Digital Transformation – A Boon Or Bane

Digital transformation – a boon or bane

LAHORE, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 7th Apr, 2024) As human beings are on an endless journey to explore the universe, multi-dimensional research peels off Nature’s secrets layer after layer with digitalization and latest gadgets also playing a vital role in societal transformation.

Developed nations have already taken stride in digital arena exploiting it in almost every important field of life with many nations in developing world still striving to match the pace despite resource, equipments and ability constraints.

Following the suit, Pakistan also took some initiatives for digitization and enhancing governance, efficiency and transparency, modernizing infrastructures and easy access of people to government services.

However, its respective governments faced challenges like Pakistan like sufficient investment opportunities, trained teams of IT experts, IT and software houses, trustworthy internet infrastructure and strict regulations and cyber laws to ensure positive use of digital advancements.

“We often observe complaints in public sector facilitation or relief activities through digital modes. This deficiency is generally due to absence of reliable internet infrastructure or digital skills illiteracy that bars users to fully utilize digital tools and platforms,” remarked Irfanullah Khan, an IT expert. “Cultural norms and societal attitudes towards technology are other barrier to digital transformation.”

He said that preferences for traditional methods and reservations on privacy and security shape their attitudes towards new technologies and a multi-dimensional approach in education, awareness and policy area was direly needed to address these barriers.

“Automation may have some demerits as increased dependence on digital systems makes individual or organization more vulnerable to cyber attacks, data breaches and misuse of personal information,” Irfanullah said. “Even though, we have to survive with it.”

Keeping in view modern day requirements, Digital Pakistan Vision was launched to create a knowledge-based economy; e-governance, entrepreneurship, transparency, public service delivery and Digital Payment Systems to reduce reliance on cash transactions.

Successive governments focused on broadband expansion; skill development and empowerment of youth and professionals; startup ecosystem to foster innovation and entrepreneurship and measures to strengthen cyber security and safeguard digital assets.

Important sectors of economy like health, education, infrastructure, agriculture, finance, trade, communications, defense and above all human development data collection fully employed the digital tools for reliable and speedy dispensation. Punjab Information Technology board (PITB) played pivotal role in implementing various digital initiatives and automation of government processes and digitization of records.

The provincial government also developed e-governance platforms to streamline administrative processes and ensure easy access of people to e-Khidmat Centers to benefit electronically instead of visiting physically.

Initiatives like Agricultural Information System, Health Information System and Smart Schools Program also speak volumes of digital transformation.

Particularly, the Smart Scholl System helped enhance learning of computer skills in rural areas through internet connectivity and usage of gadgets like tablets and smart phones.

The teachers and students are encouraged to benefit from educational apps, online learning and training, jobs and professional opportunities enabling them to integrate technology into teaching practices.

“Despite numerous digital initiatives by the governments, lack of basic digital literacy in Pakistan still poses a challenge in utilizing digital tools and platforms by students effectively, hindering their participation in the digital economy and accessing essential services,” remarked Prof. Zaffar Iqbal from University of the Punjab.

“We can effectively cope with digital transformation challenge by replacing outdated digital/IT regulations with innovative laws consonant to present day requirements and cyber security to secure our businesses and individuals,” he stated.

With the experts advocating to promote digitization among students both in rural and urban areas, they also emphasized access to digital devices, internet connectivity, integrating digital literacy into curriculum, offering coding and programming classes, organizing workshops and collaboration with tech companies for internships.

Gold Ring Economic Forum’s Chairman Meher Kashif Younis pointed out that still there is shortage of skilled professionals in fields like software development, data analytics and cyber security.

“Since digitalization provides us as an engine of growth, fully benefitting from these technologies would be a challenge for survival,” he said. “We are far behind from our regional competitors and if we further delay, the professional from India and Bangladesh would shrink international space for our experts and professionals.”

Use of digital or social media is imperative for surviving in present era. But, its usage must have some principles and ethics. Promoting digital literacy is of no harm since it is exploited or misused by some vested interests as usually done by most of our politicians, opinion makers, v-loggers and even scholars and writers.

This misuse of social media to propagate their agenda and misguide students and youth by adulterating their minds for fulfillment of malicious motives and nefarious designs is lethal.

Therefore, it is top most and obligatory duty of our security and cyber crime agencies to stem out those propagating against the state and state institutions awarding exemplary punishments.

It is now their duty to make the digital media a ‘boon’ for the nation and not a ‘bane’ as any lethargy or obliviousness on parts of our security institutions, the situation would worsen further promoting hatred and intolerance among different segments of society.

APP/maa-adh/maz (APP Feature Service)