Pakistan unveils ambitious space and satellite launching programme

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ISLAMABAD - The government plans to establish an indigenous facility for development of satellites in accordance with international space standards under its annual development plan for 2018-19.

The facility – Pakistan Space Centre will have capability to carry out manufacturing, testing, system level assembly, integration, launch and operations of various types of satellites.

As per Information & Communication Technology Annual Plan 2018-19, major thrust for 2018-19 includes that Pakistan Multi-Mission Satellite (PakSat-MM1) will cater to demand of Direct-To-Home (DTH), High-Throughput Services (HTS)/Broadband Internet and Strategic SatCom.

The PC-II has already been approved and during next year, PC-I will be submitted for approval and subsequent execution of the project.

Moreover, feasibility study of Pakistan’s 2nd Optical Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-O2) will be completed. PRSS-O2 aims to launch a sub-meter resolution remote sensing satellite.

Feasibility and System Definition Study (FSDS) of Pakistan Navigation Satellite System (PakNav) will also be carried out. PakNav will enable Pakistan to have independent satellite navigation for both civilian and strategic purposes. The government would focus on competing in international arena, and accelerating pace of e-government to facilitate citizens to avail public services.

The document said Rs. 6,535 million have been earmarked for ICT sector under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2018-19 which is aimed at improving capacity of IT industry by further providing infrastructure and facilities for startups and small IT businesses.

The other objective of allocation in ICT sector is to increase quality of skills and capacity of organizations to consistently deliver high quality services and products and raising their standard.

The other thrust include Cross-Border OFC system between China and Pakistan for international connectivity of voice and data traffic under aegis of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which will enable alternative route for international internet connectivity.

Development of Technology Parks to facilitate rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country, participation in 15 major international exhibitions to generate export business and training of 3,500 professional and 500 executives from IT & ITeS industry in latest technologies in demand and business development/international marketing respectively would also be focused.

Some other domains include 70 more companies will be provided consultancy to attain certification of CMMI level-2, CMMI level-3, CMMI level-5 and ISO 27,001/ 20,000 international standards through Ministry of Information Technology’s project entitled “Enhancing IT Exports through Industry Support Programmes,” and placement of 3,000 ICT graduates in public and private sector organizations under Prime Minister’s ICT Internship Programme.

Technical Training Institute will be established in Gilgit-Baltistan, expanding internet and broadband services in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) and Gilgit-Baltistan, and establishment of Quality Assurance Lab for software products in

Pakistan Software Export board (PSEB) are the other areas which would be focused during next fiscal year. Highlighting the prospects for 2018-19, the ADP further revealed that there is a tremendous opportunity for Pakistan as its ICT sector is now at take-off stage. The IT & ITES-Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) exports are estimated to have already crossed US $ 3 billion this year.

With right impetus, the ICT sector can become driver of change and growth in the next few years. Therefore, continuous focus is essentially required on software development, software and IT workforce export, in-country employment opportunities, e-governance for an effective service delivery, m-governance and smart monitoring, technology incubators and support for entrepreneurs.

This continuous focus would, thus, set a high growth conditions in the years to come.

Launching of strategic initiatives along with tax holiday and capital repatriation incentives for private sector is expected to make Pakistan an outsourcing destination in region by 2020, and increase IT & ITES exports to exceed US$ 5 billion.

Furthermore, as CPEC programme progresses, it is expected that next decade will bring in more opportunities of innovation, growth and transforming the country into a regional hub of trade and commerce.

The expanding ICT accessibility to remote and under-developed parts of the country will also help in achieving social inclusiveness, opening new vistas and source of employment in the country.

Improvement in national ICT infrastructure with linkages at multiple points with regional and international systems will make the country an important transit route for international trade and services, accelerating entrepreneurship.

Automation of government processes, fin-tech, agri-tech, edu-tech, health informatics and social innovation are some of the areas which hold a potential of high growth and transforming quality of life for the citizens. APP

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