Information Technology University, in collaboration with Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), was proud to host an Information Technology Conference on Thursday, May 14th. The conference titled “Emerging Technologies – Redefining Governance in the Information Age” was widely attended by senior government officials, policy makers, academics and individuals from the development sector.
The conference focused on current trends in ICT and showcased the current technological interventions for improving governance and service delivery for the citizens of Punjab. Dr. Umar Saif, the Vice Chancellor of ITU and the Chairman of PITB, spoke at length about initiatives being carried out under him in Punjab that use technology for a wide variety of governance tasks. Dr. Saif talked, in particular, about the anti-Dengue application, the Crime Mapping initiative, the e-learn Punjab platform, the Disease Surveillance System, the School Monitoring Project, the Data Plug Platform, the vaccinator-tracking portal and the Citizen Feedback Model.
Other sessions focused on projects which use technology for poverty alleviation, better immunization strategies, promote entrepreneurship and make job opportunities available for marginalized citizens. The conference included a presentation on Har-Zindagi – Every Life Matters, a project of the Innovations for Poverty Alleviation Lab. The project aims to dramatically improve the vaccinations program with the help of a smartphone app, a dashboard, and redesigned immunization cards. These three features will help ensure a timely and smooth delivery of vaccinations to the children of Punjab and help eradicate diseases like polio.
The conference also included a presentation on an upcoming project that aims to use technology to reform the Police department through e-policing and a demonstration of the uses of World Bank funded platforms – DataPlug and Open Data Initiative – and their role in citizen empowerment through app development. The conference featured projects which have been funded by international donor agencies such as the World Bank, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), UKAID and the Department for International Development in the United Kingdom. Each presentation was followed by a Q&A session where the audience was able to actively engage with the speaker and there was a networking lunch in between the sessions.
Dr. Umar Saif commented that he was immensely pleased that the conference was so well-attended. “It is great that Punjab’s innovative efforts in creatively using technology to provide innovative solutions to endemic problems has been shared and showcased,” he said. Mr. Zaheer Sarwar, the Registrar of ITU, said that the conference was an important step in helping get the word out about emerging technologies for governance.