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হোম > ICT in Corruption Conundrum
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কমপিউটার জগৎ
ICT in Corruption Conundrum

Economic downturns have the habit of making things shrink. But corruption is not one of them. The unmentionable ‘c’ word that has long haunted government has been rearing its head in recent months. This is particularly worrying as enormous sums of money are supposedly marked for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to implement ‘Digital Bangladesh’. The Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology have been widespread entrenched at all level of the bureaucratic procedures. The misappropriation of 18 crore Research & Development fund, overseas jaunts of the former project director and his friends in the ministry is still fresh in our memory.

The shift in government policy to effectively finance the ICT sector will trigger the vultures in bureaucracy towards Ministry of Science & ICT damaging the vulnerable ICT sector. The unplanned surplus promotion of the bureaucrats and their placement to manage the ICT functions has already brought failures to government ICT projects. The widespread perception in the bureaucracy is that someone who is failure in his own sphere is fit for ICT department. This is evident from the transfer and postings in ICT sector in our society. The worst part is that for any ICT project the quality of human resource is of paramount importance to make it a success unfortunately Bangladesh is only country which recruits the misfits of society as ICT professionals in the ICT projects. Amazingly a typist dubbed as computer operator is promoted to senior positions in the ICT professional hierarchy. The time has changed; we have a vision of establishing ‘Digital Bangladesh’. Our political leadership has rightly perceived the vehicle of development as ICT and provided us a vision to implement to make Bangladesh a middle income nation by the year 2021.

Unfortunately, the bureaucracy in the country has misread the vision as new vehicle of corruption in the changed atmosphere. Our current ranking according to transparency international is provided in the table below with respect to our neighbours. Which shows our standing vis-vis corruption.

The vision Digital Bangladesh is not just transforming the country towards use of digital media and equipments in service delivery and governance. The aim is to make the country more transparent and move ahead in the transparency ranking through reduction of corruption. Unfortunately a heinous move is now taking shape to use ICT as a vehicle of corruption by floating the idea of creating ICT Directorate out of Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC). The nation is aware of the corruption encompassing all the Directorates of Health, Education etc. The heinous move is available at the web site of Bangladesh Computer Council in the name of ‘Proposed new Organogram for BCC’. The implementation of vision ‘Digital Bangladesh’ will require a strengthened more ‘Autonomous’ organization like Bangladesh Computer Council rather than a rigid ‘Directorate’.

The caliber of bureaucracy in Bangladesh has constantly been on the decline. Number of promotions to the rank of the Deputy Secretary compared to sanctioned position is unimaginable in any intelligent and responsible society. These bureaucrats have now occupied the key technical positions in the government. These bureaucrats are now conspiring against the democratically elected government through feeding wrong advice. The government is trying to move ahead whereas the bureaucracy is conspiring to go in the opposite direction. The government is being sabotaged not from outside or political foes but rather from within the bureaucracy exploiting lack of coordination existing within the ruling alliance.

Bangladesh is now on the crossroad of development and anarchy. One of the prominent tool for national development and achievement of the vision ‘Digital Bangladesh’ rests now on the wisdom of the political masters in utilizing ICT. The expectation of corruption is much higher in public sector and is driven by the greed. The best method for getting rid of corruptions is through creation of autonomous body and companies rather than turning the clock backward through turning autonomous bodies into directorates. The government had to corporatize the Bangladesh Telephone and Telegraph Board (BTTB) to Bangladesh Telecom Company Limited under donor’s prescription to curb corruption. Now is the time for the government to take accounts of the sabotages being rolled out by the master of corruptions, and are trying to fail the government. The government can look into the model pursued by Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia etc. to avoid falling into the traps of few greedy in the government.

The current AL government has pledged in its election manifesto to recover the lost glory of coruuption free society and build a society free from prejuidices, religous fundamentalism, terrorism through the utilization of ICT to improve governance, quality of service delivery and ensuring social justice. All these requires a government driven by technology based decision support system; not a society driven at the whims of the bureacrats. In any democratic society the dominanace of the promised social justice and proverty reduction of the marginalized part of the society is directly pependent to the utilization of ICT.

The successful countries in the oil rich Gulf has also realized the potential of the information and communication technology in building a modern society. United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan etc have embarked on a massive development plan exploiting the power of ICT, Internet City, Intelligent City, Technology Parks are being setup at these countries to attract the technology based companies in these countries. Unfortunately, Bangladesh because of the bureaucratic dogma is failing to achieve its true potential. The government should wake up from its slumber and take decisive measures to realize its promised ‘Digital Bangladesh’.

World Rank Country/Territory

4 Singapore
45 Bhutan
47 Malaysia
80 Thailand
85 India
121 Nepal
121 Vietnam
134 Pakistan
147 Bangladesh
176 Afghanistan
178 Myanmar

Source: Transparency International


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