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Budget, IT & e-governance June 13, 2007

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It is said that tele-density per 100 persons in our country has increased from 9 in the last fiscal year to 18 now. But the Government has imposed duty on mobile phones. Does it mean that Government does not like the expansion of the mobile phones to the common people? Expansion of the mobile phones not only indicate increase in number of the sets as expansion of connectivity means expansion of business

It is said that the illegal business of Voice Over Internet protocol (VOIP) has been stopped. The policies for bringing VOIP business under legal framework are going to be finalized soon.The accuracy of the decision on VOIP will affect its utility in future.

To augment export earnings, IT products have been identified as one of the priority export products. But the products were not mentioned which were identified and how the export would be augmented not clarified in the Budget.

Internship allowances is being given to create an efficient workforce in IT sector.The volume of the allowance will determine its effect.

The ICT incubation centre was established to enhance the capacity of the ICT companies.

Infrastructure development work has begun to build a hi-tech park. But when work would be finished and initial service will begin was not mentioned. It looks as if it will not start by the endof the the fiscal year. West Bengal already started its 2nd IT park.

Creation of an IT Equity Entrepreneurship Fund with Taka 100 crore is underway. How the fund would be best utilized was not mentioned.

There is plan to establish a computer lab in one school of each district. But the ordinary citizen recommends taht every school of the country should have atleast one computer in the school

A one year post graduate course on IT has also been in the universities. Advanced skill in IT sector should have to be developed. More programmere and IT experts are to be produced to get the share of the world market. Bangladesh may be developed as an outsource of world market.

An allocation of Taka 1899 crore, which is 2.4% of total budget and 12 percent higher than the revised budget has been proposed for Information, Telecommunication and Information Technology sectors in the next fiscal year. We hope that the allocated money would be utilized properly.

Withdrawal of zero duty on computer and computer accessories was proposed and 5% duty was imposed. This will increase the prize the computers and its accessories and affect the computersation process of the country.

Withdrawal of zero duty exemption on telecommunication equipment and liquid dielectric transformer and to increase duties on this item to bring this at per with VOIP equipment and other transformers was also proposed.

No where in the budget the term e- governance was used and no vision was projected to introduce or enhance e-governance.


Post Script: 17 June 2007

Experts on NTV the other day was telling that it takes months to approve a project in ADP because of file moves so slowly in Bangladesh. Here we need the e-governance. If the secretariat is endowed with technical support, then from the very first day , all executives could follow the movement of the files or a project and take necessary steps.

One of the hindrance is that though in theory no body is against automation, computerisation and e-governance, but very few of our senior executives specially in public sector are conversant with this technologies.

But it is not difficult to overcome. Bangladeshi people are very technological- spread of mobile phone proved that. What is needed is a firm and sincere decision from the Government and a little practical support to the users.


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