The eleventh round of Pakistan-India Legislators and Public Officials Dialogue was facilitated by the PILDAT in Dubai, UAE, on March 07, 2017. The dialogue focused on the theme of sharing of lessons on the role of technology for better governance in Pakistan and India.
The dialogue included members of parliament and provincial assemblies of Punjab and Sindh alongside experts and media representatives from Pakistan, who joined members of the Indian parliament from Assam, Haryana and Karnataka and State Legislatures of Delhi and Gujarat, alongside experts and media representatives from India.
Participants underscored that technology has immense potential to improve governance in Pakistan and India. They recognised that while tremendous strides have been made in Pakistan and India in using technology for improved governance, there is a lot of room for sharing of good practices between the two countries. The participants asserted that while use of technology by governments provided a critical platform to improve the quality of life of citizens, governments must maintain the security of data and privacy of citizens.
The participants underscored that real changes in structures of governance to guard against corruption and other systemic ills must accompany and complement the use of technology to improve governance.
It was recommended that governments must seek regular feedback from citizens to assess the real impact of technology in improving governance.
While technology is helping citizens with ease of access to services, one of its key challenges is to engage citizens, especially the youth, as active participants in governance and public policy issues.
Participants believed that tremendous opportunity for exchange and sharing of information exists between Pakistan and India on a variety of technology-enabled initiatives such as IndiaStack and PakistanStack.
Of particular interest are the models of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), monitoring of immunisation programmes, Aadhaar authentication (Unique ID), e-Procurement, Smart Cities, e-Cloud for Citizens, land record management and Unified Payment Interface, etc. Setting up a knowledge portal between the two countries can be extremely useful in this regard.
Another area of priority for the two countries is to provide necessary and uniform improvements to support technological governance. Each country has a good use of technology implemented in different regions which must be extended nationwide.