Vision 2021: Digital Bangladesh is the result of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government’s pledge to make Bangladesh a middle-income country, particularly influential in the information, communication and technology (ICT) sector, by 2021.
The roadmap for this technological advancement focuses on four elements: human resource development, people involvement, civil services and use of information technology in business. The initiative is already taking shape and gaining global attention.
The inauguration of the first Bangladesh-assembled laptop, called Doel, in October by the Prime Minister heralded a major step forward in widening access to ICT across the country.
At the launch, the Prime Minister highlighted the various steps the government has taken for the advancement of Bangladesh through launching web portals, setting up e-centres at district levels and withdrawing tax on computers.
Publicly owned Telephone Shilpa Sangstha (TSS) has been assigned to manufacture the cut-price computers and has so far made 6,000 laptops and netbooks for sale. The product range comprises one laptop and three netbook models. The netbooks are cheaper and have lower specifications than their laptop counterpart and prices for the Doel computers range between Tk 10,000 and TK 26,000 (£85-£220), depending on their configuration.
A month later, at the opening of the One-Stop Service Centre in Dhaka on November 14, 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remarked: “Digital Bangladesh is becoming a reality [...] And that is what people across Bangladesh can see with their own eyes.
“Vital services are being provided quickly and affordably. Modern electronic systems have replaced century-old, heavily bureaucratic manual administrative practices.
“Women have new venues for empowerment. Cutting out middlemen reduces corruption. And instead of travelling long distances for such services, people in all 64 districts now have, as the slogan so aptly puts it, service at their doorsteps.”