Today's Bangladesh is the product of the long struggle and sacrifice of the Greatest Bangalee of All Time and the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangabandhu's work did not end with the establishment of an independent-sovereign country. He wanted to build the golden Bengal (Sonar Bangla) of his dreams by overcoming the misery of people of all classes and professions by achieving self-reliance. The issue can be easily understood by looking at the various far-sighted initiatives and efforts taken by the Bangabandhu government in the post-independence period. The foundation of a modern, science-oriented and technology-based Bangladesh was laid by Bangabandhu. Bangabandhu realized that information and communication technology could be the biggest catalyst for the overall development of the country. Under Bangabandhu's leadership, Bangladesh became a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on 5 September 1973. Bangabandhu inaugurated the Betbunia Earth Satellite Station on 14 June 1975. Bangabandhu's foresight on mutual cooperation and technology-based development can be seen in his historic Bengali speech at the United Nations on 25 September 1974.
He said, "Our goal is self-reliance. There is no doubt that sharing international cooperation, resources and technology will alleviate human suffering and facilitate our operations. The new world is emerging. We have to believe in our own strength."
Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took initiative after taking charge to bring information technology within the reach of common people. She believes that information technology can be one of the main tools to change the destiny of the common people of Bangladesh. With the aim of expanding information and communication technology, she withdrew the duty on the import of computers and broke the monopoly of mobile phones and brought them within the reach of the common people.
On 12 December 2008, Sheikh Hasina declared "Vision-2021" with the aim of building a happy, prosperous and knowledge-based digital Bangladesh. It was a perfect instrument for improving the quality of life of people of all classes and professions through the proper use of information technology.
Digital Bangladesh is in fact the modern form of the Golden Bengal of Bangabandhu's dream. Prime Minister Hasina’s worthy son and Information and Communication Technology Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy is leading the implementation of Vision of Digital Bangladesh. The people of the country are enjoying the benefits of digital Bangladesh in almost every aspect of daily life. Information technology based solutions are being used in every sector like agriculture, education, health, economy, industry, trade and commerce, skills, employment, innovation etc.
This year is the culmination of a digital Bangladesh declaration and implementation. Bangladesh has made unprecedented progress in this sector in the last 12 years. The Digital Bangladesh model in national development is widely admired and appreciated all over the world.
In the last 12 years, Bangladesh has won numerous awards, honours and recognition for that benefit. The Department of Information and Communication Technology is working as one of the leading organizations in achieving these and implementing Digital Bangladesh.
The writer is a Director, Bangladesh Satellites Company Limited