Hiren Pandit: As per the election promise, the government has already provided broadband connectivity across the country and launched satellite Bangabandhu-1 into space. The second satellite Bangabandhu-2 is in progress. Currently, 18 crore 81 lac mobile sims are being used by 17 crore people, and 13 crore people are connected to the internet through broadband and mobile internet.
Digital Bangladesh to Smart Bangladesh. It is a concept and strategy, which is being and will be implemented phase by phase by the current government. On December 12, 2008, Digital Bangladesh was announced as the foundation of ‘Vision-2021’. Comprehensive and multi-faceted development was initiated by formulating and implementing one plan after another, simultaneously taking up multiple mega projects. Today’s age is the digital age. Digital Bangladesh implemented by Govt. Fiber optic has been provided to remote areas of Bangladesh. Can be contacted online.
Digital system is most useful in our fight against COVID-19. Bangladesh’s digital activities have gained momentum with the launch of Bangabandhu Satellite-1. So, we have to use digital devices for everything now. The technology that people are using today means that the whole world has come within the reach of everyone through technology. People are getting a chance to know the world. Bangladesh is no longer in the dark. Children of our country are contributing to the world now. It is the greatest contribution of technology. Bangladesh is advancing with technology. We have been quite successful in using modern technology. At the same time, with the importance given to the use of modern technology, Bangladesh has achieved considerable success.
The policymakers said that the next goal of the government is to build a smart Bangladesh and a smart nation. There is no alternative to using advanced technology to achieve the goal of building a Smart Bangladesh. Digital connectivity will be the main tool in front of us to turn the country into a ‘Smart Bangladesh’.
Bangladesh’s journey of the last five decades from a war-torn poor country to a fast-growing economy after independence has been incredible. Bangladesh is progressing in many ways. Which has been discussed in different countries of the world. On the other hand, sheltering Rohingyas, Bangladesh has sheltered more than 1 million Rohingyas facing genocide in Myanmar. Besides, the steps taken by Bangladesh in the leadership seat of the United Nations peacekeeping operations and to deal with the coronavirus pandemic are very promising. As a result, taking into account the overall situation, the necessary initiatives should be continued to advance the country and achieve the SDGs in 2030 and build Smart Bangladesh in 2041 with more far-reaching development.
Sheikh Hasina is always trying to advance those possibilities with necessary cooperation and patronage. From time to time instructions have been given to the concerned government departments and ministries, as a result of which new sectors of potential are being developed. Potential new sectors playing a very strong role in achieving prosperity Bangladesh’s story and prospects are impressive.
The country has achieved self-sufficiency in food production and has become a role model in disaster management. Bangladesh has empowered women and reduced infant mortality. The story of Bangladesh is how the country defied all odds and self-financed billions of dollars to build a bridge over the mighty Padma River and inaugurated the bridge on June 25 last year. Metrorail launched in December 2022; things are unbelievable to many. The story is about its growing portfolio of mega-structures and the launch of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 the second one in the works. The story of Bangladesh is about 1 crore 22 lakh 55 thousand 900 Bangladeshi immigrants who are playing a role in increasing the country’s foreign exchange reserves by sending huge amounts of remittances. Bangladesh is considered as a stable and prosperous country in the world. It fulfills its international obligations, observes international treaties, and respects the cultural rights of all people.
Under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu, Bangladesh became a member of the important International Telecommunication Union-ITU on 5 September 1973 among the 15 organizations of the United Nations. Earth-resource technology satellite program for the socio-economic survey and meteorological data exchange was implemented under his direction. On June 14, 1975, Bangabandhu inaugurated the Satellite Earth Station at Betbunia. He gives importance to science, technology, and technical education. A scientist like Kudrat-e-Khuda headed the Education Commission report and included the goal of using technology in education in the first Five Year Plan of Bangladesh as a very well-thought-out and visionary initiative. Just looking at the various initiatives and activities undertaken in the expansion and development of information and communication technology, it can be seen that the foundation of a modern science-minded technology-based Bangladesh was created by the hands of Bangabandhu, which shows the way for Bangladesh to participate in the digital revolution.
Digital connectivity is the key to building a smart Bangladesh. Digital connectivity is serving as the foundation for smart citizens, smart economy, smart government, and smart society. The government wants to make Bangladesh economically prosperous by ensuring maximum use of digital technologies including artificial intelligence, the internet, virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, and big data. The young generation is now dreaming of building a ‘Smart Bangladesh’. After Bangabandhu Satellite-1 was launched into orbit in 2018, there has been a revolutionary change in the broadcasting and telecommunication sector.
Bangladesh earns a lot of foreign exchange by using unused satellite frequencies and is now the proud 57th member of the world’s satellite family. Steps have been taken to deploy Bangabandhu Satellite-2 with multi-purpose capabilities to realize the goal of building a ‘Smart Bangladesh’. Bangladesh is going to lay the third submarine cable by 2024. Because the first and second submarine cables have already been laid. Bangladesh has achieved 3400 Gbps bandwidth capacity so far. The bandwidth capacity will be increased to 7200 Gbps by the end of 2023. This will increase to 13,200 Gbps after the third submarine cable is laid. Bangladesh earns USD 4.81 million per year by leasing bandwidth to Saudi Arabia, France, Malaysia, and India. Optical fiber cables have been laid all over the country up to the Union level.
Meanwhile, 10 GB capacity has been assured in each union, which is helping to provide high-speed internet to people and government offices. A total of 8600 post offices have been digitized across the country. Work has begun to address the digital divide and price differential of broadband internet between rural and urban areas. The government has introduced a common tariff of one country, one rate across the country for providing telecommunication networks to remote and inaccessible areas. Bangladesh Association (ASOCIO)-2022 has been conferred with the award in recognition of introducing a single rate tariff system without discrimination across the country.
The government is working on the successful implementation of 4 pillars to build Smart Bangladesh. These are Smart Citizens, Smart Economy, Smart Government, and Smart Society. In addition to this, 2100 Delta Plans have been undertaken. In Smart Bangladesh, all work will be done through technology, where every citizen will be proficient in using technology. Through this, overall economic activities will be managed – with the ultimate goal of a cashless society. The government has already taken various initiatives in the field of skilled human resource development, ICT infrastructure and connectivity, e-government, and industry promotion in the country. Satellite Bangabandhu-2 is preparing for launch. Aiming to provide 100% government services online by 2025. A startup ecosystem has been developed in the country. A separate fund has been allocated in the national budget for this.
Apart from this, grants are being given by creating Startup Circle under Idea Project, Bangabandhu Innovation Grant (BIG), and Expectations of the Century. The government has formulated guidelines for the management of venture capital companies named Startup Bangladesh Limited for investment. Bangladesh ranks first among South Asian and SAARC countries in the cyber security index. The government is already moving forward with the policy of developing the country’s villages into cities with modern facilities. Where the village
Nature and environment above all cultivation, fruit, vegetable gardens, and farms can be found along with gas-electricity-water and all information technology-based facilities. However, every citizen has special responsibilities and duties in building and implementing Smart Bangladesh.
Every citizen needs to develop himself as a skilled human resource to meet the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution. Everyone has to be responsible from their position to family, society, and state. Otherwise, the benefits of Smart Bangladesh will not be fully and fully achieved. Pointing out the need for smart citizens to build a smart Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged today’s youth and children to develop human qualities. Smart Bangladesh aims to create a smart population. Care must be taken to ensure that the new generation grows up with humane and compassionate feelings toward others. Everyone should have human qualities. Be sympathetic to those who are handicapped or disabled.
The Prime Minister said we have given importance to computer education. Smart people are needed to build a smart Bangladesh. We have taken measures so that they can learn it from childhood. We have also taken the initiative to develop the skills of students and teachers by applying the ‘Learning Approach’ program to teach computer coding to elementary students.
In this way, on the one hand, as we have arranged for children to be educated and skilled, the new generation of today will be the smart population of tomorrow, who will build this country. There is no alternative to advancing the ongoing struggle to build smart citizens, smart nations, smart economies, and smart societies by 2041. To build a smart Bangladesh, along with the government, socio-cultural organizations including the youth should come forward to inspire the new generation of young people to acquire technology skills.
The government wants to make the future Bangladesh a smart Bangladesh, where every manpower will be smart. Everyone will learn to do everything online, the economy will be an e-economy, where the entire money management will be done on digital devices. ‘Our education, health, employability’ will all be through e-governance. Digital devices will be used in everything including e-education, and e-health. We will be able to do that by 2041 and work is going on with that in mind.
Our young generation would be the most skilled manpower in each field in building Smart Bangladesh. Bangladesh will be a smart country by 2041, the young generation is meritorious and they can implement their innovations. The government has undertaken different initiatives to develop skilled Human Resources to face the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), the government is setting up vocational and technical educational institutions in each Upazila and arranging training facilities for the future.
To meet the challenges of 4IR, skilled human resources have to be created in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, blockchain, robotics, big data, medical scribes, and cyber security. The government’s goal is to help create five unicorns a startup company with at least $1 billion will be called a unicorn by 2025 and 50 unicorn startups by 2041 where each unicorn startup will create employment opportunities for millions of people.
The writer is a columnist and researcher