LUMS Technology for People Initiative Organises Idea Hackathon

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Technology for People Initiative (TPI), in collaboration with the Sub-National Governance (SNG) Programme, conducted an Idea Hackathon for the SNG Innovation Challenge and Action Research Fund. This two-day hackathon, held from February 28-29, at the CS Smart Lab, LUMS, provided a platform for representatives from Punjab Government, local technology experts, and area specialists to come together and brainstorm ideas in fiscal space, public financial management, and climate change.

SNG is a Department for International Development (DFID) programme that aims to strengthen local and provincial governments in building sustainable governance systems in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for better planning and better public financial management. DFID encourages discussion among stakeholders to promote discussions related to key issues in financial and environmental issues at the governance level. The LUMS Idea hackathon was part of these efforts and has resulted in the emergence of ideas that will help innovate some key governance areas related to public financial management, fiscal space and development, especially climate change.

Hackathon participants were divided into six groups, with each group containing representatives from all key stakeholders. The groups worked on problems related to the use of technology in enhancing tax collection, e-procurement, payment automation, analytics on financial data, data integration to identify potential taxpayers, and the environment. The participants identified prevalent problems in these areas, developed plans to remedy those problems with the help of technology, and presented their ideas to other participants including an esteemed panel of guests consisting of Shahid Hussain, Rector LUMS, Omar Mukhtar, Governance Adviser for DFID, Hamid Yaqoob, Chairman Planning and Development Department, and Wajiullah Kundi, Secretary Excise and Taxation.

The ideas generated in this hackathon are expected to initiate an extensive call for proposals to the local tech industry, as a result of which these innovations will be piloted for proof of concept. SNG hopes to achieve a significant increase in fiscal space efficiency and better revenue mobilisation from these innovations. The effect of these improvements will directly contribute towards the availability of more resources for development in Punjab, leading to better service delivery for citizens.