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Digital Bangladesh and Opportunity

Digital Bangladesh and Opportunity

“Digital Bangladesh” is an integral part as well as the political manifesto of the
present government’s (Bangladesh Awami League) Vision 2021 which
promises a develop and equitable middle-income Bangladesh by its golden
jubilee of independence. The main aim of Digital Bangladesh is to made
Bangladesh a develop country where poverty will be completely plucking up.
The Digital Bangladesh vision, arguably, runs parallel to the Information
Society vision declared by the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS).
The theme of Digital Bangladesh elaborated as a socio-economic
transformation process, enabled by information and communication
technologies (ICTs). In the same year, the Honorable Prime Minister outlined
the Digital Bangladesh having four key priorities–
(a) Developing human resources ready for the 21 st century;
(b) Connecting citizens in ways most meaningful to them;
(c) Taking services to citizens’ doorsteps; and,
(d) Making the private sector and market more productive and competitive
through the use of s digital technology. Hence, it was only natural that the
6 th Five Year Plan (6FYP) places an equal importance to Digital
Bangladesh as part of the nation’s development strategy.
During the 6FYP period, the country has made important strides in utilizing
technology to bring in tangible transformation in all four areas mentioned by
the Prime Minister. Progress made in ringing government services to the
doorsteps of citizen is probably the area where Bangladesh registered most
significant progress. Vertical (with government ministries and agencies) and
horizontal (i.e., with citizens) policy advocacy and development interventions
have resulted in a number of citizen centric initiatives and services such as
multimedia classroom and teacher led education content development in
public schools, mobile phone-based health service from Upazila Health
Complex, agricultural and other livelihood information and services
Digital Bangladesh is one of the nation's dreams, and so special priority is
given on the application of digital technologies to realize Vision 2021, which
we commonly call Digital Bangladesh. By 2021, after 50 years of
independence, our goal is to be a middle-income country with peace,
prosperity and dignity. The government of Bangladesh implemented a large
number of projects relating to digital technologies and a number of these are
already underway. National ICT Policy-2009 was developed with a view to
achieve middle-income status of the nation by 2021 and developed status by
2041.

As per the National ICT Policy-2009, short-term, mid-term and long-term
plans comprising of 306 action plans have been identified for the realization
of Vision 2021. Digital Bangladesh is an issue regarding which there is no
conflict or difference of opinion between the government and the people – all
are working hand-in-hand for its realization.
The slogan of “Digital Bangladesh” of the Government of Bangladesh has
special significance for national development. Digital Bangladesh with Vision
2021 is a big spur for the use of digital technology in the country. In spite of
several bottlenecks and limitations, works are in progress for the realization of
Digital Bangladesh. Several projects for digitalization have been completed
and a big number of projects are under progress. In January, 2020 the nation
now, with over 15.69 crore mobile subscribers and 9.92 crore (source-
http://www.btrc.gov.bd/) Internet subscribers, enjoys the fruits of digitization
in numerous areas of activities. According to the GSM Association,
Bangladesh has the potential to be the 10th largest internet using country in
the world by 2020.
The ultimate aim of Digital Bangladesh is to make more and more services
available at the doorsteps of the people of Bangladesh with increased
digitalization where possible.
A few examples of available digital services are: registration for admission to
academic institutions, publication of results of examinations, registration for
jobs abroad, registration of pilgrimage, collection of official forms, online
submission of tax returns, online tendering, etc. Online banking systems have
sped up the financial activities of the country. SMS services for lodging
complaints to police stations, online bill payments for utility services, instant
communication with persons working abroad, and e-passport are some more
example.
Telemedicine services, videoconferencing for the treatment of diseases, and
video conferencing for administrative activities are examples of e-services
available to rural Bangladesh. Setting up of nearly five thousand Union
Information Service Canters is a great boost for Digital Bangladesh,
especially for rural areas. Turning eight thousand village post offices and
approximately five hundred upazila post offices into e-centers and the
introduction of mobile money order and postal cash cards are significant
achievements in the recent past. Union Information Centers, District
Information Cells, National Information Cell are also revolutionary additions.
Deputy Commissioner Offices in districts and UNO offices in upazilas
provide a large number of e-services to remote areas’ clients. Direct digital
services eliminate middlemen and save both time and money. Without such

online services, our cities and towns would have turned into difficult places to
live in.
Internet services require radical improvement in terms of speed. Starting from
e-commerce, the internet is used for numerous applications and a higher speed
for internet services is of great significance for rapid economic growth. Most
nations of the world now give special emphasis on the improvement of
Internet speeds. Average internet speed of users is above 10 Mbps in many
countries (South Korea: 25.3 Mbps, Hong Kong: 16.03 Mbps, Japan: 15
Mbps).
It is encouraging that the ICT Division of the Ministry of Posts,
Telecommunications and Information Technology has undertaken all-out
efforts for the development of ICT human resources through countrywide
training. Some examples of these trainings include Learning and Earning,
Training for Mobile Apps, Leveraging ICT for Growth, Employment and
Governance Project, and ITES Foundation Skills Training. Special emphasis
is given to ICT education up to high school. Also, the ICT policy is being
updated to face new trends. Ambitious projects like development of the
National ICT Infrastructure for Bangladesh Government (Info Sarkar),
National Data Centre and IT Parks will bring about radical improvements in
e-services, e-governance and software development in the country.
The country has seen elucidative swelling in internet connectivity, mobile
phone usage, IT export earnings and use of ICT in education and
accessibility of public services, driven by extensive digitization in the public
and private sectors and policy support.
3.1 Opportunities in creating jobs
ICT training by the government has opened a new opportunity in youth
employment through outsourcing.
A study conducted by Oxford University shown, Bangladesh is now home to
around 16.8% of all outsourced online workers in the world, a rate that is
second only to India, at 24.6%.
Under the Professional Outsourcing Training Program, the government has
set a target for training 13,000 unemployed people in three key ICT areas:
graphic design, web design and development, and digital marketing.
Of the range, a total of 11,920 people has already completed their training.
The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in Bangladesh is growing at
breakneck speed. The export revenue of the BPO industry has been growing
rapidly. At present, the industry employs more than 1.15 million skilled
Bangladeshi workers.
3.2 Towards universal access

Almost all services including those related to education, health- nutrition,
agriculture, birth-registration, allowances under social protection programs
are now easily and comfortably delivered to the doorsteps of intended
beneficiaries through union information centers at union level, e-service
centers in DC offices, e-centers in 147 upazilas and village post offices and
254 agricultural information centers.
As many as 18,434 government offices including 58 ministries or divisions,
240 government departments and 64 DC offices of the country are now
connected with an integrated network.
A total of 883 video conferencing systems have been installed for live
communication, sending messages and information, and conducting meetings.
As part of the agenda of Digital Bangladesh, the government is trying to
ensure greater transparency in its work through measures such as the
introduction of e-filing in government offices, application of e-GP in
government procurement.
3.3 Massive IT infrastructure
The government has already planned to establish 12 IT parks at the district
headquarters of Gopalganj, Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Rangpur and Barisal,
Keraniganj in Dhaka, Comilla Sadar (South), Chittagong Port, Ramu in Cox’s
Bazaar, Singra in Natore, Companiganj in Sylhet, and the KUET Campus in
Khulna.
Around 8,000 km of optical fiber cable has been placed throughout the
country. A second submarine cable has been placed in Kuakata through which
Bangladesh will get 1,500GB/s bandwidth.
The government has facilitated the growth of mobile banking, which launched
in 2010. At the end of May 2019, the average daily transactions through
mobile banking amounted for more than Tk1,058 crore.
The latest achievement of Bangladesh is to enter to the space age through
successful launching of the first ever satellite into space on 11th May, 2018,
which gave Bangladesh a newer height in using information technology.
A Bangladeshi communications satellite named “Bangabandhu Satellite-1”
was launched into orbit on May 11 from the Kennedy Space Center in
Florida.
The satellite expands coverage over Bangladesh and its territorial waters in
the Bay of Bengal, and can reach India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the
Philippines, Indonesia and parts of Central Asia.

3.4 Outsourcing and Its opportunity
Bangladesh is one of the world’s fastest growing countries in IT industry right
now. Our skilled youths are the ones that changing the lifestyles and
viewpoint of our society. While unemployment is hitting youths hard,
outsourcing and freelancing have emerged with the changing outlook on
empowering the youths.
With the consecration of modern web and internet access to the most part of
the country, way of chances and opportunities have grown much. The
government has been motivating people to get more engaged in freelancing
jobs than sitting lethargic and deterioration of time thinking of small number
of opportunities in the ruthless physical job market. Outsourcing in
Bangladesh is becoming another source of incoming foreign remittance.
3.4.1 How Outsourcing work or to Get Works as Freelancers
Nowadays all businesses have crossed beyond a country’s domestic border.
One can select to hire and lend jobs over the geographical boundaries and
flourishing more chances. Outsourcing to distant workers can provide great
benefits for SMEs and also there are many compatible individuals as well as
organizations who can be trustworthy sources to make sure the work’s getting
done.
According to BASIS (Bangladesh Association for Software and Information
Services), there are more than 5.5 lacs freelancers from Bangladesh are
working in through variant freelance marketplaces. These experienced
freelancers are outsourcing their expertise to the whole world and are also
transforming skills they are making a new expectation for Bangladesh to
stand among the other potent tech-skill exporting countries.
There are several freelancing and multitude sourcing marketplace from where
freelancers can easily began working and organizations can find the people
for outsourcing the work. For example, to name a few there is-
1. Freelancer- https://www.freelancer.com/ -who claims to be the
“World’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace”.
2. Upwork- https://www.upwork.com/ – whose tagline is “To connect
businesses with great talent to work without limits.”
3. Toptal- https://www.toptal.com/ – who claims to connect “The top 3%
of freelance talent all over the world.”
And there are also several freelance marketplaces like the above, where both
freelancers and people who look for outsource their skill can get benefited.
Daily earnings of Bangladeshi freelancers from several marketplaces crosses
10 million BDT per day in total. Internet outsourcing in Bangladesh is thus

holding a bright future.

3.4.2 Works for Outsourcing Companies-
ď‚· Software Development;
ď‚· Web & Mobile App Development;
ď‚· Financial Accounting Outsourcing (FAO);
ď‚· Mobile Apps Developments;
ď‚· Back office Management;
ď‚· Data Entry;
ď‚· IT Solutions;
ď‚· Mobile/Web Application Maintenance
ď‚· Application Modernization Services
ď‚· Client Managed Dedicated Development Teams

3.5 Tax Exemption in IT Sector
Bangladesh’s government is giving a lot of subsidiaries, incentives even tax
exemption in the IT industry so that investor and young generation can show
their interest in this sector. According to Finance Act 2019, government has
kept many ways to give incentives or tax exemption if anyone wants to
establish an ICT park or HI-TECH park. The procedure and rate of getting tax
exemption and incentives in establishing ICT and HI-TECH parks are
elaborately described in chapter 8.

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