The Auqaf and Religious Affairs Department Punjab has decided to set up computerised centres at its zonal as well as the head office for geo-mapping of the department’s assets.
For this purpose, the department is spending over Rs5.5 million to acquire IT equipment. The department is purchasing 36 android phones after spending around Rs2.3 million. It will also buy 12 computers and as many scanners and printers by spending up to Rs2million.
Around Rs1.3 million will be spent on purchasing office furniture. The scheme is a part of the “Assets Management Plan” of the Auqaf department. The scheme is worth over Rs80 million.
The project is expected to be completed in two phases. As per the plan, the Auqaf department will geo-map all of the shrines and assets under its domain.
Once the assessment is made, the department will move to use the technology for better management of the resources and earnings.
An official shared that geo-mapping is one part of the plan. The other is using this geo-mapped for improved surveillance of earnings, especially donations.
He added that donations had no proper monitoring mechanism as the major source of it is crowdfunding especially on the occasions of URS etc. The people in queues would enter the premises and would donate. They would also maintain secrecy due to their belief.
The department would come to know about the sum as the report was submitted to them. The aspects of leakage prevailed in the process, he added. The department did not have another way of monitoring or surveilling it through the centralised mechanism.
The scheme would open up the way for them to proper management and maintain transparency.
He added that introducing IT to maintain transparency and fairness is also transcending into their department. The plan is a reflection of it.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2021.