By Hasnain Ahmed Munna
BHOLA, August 02, 2021 (BSS) – The picture of the country’s largest island district Bhola is changing rapidly as the government is facilitating its people with all sorts of digital services as part of transforming the country into a ‘Digital Bangladesh’ by this year.
The implementation of the vision ‘Digital Bangladesh’ has simplified the public life in the central-southern district as they are now getting various digital services like e-mutation, e-filing, e-tender, internet connectivity and e-court easily.
According to officials, broadband internet connection has been provided to all levels of government offices in the district under the second phase of the Info Government Project, while 17 unions have been linked under the third phase.
Acting programmer of the district office of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department Md Arifur Rahman said the availability of the internet services is helping the rural people to communicate with any part of the world easily.
He said the internet connection will be given to 29 more unions soon under the 'Connect Bangladesh Project', and the service will be provided for business purposes.
Arifur said that 49 Sheikh Russel Digital Labs have already been set up at different secondary and higher secondary-level schools and madrasahs in the district under the first phase of a flagship project of the government, adding 70 more such labs will be set up under the second phase.
Along with strengthening the institutional capacity ensuring the quality of education with digital facilities, including multimedia classrooms and powerpoint presentation, through the optimum use of ICT, he said different institutions can also avail the facilities for training.
A total of 240 government officials of the district have been imparted special training on operating Digital Nothi, Arifur said, adding that the digital service has lessened the public sufferings in getting the government services.
“Now the people don’t have to move from one table to another to receive any service. There is no scope for any kind of corruption or injustice ... everything is being done as per the rules,” the official said.
Along with reducing sufferings, Arifur said, the digital services are also saving both time and money as well as ensuring transparency and accountability in the government service.
Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC education and ICT) of the district Sangkar Kumar Bishwas said that there are 83 UDCs in the district from where the rural people are receiving all kinds of digital services regularly.
“e-Mutation service has been launched at our land offices, and it helps the people to collect their land record through online service staying at their respective homes,” he said.
Mentioning that Bhola is in the forefront in managing Digital Nothi, Sangkar said the district administration is trying to make the government officials and employees more efficient by bringing them under training.
Highlighting the benefits of digitization which the people of Bhola are enjoying, the ADC said there is no scope for tender manipulation as the tender-related activities are now being conducted by maintaining cent percent transparency through e-tender.
The youths of the district are earning foreign currencies through outsourcing which would play a vital role in the country’s economy by removing unemployment problems, he added.
Bhola Sadar Upazila Assistant Commissioner of Land (AC Land) Md Abu Abdullah Khan said about 5,000 people have received e-Mutation service from his office in the current fiscal (2020-21).
Different steps, including launching a help desk, have been taken to make the people aware about the digital land services and encourage them in receiving the services digitally, he added.
Abul Bashar, General Manager (GM) of Bhola Palli Bidyut Samiti, said that all activities of the Palli Bidyut Office are currently being conducted online.
The consumers are now getting the electricity services without any hassle as they can apply for new connections online and submit fees and electricity bills through UDCs and digital gateways instead of going to banks, he said.
Md Ibrahim Khalil, entrepreneur of the UDC of Dhaniya Union of Bhola Sadar upazila, said he has been giving services to the rural people for the last 11 years through the center.
"About 100 services, including filling up passport forms, e-mutation, opening bank accounts, paying different types of bills, giving training on operating e-mail, printing photos, browsing e-commerce sites, online money transactions and collecting birth and death certificates, are being provided to the people," he said.
Khalil said about 50 to 100 people take services from his UDC every day and he earns Taka 50,000 to Taka 60,000 per month.
Terming the education sector as the biggest beneficiary of the digitization, Bhola district primary education officer Nikhil Chandra Haldar said students at all levels in the district are now receiving their academic services, including participating in classes through online platforms, amid the current corona virus pandemic.
“Our students would have suffered the most due to the corona virus pandemic had the country not been transformed into a digital one ... despite the closure of their educational institutions for the pandemic, they have been getting the opportunity to study by staying at home using the digital platforms,” he added.
Bhola Press Club President Bir Muktijoddha M Habibur Rahman said the digitalization of the country has immensely benefited the field of journalism.
“We can now send reports and communicate across the world within a while as the internet service and digital means have been reached even to remote areas ... it has simplified our work,” he said.
Speaking about the government vision of ‘Digital Bangladesh’, Additional District Magistrate Sujit Hawlader said since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed the state power, all services are being digitalized as per the government vision of transforming the country into ‘Digital Bangladesh’.
Though many people mocked with the concept when it was introduced, its reality and importance have been realized during the corona situation, he said, adding: “We're now providing all kinds of services and conducting meetings online”.
According to officials, the ruling Awami League (AL) laid the foundation for ‘Digital Bangladesh’ and defined goals for 2021 in its election manifesto in 2008.
After assuming the state power the AL government, under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is implementing the vision ‘Digital Bangladesh with the four pillars--Digital Government, Human Resource Development, IT Industry Promotion and Connecting Citizen.
Aspire to Innovate (a2i) of the Cabinet Division and the ICT Division with the support from the UNDP is mainly executing the concept.