Friday 30 October 2020.Time-
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Govt gives highest priority to development of ICT : PM

Dhaka, 17 May, Abnews : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government has given highest priority to the development of the telecommunication and IT sector as there is no alternative to ensuring the free flow of information for building a knowledge-based democratic society. The telecommunication and information technology (IT) has now become one of the main tools for socioeconomic development globally. So, there is no alternative to ensuring the free flow of information for building a knowledge-based democratic society, she said. Post and Telecommunication Minister Advocate Sahara Khatoon chaired the function arranged by the Post and Telecom Ministry. Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the ministry Abdus Sattar was the special guest at the function, while Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Sunil Kanti Bose and Additional Secretary of the Post and Telecom Ministry Dilip Kumar Das also spoke on the occasion.

The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day-2013 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here this morning. This year’s theme of the day is ICTs and Improving Road Safety. The main objectives of the theme are to establish safe road communications system using improved information technology and to utilize the facilities of the ICT in increasing awareness of the passengers, pedestrians and drivers. I think that this type of awareness raising programme would contribute to reduce the road accidents across the world, she said.

The Prime Minister said the telecom and ICT sector has opened the door of immense potentialities for establishment of good governance, alleviation of poverty, elimination of gender discrimination, proper distribution of resources and reaching the basic public services to the remote areas. She said her government has formulated ICT Act and ICT policy in 2009 by declaring the information technology as the thrust sector to achieve its election pledge of building technology- based Digital Bangladesh by 2021.

Sheikh Hasina said the government has attracted domestic and foreign investment in this sector and expanded internet and other ICT services up to village level. She said the government has set up union information and service centres (UISCs) in each union of the country in line with its ‘Digital Bangladesh’ programme. Rural people are now getting 220 services including information about various government forms, notice, passport and visa and news of jobs, results of public examinations and registration for foreign jobs from the UISCs, she said.

The Prime Minister said the people are now doing banking, paying electricity and utility bills, getting the results of soil test on agri-land and purchasing train tickets through mobile phone sitting at home. It has generated employments for a huge number of youths, she said, adding initiatives have been taken to reach 700 e- services to the people in phases through ICT.

Sheikh Hasina said her previous government had brought the mobile phone within the purchasing capacity of the common people by breaking the monopoly on mobile phone business. And this time, we spread its use up to the rural areas, and as a result, now over 10 crore mobile SIM are being used in the country, she mentioned. She said the number of internet users has risen to 3.20 crore as the government reduced bandwidth charge drastically.

The Prime Minister said initiatives have been taken to build a skilled manpower in the ICT sector. Community e-centres have been introduced in all upazilas, while commercial production of optical fiber has begun, she said. She said the country’s tele-density has increased to 67 percent and internet density to 25 percent, while 8,000 rural post offices and 500 upazila post offices have been transformed into e-centres.

Referring to the introduction of 3-G technology by the present government, she said the mobile and internet users are now getting high speed internet service, video call and television programmes through the technology. She expressed her hope that her government could build Digital Bangladesh and ICT knowledge-based nation much before 2021 as there has been massive advancement in the way of building digital divide-free Bangladesh.

The Prime Minister said the government has introduced computer education at primary and junior school, established multimedia classrooms, computer labs, mobile IT labs and converted 325 textbooks into e-books to further enrich the new generation in ICT. She said ICT incubator has been established for flourishing talents in ICT sector. I hope that the ICT-educated generation will innovate new ICT applications which will help expedite the country’s socioeconomic condition, she said.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh became a member of ITU in 1973 with sincere efforts of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangabandhu had inaugurated the Betbunia Earth Satellite Station, the first of its kind in the country, in 1975, she said. She said the present government has taken initiative for launching the country’s first space satellite named ‘Bangabandhu Satellite’. We have already completed the preliminary works to launch the satellite, she said.

The Prime Minister also said the present government has been implementing various steps in order to check road accidents. The measures include turning different roads into four lanes, formation of permanent monitoring team for maintenance of roads and highways, formulation of national safety strategic action plan, introduction of retro-reflective number plate and radio frequency identification tag for vehicles and introduction of digital registration certificate and smart card driving license with electronic chip and training for the drivers.

Stressing the need for creating overall awareness about checking road accidents, Sheikh Hasina said public and private sectors, drivers, passengers and pedestrians — all have the responsibilities to this end. Earlier, the Prime Minister distributed awards and certificates among the winners of online essay competition arranged on the occasion of the World Telecom and Information Society Day.



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