Advancement of ICT in Bangladesh is Praise-worthy

Hiren Pandit: Bangladesh is on the way to observing its 53 years of Independence Day. Those born in Bangladesh may not be lucky enough to see 100 years, but if it happens in one’s life, then a remarkable thing will happen, or who is born now; when he writes about 100 years in Bangladesh, he can write about two lives in the past 50 years and his own 50 years. Throughout history, the information technology sector of Bangladesh has been divided into three parts. Then, it will be easy to understand our position. Bangladesh mainly entered the IT sector in the nineties. Earlier in Bangladesh, IBM mainframe computers were used for particular research purposes. It was not used for significant work by ordinary people or the government. Around the world, the use of personal computers began to increase. Bangladesh also started to feel its touch. Bangladesh Computer Council was formed in the eighties, but its work gained momentum in the nineties.
Many countries connected their population with information technology and the benefits they still enjoy. But Bangladesh could not do that. Information technology has come up again and again. Policymakers did not want to understand how to prepare a nation for the IT sector. Had the technology been kept open, the people of Bangladesh would have been much more prepared by now. It could have given much more output. Bangladesh could not show that vision. Bangladesh has started to be associated with information technology in the last decade. The government has tried to bring many of its services to the doorsteps of ordinary people.Hiren Pandit
The fourth industrial revolution is the fusion of physical, digital, and biological spheres. Here, physical is human, biological is nature, and digital is technology. It becomes difficult to separate these three. What is the result of this? What kind of changes are happening in society? This results in intellectualization, human-machine interfaces, and merging reality and virtuality. Now, to prepare for our fourth industrial revolution, we need to teach things like emotional intelligence, physical intelligence, social intelligence, and contest intelligence into their heads. Then, we can prepare everyone for the fourth industrial revolution in the future. But what will be created in the future is unknown. There are a few things we can do to prepare our generation for this unknown future. Information is a powerful element of civilizational change. Since the dawn of civilization, man has been eager to spread his experiential knowledge.
In 2015, he took various practical steps, including reducing the duty on computer imports and providing subsidies and incentives to hardware and software industry producers. As a result of the support of various government policies, 20 local and foreign companies, including hi-tech parks in the country, are currently manufacturing mobile phones and laptops in Bangladesh and are meeting 70 percent of the country’s mobile phone demand with exports to different countries.
Currently, people are getting more than 300 types of public and private services through 8 thousand 800 digital centers across the country. Once, the cost of internet bandwidth per Mbps was 78 thousand taka. Currently below taka 60 per Mbps. 55 thousand 500 government offices in the country are under the same network. High-speed (broadband) internet has reached 5 thousand 500 unions. The number of mobile connections in the country is 18.6 million—about 13 crore internet users. A report by the World Economic Forum rightly mentions the reduction of the socio-economic gap in rural areas through mobile banking services. The inclusion of people in financial services through the use of information technology is astounding. Online banking, electronic money transfer, and ATM card use are playing a role in establishing e-government, creating a cashless society, and expanding e-commerce. 194 countries in the world are ranked 53rd in the ITU and 37th in the National Cyber Security Index (NCSI) an index based on legal systems, technical expertise, organizational systems, capacity building and cooperation. First among South Asian and SAARC countries.
Various government initiatives, including Idea Project and Startup Bangladesh Company Limited, are benefiting the development of the startup culture. The startup ecosystem is developing in the country. E-government activities have been digitized. More than 52,000 websites are linked to the national database.
By 2025, when 100% of government services are available online, citizens will save time, cost, and travel. At present, exports in the ICT sector are 1.3 billion US dollars. Bangladesh ranks second in the online workforce. About 650,000 freelancers are earning about 500 million US dollars from the outsourcing sector. Of 39 Hi-Tech and IT Parks, 166 domestic and foreign companies have started business activities in 9. The investment is 1 thousand 500 crores, employment has been 21 thousand, and human resource development has been 32 thousand. 10,500 women have been trained. 20 lakh jobs have been created through information technology.
To protect the people of the country from the coronavirus pandemic, the vaccination management system ‘Suraksha’ website was launched with the aim of vaccination activities, storage of vaccination information, management, and certification, and the people of the country are getting the benefits. Increase ICT exports to 5 billion dollars and ICT-based employment to 3 million by 2025 and ensure 100% online availability of government services, 300 more schools of the future, 19,000 Wi-Fi connectivity, Village Digital Center, and 25,000 Sheikh Russell Digital Labs. The government has a plan to do. By making full use of the expansion of information and communication technology through the implementation of Digital Bangladesh, the government has taken a plan to build a modern, knowledge-based, developed Bangladesh within the year 2041.
Bangabandhu Satellite-1 was launched on May 12, 2018, from the Kennedy Space Center in the United States. Bangladesh is the 57th country in the world to launch its satellite. Bangabandhu Satellite-1 has 26 KU band and 14 C band transponders. The satellite covers all regions of the country and the waters of the Bay of Bengal, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
The main goal of Digital Bangladesh is to deliver government services easily and quickly to the doorsteps of all people irrespective of social class, caste, profession, and village city. The government has developed an integrated e-service structure from the union level to the ministry to implement this objective. For this purpose, in collaboration with a2i, e-services are being provided on a large scale to almost all ministries and departments.
To guarantee the right of people to receive information and guarantee the receipt of paid services from government offices, National Information Broadcasting is an integrated form of a website or web portal for more than 62,000 government offices, including all unions, upazilas, districts, divisions, directorates, and ministries of the country. So far, 657 e-services and more than 89 lakh 44 thousand thematic content of various government departments have been added here. More than 100,000 citizens receive information services every day.
People can apply for a passport online at home through National Information. During the coronavirus pandemic, people can do their necessary work safely at home. Students can get the results of any public examination like SSC, Dakhil, and equivalent examinations at home through their mobile phones. Now, there is no need to visit the Election Commission office to update the information on the National Identity Card. All information can be updated through national data transmission. Functions like birth and death registration and new voters can also be done from this information.
Digital Bangladesh is now an established reality, starting from there and moving towards Smart Bangladesh. The progress of the Bengali nation in the use of information and technology has caught the attention of the world community. The overall service delivery process adopted by the government has been accelerated in the upgradation of citizen services. The day is not far away when Bangladesh will emerge as a developed country, one step ahead of the ranks of developing countries as a valid digital country; we will be proud citizens of that country.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “We hope that this Global Digital Compact will have clear guidelines for the international community on the responsible and productive use of digital technology.” She mentioned the four pillars of Smart Bangladesh and repeatedly talked about the Smart Bangladesh Vision, whose goal is ‘smart’! The Prime Minister’s focus is on the ‘comprehensive digital transformation’ by establishing smart citizens, smart societies, smart economies, and smart governments based on a knowledge-based society.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and researcher

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