and the number of smartphone users also increase with the introduction of 3G and 4G services.
The exercise for online shopping via different portals for convenient shopping is increasing with each passing day. E-commerce is now spreading and is creating its share in the overall retail segment, with small, medium and large-scale retailers becoming eager to sell their products via such portals.
Riaz Haq said…
NDTV: What India Can Learn About E-Governance From Pakistan

Pakistan, like India, suffers from a litany of problems such as frequent power outages, limited unreliable broadband connectivity and a lack of computer literacy. And like India, Pakistan is also experiencing the transformative effects of the smartphone revolution.

But while the government here is now talking about using apps like WhatsApp for citizen complaints, our neighbour has been using government-made smartphone apps to help officials deal with a range of issues from fighting dengue to extending arable land to crime monitoring.

A lot of the credit to this change can be given to the Punjab Information and Technology Board (PITB), headed by the Chairman Dr Umar Saif since 2011. Saif - who received his PhD from Trinity College, Cambridge - also serves as the Vice Chancellor of the Information Technology University in Pakistan, after a four year stint teaching and working at MIT.

The Pakistani province of Punjab holds more than half of the country's population and in 2011 it was facing a dengue epidemic, with 21,000 cases and hundreds of fatalities. Part of the problem was the haphazard of digitisation of records, which made it hard to co-ordinate work across departments. The solution that the PITB came up with was to create a smartphone application that could be distributed to workers and officials in the various government departments engaged in tackling dengue. The app was used to track the work being done to fight the disease, and to also map the spread of dengue.

Speaking to NDTV Gagdets on the phone, Saif shares his insights into the challenges of bringing a technology solution to a government problem.

"Historically, IT departments around the world have stuck to using personal computers as the platform for their solutions," Saif explains, "and this has some fundamental flaws. Governments spend billions buying the hardware and software, but the uptake of technology is very low."

"The bureaucracy - particularly the lower tiers, are not computer savvy, and PCs have a lot of infrastructural needs," he adds. "And a senior bureaucrat will often not want to use the computer either, and just gives it to an assistant in a back room. That's the state of things in Pakistan, and I suspect, in countries like India too - such devices are used more as typewriters."

To work around these constraints, the PITB invested in Android smartphones - cheaper ones for the lower level staff, and high-end ones for the senior officials - and distributed these devices with a few work-related pre-installed apps along with some paid for talk time and messages.
Riaz Haq said…
Shahid Abdullah has been in business long enough to spot a good opportunity. Abdullah is the president of the Sapphire Group, one of Pakistan’s largest textile companies with 16,000 employees, $800 million in annual revenues, and a global base of customers. But when his country started running out of electricity a decade ago, he switched gears and built a large power plant in Muridke, just north of Pakistan’s second largest city Lahore. “Moving into power generation was a step that made sense,” he says. “Not just from a business perspective, but also in terms of realizing our mission and contributing to the development of the communities in which we work and live.”

Abdullah’s calculation was simple. Lack of power is one of Pakistan’s burning needs. Electricity consumption is growing by close to 8 percent, and peak power demand exceeds supply by more than 4 gigawatts (GW), a massive amount. But his journey was far from easy.

The Muridke Power Plant generates 234 megawatts (MW), but from the start in 2010 it grappled with fluctuating fuel costs, which make up some 85 percent of its operating expenses. Fuel savings of just 1 percent could boost its net income by as much as 20 percent, but the downside was equally steep.

Abdullah started looking for a solution and learned about the Industrial Internet, a digital network connecting, collecting and analyzing data from sensors installed inside machines, including turbines that produce electricity. “His answer was in numbers,” says Azeez Mohammed, president and CEO of GE Power Generation Services in the Middle East and Africa, who started talking to Abdullah in 2014.

Mohammed proposed to embed hundreds of sensors and other digital instruments in Abdullah’s turbines, analyze the data they collect, and use the information to improve the plant’s performance, optimize production and reduce unplanned downtime. But Abdullah was cautious. “The last thing I wanted was to be a guinea pig in GE’s ‘first-of-its-kind’ experiment,” he laughs.

GE’s Mohammed, however, was convinced that the project would work. So much so that he proposed Abdullah a deal: GE would pay for the sensors and the software and then split all benefits with Sapphire under a win-win scenario.

With Abdullah on board, GE dispatched a team of technicians and software engineers to Muridke. They spent a month developing a self-learning analytical model based on huge amounts of data from the gas turbines and other plant assets at Sapphire. The model allowed them to predict changes in efficiency, electricity output and other outcomes under different production scenarios without having to make any changes to the equipment itself.

In October 2014 the team connected the system to the plant’s two GE 6FA gas turbines, which GE engineers specifically designed with the Industrial Internet in mind. By December that year, the Sapphire plant has started seeing the benefits.

The heart of the system is GE’s Predix software platform and an advanced analytics application called Asset Performance Management (APM). The app allows industrial assets talk seamlessly with each other in a secure manner, and uses analytics to make the equipment more efficient.

The GE team is now working to link power plant’s steam turbine to system. The software is so versatile it doesn’t mind that turbine was the Czech industrial company Skoda, not GE.

GE estimates the Industrial Internet could bring the Muridke Power Plant millions of dollars in benefits over the next decade.
Riaz Haq said…
#Punjab Government and Huawei Technologies #Pakistan to launch e-Services in education and health via @techjuicepk

Punjab Government and Huawei Technologies Pakistan have signed an agreement to start various e-Service pilot projects in health and education sectors of Punjab, Pakistan.

Chairman Planning and Development Punjab Jahanzeb Khan, Secretary Specialized Healthcare Punjab Najam Ali Shah, Huawei Chief Executive Officer Saif-Chi and others were present during the signing ceremony. Jahanzeb Khan said,

“Huawei Technologies Company has agreed to set-up e-services pilot projects in four hospitals, one university, one college, one high school and one elementary school free of cost in Punjab as its pilot projects,”

Health and education are the important pillars of the country and he appreciated the efforts of Huawei Technologies in this regard. Incorporating electronic technology in these sectors will help in the development of the province.

A smart e-Classroom will be established at IT University Lahore in order to promote interactive learning and help students communicate with the scholars of partner universities. Campus monitoring system will enable live video recording. Other institutes to get these facilities are Directorate of Staff Development Lahore, Government High School Raiwind Lahore and Government College of Elementary Teachers, Multan. Online learning and innovative ICT will help improve teaching quality.

Huawei will provide technical assistance in healthcare solutions in hospitals like District Hospital Muzaffargarh, Children’s Hospital Lahore, Tehsil Headquarter Hospital Gojra and Rural Health Center. Huawei develops medical service solutions using telemedicine applications, which include remote doctor visits, surgery demonstrations, consultation services and other medical videos on demand. Hospital Information Management System will be installed in the hospitals for this purpose.
Riaz Haq said…
Higher Education Commission of #Pakistan to establish #Technology and #Innovation Support Centre via @techjuicepk

The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) is going to establish a state-of-the-art Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC) Network in Pakistan, in collaboration with Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) Pakistan.

A workshop featured on “Access to Technology for Innovation” and on the establishment of the said project was held here in HEC Secretariat Islamabad, yesterday. The workshop was chaired by the Executive Director HEC, Dr. Arshad Ali.

The workshop aimed at providing a hands-on approach and learning on using technical tools and employing the concerning IT-linked strategies on patent databases and intellectual property. The awareness sessions which preceded the said ceremony were attended by about 70 participants who were the respective focal persons from higher education and research institutions from across the country.

The Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC) program is a pilot program of the World Intellectual Property Organization and assists in providing innovators from developing countries the access to indigenous technology and IT related services. The program is basically designed so as to create, protect, and manage the intellectual property (IP) rights of the innovators.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's #IT industry exports jump 19% last year hit all-time high near $1 Billion. #technology via @techjuicepk

Pakistan’s IT exports have hit an all-time high in the outgoing financial year of 2016-2017.

The country is witnessing a growth boom in the IT industry like never before and the government is also taking steps to support the IT infrastructure. And the numbers prove that the positive activity in the IT industry is delivering good results. According to ProPakistani, figures provided by the State Bank of Pakistan(SBP) indicate that the IT industry’s exports – which includes telecom, and computer and information services – in the outgoing financial year were of $938.640 million. The exports made in the previous financial year of 2015-2016 were worth $788.640 million. This indicates a year-on-year growth of 19%.

The Pakistan Software Exchange Board(PSEB), on the other hand, has reported figures that are three times greater than those reported by the SBP. According to the PSEB, the IT exports stand at a whopping $2.8 billion. There is a huge disparity in the numbers that have been reported by the SBP and the PSEB. However, it should be noted here that the SBP and the PSEB calculate the final figure of IT exports in a different manner. The PSEB reports in different sectors such as financial services, healthcare sector, e-commerce, e-health, but to estimate the final figure of total exports it takes into consideration all the exports done by local software houses to international clients.

If Pakistan’s IT industry keeps thriving at this rate, it certainly rings good news for the country’s economy. Could Pakistan hit the target of $6 billion software exports by 2020 or the target of $10 billion IT exports by 2025? We’ll have to wait and see. But the present certainly does look good.
Riaz Haq said…
Punjab, Pakistan has just transformed its land record management system. What can we learn?
Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture

Land is an essential resource for sustainable development. From large cities to remote villages, land remains one of the most important assets for many people, especially the poor.

Worldwide, only 3 out of 10 people have a legally registered title to their land. Difficulties associated with land administration and registration systems, together with inequalities of land distribution and tenure insecurity, often hinder social and economic development.

In Pakistan, the province of Punjab faced such a challenge. For many rural landowners in the province, land titles weren’t easily accessible, nor were they properly managed and protected. To tackle the land administration challenge, the government of Punjab turned to an innovative solution: they used digital technology to modernize its old, inefficient paper-based land administration system.

Supported by the World Bank, the Punjab Land Records Management and Information Systems (LRMIS) project turned out to be one of the success stories for the province of Punjab. Within just five years, Punjab scanned 10 million pages of old records, digitized over 55 million landowners’ records—98% of all records—across the province, and made all rural land title information available online 24/7 for landowners.

Prior to the project, it would take up to two months to complete a land transaction in Punjab. Today, it takes a rural Punjab resident only 50 minutes to receive a digitally recorded, legally registered land title from one of the 144 newly created land record offices across all 36 districts of the province. This has helped the province of Punjab enhance the transparency of land administration while securing land rights for its people, including women farmers who were denied their land rights in the old system.

In this video, World Bank Senior Director Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez (@Ede_WBG) and Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, Director General of Punjab Land Records Authority, discuss in detail the past, present, and future of the Punjab LRMIS project.

Going forward, the government of Punjab plans to expand digital land record management to its urban areas. Cities and villages alike in other countries can also learn from this successful project and innovative approach to land administration
Riaz Haq said…
#Online #education program launched in 14 #kpk districts of #Pakistan: #Peshawar, #Charsadda, #Swabi, #Nowshera, #Mardan, #Mansehra, #Abbottabad, #Swat, Dir, Chitral, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan and Lakki Marwat at 150 schools 16,000 students. #PTI #ImranKhan

Online education programme - tele-education - has been launched in 14 districts of the province under which the students of grades-4 and 5 would be taught English, mathematics and science subjects online.

For the purpose, 150 schools have been selected where 16,000 students would be imparted education. “Sixty percent of the students taking benefit of the programme are girls,” said Zulfiqar Ahmad, managing director of the Elementary and Secondary Education Foundation (ESEF).

The programme has been jointly launched by ESEF, DFID, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and Tele-education Organisation. It is being launched in Peshawar, Charsadda, Swabi, Nowshera, Mardan, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Swat, Dir, Chitral, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan and Lakki Marwat.

The official said the computer labs would be established in the schools where the online classes would be arranged. Teachers sitting in Islamabad would deliver online lectures at the schools.

He said the programme had already been launched in some areas of Chitral, Dir and other districts and within a short span of time the interest of the students had increased.

The official said monthly monitoring of the programme is done and the students have shown enough improvement in the subjects they are taught online. He said the curriculum of government schools is taught in the online classes.

The official said in some schools of Chitral and Dir Lower, the project has already been completed and due to the successful results, it has been extended for another two years. The project continued for nine months in different schools in Chitral.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistani #education #startup SABAQ shortlisted for Siemens Foundation’s global award. The award recognizes and endorses low-cost #technologies providing vital services and solutions for daily needs in developing countries. #technology #Pakistan

From a pool of 800 submissions from 86 countries, SABAQ is the only Pakistani startup to be among the 11 finalists for the empowering people Award (epAward) 2019 by the Siemens Foundation. The startup will be competing with other finalists for the Top 3 spots in Cairo next month.

The award recognises and endorses low-cost technologies providing vital services and solutions for daily needs in developing regions. Projects submitted are examined on their technical functionality, local adaptability, social impact, team structure, and financial and business sustainability.

In the next round, the finalists will present their enterprise in front of a multi-disciplinary international jury panel and a relevant audience from the international and Egyptian ecosystem, pitching their business concept and impact.

The jury will determine the winners of the competition, announcing the first prize of 50,000 Euros, the second prize of 30,000 Euros and third prize for 20,000 Euros.

Additionally, the runners-up will be awarded 10,000 Euros each. A Special WASH Award of 20,000 Euros will also be awarded.

The Community Prize of 10,000 Euros will be given to the solution receiving maximum online votes. If you wish to vote for a project to help it win the Community Prize, click here.

.SABAQ's flagship application, Muse, has led to improved learning outcomes for several primary grade students. — Photo courtesy: SABAQ
“SABAQ is extremely honoured to represent Pakistan on this prestigious international platform. Previously this year, we were selected as the Top 6 Global EdTech startup at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai. We also took home the Transformers Roadshow Prize by the Islamic Development Bank in May. Now, being nominated for the Siemens Foundation global award greatly motivates us to continue our mission of revamping Pakistan’s education system and helping all children in Pakistan get access to quality education through our technology," SABAQ’s co-founder and CEO Hassan Bin Rizwan said.

"Our journey so far has been only been possible through hard work and an unwavering dedication to build a better future for our children. We now need the Pakistani community to come forward and vote for us in our mission of educating every Pakistani child,” he said.

Founded in 2015, SABAQ is an education technology initiative that has reached 100,000 children in low-cost and low resource environments till date.

Its flagship application, Muse, has led to improved learning outcomes for primary grade students.

Muse has also helped increase access to education technology for low-cost public and private schools in Pakistan, which are otherwise deprived of such resources.

To date, Muse has been used in 1,000 schools across Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
How EdTech is paving the Way for a Better Future
by Sami Mughal

Knowing that she couldn’t go to school was something that Asiya didn’t take lightly. It’s not that her parents didn’t want her to. It was just that they were far too scared for what may happen to her during the 3 km commute to the nearest school. And this is just one of the problems that are keeping millions of children out of school in Pakistan.

SABAQ, an award-winning EdTech initiative, is dealing with this problem head-on by leveraging technology and bringing the learning to children like Asiya. With its high-quality digital learning content that is fun and engaging, this innovative learning platform is increasing student engagement and improving learning outcomes through a model that is scalable and accessible to millions.

Partnering up with the National Rural Support Program, SABAQ identified communities where it set up SABAQ Centers, non-formal learning spaces where students are taught using the meraSABAQ Tab. This is SABAQ’s custom-made android tablet that features the meraSABAQ app for primary level, each containing digital learning resources for Urdu, Science and Math, developed in-house and aligned meticulously to the National Curriculum. In less than two years, after extensive research, the SABAQ model is one that delivers.

What is unique about the SABAQ model is the extent of community involvement to ensure ownership and subsequent sustainability. The spaces where SABAQ Centers open are donated by the community. The Facilitators managing and teaching at the Centers are recruited from the community. Even the Village Education Communities, who oversee Center operations, collect fee and monitor student performance are volunteer-run comprising of 10 community members.

The fee that the VECs collect are pooled together and spent at their discretion, like putting up solar panels or buying resources for the students.

So, at the end of the day, it is not just Asiya who has her life irrevocably changed after a SABAQ Center opened up in her tiny village. It’s the 21,000 children, enrolled in over 500 SABAQ Centers, who are, for the first time, on a path to discovering their potential. It’s the 500 communities that now boast a SABAQ Center, decorated with fervour to stand out. It’s the 630 men and women who’ve been trained to become Facilitators. At the end of the day, it’s a wonderful mix of technology, a desire to change things and exceptional community spirit that is paving the way towards a better future.
Riaz Haq said…
PM Imran Khan's Tweet:

"Today my govt fulfilled another commitment when I launched the ICT City App bringing govt directly to ppl's doorstep & all city depts together. This has become even more critical during this time of COVID 19 pandemic. As many as 43 different services are being provided online"

Prime Minister Imran Khan late Thursday night said that his administration fulfilled yet another commitment after they launched the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) City App.

In a tweet the premier said: "Today my govt fulfilled another commitment when I launched the ICT City App bringing govt directly to ppl's doorstep & all city depts together. This has become even more critical during this time of COVID 19 pandemic."

"As many as 43 different services are being provided online," he said.

The options include "e-policing, emergency services, NIC, domiciles, passports, arms licenses, vehicle registration, token tax payments, birth & death certificates & other services," he said.

"App will also allow rapid response by the Administration to shortages of goods incldng vital medical supplies," he noted.

"This will end inconvenience caused to citizens having to wait in long queues and numerous trips to govt offices," he expressed.

This will end inconvenience caused to citizens having to wait in long queues and numerous trips to govt offices. After a trial period in Islamabad we will introduce this service in other cities as well.

"After a trial period in Islamabad we will introduce this service in other cities as well," he added.
Riaz Haq said…
Punjab seeks WB loan for land mapping project

The Punjab government is seeking a loan of $150 million from the World Bank for a land mapping project for accessing land records and for housing programmes in the province, it is learnt.

The proposed project aims to achieve provision of a cadastral map (a map that shows the boundaries and ownership of land within specified area) linked to digital land records, access to land for housing and a unified modern land information system.

As a first step towards the land mapping, the project envisages installation of geodetic control points (permanent reference markers placed in the ground to support the production of data collection for surveying and mapping projects) and generating base maps (maps having only essential outlines and used for the plotting or presentation of specialised data of various kinds).

These geospatial (data that is directly linked to specific geographical locations) products could then be made accessible to a larger community for a variety of decisions which could contribute to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) initiative in Pakistan, according to project details. The proposed project also aims to have revenue maps scanned and made available in digital form.


With regard to digital cadastral maps, the project intends to inform the public and in case disputes arise, safeguards have been promised to be placed for the mediation and resolution of the land mapping disputes. The new cadastral maps would then be linked to the land records in the Land Records Management and Information Systems.

Another major reason given for seeking the World Bank loan for this particular project is that both federal and Punjab governments say they will not be able to achieve the goal of “Naya Pakistan Housing Programme” of constructing nearly 2.6 million low-cost housing units in Punjab if the province’s urban land record challenges are not resolved.

Under the “Punjab Growth Strategy 2023”, the provincial government plans to increase the average number of housing units to 640,000 annually over the next five years.
Riaz Haq said…
The term (dead capital) is usually attributed to Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto and his famous book The Mystery of Capital. Briefly put, what De Soto and his team found was that lack of formal rights were turning productive assets into ‘dead capital’ as they could not be traded on formal markets. The blame, De Soto argued, lay not with participants of the informal markets (mostly poor people) but with a plethora of stifling regulations that render productive assets ‘dead capital’.

Before De Soto, Adam Smith articulated in his famous Wealth of Nations that the real wealth of a nation is the potential of a particular productive asset to contribute to the economy. But if such assets are confronted by legal and institutional morass, then they will remain unused and underutilised.


Like physical capital, a lot of intellectual capital-related business ventures die because the laws required to facilitate them are absent.


Capital, though, is not just physical capital; in fact, in today’s world, intellectual capital (ideas, innovations, etc) assumes even bigger importance. People often talk about Silicon Valley and its importance to the US economy. The place is all about ideas and innovation, about intellectual capital. To illustrate, the US government earned $30bn in 2020 as ‘charges’ for the global use of intellectual property originating within its borders. Further, a 2016 report by the US Commerce Department (Intellectual Property and the US Economy) found that IP-intensive industries support 45m jobs, plus contribute $6tr to the US economy.

This intellectual capital would be dead if it were not for facilitating business transactions, primarily through laws (patents, trademarks and copyrights). Like physical capital, a lot of intellectual capital-related business ventures in Pakistan die because the laws required to facilitate them are not present. EMI, a music recording giant, wrapped up its business from Pakistan as losses accumulated due to the absence of IP rights, leading to pirated music.

A similar case is that of pharmaceutical products, especially drugs, where patented drugs are easily copied and sold in Pakistani markets, thus limiting the scope of the market for originator brands and proving to be a major detriment to attracting FDI inflows in this important industry.

Perhaps most crucially, we need to be cognisant of the fact that GDP is but a summation of mutually agreed transactions that benefit all the parties involved. A simple rule of thumb for any policymaker, therefore, is that to increase GDP we would need to increase and facilitate transactions. On the flip side, the loss of a probable transaction is a ‘dead’ opportunity.

For a country of approximately 220m, there are potentially trillions of mutually beneficial transactions that can considerably change the economic tide. But given the stifling of economic activities through byzantine regulations, beneficial transactions remain subdued, incomplete and at the mercy of inconsistent economic policies. We do not have a monetary count, but it would not be surprising if such a count comes out someday, informing us that our economy’s opportunity cost of working under stifling regulations runs into trillions of rupees. In essence, the opportunities that can perpetuate exchanges resulting in trillion-rupee activities are killed, hence turning them into dead capital!

It is time, then, to tackle the issue of dead capital seriously. Any attempt at a higher growth trajectory would remain incomplete without it, especially the role of public sector-led regulations that pervade all aspects of our economic activity.

The writer is an economist and Research Fellow at PIDE.
Riaz Haq said…
Dastgir inaugurates advanced metering infrastructure at IESCO

The Federal Minister for Energy Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan inaugurated the first-ever data centre of Pakistan for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) at the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO).

“State-of-the-art services will be provided to electricity consumers as per their requirements.

Elimination of theft, further improvement in electricity delivery and not transferring the burden of electricity theft to consumers by obtaining accurate data is our top priority,” the minister said while inaugurating the data centre.

The minister further said that the energy industry has always needed modern technology and the government has started the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) in all power distribution companies (Discos) in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

IESCO’s AMI is a big project of Pakistan, he said, adding that the federal government is mulling shifting the public buildings from grid to solar power. “Various solar projects are underway in different parts of the country for getting low-cost electricity; it will be easier for Pakistan to progress through it.”

The minister said he had issued instructions to all Discos to shift the meters of commercial, agricultural, and bulk consumers as well as high-loss feeders and transformers to AMI meters. C

hairman Board of Directors of IESCO Engineer Qamar-ul-Islam Raja said the completion of this project will further increase the sale of electricity and timely recovery of dues would boost the financial position.

The establishment of an operational centre and a modern metering lab is also a part of this project, which will further improve the operational efficiency of IESCO, he said.

Speaking at the event, IESCO Chief Executive Officer, Dr Muhammad Amjad Khan, said this project will provide the company with accurate information and boost consumers’ confidence. He also said that apart from IESCO’s head- office, a backup data centre will be set up in Gujar Khan to deal with any emergency.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan set for digital census with tablets supplied by NADRA

The last batch of 17,600 tablets powered by an indigenous solution from Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has been received by the chief statistician of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Naeem uz Zafar ahead of a planned digital population and housing census.

This brings the total number of tablets supplied for the exercise to 126,000.


The last batch of 17,600 tablets powered by an indigenous solution from Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has been received by the chief statistician of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Naeem uz Zafar ahead of a planned digital population and housing census.

This brings the total number of tablets supplied for the exercise to 126,000.

According to an agency announcement, NADRA also played an important role in distributing the tablets to all the 495 districts, braving the odds to complete the exercise within a period of nine days.

The digital ID authority also made available about 100 experts to help in the training of over 90,000 enumerators who will be deployed on the field when the census begins.

After handing over the tablets, NADRA Chairman Tariq Malik also visited the facility offering some technical services to the census preparation process at the PBS.

Malik hailed the census as a huge step further towards a digital Pakistan: “The digital census is a step that pulls Pakistan out of ancient past and opens doors of a modern future. From scribbled responses on millions of paper sheets to real time validated data in apps on secure devices with satellite imagery – is a step towards digital Pakistan. Big data from digital census will become the foundational system for evidence based policy making for Pakistan.”

The solution from NADRA was developed in just three weeks and includes an Android-based house listing and enumeration application synchronized with GPS and GIS systems, data center and call center services, a web portal and other associated services.

NADRA is the official technology partner of the PBS for the upcoming population and housing census which is the 7th in the country but the first-ever to be done through digital means.

Biometric vehicle registration
NADRA also recently concluded a deal to henceforth conduct biometric checks on vehicle owners as part of efforts to combat fraud in vehicle transfer and ownership processes.

The deal sealed between NADRA and the Sindh Department of Excise and Taxation and Anti-Narcotics will be carried out through the ‘Sahulat Program,’ according to reporting by The Nation.

The first phase of the biometric program will run for three years.

Sindh Excise and Taxation and Anti-Narcotics Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla praised the partnership saying it will help curb the phenomenon of vehicles operating with fake documents.

NADRA recently partnered with telecoms operators for a new fingerprint system to register SIM cards in Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
First-ever digital population census in March

ISLAMABAD: Without having the requirement of Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) for verification purposes, Pakistan’s first-ever digital Population Census will collect data from 185,000 blocks in March 2023 whereby a 40-point questionnaire covering eight important areas’ details would be sought.

The 40-point questionnaire will seek information about eight broad areas in the upcoming population census exercise, including households, basic amenities, demography, education, health, employment, disability and migration.

Chief Statistician Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Dr Naeem Uz Zafar said that Pakistan’s Census in 2023 is going to be digital for the first time ever in the country’s history. All the preparations are rolled out and the team is now ready for the gigantic task. “The effort is entirely indigenous; all the systems devised and the tools created are by our own experts,” he said.

He was addressing a seminar, themed “Census 2023: All You Want to Know About” at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Islamabad on Thursday. He said census is an important national activity that is linked with resource allocation to provinces, representation in National/Provincial assemblies and the delimitation process. Therefore, the credibility of the census is of utmost importance. This is what called for comprehensive introspection leading to a solution acceptable to all i.e. digital census.

He apprised the audience that after the results of latest Census 2017 were approved in the 45th CCI meeting held on 12th April 2021, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) gave directions for the next census to start as early as possible and which should be according to international best practices by using the latest technology. The Government of Pakistan then constituted a committee of renowned demographers and experts with comprehensive TORS to bring transparency, credibility, and wider acceptability of census processes and results. For this, a board-based stakeholders’ engagement was carried out in order to have ownership of the process.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, Dr Nadeem ul Haque, Vice Chancellor, PIDE, said that censuses remain controversial in Pakistan, at times delayed for over a decade. Now that we are moving toward the new census, it is time to raise all the concerns and questions we have.

“The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has estimated that there will be a total funding requirement of Rs34 billion for holding census exercise out of which Rs10 billion have been provided to PBS while they have requested the Finance Ministry to release the remaining amount of Rs24 billion,” said the top official sources while talking to The News here on Thursday.

Sources said for the first time, self enumeration facility will also be made available. Household geotagging will be done to accomplish the exercise. There will be 126,000 enumerators collecting data from 185,000 blocks from all over the country.

The army personnel will provide foolproof security to 90,000 enumerators while police personnel will also accompany the enumerators to provide security at the first stage. Then the army will deploy its Quick Response Force to ensure overall supervision of foolproof security of the whole census exercise all over the country.

Each enumerator will be responsible to collect data from two blocks in 30 days of March 2023. The PBS has already held a consultation with Director General Military Operation (DGMO) and the army showed its readiness to spare personnel for providing security.

The population census will be done on a de-jure basis as everyone will be counted where he or she stayed in the last six months and hold a plan to continue staying in the same place for the next six months.

Riaz Haq said…
Technology is transforming governance in Pakistan

Technology is changing our world faster than ever before.

And Pakistan, home to more than 64 million internet users and 62 million people connected to mobile data, is no exception.

As they’ve become more digital-savvy, Pakistanis are now expecting better digital services from their government.

To meet these demands, the Government of Punjab has been working to modernize over the last decade .

As part of the government’s governance reforms, and learning from earlier pilot programs in education and health, the Punjab Public Management Reform Program (PPMRP) has aimed to transform citizens’ experience, improve access to administrative services, and boost public employee performance and the management of public resources.

Before that, Punjab authorities were facing several challenges in delivering public services. This, in turn, impacted social outcomes in the province: the health sector’ performance was affected by the absenteeism of vaccinators, resulting in a low immunization rate in Punjab (49% in 2014).

The education and agriculture departments faced similar absenteeism issues with teachers, students, and agriculture workers in the field.

Overall, citizens were dissatisfied with these public services.

A more transparent access to public services

Under the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013, the Government of Punjab has become more open and accountable through technology solutions .

Citizens now have easy access to information about institutions, policies, procedures, and investment projects available on the websites of 84 provincial public entities , including government administrative departments, attached bodies, hospitals, and universities.

Citizens can also enquire about processes and procedures of selected services through a 24/7 Citizens’ Contact Center established in Lahore.

The number of inquiry and feedback calls increased from 50,000 calls received in 2013 to 2.9 million in 2018 . Province-wide, 161 citizens’ facilitation centers have been set up to provide selected services under one roof and closer to the citizens – promoting social accountability in Pakistan’s largest province.

PPMRP also helped expedite the online provision (application and processing) of other government services, such as registering a vehicle, paying for stamps, collecting agriculture subsidies, and applying for a government job and college admissions.
Riaz Haq said…
Technology is transforming governance in Pakistan

Smart management to improve staff performance

The PPMRP also developed smart management tools to help some government departments improve their staff performance and overall user experience .

For example, smartphone applications and central dashboards helped track and analyze daily more efficiently the activities of hundreds of field workers in the health, agriculture and education departments.

Combined with users’ feedback, this data helped identify low performing areas and take remedial measures.

In the health field, E-VACCS has been instrumental in tackling absenteeism of field vaccinators by locating their daily activity routes (and activities), thereby enabling the management of Health Department to check whether children in remote areas had received their vaccinations.

As a result, immunization coverage marked a rise from 49 percent in 2014 to 84 percent in 2017 .

Similar tools have helped assess staff performance in schools and the agriculture sector and, when applicable, informed remedial actions for improvement.

Digitizing tax collection

The PPMRP also supported technology solutions to collect taxes better, thus expanding the tax base and improving transparency.

For example, old manual cadasters of urban properties have been digitized and geo-mapped in all 36 districts of Punjab, adding more than 1 million new properties to the tax base.

This system helped issue digital tax invoices and provide an online tax calculator and online property title verification system. Citizens can also now access detailed information about transactions and when their payments are due.

As a result, the urban property tax receipts in Punjab have increased by 115 percent since 2013 .

Together, these promising initiatives and reforms have changed the governance landscape in Punjab and brought government services a step closer to citizens.

PPMRP’s key implementing agencies include Punjab Planning and Development Board; Punjab Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control Department; Punjab Public Procurement Regulatory Authority; Punjab Information Technology Board, and Punjab Reform Management Program, while there were several beneficiary departments of the Government of Punjab (for details, see PPMRP).
Riaz Haq said…
Revenue in Pakistan Laptops market amounts to US$0.88bn in 2023. The market is expected to grow annually by 5.52% (CAGR 2023-2028).
In global comparison, most revenue is generated in China (US$23,250.00m in 2023).
In relation to total population figures, per person revenues of US$3.75 are generated in 2023.
In the Laptops market, volume is expected to amount to 1.54m pieces by 2028. The Laptops market is expected to show a volume growth of 2.5% in 2024.
The average volume per person in the Laptops market is expected to amount to 0.01pieces in 2023.

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