Digital World 2017 Kicks-off
PM asks youths to be ready for tomorrow
Published : Thursday, 7 December, 2017 at 12:00 AM Count : 101
Prime Minister on Wednesday said that she has kept the promise in her election manifesto by turning the country into 'digital Bangladesh'.
"Nobody can deny it that today's Bangladesh is now a 'digital Bangladesh'. We have kept our promise of our election manifesto," she said.
Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League President, made the statement while inaugurating the four-day Digital World expo at Bangabandhu Inter-national Conference Centre in the capital.
'Digital World, 2017' is being held under the auspices of the ICT Division with the slogan 'Ready for Tomorrow" as part of the continual process to ensure the development of Bangladesh through digitalization.
Recalling many to make fun about the announcement of 'Digital Bangladesh' promise in AL election manifesto in 2008, the Prime Minister said, "I do not know how the people feel about it. But I cansay that countrymen are now using more and more digital instruments."
Mentioning that the 'Digital Bangladesh' idea was the brain child of her son and her ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the Prime Minister said, "We have taken significant steps to make the people digitally sound from the grassroots levels. Even the ICT facilities also spread along the Union levels. Rural people are enjoying internet facility."
Highlighting on a number of initiatives, the PM said, "Bangladesh is now the country with the world's largest web portal containing 25,000 websites of
government organizations. The web portal has made information services available to the people."
"In 2009, only eight lakh people had access to internet and after eight years, the number of beneficiaries has increased to eight crore," she said.
At present 130 million people use internet compared to only 40 million in 2009. More than 200 civic services were made available to the people through mobile phone, she added. ICT has made the lives of people easier and comfortable. As well it has created plenty of opportunities to reduce "Digital Divide".
The Prime Minister criticised the then BNP government failing to avail facilities of the submarine cable due to fearing of data theft.
"Now, we have submarine connectivity, we are exporting bandwidth to the neighbouring country too. We will also launch our own 'Bangabandhu' satellite soon," she mentioned.
She urged the countrymen, irrespective of political preferences to come forward for building a prosperous digital Bangladesh.
Urging youths to be 'Ready for Tomorrow' to turn the ICT sector's dream into reality, she said, "We have wielded the youths with latest IT technology. So the world is well within their grip by now and I hope that they will take the country forward and make the dream of Bangabandhu come true."
She also hoped that the ICT sector would be one of the largest contributors to the country's economic development by 2021 as promising youths have shown promising signs.
"Bangladesh's economy is progressing fast with 7.28 percent annual growth. We won't need to have a look at any other sector if we can exploit the potentialities of the ICT," she said.
Her government is making constant efforts to provide the unemployed youths with training and freelancing jobs in the IT sector.
Bangladeshi youths have made their position among the top ten freelancing organizations in the world, and in terms of number of freelancers, Bangladesh is the second largest country in the world.
More than two million Bangladeshi youths are expected to join the ICT sector.
Bangladesh's foreign exchange earnings would reach US$ 5 billion a year from the IT sector by 2021, which is one billion dollar now, the Prime Minister said.
Laying importance on research and innovative activities, she said there is no alternative to build innovative methods and carry out research works in order flourish in the IT sector. The government has been providing grants, stipends and scholarships for research and innovative development in the ICT sector.
A new platform titled "Start-up Bangladesh" has been built and the government has imposed tax waiver on 94 IT components.
Later, organizers introduced Sophia to the PM, an advanced robot and the main attraction of this year's exposition. They exchanged pleasantries and talked about different aspects of ICT advancements in Bangladesh.
The Prime Minister also visited different stalls at the exhibition and witnessed the new innovations in the IT sector at home and abroad.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Post and Telecommunications and Information and Communication Technology Imran Ahmed and President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) Mustafa Jabbar also spoke on the occasion with the State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak in the chair.
Subir Kishore Chowdhury, secretary of the ICT division gave the welcome address while a documentary on the progress in the ICT sector was screened on the occasion.