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হোম > Legacy of ICT Projects, No Gain, All Drain, Writes Ahmed Hafiz Khan
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Legacy of ICT Projects, No Gain, All Drain, Writes Ahmed Hafiz Khan

Past Legacies

The world has seen tremendous economical trends except few unfortunate like Bangladesh. This has all happened due to the negligence and corruption by the bureaucrats in the Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology and their tails in the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC). The country has been deprived of the prospect of having Information and Communication Technology (ICT) implementation strategy and roadmap due to the unbridled corruption by the bureaucrat project director. The only gain through this project till date is personal overseas tours of the few bureaucrats and embezzlements of public fund. The overseas tours of the project director far exceed the overseas diplomatic tours of the foreign minister. The Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology has ignored the objections of the Planning Commission and IMED during the project reviews and also the decisions of the monthly Annual Development Project in the ministry. The whole affair of the development of ICT in the past was directed towards making money though embezzlements. The saga of embezzlement of Taka eighteen crore of research and development fund during the past regime is one of the dark spots of the past regime. Interestingly, the project director for national important projects like HiTech Park and World Bank funded Economic Management Technical Assistance Program ICT project was a part of the R&D Fund scam. Today the ministry has no vision and targets of making all important projects like HiTech park successful. There are no achievable milestones or vision for the project. The bureaucrats involved in the scams have been duly rewarded with promotion and postings by the subsequent governments.

The participation and contribution of the Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology in preparatory meetings and summit meetings of World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) has been shameful. The Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology has no information on the objectives, commitments and targets fixed for realization by Bangladesh. The officers in the name of study tours attends seminars, meetings and workshops and never files report after the return though the filing of report is mandatory for all officials after overseas travel.

The episodes narrated above are same for all the development projects for the development of ICT.

Way Out

The government’s vision of Digital Bangladesh should be implemented in a way that brings efficiency, standards method and modality of operations of the Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology. There is a Chinese proverb that says, ‘When the wind changes direction, there are those who build walls and those who build windmills’. What will the ministry do now? Build more walls around it, walls around the secretariat etc. to isolate itself from the wind of change, walls to isolate from the wrath of the masses who have voted for the CHANGE and for the corruption free Digital Bangladesh by the year 2021. Or will we build windmills that we will use ourselves and export to others in every shape, color, flavor and style?

Yes, the wind has changed direction. The era of endless corruption and misdeeds in the Information & Communication Technology should be over; where we wish to head will be an era in which our lives, our ecosystems, our economy, our political choices and vision of Digital Bangladesh will be realized through new look ministry. In such a Bangladesh, birds will surely fly again-in every sense of that term: Our air will be cleaner, our environment will be healthier, our young people will see their idealism mirrored in their own democratic government and our ICT industries will have prosperous future ahead. We have been living for too long on borrowed time and borrowed dimes. We need to cleanse the ministry from the sycophants. The hour is late, the stakes couldn’t be higher, the project implementation couldn’t be harder, and the payoff couldn’t be greater.

Bringing Discipline

The government has in past allowed meddling of the affairs of the ICT by all Tom, Dick and Harry. The time has come to empower the Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology and Bangladesh Computer Council be the focal point of all developments in ICT and work responsibly in the sector along with the industry and academia. The first step will be to automate the activities and digitized the documents on to the web. The ministry has signed numerous treaties of cooperation with different countries for collaboration and joint research activities. Nobody knows about those potential of those treaties. Let those treatises be explored and be utilized for R&D and technology transfers.

In past ICT in government meant too many masters? None of the masters were serious in the development of the roots of ICT in the society or the industry. The only vision available to them was overseas tours on the pretext of study tours, seminars and workshops. The suggestions of the reports under the guise of ICT Roadmap delivered under a World Bank funded project The Economic Management Technical Assistance Program (EMTAP) contains very dangerous propositions, which can have serious impact on the national integrity, as such these report should be trashed. The past project director and his cronies responsible for misuse of fund should be brought to justice for his shady deals and loss to the government.

Conclusion

The winds of change have started blowing and its time that we open our minds and properly empower the ministry and the BCC for delivering the building blocks of the vision Digital Bangladesh by the year 2021. The government should realize that it’s time to bring appropriate professionals into the Bangladesh Computer Council rather than maintaining it as a dump yard for punishment postings .

CJ WEB

Feedback : ahafizkhan@rocketmail.com
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