Bangladesh moving forward with the potentials of 4IR

Hiren Pandit: The Fourth Industrial Revolution has been providing a new dimension to world civilization. The process and potential of this revolution are already being widely used around the world. Bangladesh has been working for coping with the issues. The Hon’ble Prime Minister and her Information and Communication Technology Adviser have been working tirelessly to create skilled manpower by making Bangladesh suitable for leading the 4IR. As we know, 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 is becoming difficult to separate these three. What is happening as a result? What kind of change is happening in society? This results in intellectualization, the human-machine interface, and realism and virtuality becoming one. Now if we want to prepare for our 4IR, we have to put things like emotional intelligence, physical intelligence, social intelligence, contest intelligence in our heads. Then in the future, we will be able to prepare everyone for the revolution. However, it is unknown at this time what will do after leaving the post. We can work on a few of our things to prepare the generation for this unknown future. Information is a powerful element of change in civilization.

From the beginning of civilization, man was eager to spread his experienced knowledge. The invention of paper and ink and the subsequent emergence of the printing press embodied human aspirations. The technological impetus of the 4IR is everywhere. This revolution is making a huge difference in the world of thought, in the production of goods, and the provision of services. Human lifestyles and the nature of the earth are changing drastically. The walls of distinction between the biological, terrestrial, and digital worlds are forever stuck. The revolution is a combination of artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies. The magnitude of this revolution, the technological modernity, and the complexities involved have put the world’s governments to the test.

Especially when the government is committed to inclusive development with all, no one left behind, in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable development, reduction of inequality, safe action, and responsible consumption and production are key challenges in implementing and achieving the SDGs.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, stressed the free flow of information technology is one of the means to take Bangladesh forward in the golden jubilee of independence towards a middle-income country. The path of digital Bangladesh of the last 12 years has made us confident and created acceptance to the people. The youth of the country now not only dream but also know how to realize their dreams. The self-reliant and self-confident Bangladesh of Bangabandhu’s dream will soon be formed in the indomitable journey of Bangladesh.

The government has been working to improve and modernize the quality of life of the citizens through Digital Bangladesh and facilitate access to civic services, education, health, management, working methods, industry-trade and production, economy, social and cultural life in a digital manner. As technology has become readily available to every citizen of the country, arrangements are being made to reach out to the marginalized. Technology has become a trusted medium in all civic services and livelihoods.

The last few years have seen a groundbreaking revolution in the development of information technology in the country through the reduction in the cost of internet bandwidth, the creation of infrastructure in the IT sector, and above all the increase in power generation. At present, the number of internet users is more than 120 million. Internet connections have been established in 3,800 unions across the country through fiber optic cable connections and 16,500 government offices have come under the network.

The national information window is an integrated form or web portal of the websites of more than 51,000 government offices in the country. On average, more than one lakh people can receive information and services in this window every day. The digital center has made life easier for the common man as well as changed attitudes. People are now believing that it is possible to get all kinds of services close to home. Gaining this trust of the people is the biggest achievement in the path of digital Bangladesh. Young people are earning foreign currency by freelancing internationally.

Along with the education system, various technical and online technological digital knowledge in creating various jobs. Platforms like ‘Kishore Batayan’ and ‘Shikshak Batayan’ have been created in collaboration with a2i to make educational activities easier. Various online content is constantly gaining new knowledge as well as playing a special role in building a prosperous nation. ‘Muktapath’ is the largest e-learning platform in the Bengali language. Where there are general, technical, vocational, and lifelong learning opportunities. In collaboration with the ICT Division, digital content has been created for primary, secondary, madrasa, and technical level students which are being broadcast across the country.

The government has taken the initiative to digitize judicial activities. Judicial windows are recording all the activities of the judiciary of the upper and lower courts. Besides, judicial proceedings have been initiated in 87 lower courts through the Virtual Court System Platform. A secure video conferencing system has been attached to conduct the hearing activities.

Information technology has brought a new dimension to the economic activities of the country. Mobile banking has made the life of the common man easier with the convenience of economic transactions. Advances in information technology have led to the expansion of startup culture. Women have also been involved in information technology. The presence of women entrepreneurs on social media is increasing. Shopping is going on in about 20 thousand Facebook pages in the country.

Information technology services Krishi Batayan and Krishak Budhu call center have been launched. Through the ‘Krishak Bandhu’-3331 call center, you can receive various services from home. In ‘Covid-19’, various digital initiatives have shown people a new path. The National Helpline is providing government information and services including delivery of relief, healthcare, daily necessities through a phone service like 333. The Mother Telehealth Center Service has been created to provide uninterrupted healthcare to pregnant women, lactating mothers, and babies, working to identify risky areas through the Corona Tracer BD mobile app. Also, a nationwide campaign is being conducted to prevent misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information.

The government is working on 39 high-tech parks and software technology parks to develop the high-tech industry and create employment. When the construction is completed, more than three lakh people will be employed. To meet the competition of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 31 specialized labs of high technology in IoT, robotics, cybersecurity have been set up in various universities and IT business incubators will be set up in the universities. Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Center is being set up in every district to build technology and knowledge-based generation. Its main goal was to strengthen the foundation of Digital Bangladesh.

In the face of the 4IR, the IT sector in Bangladesh has emphasized various infrastructural developments including the development of skilled human resources. Bangladesh is trying to be in the top 50 countries in the UN e-Governance Development Index for the next five years. 5 initiatives of Digital Bangladesh have been praised internationally. These are Digital Center, Service Innovation Fund, Empathy Training, TCV, and SDG Tracker.

With the help of information technology, young people are building small and big IT firms, e-commerce sites, app-based services, and other organizations. Besides, some big achievements including the Bangabandhu satellite of Bangladesh in space have taken Bangladesh to a unique height to the world.

The writer is a Research Fellow, BNNRC

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