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1. Today the entire world is gradually becoming a Digital Planet. Almost every state is heading towards a knowledge-based society and Bangladesh cannot stay away from the advantages out of it. Though it is very easy to speak about such a dream, i.e. making a country digital, but at the same time it is very difficult to implement it. For implementation, it is basically the government who will take initiatives while the other political parties also need to play important role. . A country goes digital means it will be an e-state means all its activities of governance, commerce, education, agriculture etc., will be powered by computer and internet. Today information communication technology (ICT) drives the technological and economic advancement of the developed as well as emerging economies. The goal of establishing such digital country would bring success in the ICT sector, which cannot be ignored in this 21st century. Heading towards that target will link every device such as cell phone, internet, computer, e-learning, egovernance etc.
02. Slow Paced IT revolution and the Digital Divide Even with the slow paced IT revolution in Bangladesh , around 50% or more of our villages are still without telephones. 75% or more of our population resides in the rural areas and do not have adequate exposure to technology. A vast majority lives below the poverty line and 35% or more are illiterate. Like any other developing country a vast majority of Bangladesh population will be vulnerable to the risk of getting marginalized in the IT revolution. Logically citizens will be getting divided into people who do and people who don't have access to ICT and the capability to use - modern information technology. This divide exists and shall remain to exists between the cities and rural areas, between the rich and the poor, and between the educated and uneducated. 3. Digital Bangladesh - the misconception Digital Bangladesh does not necessarily mean one man one computer. For the near future neither does it means Internet literacy for 100% population. But it indicates towards networking with all administrative units like, Upazila, Districts and Division. It definitely means bringing more citizens to the Information Highway- giving a bigger mass of the population access to
observation finds that most of the LAN setups are Dhaka centric. b) Network infrastructure: Outside Dhaka. It may be noted that for proper ICT development an uninterrupted power supply is a must. • Ensure greater access to information by citizen charter and websites. and complains electronically. • Bringing whole public sector under a network will not be easy. Digitalization Process – Pin Pointing Priority Sectors Building strong ICT infrastructure is the pre-requisite for making Bangladesh a digital one. a) Power deficit: Latest statistics reveal that Bangladesh faces a power deficit of up to 2000 MW against a demand of 5000 MW daily. However we have to keep in mind the following assumption : • Bringing 17 crore citizens (approx) on the information high way will not be easy. The aim of Digitalization in the first phase should be : • Ensure easier access to government forms and documents by citizens. • Ensure University admission process to be digitalized except the admission test. Apart from some educational institutes outside Dhaka. • Ensure submission of applications. For this.information. 4. we need to focus on the following relevant issues assessing the harsh reality that hinders our development in this context. forms. c) Use of Internet: For the ICT development Internet users of the country 2 . This observation reveals the reality of the digital gap even within the country. • Bringing economic units of private sector under a common platform will not be easy. Digital Bangladesh should be the first step towards the death of distance particularly for the rural people with the secretariat or any other powerhouse with whom the citizens are involved for Governance. • Ensure greater connectivity by wireless internet. at present a few computer network infrastructures have been developed so far.
Bangladesh has been connected to worldwide Internet Super High Way through an under sea submarine cable. benefit from the increased productivity that Information and communication technology offers. There is a strong correlation between English literacy and ICT development in the present context of globalization. The NRI is a composite of three components: the environment for ICT offered by a given country or community. it is 7. Whereas. English literacy rate in Bangladesh is less than one percent.g. we have not localized Bengali in the domain of computing. In this case our position is the worst one among the South Asian countries. On the other hand. businesses.3% and 5. in Pakistan and India. France and Malaysia) have started to use open source software in ICT development projects for cost effectiveness. in this case our position is the worst in the subcontinent. measures the propensity for countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information and communications technology. The NRI seeks to better comprehend the impact of ICT on the competitiveness of nations. developed by the University of Harvard. e) Network Readiness: Networked Readiness Index (NRI). Sustainable progress can be achieved.3% respectively. The anytime-anywhere and death of- 3 . in our ICT development domain the culture of using open source has not yet been introduced. Hence. g) English literacy rate: From different sources. d) Under sea submarine cable: Since 2006. The latest statistics (ITU. English literacy is a must for our ICT development. and governments) to use ICT. the readiness of the community’s key stakeholders (individuals. Unfortunately. In the arena of ICT English has become the Lingua-Franca. and finally the usage of ICT amongst these stakeholders. Unfortunately. Unfortunately.must be increased. But this single submarine cable frequently faces disruption resulting in slow bandwidth. f) Use of open source software: Many countries (e. 2007) revealed that Internet penetration in our country is only 0. Whereas. English literacy rates in India and Pakistan are 60% and 20% respectively. the latest survey (2006-7) revealed that Bangladesh’s NRI ranking is one of the lowest among the Asian countries. it has been learnt that. and thus.3%. only if we bring this vast majority of Bangladesh rural people on the information highway.
000 population compared to 279 for US and 162 for China . ICT can help bring medical expertise to Upazilla and District headquarters. there are only 26 physicians per 100. For example a few Health care center in Bangladesh uses tele-medicine to bring health-care facilities from super specialty center abroad. Further. 51% of the population does not have access to essential drugs. There are some basic steps that Bangladesh needs to foster online education to be offered by Open University and our National University . To create ownership of digital Bangladesh by the general public it should focus in promoting the following broad areas: • Health • Education. ii) Education Distance education has tremendous potential to spread learning in any country. • Agriculture • Other Service Delivery Organization To enhance citizens' participation and promoting accountability . NGOs and academia forms partnership to accelerate the Digitalization process. The Internet has been effectively used in some of the villages to ensure effective dissemination of agricultural commodity price information. This is especially important considering that around 80% of our illiterate population are from the rural areas. with super specialty hospitals at major towns / cities.distance paradigms of technology will enable better leveraging of scarce resources such as healthcare and education. i) Health In Bangladesh . . through satellites. India has led the use of remote sensing satellite information for locating irrigation projects. for medical consultations and treatment. the industry. they need to create an 'enabling environment' for the proliferation of ICT in Bangladesh . with specialist doctors. for instance may link healthcare centers in remote locations. agriculture and other service delivery organizations. it is essential that the government. Thus it can bring connectivity between patients at remote end. Tele-medicine. For example. Elearning is a cost-effective way of providing education at a distance. iii) Agriculture Since more than half of our population is employed in agriculture. our planner should put ICT to good use in agriculture. The 4 . Together. In this context. transparency and efficiency in governance process.
g. responsive and transparent) 'Digital Bangladesh' and establish a knowledge-based society within 50 years of her independence in 2021. ICT can be used for more efficient governance. the journey towards a digital Bangladesh needs the incorporation of the technologically solvent innovative younger generation. to enhance competitiveness of the dairy industry and to provide benefits to the rural masses. Therefore. If the leaders of our country objectively guide this generation. we will need to take a pragmatic and visionary approach so that it can curb the prevailing digital gap in the society.National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in India has used IT effectively. commuting times. health care. the young generation always looks forward and they can help bring about positive changes in the society. etc. measurable. 5 . Further. For instance. After all. By separating the delivery of services from decision-making. E-governance reduces the time in interactions with the government. the service delivery organization can effectively deliver their service to citizens. In reformulating the ICT policy. Moreover. CONCLUSION Our government must take proactive steps to take technology to rural citizens. it is the expectation of the mass people that the government will take all possible steps to create a SMART (simple. ICT policy) in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals. For instance. citizens can monitor the progress of various government initiatives online. provision of basic infrastructure . the chances of corruption are reduced. Digitalization of Bangladesh will depend how best the Government can leverage the power of ICT to increase the access to information of its population. In a developing country like Bangladesh . It helps the citizens understand the parameters of public systems (over a period of time) like pollution levels. However our dream towards digital Bangladesh has a long way to go. there is a significant need for introducing transparency and efficiency in government operations. accountable.schools. ICT also enables effective planning. iv) Other Service Delivery Organization In the public sector. electricity. Through E-governance. The Internet can be used as a cheap communication channel that governments can use to reach out to their citizens and vice versa. the government must address the above stated issues effectively and efficiently in transparent manners. Simulation can be used as a good tool for what-if analysis. they can do wonder for the nation. For making a digital Bangladesh by 2021. education policy. Towards digital Bangladesh we can use the Indian experience of using ICT in different sectors of the agriculture. In many cases we need to reformulate our national policy (e. water.
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