ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Wednesday said that USF Telecentre Programme would provide basic facilities to the people living in rural areas and in addition it will also generate employment opportunities for local youth, 20-25 jobs in all 500 telecentres which will be established in differnt areas of the country.

While presiding over a meeting, the finance minister appreciated the concept and proposed impact of the USF Telecentre Progamme, which will be established in a network across the country. Universal Services Fund (USF) Company gave a detailed presentation on the project proposal. It was informed that the telecentres would offer local community state-of-the-art computer equipment and broadband facility. Several e-services will be hosted on the infrastructure to facilitate un-served, underserved people living in far-flung areas.

The finance minister was informed that the telecenter will be a shared site that will provide public access to information and communication technologies. It will be a public place where people can access computer, internet that enables them to gather information, create, learn and communicate with others while they develop essential digital skills. It was further informed that in the first phase, the telecenter will house biometric verification of SIM cards, birth/death registration and computer training to the youth of the nation. In the second phase, it is envisioned that the telecenter project will facilitate e-services including e-health, e-learning, e-commerce, e-agriculture etc. Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman said that the project will create local employment and entrepreneurship opportunities and extend broadband to provide distance education and ICT literacy.

She added that empowering the people of Pakistan through seamless access to accurate information and reliable services by means of ICT applications & telecom platforms; and establishing a knowledge based economy is the vision and objective of the government.

The finance minister appreciated the programme and said that it will eventually lead to promotion of science and technology in the country. He said that in line with the manifesto of the PML-N, every telecenter will provide basic facilities to the people living in rural areas and in addition it will also generate employment opportunities for the youth.

 The minister directed the Ministry of IT to identify stakeholders including service providers and prepare a working paper on the issues which need to be settled. He said that all the provincial governments, GB and AJK should also be taken on board for developing holistic strategy to incorporate provisions of e-health, e-education and e-banking etc.