Digital Bangladesh | Educational Technology | Emergency Management

INTRODUCTION The use of information and communication technology has been playing a vital role in the 21st century

due to globalization and the government is encouraged to adapting with the coming future. The democratic government has declared the “Vision 2021” in the election manifesto which targets establishment of a resourceful and modern country by 2021 through effective use of information and communication technology-a "Digital Bangladesh".

What is Digital Bangladesh: “Digital Bangladesh” does not only mean the broad use of computers, perhaps it means the modern philosophy of effective and useful use of technology in terms of implementing the promises in education, health, job placement, poverty reduction etc. Therefore, the government underscores a changing attitude, positive thinking and innovative ideas for the success of “Digital Bangladesh”. The philosophy of “Digital Bangladesh” comprises ensuring people’s democracy and rights, transparency, accountability, establishing justice and ensuring delivery of government services in each door through maximum use of technology-with the ultimate goal to improve the daily lifestyle of general people. Government’s “Digital Bangladesh” includes all classes of people and does not discriminate people in terms of technology. Hence, government have emphasized on the four elements of “Digital Bangladesh Vision” which are human resource development, people involvement, civil services and use of information technology in business. Recently Digital Bangladesh became a hot topic for discussion among Bangladeshi IT specialist, journalist and also policy makers. Our newly elected government is also very much positive in this matter. I am not a specialist on this but I am also interested to reading this discussion. As part of its national development strategy, the Government of Bangladesh took office with the vision of creating a digital Bangladesh by 2021.While Awami League’s Charter for Change announced the concept of Digital Bangladesh as an integral component of Vision 2021, the budget 2009‐10 speech of the Honorable Finance Minister elaborated on the concept as one of socio‐Economic transformation enabled by information and communication technologies. He in no uncertain terms debunked the myth that Digital Bangladesh is an ‘ICT Vision’. Indeed, the revised National Strategy for Accelerated Poverty Reduction (NSAPR) Phase II in all five of its strategies marries the elements of Digital Bangladesh quite effectively. The 6th Five Year Plan places an equal importance to Digital Bangladesh as part of the nation’s development strategy.


Sectors of Digital Bangladesh We can define Digital Bangladesh in different sectors. And there are given belowGovernment Business Academe Media IT Specialists Civil Society

Definitions of Digital Bangladesh Sector Government Description Digital Bangladesh is a vision where the citizens of the country can get information through electronic channels. Government services can be provided over electronic channels and the need for human interaction will be minimal. It is to apply the latest advancements of science and technology in the country. A Bangladesh that is globally competitive with the adoption of digital technology that enables a real knowledge economy. Digital Bangladesh, as people believe, is something that will solve most of the country’s problems such as corruption, unemployment, illiteracy, poverty and inflation. It is a gift of the newly elected government that will come true by 2021. The integration of ICTs in social and economic activities. It calls for a happy, rich, educated, poverty-free and hungry free Bangladesh where people have equal rights. But, this will be driven by digital technology.

Business Academe

IT Specialists


The ICT Policy 2009, ICT Act 2009, Right to Information Act 2009, various local government acts promulgated in 2009 laid the foundation for identifying the Digital Bangladesh priorities for the government. As such, a strategy document ‘Setting Digital Bangladesh Priorities’ is being drafted to integrate the goals of Digital Bangladesh with those of key development sectors to harmonize top‐Level priority setting through a participatory and inclusive approach. The document will identify the Digital Bangladesh priorities along three broad categories:


1. Pillars of Digital Bangladesh 2. Vital Developmental Sectors 3. Enabling Environment

1.1.Pillars of Digital Bangladesh The Honorable Prime Minister clearly outlined the four pillars of Digital Bangladesh vision: developing human resources ready for the 21st century, connecting citizens in ways most meaningful to them, taking services to citizens’ doorsteps and making the private sector and market more productive and competitive through the use of ICTs. For each of the pillars, the strategy will: A. Analyze the current overall situation with specific references to relevant initiatives taken so far; B. Identify the key success factors behind its progress; specify the key challenges and untapped opportunities; and C. Identify the strategic priorities by building on successful approaches and initiatives and mobilizing relevant resources and partnerships.  Human Resource Development (HRD) In Digital Bangladesh, best‐Of‐Breed and most cost‐Effective technologies and digital contents will be used to produce 21st century skills and confidence in students to compete in the globalized world. ICT for education or e‐Education will be leveraged to tackle the most difficult‐To‐Teach and difficult‐To‐Learn subjects such as mathematics, science, and language. E‐Education will provide vocational and ‘lifelong education’ opportunities to the youth and adults in order to retool them and build newer skills to improve their productivity. At the same time, it is necessary to develop ICT literacy of a critical mass of people at various levels to lead a sustainable implementation of the vision.  Connecting the Citizens Ensuring access to the Digital Bangladesh for all citizens, poor or rich, literate or illiterate, urban or rural is another foundation stone of Digital Bangladesh. As the government moves to delivering information and services through different ICT channels, citizens’ awareness, capacity and access to these services must commensurately grow. Care will be taken to ensure optimal use of technologies such as mobile phone, radio, TV that is already in the hands of millions. Shared ICT access points in public locations such as local government institutions, post offices, and schools will be established. Bangla content and locally relevant content will be developed and delivered through these channels. Two‐Way communication channels to promote participation of grassroots in decision making and provide feedback to the government will be instituted.


 Digital Government for Pro-Poor Services Service delivery to citizens anytime and anywhere is made possible through creative use of ICTs such as one‐Stop service counters, helpdesks, etc. e‐Services will ensure not only a higher degree of efficiency in the delivery mechanism but will improve transparency and accountability within the government and non‐Government service provider organizations. Red‐Tape and opportunities for corruption will be drastically reduced by lowering the number of interactions, especially face‐To‐Face interactions, between the service providers and recipients. Underserved and hard‐To‐Reach population will receive equitable access to services. At the same time, the planning, implementation and monitoring process of the government including the field administration will be strengthened through the use of decision support systems. These systems will enjoy sharing of data and information across various agencies of the government transcending ministry and geographic boundaries. It is important to recognize that automation or digitization will not result in cutbacks of human resources in government. The ICT‐Based delivery channels and services will create new choices, whenever possible, without eliminating existing ones.  ICT in Business The final pillar of Digital Bangladesh deals with three broad issues namely access to market, business productivity, and ICT industry for local and export markets. ICT‐based market access mechanisms will not only benefit disadvantaged producers and businesses by ensuring equitable access to domestic and international markets but also will enable the government to establish transparent and efficient market monitoring. The private sector including MSME will be made more productive and globally competitive by lowering the cost of doing business through G2B services. Finally, the ICT industry will be supported to develop its human resource capacity and marketing strength to compete locally and globally. The ICT industry, including the telecom industry, as the technical partner in building Digital Bangladesh needs to be bolstered to sustain the Digital Bangladesh concept. At the same time, the industry, especially the IT‐Enabled services sub‐Sector, is envisaged to be a substantial national driver for growth through export earnings and employment of youth.

1.2. Vital Developmental Sectors The goal of Digital Bangladesh is to develop ICT systems, infrastructure and human resource for strengthening the vital developmental sectors to make a direct positive impact on the key social and economic indicators. The sectors included in the strategy include: Agriculture Disaster Management Environment & Climate Change Health Commerce and Investment Land Administration Law Enforcement and Judiciary


Local Government Parliament Social Safety Nets Civil Service For each of the sectors, the strategy will: A. Identify the existing policy goals and statements with regards to the use of ICTs towards improvement of the developmental outcomes in the sector; B. Identify the specific areas in which ICTs can play a significant role; C. Analyze the progress so far with respect to innovative use of ICTs; and D. Identify the strategic priorities taking into account the gaps between the potential role of ICTs and existing initiatives that use ICTs.

The following table paragraphs lists key results targeted for various sectors. Agriculture: To increase efficiency and equity in the agricultural sector, improve competitiveness of farmers through on‐demand information and knowledge, reduce exploitation caused by lack of market information, and enhance participation of farmers in decision‐making. Health: To facilitate improvement in areas such as health administration, capacity building of health workers, access to health information and healthcare service delivery. These include issues such as regular reporting on disease dynamics and related interventions, monitoring of field staff, managing epidemics, on‐demand access to health information by citizens and also by field‐staff for better service delivery, and healthcare service delivery through telemedicine and remote consultation networks. Land Administration: To reform land administration and expand land‐related services to citizens through digitized record‐keeping of khatians and maps, land‐related information services to citizens in a hassle free way, land revenue management through authentic reporting and tracking of land‐related taxes, and efficient decision‐making regarding use of lands under government control. Local Government: To strengthen the functioning of local government institutions, particularly by turning them into robust information and service delivery points for local communities, and establishing interactive platforms to promote citizens participation and feedback.


Social Safety Nets: To ensure more accurate targeting of beneficiaries, improve delivery of benefits, and reduce pilferage in the administration and management of social safety net programs. ICT‐based decision support systems will be developed to evaluate impact of such programs. Disaster Management, Environment and Climate Change: To enhance efficiency in managing natural disasters, particularly in the country’s predictive capabilities, management of disaster and post‐disaster situations through access to real‐time information by government officials, dissemination of information to the affected, and regular monitoring and tracking of data relevant to assessing impact of climate change. Commerce and Investment: To improve investment climate of Bangladesh and reduce the cost of doing business, particularly in areas such as export and investment promotion through access to regularly updating economic data in an easily accessible format, automated procedures related to setting up new business and bringing investments into Bangladesh, online tender processes to promote transparency and competitiveness. Law Enforcement and Judiciary: To improve law and order situation in the country, particularly in court management covering automated updating of cause‐lists and hearing days, and easily accessible information services for citizens regarding procedures and regulations regarding law enforcement and judiciary. Crime data management covering digitized information on crime patterns, criminal records, etc. will improve the law enforcement capacity of the government. Parliament: To leverage ICT platforms to improve the existing communication channels between the members of parliament and their constituencies and enhance the quality and speed of decisions in the parliament by establishing decision support systems. Civil Service: To drive continuous improvement of service delivery (Delighting the Customers); create an environment of professional development and performance‐based career movement (Investing in People) and a culture of change management (Organizing for Adaptation and Resilience). Spurring innovative service delivery methods, creating a knowledge management platform for developing individual capacity and institutional memory, networking all government offices to implement the Right to Information Act, establishing e‐portfolios of officers for performance management are all examples of areas where ICTs will be used as indispensable tools. ICTs will be utilized as the most cost‐effective and widespread channel for establishing a constant interactive platform for dialogue with citizens, civil society and


private sector, receiving citizens grievances on service delivery and feedback on policy decisions, and publishing results for mass dissemination.

1.3. Enabling Environment Some factors are keys to fundamental in developing an enabling environment for mainstreaming objectives of Digital Bangladesh into national developmental goals. The most important enablers for realizing Digital Bangladesh include:      Institutional Framework Policy and Legal Framework Banking and Financial Transactions Delivery Channels for taking Services to Citizens’ Doorsteps Financing Strategies and Public‐Private Partnership Framework

For each enabler, the strategy will analyze current situation with specific focus on challenges, while building on progress made so far. Particular emphasis will be given on relevant lessons learnt from other countries.

 Institutional Framework The Prime Minister’s Office is providing the high‐Level stewardship of the Digital Bangladesh agenda and strategy formulation. The National Digital Task Force, chaired by the Honorable Prime Minister, has the responsibility for monitoring the major milestones and steering any course corrections. The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister chairs the Executive Committee of the Digital Task Force and the Ministry of Science and ICT (MOSICT) acts as the Task Force’s secretariat. Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) under MOSICT develops the ICT Policy and ICT Act and is responsible for monitoring the implementation. All line Ministries has responsibilities for delivering specific action items of the ICT Policy. In this regard, each Ministry and Division has an e‐Governance Focal Point responsible for planning, budgeting, implementing and monitoring of e‐Service delivery and e‐Administration initiative and coordination among the subordinate agencies. The Focal Points are encouraged to take on new initiatives beyond what is prescribed in the ICT Policy 2009.As far as decentralization of e‐Service delivery is concerned, the field administration and local government institutions have definite roles to plan and implement Digital Bangladesh initiatives coordinated by the Cabinet Division and Local Government Division respectively. The Ministry of Establishment is playing a lead role to embed the Digital Bangladesh agenda in its strategic activities including the civil service reform efforts. The Election Commission is the caretaker of the national ID card which is being explored as a potential e‐Service delivery platform. The government is exploring an appropriate institutional framework to leverage this platform for e‐Service delivery and develop necessary standards and frameworks. The Parliament’s role in guiding the pro‐Poor strategic direction of Digital Bangladesh cannot be overemphasized too.


 Policy & Legal Framework: This Digital Bangladesh policy framework currently is largely being driven by ICT Policy 2009, ICT Act 2009and International Long Distance Telecommunications Services 2009. Implementing the Right to Information Act2009 is expected to expedite the translation of Digital Bangladesh vision into reality. Explicit efforts are being taken by related government agencies to mainstream ICT for development issues in their respective sectored policies such as health, education, disaster management, etc.

 Banking and Financial Transactions: This involves developing infrastructures for facilitating financial inclusion for the poor and for creating a modern financial system that will not only be robust and efficient but also will have effective control and balance in place. The focus will include spurring economic activities by removing regulatory barriers to facilitate online commerce and to promote faster and more secure money transaction by reaching out to those outside the banking system. The overall aim is to promote efficiency by private sector growth through a robust financial system and ensuring equality through financial inclusion to the unbanked.

 Delivery Channels for taking Services to Citizens’ Doorsteps: This covers issues of what ICT‐Based delivery channels are‐Or can be‐Used for solving the last mile problem in taking services to citizens in disadvantaged areas. The old ICTs such as TV and radio are becoming more and more localized and interactive, while the newer ICTs such as computers and mobile phones are becoming cheaper and gaining reach – a combination of which are providing increasingly exciting opportunities for extending services and engaging the private sector as partners in the process. Another issue of access is shared access points which enable community access rather than individual‐Based.

 Financing Strategies and Public‐Private Partnership Framework: This covers issues of scope for public‐Private partnership for realizing Digital Bangladesh, particularly in areas of e‐Governance. The primary focus is on identifying modalities where the private sectors can co‐Invest and generate revenues from providing a particular service on behalf of the government.


3. OBJECTIVE AND DREAMS OF DIGITAL BANGLADESH Recently Digital Bangladesh became a HOT (!) topic for discussion among Bangladeshi IT specialist, journalist and also policy makers. Our newly elected government is also very much positive in this matter. The main objectives of Digital Bangladesh are given below:

3.1. Agriculture Given that Bangladesh is an agrarian economy with almost 60% of the population still employed in the agriculture sector and that the country has set a course for self-sufficiency in food production by 2013, this sector naturally gets the highest emphasis in the Digital Bangladesh e-services strategy. Some areas of focus are: • Strengthening the existing information channels and developing new ones to provide farmers with real time information related to integrated crop management, input availability and dosage, irrigation, soil quality, etc. at the community level. • Building capacity of farmers and extension workers through distance learning and by using locally relevant multimedia content. • Fostering market access with necessary information and training to promote support and enhance rural farm and non-farm enterprises locally and internationally. • Mobilizing finance (including m-banking) for rural farmers who are underserved by the commercial banking system and/or the country’s microfinance NGOs. • Organizing/uniting farmers nationally to enable exchange of knowledge, information and to ensure their collective voice and participation in policy formulation. Current initiatives:       10 Agriculture Information and Communication Centre (AICC); 20 Fisheries Information and Communication Centre (FICC); Web-based price information dissemination by Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM); Web-based Information Repository by Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE); GIS-based soil testing database by Soil Resources Development Institute (SRDI); Mobile accessible agriculture helpline run by private mobile operators.


3.2. Education Bangladesh has a large educational system consisting of some 150,000 institutions, 34 million students and over 900,000 teachers. There are about 20 million students in primary education (including madras’s and non-formal Programs) and 11 million at the secondary level (including madras’s). At university level, there are 31 public and 54private universities. The nation has achieved an enviable near-100% enrollment in primary education, but, at the same time, the dropout rate is an alarming 50% by the end of the 5-year primary cycle. It has been observed that a little over 1% of the students who complete primary schooling acquire the standard competencies. 25% of the primary graduates drop out at the initial stage of enrollment in secondary education. ICTs have been identified as a key enabler to address the quality component of the education equation. Attractive e-learning environments in schools, and distance learning through TV, radio, mobile Phones and internet will increase retention. The government plans to make ICT education compulsory at Secondary level by 2013 and at primary level by 2021. Teacher training will be increasingly decentralized through the use of ICTs already in place at the Upazilla Resource Centers for primary and model schools for secondary. Current initiatives:  Establishment of computer labs in 128 secondary schools and colleges (2 in each district);  568 secondary schools and 64 colleges supplied with laptops and projectors on movable trolleys which can be moved into classrooms for e-learning;  All primary and secondary textbooks available on the internet;  Digital content development on English, mathematics and science;  Training of primary and secondary school teachers using digital content;  ICT literacy for teachers with private sector operators;  Post Graduate Diploma in ICT in 13 public institutions to create 1,200 ICT experts every year;  Creation of Bangladesh Research and Education Network (BdREN) to be connected to highspeed international research network Trans Eurasia Information Network (TEIN3).

3.3. Healthcare Priority actions for this sector are to develop a nationwide integrated health record system, strengthen the fledgling telemedicine network (now available only in the private sector at a high cost), and launch mobile health units with simple test kits and ICT connectivity to specialized centers. ICT-enabled healthcare service delivery and capacity building of tens of thousands of semi-skilled health workers around the country can significantly reduce infant and maternal mortality, currently at 5.4% and 3.8% respectively, to the 2021 target levels of 1.5% for both rates.


Current initiatives:       Internet connectivity and doctors’ access through mobile phone at over 800 health centers; Video conferencing facility in community clinics; Database for health policy planning; OMR based patient-level data collection; Rudimentary telemedicine piloted by NGOs; Mobile-based helpline with doctors.

3.4. Land and Water Resources Land and real estate typically account for between 50 and 75 percent of a country’s economic assets. In Bangladesh, 60% of the people’s livelihoods are directly linked to land, it is the only major asset held by lower income groups, and allegedly 80% of the country’s lawsuits are linked to land disputes. It is not a coincidence that the leading economies of the world have in place well functioning and reliable land administration systems. It is for these reasons that the present government declared electronic administration of land and water resources as one of its key election pledges. Under this massive plan that will take several years to implement, a digital land management system will be established through creation of a digital archive of existing and new surveys of all 64districts. The Deeds Registration System within the Law Ministry will be improved as well. Current initiatives:  A small pilot in one land area of the capital city and significant local and international studies to launch large scale programmers.

3.5. Social Safety Nets Currently 6-7 central government agencies and thousands of local government institutions are used as channels for selecting beneficiaries and delivering benefits. This not only creates chaos in the delivery system, but also makes it very difficult to monitor delivery and impact of the SSN programmed. Best practices in the developing world will guide Bangladesh to develop mobile-based banking and money delivery systems. Improved targeting will be achieved using the already established voter registration platform where over 85 million voters have been registered with bio-metric information. Current initiatives:  A small pilot to target and track allowances for widows.


3.6. Disaster Management, Environment and Climate Change Bangladesh has identified that ICTs can play a critical role in all four phases of disaster risk management cycle:  Preparedness – Reliable and rapid communication for preparation and assessment, observation and positioning tools, especially when crucial on-the-ground infrastructure is damaged.  Mitigation – Sharing information on location and hazard specific long term mitigation options for informed decision-making.  Response – Sharing instant knowledge and information on location specific climate change impact by sectors and analyzing alternative options for preparation.  Recovery – ICT-based advisory services for efficient coordination, evaluation of disaster and risk reduction activities, long-term sustainable planning and policy formulation.

Current initiatives:  ICT-based information delivery canters including Union Parishads around the country;  Digital content for disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery;  Location-specific pre-disaster warnings using mobile phones.

3.7. Law Enforcement, Legal Services, Judiciary The country has already recognized that ICTs will greatly enhance the transparency, accountability and efficiency of law enforcement by making vital data at the fingertips of the law enforcers. Electronic filing of general diary and first incident report will improve the customer experience, toll-free phone based legal advisory can alleviate hassle and put legal services at citizens’ doorsteps especially for women, hard-core poor, disabled, and other marginalized groups who are not otherwise able to access these services. Publishing cause list and case updates on the internet and making them phone and SMSenabled will increase transparency of the judiciary and reduce citizens’ hassle. Current initiatives:  Immigration database covering 90% of the total movement linked to Bureau of Manpower and Training (BMET),  Crime data management system in all divisional and district headquarters,  Automated fingerprint identification system,  All laws available online (,  Citizens’ access to police cases using SMS.


3.8. Local Government The current government places an unprecedented emphasis on revitalizing local government institutions at the rural level (around 4,500 Union Parishads) and at the sub-district level (Upazilla Parishads). The LGIs are being re-designed to play an extremely critical role to serve as local delivery centers for information and e-services, thereby upholding the government’s commitment to get services to citizens’ doorsteps. Local government administration will be improved with greater transparency; accountability and ensuring that people’s voices will be channeled to policy making levels. Collection of demographic information, birth, death and marriage registration, school enrolment, vaccination, employment and many other pieces of information using ICTs will provide a greater degree of efficiency in targeting, policy making and accuracy in information dissemination. Current initiatives:  100 Union Information and Service Center (UISC) and 5 Upazilla Information Centers provide low-cost ICT access (internet, mobile phones),  Digital content on agriculture, education, health, human rights, etc. and capacity building program on various areas. 1,000 UISCs are being targeted for the year 2010.

3.9. Connectivity Infrastructure In 1997, the tax on computer and related products were withdrawn bringing the computer within the reach of a wide spectrum of citizens. Today, a Pentium-4 based PC can be purchased for as low as Tk. 20,000 (US $325).Since liberalization of its Telecom Policy in 1998; the country has observed one of the fastest mobile phone growths in the world covering 98% of the country’s geographic area with one third of the population carrying mobile phones. However, in rural areas, one mobile phone has the catchment area to cover a significant population. There are around 1.5 million fixed phone users, 5 million internet users (one of the lowest in South Asia at 3%) of which 4.6million use mobile phone to access internet. However, the broadband penetration in the country is very low (less than 50,000 connections). Two WiMAX operators very recently started the service in the capital city. There exist nationwide fiber connectivity by the incumbent Bangladesh Telephone Company Ltd. and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh. A new private sector operator started rolling out optical fiber in different parts of the country for expansion of broadband internet. However, internet connectivity remains unaffordable to most of the people. The government has reduced the Internet bandwidth price several times and it is now cost Tk. 18,000/Mbps from BTCL. To create accessibility for rural people, government has started establishing shared access points at Union Parishads, farmer’s clubs and fisheries extension offices. This supplements the NGO and private sector-led efforts of setting up more than 2,300 tale centers’ around the country. The government is very actively exploring the option of licensing community radio for information dissemination.


4. POLICY AND LAW OF DIGITAL BANGLADESH • Approval by the Cabinet of a citizen-centric ICT Policy 2009 with 306 action items for all agencies of the government. • Promulgation in the Parliament of the revised ICT Act 2009 allowing Digital Signatures and addressing cybercrimes. • Promulgation in the Parliament of the Right to Information Act ensuring wide access by citizens to vital information that had been hitherto blocked by age-old laws such as Official Secrets Act 1923, among others. • Permission from Bangladesh Bank for internet transaction and for m-banking in limited areas creating momentum in e-commerce and m-banking.

5. DEMONSTRATION EFFECT • At least one e-service from each Ministry/Division totaling over 50 services. • A national one-stop-shop web portal ( which won an international award. • Expansion of online government forms. • Nationwide expansion of utility bill payment using mobile phones anytime, anywhere. • Realization of the large voter roll database, combined with the Birth Registration database, as platform for e-services delivery for a host of different services across the government such as VGF/VGD cards, driving license, passports, vaccination, school enrolment tracking, etc.

6. POSSIBILITY AND REALITY OF DIGITAL BANGLADESH THE term 'Digital Bangladesh' has created renewed interest in government and commercial organizations in utilizing Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Digital Bangladesh comprises e-governance and service delivery through utilizing ICT, but the vision encompasses much more. In order to be successful there has to be knowledge creation and management. The government and the organizations have invested heavily on technologies and overseas consultancies to utilize the potential of the promised e-governance and e-services. But technology alone won't fix or alleviate a business problem. It is important to understand that knowledge management is often facilitated by ICT - technology by itself is not knowledge management. Digital Bangladesh independent on the development of indigenous capability to plan, monitor and manage national projects. This can be represented through a three-tier model. 1. The knowledge centre, which will provide research and create technology and solutions.


2. The consultancy service providers, who will provide specifications, supervise implementation, and document all activities for the knowledge centre. 3. The manufacturing and service industries that provide services and commodities. Academia and research institutions provide knowledge, allowing the 3rd tier to incorporate all available knowledge in the service area. This will create partnership between all stakeholders, and their success will depend on the value of the knowledge created in the knowledge centers and its effective dissemination by the players in other layers. The absence of knowledge centers, and development activities centered on procurement of services and commodities from overseas result in dependence on overseas suppliers. The development of the electoral roll and national ID card has saved the country from monetary loss, and created an opportunity for earning foreign exchange through export of similar service. To create ownership of digital Bangladesh by the general public, the following must be promoted: education, health, agriculture, entrepreneurship, and governance. Activity within those areas will take place via limited initiatives and partnership, advocacy and expanding community expertise. Increasing the number of initiatives may make it unmanageable. Initiatives and partnership In order to leverage joint resources and spur visible action, initiatives will require stakeholders' partnership, which will be responsible for producing concrete and measurable deliverables. The initiatives are expected to set targets within a timeframe based on current baseline data, taking into account targets of the Millennium Development Goal and national Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. The following areas may be considered for improving visible national indexes, promoting education and entrepreneurship, and attracting foreign investment. Better connectivity with broadband a key enabler is communication. To improve accessibility to information, the initiative will have to accelerate the roll-out of communication infrastructures and increase broadband access. ICT infrastructure is essential to achieve regional integration and enable poor people to participate in markets, which will help in reducing poverty. Bangladesh has undertaken a project through ADB's efforts to support sub-regional cooperation in eastern South Asia, which stems from the formation of the South Asia Growth Quadrangle (SAGQ) by the foreign ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN). The 9th SAARC Summit had endorsed SAGQ as a sub-regional initiative. The SASEC Information Highway Project aims to connect SASEC countries more efficiently through broadband and bring social goods to South Asia, especially the rural areas. Tele centre and community e-Centre Bangladesh Tele centre Network has established a number of Tele centers and Community e-Centers (CeC) to provide local language content for the users besides serving as e-services centre. They will also be established under SASEC program. Tele centers can provide various services in health, agriculture and education. Free access for all schools to Internet Communication technologies, such as WiMAX, can connect educational institutions to the Internet, creating a new generation of innovative citizens. However, till date, no effective measures have been taken in Bangladesh in this area. ICT professional skill assessment and enhancement program this is an indigenous program to enhance professional capacity of the knowledge and ICT workforce. It aims at making industry-ready knowledge workers. India and the Philippines have a number of software finishing schools to groom young knowledge workers for industries. These programs will help in expanding community expertise. Media strategy, advocacy and outreach the impact of digital Bangladesh depends on its ability to protect its activities and achievements, generate interest, and secure continued financial support, and also on evaluation of ICT development using internationally


recognized indicators and utilizing all modes of information dissemination such as radio, TV, cell phone and Tele centre. Meaning of Digital Bangladesh Building an indigenous knowledge and infrastructure base is important in building a sustainable digital Bangladesh.

The basic goals for digital Bangladesh should centre on: • A broadband infrastructure with access for every Bangladeshi from their homes, work places, schools, Tele centers or CeC with technologies like WiMAX and 3G Network. • A digitally literate population and workforce. • A digitally enabled nation, providing e-government information and service at regional level. • Digital business development with Internet in business and e-commerce. • Internationally competitive information and communication technology, human capacity and business. • A legal framework that assures freedom of expression while protecting the rights of creators and innovators towards building an indigenous knowledge and technological base.

Conclusion Dreamt of a ‘Sonar Bangla’ where the common citizen of the country lives in prosperity and has quitable access to quality education, healthcare, law and justice ensured by the government. But, In light of the global reality, digital Bangladesh is not a dream but rather a necessity for survival in the 21st century. A well thought-out plan should be launched to make "Digital Bangladesh" a reality. Although Bangladesh has its own limitations in resources, capacity and knowledge, the country’s potential in human resources can be tapped through appropriate use of ICT tools.


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