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DPP 2021: Consultation for new IT policy promises inclusion of rural youth, women

Digitization is vital not only to boost businesses, but to improve services to marginalized groups: IT experts

Islamabad: Speakers at a consultation session on new IT policy were in consensus that digitization is not only about business, it is for providing services to marginalized groups.

The two-day consultative meeting on Digital Pakistan Policy (DPP) 2021 was organized by Oxfam in Pakistan and Bargad in collaboration with the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MOITT) in Islamabad.

The meeting specifically discussed ways to include rural youth, especially women, transgender persons and disabled persons, in the DPP 2021.
Participants were also briefed about the process of developing the Digital Pakistan Policy 2021 by the Ministry officials.

The policy is expected to be launched at the end of August 2021 and this meeting was part of this process.

The meeting specifically discussed issues and policy solutions for digital inclusion.

Member IT Syed Junaid Imam said the DPP 2021 is being formulated through a comprehensive consultative process from all four provinces and the two regions (Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir).

Imam said the policy is a start to the digital era for Pakistan and will provide the necessary elements to tab the digital global market.

Digitization is vital not only to boost businesses, but to improve services to marginalized groups, the IT expert stressed.

Overall objective of the DPP 2021 is economic growth and citizen empowerment, he added.
Bargad Executive Director Sabiha Shaheen said that policy design is as important as the policy implementation.

The real issue is to make policy work for the marginalized groups in implementation.
Seher Afsheen from Oxfam stressed the need for robust digital transformation.

Highlighting the benefits of a digital Pakistan, she shared how she foresees the Digital Pakistan Policy (DPP) 2021 paving the way to enable growth and development, especially for the youth and women, who represent roughly 60 per cent and 49 per cent respectively of the population.

Ensuring women and girls have equal access to Information Computer Technologies will help reduce inequalities, support gender equality, increase productivity, and improve access to health and education, thereby ensuring equitable participation in social, political and economic spheres, thus breaking barriers of isolation.

Digital transformation can help in creating a future that is equal, where women and girls along with marginalized communities will be able to access better opportunities and live without the menace of poverty.
PASHA Chairman Barkan Saeed said that the digital policy should specify actionable initiatives. Rural youth need affordable internet, devices and skills to benefit from Pakistan’s potential in the export market globally.

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