Mostafa Kamal Majumder
People from any corner of Bangladesh now have cyber access to the world through smart phones or computers. They can make business deals, transactions, and know of well-beings of near and dear ones across continents by using the information superhighway at finger-tips. Phenomenal development of the country in information and communication technology (ICT) has made this possible.
Over the years, revolutionary developments in the ICT arena have contributed to the improvement of the speed of work and unleashed the creative potentials of people who are in the race to catch up with developments that are taking place in different fields in the globe. Although ‘Digital Bangladesh’ was one of the election pledges of the present government made before the 2009 elections, the pioneer in the field was Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan who had joined the government in 2001 only after renaming the information ministry as ICT ministry. Under his leadership and direction most of the government offices and department were not only computerised and connected to the information superhighway but also important government information and documents including the Constitution and laws were placed in the website. Earlier government’s progress in the area was at a rudimentary stage though the basic infrastructure has been created.
The present government has expanded enormously on the work and has created nearly 5000 cyber centres named ‘digital centres’ at Union Parishad, Municipality and City Corporation wards.
About 60 millions cell phones are in circulation. Of those 40 million are said used also for cyber communication. This speaks of the size and magnitude of the benefits of the development in the field of information and communication technology that the people are getting. People transfer money using mobile phones taking advantage of online banking. There are thousands of cyber cafes all over. Government and private offices, libraries and social organisations have been computerised and connected to the Internet. These have created scope for access to the digital world for those who do not have computers or smart phones.
An information-based society that has thus been created is contributing to speeding up business, economic, cultural and social activities. The mass media have adopted revolutionary digital changes in news and programme transmission. Through video conference people are making live communications while the administration is giving important briefings to line agencies and field offices. The government functionaries are from time to time inaugurating development activities in far-flung districts by sitting in Dhaka through video conferences.
Taking advantage of the huge improvements in communication technology cyber crimes have also started spreading, and have made law enforcement units to open new units to deter those. Access of cyber space to all however in a way by itself would be a check on abuse of the technology. The process is expected to empower all people to play their part and further accelerate development, progress and prosperity.
Mostafa Kamal Majumder