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Saturday, February 21, 2009

National Policy on ICT : Bangladesh

Abbreviations & Acronyms
ADP Annual Development Program
BAC Bureau of Anti-Corruption
BCC Bangladesh Computer Council
BIT Bangladesh Institute of Technology
BTRC Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission
CD Compact Disc
ERD Economic Relations Division
GIS Geographic Information System
HRD Human Resource Development
ICT Information Communication Technology
IT Information Technology
LAN Local Area Network
MOSICT Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology
MW Micro Wave
NAPE National Academy for Primary Education
NBR National Board of Revenue
NII National Information Infrastructure
PDB Power Development Board
PTI Primary Teachers Training Institute
R&D Research & Development
REB Rural Electrification
TTC Teachers Training College
UHF Ultra High Frequency
VAT Value Added Tax
VOIP Voice Over inter net Protocol
WAN Wide Area Network
WLL Wireless Local Loop

1.0 Preamble

1.1 Information Communication Technology (ICT) encompasses the broad fields of data/information processing, transmission and Communications by means of computer and telecommunication techniques and these modern tools are being increasingly used for organizational/personal information processing in all sectors of economy and society. This document presents the policy guidelines for the development of the ICT sector in Bangladesh.

1.2 A dependable information system is essential for efficient management and operation of the public and private sectors. But there is a shortage of locally generated information needed for efficient performance of these sectors. In order to meet this objective, ICT use in every sector shall have to be accelerated in terms in terms of information generation, utilization and applications. Considering the gravity and importance of ICT Hon'ble Prime Minister has already declared ICT as the thrust sector.

1.3 Over the last few years, many nations have taken advantage of the opportunities afforded by ICT within a policy framework, laid down guidelines and proceeded with formulation of a national ICT strategy as a part of the overall national development plan. Bangladesh intends to use ICT as the key-driving element for socioeconomic development.

2.0 Vision and Objectives

2.1 Vision
This Policy aims at building an ICT -driven nation comprising of knowledge based society by the year 2006. In view of this, a country-wide ICT infrastructure will be developed to ensure access to information by every citizen to facilitate empowerment of people and enhance democratic values and norms for sustainable economic development by using the infrastructure for human resources development, governance, e-commerce, banking, public utility services and all sorts of on-line ICT enabled service.

2.2 Objectives

2.2.1 In order to give a thrust to the ICT sector and expeditious development of Software industry and its export required infrastructure facilities and legal frameworks will be created.

2.2.2 Provide effective incentives for development of ICT sector to both local and foreign entrepreneurs:

2.2.3 Develop an efficient ICT infrastructure that provides open access to international and national network;

2.2.4 Promote and facilitate use of ICT in all sectors of the economy for transparency, good governance and efficiency improvement;

2.2.5 Establish legislative and regulatory framework for ICT issues like IPR, data security and protection, digital signature, e-Commerce, ICT education etc. as well as to ensure quality ICT education provided by different private organizations;

2.2.6 Set up national database that are reliable and easily accessible to all the people of the country;

2.2.7 Promote use of ICT by providing special allocations for ICT project implementation in the public sector. Train the decision markers in ICT use and promote a ICT culture;

2.2.8 Develop a large pool of world class ICT professionals to meet the needs of local and global markets.

2.2.9 Set up a very high quality ICT institution to continuously promote and foster ICT Industry.

2.2.10 Enact Laws and Regulations for uninterrupted growth of ICT, in conformity with World Trade Organization (WTO) stipulations.

3.0 Policy Statements

3.1 Training and Human Resources Development

Bangladesh must prepare itself to complete effectively in the global ICT market. As the demand for skilled manpower in ICT is growing world-wide, the country needs to produce a large number of ICT professionals. The specific policy statements are:

3.1.1 Widespread introduction of ICT education in public and private educational institutions is a prerequisite for producing skilled ICT manpower. Facilities shall be built to promote ICT training and computer aided training at all levels of education including Primary Schools and Madrasahs. Donor agencies, non-government organizations and other development partners of the countryshall be encouraged to help build the necessary capacity in this area.

3.1.2 Universities, Bangladesh Institutes of Technology and Colleges, both in the public and private sectors, shall be strengthened to produce ICT graduates four-year Computer Science and/or Engineering courses. Necessary resources will be allocated to these institutions.

3.1.3 Out of three Science and Technology Universities proposed in the Five Year Development Plan, one will be established as centre of excellence in ICT by giving higher allocation of respires.

3.1.4 Establish multimedia institutes up to district level to start with to produce skilled human resources to exploit the opportunity offered by the growing multimedia-market.

3.1.5 Diploma and Trade Certificate in ICT will be offered in both public and private institutes including Polytechnics. The continual skill upgrading of existing professional working in public and private sectors shall be ensured by in-service training programmes. 3.1.6 The shortage of trained and qualified teachers and trainer for ICT training in bottleneck to the HRD plan. To address the issue, It Capacity-Building of the Teachers Training Institutes (TTI) including TTCs, NAPE, PTI will be taken up. To teach the teachers and trainers, intensive postgraduate diploma courses will be introduced in TTIs. Training programmes to train and retrain them periodically to keep them up-to-date with the technological progress in the area of ICT will be introduced. ICT literacy will be a desirable requirement in the requirement and selection of teachers. Divisional training centers of BCC will provide TOT (Training for the Trainers) to build up sufficient number of skilled trainers.

3.1.7 As it would be difficult to train teachers in ICT in large number using the present infrastructure, deploy virtual ICT trainers wherever possible. CD and web based courseware development and use shall be encouraged to promote computer-aided education at all level of education.

3.1.8 To address the issue of deficiency in English and mathematics education, a crash programme shall be taken up to train eachers. To ensure standard and quality of ICT education, a national certification and accreditation system shall be developed and implemented.

3.1.9 take up programmes to develop quality ICT professionals and skilled personnel to ensure success in the global software and ICT Enabled services market. Encourage and support formal and informal sector to adopt internationally accepted standards in training programs and to introduce globally acceptable standards.
3.1.10. Use the potential of ICT for delivery of distance education to help stretch the country's limited teaching resources and ensure quality education to all.

3.1.11 Qualified and skilled teachers will be brought in from abroad in the fields where local teachers are not available.

3.1.12. Syllabus and Course Curricula for all levels of Computer Science training will be updated continuously.

3.2 ICT Infrastructure 3.2.1 To ensure capacity building of the nation in the field of Information Technology and to attain a sustainable growth of the ICT sector of Bangladesh and to help compete in the expanding global ICT market, Ministry of Science and information & Communication Technology and BCC should be appropriately strengthened.

3.2.2 To support the growing demand of the ICT sector, appropriate ICT infrastructure to be established immediately both in public and private sector, as telecommunication infrastructure is an integral part of ICT, so the telecommunication sector should be deregulated and made open to private sector investors as early as possible.

3.2.3 Development of telecommunication infrastructure should be considered as infrastructure Development Industries like Development of Road, Electricity, Power, Computer/ICT Industry etc.

3.2.4. In order to establish direct connectivity with international information and communication backbone Bangladesh will join Fiber Optic Submarine Cable Network. 3.2.5 As telecommunication infrastructure {Telephone Exchange, Towers, Radio/Telephone Transmission Lines etc.} are similar to electric power infrastructure {Generator, Pylons, Power Grid and Gas Transmission Lines}, so Customs Duty & Tax etc. should be amended accordingly in the same line.

3.2.6 Cellular telephone handsets are being increasingly used as terminals for emailing and other ICT uses. Customs duty and tax etc. of cellular mobile telephone handsets should be brought down to a reasonable level.

3.2.7 The use of ICT and information services should be affordable to the people; and therefore the cost (and hence the price) of carriage. Infrastructure & Services should be provided by a multiplicity of enterprises like the BTTB, Bangladesh Railways PDB, REB, etc.

3.2.8. Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) as resources like land, MW/UHF Towers all over the country which would be encouraged to be used by the private sector companies for augmenting information Infrastructure. BTRC should take the eadership to coordinate the activities of Public Utility sectors [BTTB, PDB, Gas, Railway etc.] and make their existing dormant/underutilized infrastructure and resources (land, Microware/UHF Towers building, Radio Towers, power pylons, cooperation between BTTB, Railways, PDB, REB Power Grid Company, Oil and Gas Companies, etc., which have right of way and infrastructure to build digital microwave and optical fiber based photonic information transport systems for use by ICT services providers.
3.2.9 BTTB should cooperate with Private Licensed ICT Service providers to transform its underutilized resources into countrywide Information Infrastructure on commercial basis To this end, BTTB should make joint venture agreements with Private Lincensed ICT service providers where BTTB will make available its resources like land, Microeave/UHF Towers, Cable Duct etc. on a commercial basis under existing rules and practice. The Licensed Private ICT service providers shall province necessary finance and technology to construct countrywide National Information Infrastructure (NII) for use of all Telecommunication and Internet ServiceProviders (ISP).

3.2.10. BTTB will increasingly shift its role from Service provider to individual subscribers Infrastructure Provider to all other Telecommunication Service Providers and ISPs on commercial basis.

3.2.11 Socio-economic development can be accelerated if more people can have access to information. Tele-density is important in this respect and it will be increased to broaden the coverage, which will improve the socio-economic condition of the people through ICT-related activities in line with experience of developed countries.

3.2.12 Basis telecommunication facilities will be extended to the rural and under-served areas to bring the greater mass into the stream of ICT activities both by the public and private sector.

3.2.13 Advanced and new technologies will be introduced to expand the existing network and will be extended gradually to the rural and under served areas. 3.2.14 Telecommunication facility will be made available to all segments of the society and all of the present and emerging services will be provided at an affordable cost.

3.2.15 To provide dial-up Internet access from local telephone calls ISPs will be provided with relevant technological facilities.

3.2.16 The Internet facility will be extended to all the district headquarters and subsequently to its adjacent area up to Upzila levels. Internet will be provided to the educational institutions and libraries.

3.2.17 To ensure public access to information, Cyber Kiosks will be set up in all Post offices, Union complex and Upzila complex. Private sector participation will be encouraged to set up these facilities.

3.2.18 to support the installation of ISPs in the country national high speed communication backbone for Internet will be developed and international high-speed gateway facilities for ISPs will be provided on commercial basis.

3.2.19 Inter-ISP communication in time consuming and costly as there is no Internet exchange in the country at present. The roblem will be solved by establishing Internet exchange.

3.2.20 An integrated flexible and reliable nation-wide information communication network capable of voice, audio, video, data and graphics transmission will be ensured. National Information Infrastructures will be developed and it will be directly connected to Global Information Infrastructure through Information superhighway to create, collect and sell software and provide ICT enable services to the world-market through involvement of both the public a private sectors.

3.2.21 To improve the quality of present telecommunication services and to help provide value added services analog telephone-switches and transmission link of the existing telephone network will be replaced by digital switches and digital transmission link as early as possible.

3.2.22 The bandwidth capacity and availability will be ensured all over the country at a reasonable cost to encourage the growth of Internet, ICT industries, e-Commerce and e-Governance. 3.2.23 Development of local technological capabilities through local ICT industry will be emphasized. The service component of the ICT industry will be emphasized. The service component of the ICT industry will be conducted by local private firms, in association with foreign firms as and where possible.

3.2.24 Hi-Tech Zones will be established through technology transfer with the cooperation of foreign companies and Bangladeshis working abroad. Software Technology Park with dedicated and advanced data communication facilities shall be established and software development and export companies will be encouraged to set up workspace in those parks at preferential terms.

3.2.25 A central depository for collection and dissemination of ICT information and research findings will be developed. This will be done under a network, connecting all university libraries and research organization to this central depository, which is turn will be connected to the Internet.

3.2.26 Solar power will be encouraged specially in those inaccessible areas where use of ICT is constrained due to lack of lectricity.

3.2.27 Use of VoIP and WLL (Wireless Local Loop) technologies will be reviewed and realistic measures taken thereafter.

3.3 Research and Development in ICT

3.3.1 Research and development in ICT will focus on need-based fundamental and applied research contributing to the improvement of quality and efficiency of the application to our ICT industry.

3.3.2 Bangladesh Computer Council will encourage ICT R&D activities carried out by the public and private sector organizations.

3.3.3 BCC along with ICT industries will assist in formulating plans to conduct need-based R&D activities in the Universities, BITs and public & private sector R&D institutions and encourage the younger generation in these activities. The ICT industry may fund for R&D activities for new ICT products and services through Industry Academia collaboration.

3.3.4 A central on-line data bank for scientific and technological information will be established, which can be accessed by educational institutions and other R&D organizations.

3.3.5 R&D efforts on Bangla text processing, Bangla voice recognition, translation and synthesis will be intensified.

3.3.6 Technology Corporations such as Microsoft, IBM, Computer Associated, Oracle, SAP etc. will be approached to set up their R&D Centers in Bangladesh.

3.3.7 Contents for Internet and Intranet will be developed in Bangla.

3.4 ICT Industry

3.4.1 Software Industry To develop and encourage the local software industry, price preference may be given to locally developed software in all public and private sector procurement. In order to assist fast development of local Software Industries, Government will set up an ICT Incubator. The government will extend start-up financial support to the local software industry. Non-Resident Bangladeshis and experts will be encouraged to set up software development companies. The associations of software companies and developers should be encouraged to exchange ideas, experience and organize collective operations such as seminars, training, etc. and take part in trade delegations and trade shows for acquaintance with the international market, trends and establishment of business contacts. The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) and Commercial wing of Bangladesh Missions abroad and in countries where there is not commercial Wing, the Embassies shall take vigorous steps to identify and explore markets for export of software, data entry services and ICT-enabled services from Bangladesh, including promotion of strategic partnership and outsourcing opportunities. Joint ventures between local and foreign entrepreneurs in the ICT sector will be vigorously promoted. An annual target of 2 (two) billion US dollars from earnings of export of software, data entry and IT-enabled services shall be planned up to year 2006. The target shall be revised periodically to match the growth of the market.

3.4.2 Hardware Industry Hardware industry often requires a huge capital investment and entrepreneurs shall be encouraged to establish production facilities for components, peripherals and accessories with joint venture cooperation and technology transfer agreements. Foreign owned and multinational companies, who will establish such production facilities in Bangladesh and employ our workforce, shall be offered special incentives. IT/ICT Laboratories and resource center in universities and other concerned institutions will be set up to develop skilled manpower required to establish and run hardware industry. Since the local market is still small, the hardware industry may target the export market. Dependence on foreign materials should be reduced where possible by giving incentives to local companies and protecting them from unfavorable competition. Local institutions and R&D organizations shall also be encouraged for research, design, and manufacturing of specialized informatics equipment.

3.4.3 Services Industry Bangladesh, having the advantage of cost-effective labour, must endeavor for expansion and export of ICT -enable services such as medical transcription, data entry, data processing, call centers etc. at home and abroad. NGOs interested to contribute for the expansion of ICT sector will be provided with facilities.

3.5 E-Commerce
3.5.1 The Government and the private sector will promote business in electronic medium and create and environment in which it will be well secured. Government will take initiative to introduce and promote Government-to-government (G2G) transaction under the purview of e-commerce. Gradually this initiative will also be extended from G2G to Government to Business (G2B) transaction in the same line.

3.5.2 Authentication of the identities of both buyer and seller or the involved parties in an electronic transaction is crucial to promote inter-bank transaction should be ensured through appropriate measures.

3.5.3 Establish immediately inter-banking payment system in electronic medium.

3.5.4 Legal framework to provide the guiding principles, rules and legislation for e-Commerce shall be put in place.

3.6 E-Government/E-Governance

3.6.1 The Government shall use ICT system within the public administration to improve efficiency, reduce wastage of resources, enhance planning and raise the quality of services.

3.6.2 Government shall implement widespread ICT systems to provide nation wide coverage and access by any citizen to the government databases and administrative systems, which can be used to extend public services to the remotest corner.

3.6.3 All Government ministries, divisions, departments, autonomous bodies and all District headquarters, and Union Parishad officers must be networked to the National Data Resource Centre in the shortest possible time. The centre shall be a system of national databases having capacity to store and supply rapidly all necessary information on the economic, cultural and social situation of our country.

3.6.4 Each ministry, Division, Directorate, Department, Autonomous body shall establish an ICT Cell, to be managed and run by well trained ICT professionals to plan, coordinate and implement projects and services. Special compensation package comparable to that of private sector shall be introduced to encourage ICT professionals.

3.6.5 All Ministries, Divisions, Directorates, Departments and Autonomous organizations shall set up web sites where all policy documents, forms, circular, orders, notifications etc. and information relevant to the public shall be posted as early as possible and regularly updated. There will be a web portal of Bangladesh Government from which link will be provided to the web sites, like e-forms, e-procurement, e-recruitment, e-results etc.

3.6.6 Government will introduce and promote ICT based services like G2G (Government of Government), G2E (Government to Employee), G2G (Government to Customer) etc.

3.6.7 Preference shall be given to ICT literate candidates for the purpose of recruitment in public offices. ICT literate candidates for the purpose of recruitment in public offices. ICT-literacy shall also be evaluated in the ACR of officials to ensure utilization of ICT in the public services.

3.6.8 In order to establish database of the secondary schools, which are providing computers training root level, MIS will be introduced.

3.7 Legal Issues

3.7.1 Software copyright provisions embodied in the Copyright Act 2000 will be implemented by promptly setting up appropriate enforcing bodies as mentioned in the Act.

3.7.2 ICT Act should be enacted immediately to protect against computer crimes such as computer fraud, hacking, piracy, damage to programs and data and introducing/spreading computer viruses.

3.7.3 Data security and compatibility should be ensured through actions such as setting of encryption standards and international agreements on compatibility.

3.7.4 With the increase in the use of Internet and Information Technology in every sphere of human activities, formulation of new laws or amendment to the existing ones should be done as deemed necessary, to ensure security of data freedom of information.

3.7.5 ICT will be used by the law enforcing agencies to ensure safety and security of life and property of the citizen.

3.7.6 Agencies like Police, NBR and BAC shall use ICT for quick disposal and monitoring of investigation of cases.

3.7.7 Bangladesh Armed forces should use ICT to the fullest extent to increase their efficiency and effectiveness.

3.8 Health Care

3.8.1 The main focus in the use of ICT and communication technologies in Healthcare will be to deliver new capabilities for hospital and healthcare providers. ICT should be used to develop such capabilities specifically in the areas of electronic medical records, telemedicine, medical and health education, etc.

3.8.2 Telemedicine System Network shall be introduced throughout the country for cost-effective delivery of health care services. The Telemedicine Network will be used for rural patient management, distant medical education, training health professionals and to develop mass awareness for disease prevention.

3.8.3 Development of Bangladesh Health Portal should be given priority for appropriate growth of e-health and telemedicine referral system. International tele-consultation through telemedicine for critical patients will be promoted in both private and public sector.

3.8.4 All public hospitals and medical research centers shall be linked by computer networks with Medical center of excellence as the central hub in order to make expert services available throughout the country. This network may be gradually extended to the local level.

3.9 Agriculture and poverty Alleviation

3.9.1 Agriculture including fisheries and livestock is the main source of earnings for the majority of the people of Bangladesh hence use of ICT systems in these sectors are very much essential to reap its unutilized potentials and thereby improving the socio economic conditions particularly of the rural people. Proper initiatives will be taken to utilize ICT systems in agro-based industries, agricultural research, and dissemination of agricultural technology, agri-business development to the farmers and preparation and maintenance of agricultural database.

3.10 Social Welfare

3.10.1 Nation-wide ICT systems will be implemented for rural development activities, agricultural, horticulture, fisheries and livestock extension for farmers, career guidance for youth, technology guidance for rural enterprises, micro level planning etc. Communities and user groups of beneficiaries would be actively encourage to participate in all such activities.

3.10.2 Public grievance redressal will be incorporated in the ICT-based system to facilitate access to citizens through any of the kiosks, public facilitation centers or Government offices. It would be made email based and strengthened to facilitate monitoring and on-line responses.

3.10.3 Non-government organizations will be encouraged to establish centers at the village level for providing hardware/software or other support services. At the same time the Government will use both the formal and non-formal channels to disseminate information about the application, advantages to communities of the use of ICT.

3.11 Transportation

3.11.1 The government will introduce an ICT0based integrated transport management system.

3.11.2 Commercial transport agencies will be encouraged to deploy Information Technology for dynamic route planning and traffic management.

3.11.3 ICT will be used for online booking and ticketing services of all public and private transport companies.

3.12 Tourism

In order to develop the tourism industry in Bangladesh, use of Information Technology should be strengthened.

3.12.1 Information Technology should be used to project tourists attractions in Bangladesh through the Internet.

3.12.2 A reliable, comprehensive, on-line information system to satisfy the needs of the tourists for travel and accommodation to deliver instant and up-to date information will be developed.

3.12.3 The partnership with both the local and foreign agencies relevant to tourism will be strengthened and encouraged to introduce on-line reservation for travel and accommodation, booking and ticketing for arts and entertainment events and shopping.

3.13 Environment

The growing environmental pollution has endangered all forms of lives including the human existence. In this ear of wired world, the Information Technology can help build the capabilities to fight against the environmental degradation.

3.13.1 Information Technology will be deployed to collect and disseminate information on environmental problems and their causes in order to create awareness about environment among the common people.

3.13.2 Information system for making a complete inventory of existing flora & fauna of Bangladesh, their habitats and other natural communities whose existence has been endangered will be created.

3.13.3 GIS and other ICT-based systems will be set up for planning at the national level, for agricultural crops estimation, for conservation of nature while accommodating compatible land use to maintain the ecological balance.

3.13.4 Information and Communication Technology will used to help solve the most pressing problems of environment in the urban areas like toxic emissions form vehicles, industries and other sources.

3.14 Judiciary

3.14.1 To enhance the capacity for the judiciary, computer based Management Information system (CMIS), with suitable Wide Area Network (WAN) and Local Area Network (LAN), will be established for the Supreme Court and for the District Courts and Tribunals. It may consists of three interrelated modules, namely, (i) a case management module, (ii) a legal framework module, essentially covering two basic sources of updated, namely the Bangladesh legislative code and the Bangladesh case law (reported Supreme Court rulings) database and (iii) a court administration module, whose areas of application may include court inspection, planning and budgeting, transactions, financial accounts, staff-related information and reporting, statistical applications and records management.

3.15. Regional and International Cooperation

3.15.1 The Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology and BCC will be the focal point for the regional and international cooperation in the area of Information and Communication Technology.

3.15.2 The Ministry of Science and ICT shall explore Regional, sub-Regional and International cooperation and execute collaborative agreements on ICT with developed and developing countries as well as with relevant international agencies and development partners.

3.15.3 The Ministry of Science and ICT will facilitate participation in the regional and international forum to reap benefit for the country's economy.

4.0 Implementation and Monitoring

4.1.1 Government spending in ICT shall be increased to at least 2% of ADP by 2006

4.1.2 New budget provision for ICT should be created for all Ministries, Divisions, Departments and Bodies and all Autonomous sectors should be encouraged to make their own investment in the application of ICT in production, trade and services, ERD should explore external assistance for necessary infrastructure and human resources development conforming to the ICT Policy.

4.1.3 Those ICT companies will get preferential terms, which will be able to meet up 20 percent of its revenue expenditure form the earnings of export of software and ICT-enabled services.

4.1.4 A centralized fund for R&D and HRD will be created within BCC. It will be encouraged to contribute 1% of all profits from Software and ICT-enabled services to the R&D and HRD fund.

Institutional Arrangement for ICT Policy Updating, Standardizing, Implementing and Monitoring

4.2.1 In order to make best utilization of ICT and exploit its immense potential in the economic, social, commercial, and scientific fields and National ICT Task Force headed by the Hon'ble Prime Minister has already been formed. This apex national body will guide in updating, standardizing, implementing, and monitoring the ICT Policy.

4.2.2 The Minister of Science and Information & Communication Technology will collaborate with all Ministries/Division/Department/Autonomous Bodies including Banks and Insurances to promote and use ICT in their respective areas of operation.

4.2.3 MOSICT shall remain alert and apprise the Government on the progress and development of ICT sector both at home and abroad.

4.2.4 MOSICT will work in unison with the private sector and Universities as promoter of ICT activities and business.

4.2.5 MOSICT and BCC will be reorganized and strengthened in phases to cope with the present need and future requirement of ICT.



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