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Working Paper_60004.pdf - Bangladesh Online Research Network

Working Paper_60004.pdf - Bangladesh Online Research Network

W orking

W orking Paper Series 04Some proposed action issues are given below forensuring improved telecommunication inBangladesh.V. (v) Human Resource DevelopmentThere are three major areas to focus separately forachieving PRSPtarget: ICT Education and Training ICT- based Education Universal Education for PoorV. (vi) Acceleration of Poverty Alleviationthrough ICTLack of Information in Business: The poorpeople as recipients and transmitter of informationmay use ICT very effectively. The fact that ICTssubstantially lower communication costs can beseen as the main potential area for ICT applicationby small/micro-enterprises. This area is perceivedwith huge potential with poverty alleviationobjectives. Small/micro-enterprises do have asignificant need for both receipt and provision ofinformation.Access to Overt Resources: Accessing ICTcarriedinformation requires a lot of overt resourcesincluding a telecommunication infrastructure toprovide network access, an electrical infrastructureto make the ICTs work, a skilled infrastructure tokeep all the technology working, money to buy oraccess the ICTs, usage skills to use the ICTs andliteracy skills to read the content. The poor simplydo not have these resources. In Bangladesh where80% of the population has no access to reliabletelecommunication and electricity, it is hardlysurprising that the Internet reaches few poorpeople.Content and Context of Information: The poorneed access to new locally-contextualizedinformation more than access to existinginformation from an alien context. The content'slanguage is also an important factor. To know aboutthe local information requirement in differentavenues, an extensive survey is necessary.V. (vii) Universalisation of Quality HealthCare Services through ICTThe NII can significantly alleviate Bangladesh'shealth care crisis. It is very urgent to ensure that allcitizens will get health care coverage that controlsskyrocketing health care costs. The costs of doingnothing are prohibitive because health care costincrease will eat up major portion of governmentrevenues.These problems will not be solved withoutcomprehensive health care reform. Better use ofinformation technology and the development ofhealth care applications for the NII however canmake an important contribution to reform. Expertsestimate that telecommunication applications couldreduce health care costs while improving quality andincreasing access.Along with addressing the ICT based health caresystem, we have to consider the prevailing chaoticsituation in our health system which is mostly due tolack of commitments from the part of doctors.Telemedicine: Using telemedicine, doctors andother caregivers can consult with specialiststhousands of miles away, provide diagnosis andtreatment, continually upgrade their education andskills and share medical records and x-rays. Theservice will create an edge in curing acute diseases,reducing time for treatment dramatically.Computer-Based Patient Records: An appropriateagency can organise computer-based patient recordsthat are critical for improving the quality andreducing the cost of health care.V. (viii) Financial and Payment InfrastructureThe task force considered the following componentsto develop policy suggestions:1. Automation of Financial Institutions2. ICT based Financial Services3. Financing ICT Industry and ICT BasedEconomic ReengineeringV. (xi) Legal Infrastructure for the NIIIn developing an efficient legal infrastructure, wehave to keep in mind that there are lots of laws inBangladesh which are not enforced and used.Lawyers often do not use them.An ICT-friendly legal framework, for twenty firstcentury e-business based economy shouldencompass the following documents:1. ContractAct2. EvidenceAct3. Penal Code4. Patent LawMillennium Development Goals in Bangladesh and Information and Communication Technology7

W orking Paper Series 045. SecrecyAct6. Consumer ProtectionAct7. Labour Law8. Trade MarkAct9. Industrial DisputeAct10. Negotiable InstrumentAct11. Foreign Exchange RegulationAct12. Prevention of Money Laundering Bill13. Income TaxActThe United Nations Commission on InternationalTrade Law (UNCITRAL), adopted the Model Lawon E- Commerce in June 1996. The law aims atfacilitating E-business, by providing a set ofinternationally acceptable rules and legal principleswhich may be benefecial in designing legislation toremove uncertainties arising form the applicationof paper-based rules and regulations in anelectronic environment. The accompanying "Guideto Enactment" provides national legislators andusers of E-business with further explanations on thecontent of the Model Law. source [UNCTAD.2000, pg. 128].V. (x) Efficiency of the GovernmentIt is a great challenge for Bangladesh to create agovernment which is effective, efficient andresponsive. Moving from red tape to results willrequire sweeping changes: emphasisingaccountability for achieving results as opposed tothe following rules: putting customers first;empowering employees; and reengineering howgovernment agencies do their work. As part of thisvision, the Task Force emphasises the importanceof information technology as a tool for reinventinggovernment. "With computers andtelecommunications, a government can perform itsduties which was impossible to do in the past. Thereare a number of ways in which 'electronicgovernment' can improve the quality ofgovernment services while cutting cost and time".V. (xi) The Digital Empowerment of WomenIn developing countries, three-fourth of womenhave not yet pressed the "Power" button to enter thenew economy and development process. In Asia,this is not the case. Men represent 78% of allInternet users in Asia, while women account foronly 22% [Brisco, 2001]. Even in the corporateworld, women have less access to the Internettechnology. While women represent almost half ofthe productive work force, we cannot ignore theaccess to ICT for this group of population.Conventionally it is women who work in a supportrole in many corporate offices, handling thepaperwork, scheduling, filing and routinecommunications. In efficient companies, nearly allthese tasks are now Internet-based. If women are notgiven the opportunity to learn the required skills,there will be a fundamental bottleneck in thecorporate infrastructure of the country.V. (xii) Resource Allocation and Fiscal MeasuresThe ICT should not be considered just for exportpotential of software industry. There is no doubtabout the importance of export potential at theadvent of new threats to RMG sector, our majorexport earner, arising from the new WTO regimeafter 2005. To achieve huge boom in the ICTindustry like the RMG, the above mentioned actionagenda should be followed with further consultationwith the interest groups. However for attaining longrun benefits, a careful and continuous integratedeffort should be undertaken and it is not possiblewithout proper financial and fiscal support. It isobvious that government alone cannot providefinance for these purposes. All the sources: fiscal,financial and aid, should be explored immediately.V. (xiii) Institutional Framework forCoordination of Development of NIIThe agenda for action identified that the entirepolicy brief is tied with the entities as to who are toact on the agenda to implement them. The entitiesmentioned in the “action by” column are tentativeand should be modified further. The task forcestrongly proposes to form a Ministry of Informationand Communication Technology [MICT]. Majorityof the agenda are not possible to implement withoutdedicated government entities with full logisticsupport. The Prime Minister's Task Force on ICTcould not impact much due to lack of properinfrastructure. The MICT is becoming moreimpending, as the convergence between differenttechnologies is taking place very rapidly andinformation itself and the media for its transmissionshould be controlled or regulated from one contour.As a result, in several action agenda the task force3often mentioned the MICT as the implementingagency.3The word “proposed” should be added before MICT, where applicable.8Millennium Development Goals in Bangladesh and Information and Communication Technology

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