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    Pakistan to Become a Beneficiary of Digital Revolution; Digital Access To be Given to Every Citizen like a Basic Need-Ahsan Iqbal

    Pakistan to Become a Beneficiary of Digital Revolution; Digital Access To be Given to Every Citizen like a Basic Need-Ahsan Iqbal

    Chitral Times Report

    Islamabad: Digital revolution is transforming the way we live, the way we work, and the way we learn. It is imperative for Pakistan to become a leader in the global race of digital transformation. Pakistan’s youth is at the forefront of its digital development. The country’s youth has made Pakistan the 4th biggest contributor in digital freelancing industry. Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal made these remarks while congratulating UNDP on releasing National Human Development Report 2023/2024 during its launch event in Islamabad today.

    Being the chairman of Report Advisory Council, the Minister emphasized on how the government has benefited from the findings of first two reports. The government’s ongoing project of upgrading 20 poorest districts of Pakistan is based on the first report of UNDP in which it had launched Multidimensional Poverty Index in 2018. The index was instrumental in identifying indicators of poverty on district level. Minister Ahsan Iqbal also shared that the second Human Development Report which formulated the Youth Development Index was also a comprehensive study on hopes, aspirations and fears of Pakistani youth. The Minister stressed upon the need for providing digital access to all areas suffering from digital gap. Like government’s duty to give access to electricity, healthcare and education, digital access is also a fundamental need in this age.

    The UNDP report of this year is critical because it touches a transformational aspect of development. To ensure the nation’s preparedness for meeting the global digital revolution’s demands, the government developed National Centers of Excellence in several universities across various cities of Pakistan. These Centers for Excellence on Artificial intelligence, cyber security, big data, cloud computing, etc., have fostered a good eco-system for innovation, stated the Minister. Sharing the digital development milestones from previous years, Minister expressed that government had taken pivotal steps in fulfilling Pakistan’s digital development needs.

    He hinted at the deregulation of telecommunication industry in 1993 which pioneered a telecom revolution. Another fast track decision to shape the digital future was the launch of 3G/4G licenses in 2013. Moreover, Pakistan’s first digital policy in 2021 was another landmark development milestone to set the country on a path of digital progress. Highlighting the significance of timely change adoption, Minister expressed that there are three ways to respond to change. One is to respond proactively by anticipating change. Second way is to respond reactively by waiting for change to happen.

    Third way is to respond with denial thus becoming victim of change. Giving perspective to the ever increasing distance between the richest and poorest segments of society, Minister Ahsan Iqbal underscored the need to build this gap faster in today’s world. In agricultural era, the difference between richest and poorest was 1:8. In industrial era, the ratio became 1:200. Now in the digital age, this ration depicting gap between the haves and have-nots is 1: 1000. Drawing attention upon the future development trajectory of Pakistan, he stated that all eyes should be on 2047. “It is time that we stop lamenting over failures of past 75 years.

    The conversation regarding our economy should be all about future growth. If Pakistan grows with the current growth rate (5% in the last few years), it will become a 1.2 trillion dollar economy by 2047, which will not be sufficient to meet the needs of its explosive population. Therefore, the growth rate at which we develop must be between 7 & to 9 percent, to become 2 trillion dollars or 3 trillion dollars economy, respectively.” Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Ahsan Iqbal was the chief guest at the launch ceremony of the report titled, “Doing Digital for Development. The ceremony was also graced by visiting U.N. Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director Regional for Asia and the Pacific, Ms. Kanni Wignaraja. A large gathering of diplomats, dignitaries, policymakers, civil society, students, and other segments of society attended the event.

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