Bangladesh is resounding with the target of achieving of digital Bangladesh. In the election days, AL, one of the major political parties. First declared vision 2021 with the aim to develop Bangladesh into a digital country by the next decade BNP another big political party, also added that they started the program in their tenure and will complete it earlier. more than a month ago, the Bangladesh computer council also organized a computer fair with the theme digital Bangladesh a country goes digital also organized a computer fair with the theme digital Bangladesh 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.
It is easy to speak such a dream, but are we committed to achieve this dream? One of the reasons why our country didn’t become digital by this time is because of lack of commitment on the part of our political leaders.
The landslide victory of Awami League in the last election has given the new given the new government of Sheikh Hasina an enormous of meeting people’s aspirations. Different analyses of the electoral results have revealed that he young generation who consist of more than one third of the voters had indeed brought this overwhelming victory for AL. with many other reasons. Implicitly it can be inferred that voters of this generation while exercising their franchise considered party manifestos seriously. Presumably the visionary approach of AL’s manifesto, entitled `a charter for change’ might have allured the young voters much especially it’s “Vision 2021” which envisions a “digital Bangladesh”.
Broadly speaking, a digital society ensures an ICT driven knowledge-based society where information will be readily available on line and where all possible tasks of the government. semi-government and also private spheres will be processed using the modern technology. So, a digital Bangladesh must guarantee efficient and effective use of modem ICT in all spheres of the society with a view to establishing good governance.
Due to globalization, Bangladesh has already been connected with the outside world. Yet in the field of ICT our only grand success lies in mobile telecommunication which has brought an abrupt change in telecommunication scenario of the country. However, in the other spheres of ICT, our achievement is very insignificant and we are still far away from transforming ourselves into a knowledge-based society.
Building strong ICT infrastructure is the pre-requisite for making Bangladesh a digital one. For this, we need to focus on the following relevant issues assessing the harsh reality that hinders our development in this context.
- Power deficit: Latest statistics reveal that Bangladesh faces a power deficit of up to 2000 MW against a demand of 5000MW daily. It may be noted that for proper ICT development an uninterrupted power supply is a must.
- Network infrastructure: Outside Dhaka at present a few computer network infrastructures have been developed so far. Apart from some educational institutes outside Dhaka, observation finds that most of the LAN set ups are Dhaka centric. This observation reveals the reality of the digital gap even within the country.
- Use of Internet: for the ICT development internet users of the country must be increased. In this case our position is the worst one among the South Asian countries. The latest statistics (ITU, 2007) Revealed that Internet penetration in our country is only 0.3% whereas, in Pakistan and India, It is 7.3% and 5.3% respectively.
- Use of open source software: Many countries (e.g. France and Malaysia) have started to use open source software in ICT development projects for cost effectiveness. Unfortunately in our ICT development domain the culture of using open source has not yet been introduced.
- English literacy rate: From different sources it has been learnt that. English literacy rate in Bangladesh is less than one percent. In the arena of ICT English has become the lingua-Franca. Unfortunately, In this case our position is the worst in the sub-continent. For making a digital Bangladesh by 2021, the government must address the above stated issues effectively and efficiently in transparent manners. Moreover, the journey towards a digital Bangladesh needs the incorporation of the technologically solvent innovative younger generation. If the leaders of our country objectively guide this generation they can do wonder for the nation.
Finally, Bangladesh is actually a digital Bangladesh. The near future, I hope that our country would move forward with the technical aspects of Bangladesh, really. In the current trend continues, if possible.