LAHORE - The Internet Penetration Initiative (IPI), a Corporate Social Responsibility project of Amin Associates, has demanded amendments in rules to ensure exception for students availing Rs 1,500 per month packages.

An application has been submitted to the Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) for the removal of ambiguity, as according to the ISPs/telecom companies the reason for not providing the exemption to students in Punjab is the prevailing ambiguity in the law/rules i.e neither definition of students has been provided in the law/rules nor has any procedure been prescribed to verify status of a person as a student. It may be noted that the Punjab government had extended this exemption in the budget/finance bill for the fiscal year 2017-2018.

However, it has been observed that internet service providers/telecom companies have not extended benefit of this exemption to students. The IPI has also submitted an alternative budget proposal to the PRA to extend exemption to all persons availing internet packages of Rs 1,500 per month as a simpler solution.

It said that according to ICT facts and figures 2017 released by International Telecommunication Union (‘ITU’) proportion of youth (ages 15-24) using the Internet in 2017 was less than 60% in Pakistan, one of the lowest in the region.

 

No doubt this indicates that proportion of young students availing internet services in Pakistan is low. IPI has appealed the Chief Minister Punjab to issue directions for extending benefit of exemption from PSTS to students or to all users availing packages of Rs 1,500 per month.