The Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications was held on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. Chaired by Senator Rubina Khalid, the meeting was attended by Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Ashok Kumar, Senator Kulsoom Parveen, Senator Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, and senior officers from the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) and Telecommunication along with all concerned.
The first agenda taken up in the meeting related to the non-payment of salary and stoppage of promotions of PTCL employees serving in Balochistan. The Committee was informed that salaries and promotions were conducted without any non-payment/stoppage. The Secretary MoIT requested the Committee to provide concrete details of the aggrieved employees to investigate the issue.
The second agenda item related to the briefing by MoIT and Telecommunication on cyber security. The Committee expressed its displeasure on the briefing provided on working paper as it was not updated and was generic in nature. The Committee emphasized that Cyber Security issue was key to the safety of any nation and decided to take detailed in-camera briefing on this in future meetings. Various other issues such as employment generation and youth engagement and taxation on the sale of old mobile phones were taken up as well.
The Committee was of the view that mobile phones are not a luxury anymore and hence the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) must revisit its laws regarding this to provide relief to the people. Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh was of the view that since the government lacked policy for old mobile phones, taxation was not possible. Senator Fida Muhammad said that this was a major issue and was of grave concern for the people of Pakistan. The Committee gave directives that FBR be summoned in the next meeting to procure more details regarding this issue.
Deliberating over the establishment of IT Boards in the provinces Senator Kulsoom Parveen was of the view that these must be set-up in all provinces and the Ministry of Information and Technology must facilitate provincial governments in this regard.
While discussing implementation of (.gov.pk) domain for all government email accounts the Committee was informed that currently 3363 email ids have been created. However, there remains reluctance for usage. The Committee directed the Ministry to write a letter to all Ministries on the direction of the Committee that all professional/official correspondence in government offices should be conducted using official email address.
While deliberating over the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of National Information Technology Boards, Senator Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi enquired about details of services being provided to government departments. She asserted that in the current scenario E-governance should be priority. She demanded details of all PSDP projects, consultancies provided by NITB and other pertinent details at the earliest.
Senator Fida Muhammad raised the issue of lack of Ufone services in some parts of Malakand Division. Chairperson Committee, Senator Rubina Khalid directed that chairman PTA be summoned in the next meeting to provide details to the Committee on this subject.