Upcoming two years are extremely important and glorious for our nation as we are going to celebrate ‘Mujib Borsho’ [100th Birthday of the father of the nation] and 50th year of independence consecutively. The year of 2021 is also the year of becoming a digitalized country for us. In this situation, considering the future threats and opportunities government and policymakers have come up with the concept of Digital Bangladesh 2.0 which is the second stage of the Digital Bangladesh concept. This is the vision where we want to see us after the completion of the first steps towards digital Bangladesh. Digital Bangladesh 2.0

Digital Bangladesh 2.0

Surely Digital Bangladesh concept is not that small o gain just in several years. This concept first came to light in 2008 when Awami League declared it as part of its election manifesto. At present this government is ruling Bangladesh for successive three times and this term will complete at 2023. Digital Bangladesh 2.0 actually shows us where we will be at 2023 and what will be the scenario of our beloved motherland at that time. Surely we will be living in the second stage of our dream and of course we do not think that digitalization of Bangladesh will be done within 2021. Rather we have considered 2021 as a primary stage; which will continue through 2030-41-71-2100. Thus we will cross second, third, fourth and even more steps on the way towards Digital Bangladesh.

Maybe we will be able to become a knowledge-based country within these stages. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has declared to build Bangladesh as a knowledge-based country within 2041. This is an alarming issue because the whole world is now buzzing with the beats of 4th Industrial Revolution and we cannot keep ourselves abreast of these changes. We have missed our chances during last three industrial revolutions and we cannot even imagine of losing the opportunity this time. Keeping this in mind our government initiated the idea of digital Bangladesh and paved its way so that it comes to a success in proper time. For this we have made a proper timeframe to ensure our success in this marathon-
i) 2020 => 100th Birthday Celebration of the father of the nation. [Mujib Borsho]
ii) 2021 => 50th celebration of our independence. [Completion of Digital Bangladesh 1.0]
iii) 2030 => Deadline of Sustainable Development Goals. [SDG]
iv) 2041 => Developed Bangladesh.
v) 2071=> 100 years of independence.
vi) 2100 => Deadline of Delta-Plan 2100.

It is just impossible for any of us to imagine what will be the situation of our country during 2100 as the world is moving so fast and technology is updating every now and then. So it is easy for us to forecast the situations of 2023 when present government will complete this ongoing term. Even then we should keep in mind that all these forecasts can change with any single invention in the field ICT.

Agenda 2023 for Digital Bangladesh 2.0

i) Becoming capable of exporting digital product costing around 7 billion USD within 2023.
ii) Bangladesh will launch Bangabandhu Satellite II within 2023.
iii) We shall be connected to another submarine cable connection. (3rd cable connection for Bangladesh)
iv) At last we shall have 5G mobile connectivity throughout the country within 2023.

These four steps are decided by the minister of posts and telecommunications Mr. Mustafa Jabbar. According to him these four steps can help the state a lot to keep pace with ongoing world and also achieve the targets of digital Bangladesh 2.0.

Now comes the question how we are going to achieve these targets? Let us discuss-

It is our vision to initiate 5G in Bangladesh on 2021 and then it will start to spread all the country step by step; at first division wise, then district wise, followed by upazilla and union. And this way we are hoping to get 5G countrywide within 2026. And getting 5G connection from door to door can be a huge step towards digitalization. This will directly and indirectly help us with new sectors like Block Chain, Big Data, Data Science, IoT (Internet of things), Cryptocurrency and so on. These fields are yet t be considered in our country due to lack of infrastructural support and proper human resource development. 5G will be a proper boost up in case of infrastructure. Then comes Bangabandhu Satellite II which can be another milestone in infrastructure arena. The second satellite will undoubtedly ensure us an uninterrupted communication pathway throughout the country. In case of human resource development, we are lagging far behind as most of our rural people do not have any know how on information and communication technology. Digital Classrooms, Digital Labs etc. should be established and all the text book contents should be converted to digital contents as well. In last 11 years we have taken some good initiatives but we are yet to achieve the expected velocity in this track.

But in case of launching Bangabandhu Satellite II we have already made huge development. We know how to launch it, which country can help us in this context, how much money will it require and so on. Under the circumstances furnished above we can be hopeful of launching Bangabandhu Satellite II within 2023. As per submarine cable connection is concerned, we have decided to get ourselves connected to sea-me-we-6. During December, 2019 consortium will be signed and construction process is expected to start at 2020. Thus we are wishful that if everything goes right we will be able to get ourselves connected to sea-me-we-6 in 2023.

Among the four targets, the most critical one is to achieve an export amount of 7 billion USD in digital product sector. As right now our export in this sector is only 1 billion USD. But this mammoth task can also be completed with proper resource management and efficient policy making. A very recent approach of giving ID cards to all the freelancers by the government is very much appreciated by the stakeholders and it can play a vital role to encourage more and more youth in this sector and increase the earning as a result.

What to do to achieve the goals of Digital Bangladesh 2.0?

i) We have to digitalize our basic education system. ii) ICT education is already mandatory but its learning process should be more innovative and attractive so that students get attracted to it and take it as a passion. iii) Policy-makers should implement policies which can facilitate the digitalization process. iv) Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority should take necessary steps to increase the export amount of the digital products. v) Freelancers should be provided incentives so that they can carry on their profession without any complexity.

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