1780Published on December 12, 2022
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government is working to transform the country into a "Smart Bangladesh" from a digital one by 2041.
"We will build Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous country by 2041. That Bangladesh will be a Smart Bangladesh. We will transform into Smart Bangladesh from the digital one," she said.
The premier said her government is working to successfully implement the four bases of building a "Smart Bangladesh" which included making smart citizens, a smart economy, a smart government and smart society.
In Smart Bangladesh, everything will be done through technology where the citizens will be efficient in using technology and the entire economy will be run through technology, she said.
She added that a huge task has already been done to make the government as well as society smart.
Describing the young generation as soldiers in transforming Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous country by 2041, she said, "You (youths) will have to prepare yourselves as smart citizens being soldiers of 2041."
The prime minister said this while addressing a programme as the chief guest marking the Digital Bangladesh Dibos-2022 and distributing prizes among the winners of the online quiz competition and Digital Bangladesh Puruskar (award)-2022.
At the programme, she also inaugurated the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib High-Tech Park in Rajshahi, having Joy Silicon Tower, Bangabandhu Digital Museum and a Cineplex and Sheikh Kamal Information Communication Training and Incubation Centre in Barishal district.
The Information and Communication Technology Division organised the function at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the capital city with the theme "Advanced Technology, Inclusive Development."
The prime minister also unveiled the cover of digital and print versions of two books on Sheikh Kamal and Digital Bangladesh.
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Affairs Ministry AKM Rahmatullah spoke at the function.
Senior Secretary of Information and Communication Technology Division NM Zeaul Alam gave the address of welcome.
The theme song of the Digital Bangladesh Dibos-2022, marking 14 years of building a digital Bangladesh, was also screened alongside broadcasting an audio-visual documentary on Digital Bangladesh.
On 12 December 2008, Sheikh Hasina made the announcement of the initiative to build a digital Bangladesh as the main premise of "Vision 2021."
Sheikh Hasina said her government has built Digital Bangladesh under the guidance of her only son and her (PM's) ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy in line with the Awami League's election manifesto of 2008.
To transform digital Bangladesh, she said they enhanced information and communication technology capacity and reached every village including remote areas, which help run Bangladesh successfully even during the Covid-19 pandemic period.
"Think what might have happened in the country if it was not for Digital Bangladesh during the Coronavirus period. Everything might be stalled. But, our no work was halted as we had made Digital Bangladesh," she said.
The prime minister said her government had been able to continue everything virtually such as development work by holding weekly ECNEC meetings, classes of the educational institutes, the process of the courts and healthcare services through telemedicine thanks to Digital Bangladesh.
She said her government has been transferring money for stipends and scholarships to mothers of 2.53 crore students of primary, secondary and higher secondary and allowances under the social safety net programmes to the recipients through mobile phones.
The prime minister briefly described her government's measures to transform Bangladesh into a developed one.
She said they have first built 4,500 digital centres across the country which now stands at 8,800 alongside giving bandwidth with connection to every village and exempting tax and vat on computer accessories and setting up high-tech parks and incubation centres.
The premier said her government has taken initiatives to make digital over 18,000 community clinics across the country to reach healthcare services to people's doorsteps easily.
She said her government has lowered the price of bandwidth to ensure internet access to every person and gave mobile phones to the public, adding that currently 18 crore SIMs are being used and 13 crore people have access to the internet.
Sheikh Hasina urged the youths to be entrepreneurs to take proper training on ICT and avail advantage of the various government measures including start-up programmes and generate employment for others leaving the run-after jobs.
The premier heavily came down on Khaleda Zia for not connecting to the submarine cable link free of cost on the plea of stealing Bangladesh's information in 1992 despite neighbouring India and Myanmar grabbing the opportunity.
She also criticised Khaleda Zia for cancelling an agreement made by the first Awami League government to import 10,000 Tulip brand laptops from the Netherlands government at half price.
She said someone convinced Khaleda Zia that Sheikh Rehana (sister of Sheikh Hasina) was the owner of the company and the laptop was named after her (Sheikh Rehana's) daughter Tulip.
For which, the Bangladesh government had to give Tk 32 crore as compensation after losing a legal battle as the Netherlands government filed a case against the cancellation, she added.
The prime minister said her government is working tirelessly to transform Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous country by implementing the Vision-2041 as they already executed the Vision-2021 making Bangladesh into a developing nation within the stipulated time.
To make Bangladesh a developed country, she said her government is working in line with the 20-year-long perspective plan 2021-2041.
She also said that they have also implemented Delta Plan-2100 to ensure a developed and beautiful life for generation after generation confronting the impacts of climate change.
Despite the world facing an economic recession due to the Russia-Ukraine war, sanctions and counter-sanctions, Sheikh Hasina vowed to transform Bangladesh into a developed nation by 2041.
The prime minister said inflations have increased manifold due to the war and Great Britain-like countries had to declare that they are facing an economic meltdown.
"By the grace of Allah, we have been able to continue rolling the wheels of our economy despite the fact," she said.
The premier reiterated her call to all in bringing every inch of land under cultivation to face the looming food crisis.
She said her government has ensured electricity for all although many places in Europe, England and America have failed to give enough electricity to their nationals.
The premier said family members in many countries even have to stay in one room by using a room-hitter due to a shortage of power.
"We had to face trouble for power in our country for a few days. But, we are now providing electricity to all without depriving anyone as we have been able to achieve the capability," she added.