Country’s youth second to none in terms of intelligence, skills, says Ahsan

LAHORE    -   Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal has said country’s youth are second to none in the world in terms of their intelligence and skills. Addressing the inaugural ceremony of Engineering Innovation Exhibition and Demonstration of VR, CV & Spa­tial AI projects at Arfa Software Technology Park on Monday, he said, “We have entered the age of paradigm shift.” He said it was the age of disrup­tion, innovation, complexity, and uncertainty, and added that it was all just because of digital revo­lution. Ahsan Iqbal said that digital revolution was making all those models irrelevant which were existing in different fields of life. He said if change was responded proactively only then one could become able to benefit from it. He said that in 2014, the PML-N government evolved vision 2025 to revive and sustain country’s growth mo­mentum in line with the ongoing changes across the world. In 2017, an international leading firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers had said that if Pakistan continued with same trajectory, it would get place among top 20 powerful economies of the world by 2030. He said education, human resources and youth were targeted in the Vision 2025. Ah­san said when Shehbaz Sharif was chief minister Punjab, he paid special attention to empowering the youth digitally. The Information Technology University was established to prepare country’s youth for digital age, he added. He said that in 2017-18, the National Centre for Artificial Intelli­gence, National Centre for Cyber Security, National Centre for Automation and Robotics and National Centre for Big Data and Cloud Computing were set up to achieve the desired results. He said that in four years, these centres worked very well. Lap­tops were given to students to make them digital warriors of the economy, he added and said that Pakistan became 3rd biggest e-lancing country in the world with distribution of more than one million laptops. The federal minister said that free laptops would be given on merit to students while other students would get laptops on easy install­ments on completion of their degree. He said a project of Rs 6.5 billion had been passed to intro­duce Pakistan’s engineering universities globally. He said that under the project, world class labs would be established at five universities of engi­neering and technology (UETs). The universities would be evaluated under new performance man­agement system, he added. He said that in 2017, country’s development budget was Rs 1,000 bil­lion, and after four four years, it was reduced to Rs 550 billion. The planning minister said that it was very alarming that population was increasing and development budget was shrinking. He said it was very important to use resources optimally. He said that total income of federal government at present was Rs 5,000 billion. Ahsan said that exponential growth of resources was need of the hour, adding that rapid growth in export sector was of utmost importance. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a big opportunity for Pakistan to take off, but unfortunately negative and false allega­tions were raised by certain elements to sabotage the initiative. He said that hate and prejudice were two viruses which badly impact the development process of humans. He said that no single leader or political party could steer the country out of

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