Will Bangladesh be able to be ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041?

The Bangladesh government has set a target to build ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041. Work on this has already started. After the formation of ‘Smart Bangladesh Task Force’ under the leadership of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, an executive committee of this task force has also been formed. Who will make recommendations for policy making and implementation for establishment of ‘Smart Bangladesh 2041’. The committee has been formed with people from various levels of government and private sector under the leadership of the Chief Secretary to the Prime Minister. In the meantime, the ruling party has also announced that their slogan in the next election will be ‘Smart Bangladesh’. General Secretary of this ruling party and Minister of Road Transport and Bridges said this at a local conference. According to the media reports, this executive committee has been formed recently. It is said that this committee will make recommendations for decision-making and implementation to establish ‘Smart Bangladesh 2041’ as a knowledge-based economy and innovative nation. ‘Smart Bangladesh’ means building smart citizens, society, economy and smart government. Activities in education, health, agriculture and financial sectors will be transformed into smart systems. For this, integrated activities will be undertaken with the aim of modernizing government management and building an efficient and transparent management structure for its development. Besides, various activities will be digitized. It is also said in the scope of work of the executive committee of the task force, this committee will adopt short, medium and long-term plans for the implementation of ‘Smart Bangladesh’ and take necessary measures for its implementation, create legal and technical infrastructure and give steps and directions for its implementation at all stages. Apart from this, formulation and implementation of a time-bound action plan for the transformation of education, health, agriculture and financial sector activities into a smart system, formulation of information-technology regulations in the economic, social, commercial and scientific spheres with the aim of building a smart and omnipresent government, ‘Made in’ to achieve the desired target of exports. This committee will take measures to formulate Bangladesh’ policy and set time-bound targets, and to implement digitization of the financial sector. The task of this committee will also be to give necessary suggestions and directions to implement the decisions taken by the ‘Smart Bangladesh Task Force’ formed under the leadership of the Prime Minister.

Even though the whole world is going through economic recession, the country’s economy is still quite dynamic and safe. The per capita income of the people of Bangladesh stands at 2 thousand 824 US dollars. Bangladesh is moving forward in keeping with the rest of the world. The country has reached today’s stage after many ups and downs. At one time, Bangladesh was known throughout the world as a country of poverty-stricken, drought- and flood-affected, and distressed towns. But in the course of the last few decades, the people of this country have achieved many impossible things. Now Bangladesh is considered as a role model of development in the whole world. Digital Bangladesh has shown remarkable success in implementation over the past decade. The use of digital technology in the fields of living, commerce, banking, financial transactions, education, health, medicine, agriculture, industry, communication, entertainment, research etc. has made everything easy and smooth. There is no doubt that the implementation of Smart Bangladesh concept will take the country to new heights. Various preparatory activities have already started for this purpose. Various activities of the government have made us very optimistic. But to build a smart Bangladesh, a lot of things are required as a part of it. Which is still not 100% confirmed. For this, first of all, it is necessary to ensure uninterrupted power supply system, extraction of internal resources of the country and its proper use.

The fourth industrial revolution is the automated contemporary version of ongoing manufacturing and industrial systems using modern smart technologies. Currently, the fourth industrial revolution is one of the topics discussed worldwide. This revolution marks the breakthrough era of robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, Internet of Things, 3D printing, fully autonomous vehicles and emerging technologies. The fourth industrial revolution is now on the threshold of the world. As the basis of this, modern technology innovation is playing an important role. The use of advanced technology in the production, marketing and consumption of goods and services is the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The fourth industrial revolution is changing people’s way of thinking, producing products and providing services. The movement of the earth is changing the nature and lifestyle of people. The ability of the world’s statesmen is being severely tested. It is also important to make everyone in the country suitable to get the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution. Proper development of technical education has not been possible till now. However, for the fourth industrial revolution, it is a big challenge to master all aspects of modern information technology. But now most of the young people of the country are very interested in modern information technology. A kind of enthusiasm is being observed among them to study this subject and make it fit and suitable with their time and era. It can undoubtedly be said to be of great help in building a smart Bangladesh. The development of modern information technology and its balanced use has accelerated people’s political, social and economic development. Mobile banking has revolutionized the economy of Bangladesh – an understatement. Bangladesh’s economy has prospered a lot in the last decade, new paradigms of development have been created. Behind all this is the innovative service of mobile banking. The competitive spirit of various mobile banking service providers in the country has encouraged us all. Their fast growing and dynamic services have won the trust of customers. Bangladesh is now on the highway of development. From low income countries to lower middle-income countries. Then from middle income countries to developing countries. Now Bangladesh is dreaming of becoming a developed country. The current government aims to make the country a developed country by 2041. With less land per capita, no other country could make such a history in economic development like Bangladesh. That is why we need to become increasingly connected to the global economy.

Bangladesh is progressing through various stages of progress. But at one time the position of Bangladesh was in the list of poor countries. Bangladesh was also called a bottomless basket. But the progress of Bangladesh in the last few decades is easy to see. The development of Bangladesh is now a matter of global discussion. Bangladesh’s gradual progress has created a surprise in the international arena. We have many people living in a small area. Currently the total population of Bangladesh is 16 crores. As the population pressure is higher than the total volume, scarcity, poverty, unemployment naturally remains. Bangladesh is not able to move forward at the same speed as different countries of the world are moving forward. The economy of Bangladesh was once completely dependent on agriculture. But now the garment industry is making an important contribution to the economy of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has reached a brilliant position as one of the world’s leading garment exporters. Through this, Bangladesh continues to exceed the previous record of foreign exchange earnings every year. Also new items are being added to our export product list. Nowadays various industrial goods, electronics products manufactured in Bangladesh are going to many countries of the world. They are in good demand. The recognition of Bangladesh as an agricultural country in the international arena has changed a lot with the change of time. Various developments in technology, the reign of industrial economy have brought revolutionary changes in the economic, political and social structure of the whole world. Now the global value of technical know-how is easily seen. More than one crore people from Bangladesh are engaged in various jobs abroad. Remittances sent by expatriate workers have boosted the economy of Bangladesh for a long time. Countless people of Bangladesh are engaged in various professions in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and America. It is possible to increase the amount of foreign exchange that is currently being earned from the manpower sector several times. Because currently, in various countries including Middle East, Asia, Europe, America, the unskilled, uneducated workers of Bangladesh without technical knowledge are forced to work for much less salary than the skilled, experienced and educated workers of other countries. Unskilled, semi-skilled workers with no technical knowledge, hiring authorities, employers do not have the opportunity to negotiate the wages of the workers. They are in a much weaker and disadvantaged position compared to educated skilled labor workers with technical knowledge in other countries. As a result, they cannot demand higher rates of remuneration.

They are forced to work there for relatively low wages. Because of this, Bangladesh is still far behind in the international competitive labor market. As a result, Bangladesh is failing to earn foreign exchange as expected from the manpower export sector. But Bangladesh could earn a huge amount of foreign exchange from this sector. If the workers of Bangladesh can go abroad with such suitable jobs after being educated in technical education, then they will be able to beat the workers of other countries in the competitive labor market. Bangladeshi workers work hard, but due to lack of technical education, they are employed as unskilled, semi-skilled workers. They are not even getting fair value for their labor in most cases. Due to their own limitations and weaknesses, they have to be satisfied with low paid jobs. Productivity depends on the efficiency of various parties involved in production. If the skills of the various parties engaged in production are not coordinated, even if the workers of an organization are skilled, the full utilization of the skills is not possible due to the weakness of the management and the deviation of the adopted strategy.

One thing everyone must consider seriously, if Bangladesh cannot convert its huge population into manpower or public resources, its economic, social and political structure will be disrupted in many ways under the pressure of the huge burden of population. Day by day dire crisis will come before us. Socio-political unrest, criminality, degradation of values, drug addiction etc. will continue to increase unabated. If most of the men and women of a populous country are able to work and earn money, then the economic base of the country is bound to be strong naturally. Bangladesh has to try to transform its population into manpower. Then it will become a public resource. No matter how we utilize our public resources within the country, it will bring us a new message of prosperity. It will add diversity to the economy. We all have to come forward consciously with the goal of transforming the human power into a public resource by enriching it with technical knowledge. It is the right and effective way to move the country forward on the path of prosperity. If the talent, labor and mindset of the unemployed, unskilled youth are not utilized properly, many more disasters can befall our national life. We don’t want that at all. If the country is to be led towards a prosperous and bright future, the huge population burden should be considered a blessing rather than a curse. There is no alternative to the expansion of technical education required for this. Technically educated youth can further change the face of our economy. Not only in the country, they can take jobs with good salary in different countries of the world. They can easily find suitable and well-paying job opportunities in the international labor market. Thus, a huge tide can be created in our expatriate remittance stream.

For this, people from different sectors should be involved in integrated activities with the aim of building a properly developed modern Bangladesh without limiting it to the election slogans or imagination of a particular party or group. Talented people scattered in different parts of the country should be found and their talent and qualifications should be properly evaluated. Many talented people of this country migrate to different countries due to not getting proper evaluation. They should be encouraged to work within the country. Bigotry, superstition, terrorism, militancy, sick political cultural practices, extortion, social injustice, discrimination, exploitation-deprivation, arbitrariness, irregularity, undemocratic attitudes, corruption must be eradicated by establishing a state system based on social justice. Therefore, if the entire program is conducted with a specific political party or group, it will not be possible to reach the main destination in any way. Smart Bangladesh is not just a program of a group or a political party, it should be the focus of the thoughts and thoughts of the entire 160 million people of Bangladesh. Everyone must be sincere about this.

Samina Akhter
Samina Akhter
Samina Akhter is a Dhaka, Bangladesh based activist, analyst, writer and columnist.