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  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

ED: Digitizing the nation

  • Published at 02:47 am January 18th, 2021

As services eventually become fully digitized, we must address digital literacy in the country as well

ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak stating that at least 90% government services in Bangladesh will be digitized by the end of 2021 is very welcome news, and speaks to the progress Bangladesh has made in its digital efforts.

It was back over 12 years ago that the current ruling Awami League party put forward its Digital Bangladesh manifesto and pledged to put greater emphasis on ICT and digitization. Since then, hundreds of government services have been digitized and made available online, along with numerous other steps such as establishing thousands of digital centres across the country, developing various digital platforms, and setting up hi-tech/IT parks for businesses.

As such, while the authorities concerned have much to be proud about, the work is just beginning. It is one thing to make claims and a completely different matter to back them up and follow through. Too often, we have seen that, for a myriad of reasons, we are unable to fulfill our prior commitments, eventually delaying results.

Additionally, as services eventually become fully digitized, we must address digital literacy in the country as well. There is no point in investing time and money into building our digital infrastructure if the people do not benefit from these changes, and instead, are further deprived, creating a greater digital divide.

We hope that all stakeholders responsible for digitizing our services are held accountable, and that we remain on track to complete the digitization process as mentioned by the ICT state minister. We also hope that more attention is paid to ensuring that each and every citizen of Bangladesh becomes a digital citizen -- that will be when we are truly a Digital Bangladesh.

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