Bangladesh has sustained a good track record of growth and development over the past decades. The economy has grown by nearly six percent per annum over the past decade; and has been resilient to the effects of the recent global financial crisis and frequent natural disasters. In addition, the country has made laudable progress on many aspects of human development and is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals for infant and child mortality and gender equality in education. However, development needs remain large and pressing, with around 50 million people still living in poverty.
The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) has developed its Vision 2021 and Sixth Five Year Plan with developmental targets which address some of these major challenges. The GOB’s Sixth Five Year Plan puts an impetus on the use of ICT for improving factor productivity, governance and service delivery, and on the development of the IT industry. The Plan aims to accelerate growth to eight percent per year by 2015; ensure participation, social inclusion and empowerment; promotes good governance; and efficient delivery of public services.
GOB recognizes the need to leverage on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to achieve these ambitious targets and has undertaken a number of significant actions under its Digital Bangladesh program. This program fundamentally seeks to leverage ICT for the country’s next stage of growth and development, and support Bangladesh to achieve middle-income country status by 2021. The GOB’s Sixth Five Year Plan puts an impetus on the use of ICT for improving factor productivity, governance and service delivery, and on the development of the IT industry.
Bangladesh’s ICT industry has developed considerably over the past decade. Telecommunications has generated total industry investments of USD4. 5 billion since 2002, and the industry currently provides about 8 percent of the government’s total revenue per annum. Mobile penetration rates have increased from less than 1 percent in 2002 to 44 percent at the end of 2010, and 98 percent of the country is now covered by a wireless network. The government has also actively promoted its Digital Bangladesh program which has generated high expectations among citizens. However Bangladesh has significant room for improvement. Its IT industry has remained relatively nascent as compared to telecommunications, with total industry output estimated at USD300 million per annum, representing a limited proportion of the country’s total GDP. In addition its e-readiness remains behind global averages – especially in terms of the general population’s ICT skills, perception of the country’s suitability for ICT businesses, supporting infrastructure, and technology foundations for the public and private sector.
The ICT sector of Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing sectors of its economy. Information and communication technology through the use of ICT in Bangladesh has been encouraged by the government endorsing Rupakalpa- 2021. The target has been fixed under this program to achieve economic development and goal attaining the middle-income status by 2021. From the last few decades, ICT is being used in different countries as well as developed countries for the multipurpose use of the country’s economic and social development in order to promote modernization and digitalization. Bangladesh is also following this path way and set this agenda by linking the development country wide.
In this continuous effort, the Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology is separated on 28/04/2011 by two divisions, and Information and Communication Technology Division is one of them. Moreover, the division has been upgraded into ministry on 04/12/2011. The function of the ministry is stated in the Rules of Business as follows :
Policy matters relating to information and communication Technology (ICT) in pursuance of National objectives and plans.
Implementation of recommendations of Digital Bangladesh Task Force and matters relating to national bodies on ICT.
Co-ordination of areas of ICT with other Ministry/Divisions.
Undertaking Promotional activities and financially sponsoring of CIT surveys, research, design and development where necessary in coordination with concerned persons, organizations, national and international agencies.
Commercialization of ICT services and formulation of guidelines for making it easily accessible to the people and observation of its implementation.
Undertaking appropriate steps integrating Bangladesh with the current ICT related development initiatives in the international arena.
Secretariat administration including management of assets (financial, human resource, movable/immovable properties and key point installation).
Matters relating to-
— Bangladesh computer council;
— Hi-Tech Park Authority;
— Office of the Controller of Certifying Authority;
— Administration and control of subordinate offices and organizations.
All laws, rules, circulars on the subjects allotted to this Ministry.
Liaison with International Organizations and matters relating to treaties and agreements with other countries and world bodies relating to subjects allotted to this Ministry.
Inquiries and statistics on any of the subjects allotted to this Ministry.
Undertaking all other measures needed for the promotion of ICT and making its services available at the door steps of the citizen.
All other measures needed for the promotion of ICT and their application to the development and security.
Assistance to other Ministries/Divisions for the promotion of E-Governance, E-Infrastructure, E-Health, E-Commerce and similar other areas.
Initiative on bridging the Digital Divide.
Hence GOB recognizes the need to be holistic in its approach for leveraging ICT, especially with regards to its Sixth Five Year Plan goals for governance, economic growth, and employment creation. This is reflected in its strategic pillars for Digital Bangladesh, which holistically covers (i) Digital Government; (ii) ICT in Business; (iii) Connecting Citizens; and (iv) Human Resource Development. These strategies are encompassed in GOB’s Digital Bangladesh strategy document, which was developed through a highly consultative process by the Prime Minister’s Office. A number of key policy and legal instruments have been approved in the last year in support of Digital Bangladesh – including the ICT Policy 2009, ICT Act, and Right to Information Act etc.
In this context, Government has focused to development of online outsourcing opportunity global wide and thus decided to train the freelancer nationwide to strengthen their skills and awareness. A project is designed in this purpose and the estimated cost of the DPP is finalized by 30567. 42 Lakh Taka in the Departmental Project Evaluation Meeting dated 30.04.2013. The project duration is designed for the period of July’2013 to June’2016 (FY 2013-14 to FY 2015-16) and the project proposal is included in MTBF 2013-2017. The outputs of the project would pave the way of strengthening skill and knowledge of freelancers in online outsourcing significantly in the IT/ICT arena.
Project evaluation committee meeting was held on 18th September 2013 at the Planning commission chaired by Member, SEI Division. According to the decision of the meeting, the DPP was revised and cost of the project is now 18040.00 lac taka. And the implementation period is from November 2013 to June 2016.