During recent 3rd ICT conference the information and communications minister, D.N, Dhungyel, shared some of government’s achievements in the 11th plan, which ends in June 2018, in using ICT to improve access and delivery of government services and create employment.
Speaking at the gathering Lyonpo said the theme “Digital Inclusive Bhutan- Looking ahead to the 12 FYP” highlights the need to improve Accessibility, Adoption and Application of ICT in the country. He said the 12 FYP has prioritized to work on these aspects to bridge the digital divide, take advantage of Technology, use e-commerce for trading, use technology for job creation and service delivery.
According to the minister one of the milestones from the 11th plan was the establishment of the Government Data Centre that hosts important government systems. “This has reduced the turnaround-time which augers well for the service delivery. Today the center is hosting more than 45 systems,” he said. The Government Network has also been extended to more than 190 gewogs and it is comforting to know that the service will no more be dependent on the Internet.”
He also said that 25 hotspots in the dzongkhags and gewogs have been set up to make G2C service freely accessible to citizens.
With the launching of the Bhutan Computer Incident Response (BtCIRT) team he said Bhutan now has competency to carry out the scanning for vulnerabilities, system assessment and prevention of information theft.
Lyonpo also mentioned the establishing ePayment gateway, adoption of the Google Apps suite by civil servants, investing in Mobile Applications as an alternative to public service delivery, and providing employment to more than 800 youths at the Thimphu Tech Park Limited, among other achievements.
“Government to citizen (G2C) services have been rolled out in all community centers connected through fiber and high speed P2P and Internet services and the CCs provide both offline and 40 online services reducing the administrative burdens and turnaround time,” Lyonpo said.
eGov Policy is the other achievement, Lyonpo said, adding that they have seen tangible output through this policy. “The national common DataHub platform is ready for consumption by relevant agencies”, Lyonpo said.
Similarly the website completion initiated by HPM has improved the standards and I am pleased to announce that within December 2017, the Government will have www.Gov.bt which will facilitate access to government website and improve service delivery,” he added.
Leveraging on the government network, he said that, they are in the process of making video conferencing possible for simultaneous users. “Internet penetration of more than 83.73% and mobile penetration of 94.53% (June 2017) for a terrain like ours are big achievements,” he said.
He also said that the future of communication lies in the Space technology and the process of building earth station for the south Asia satellite is already on, which will be able to provide satellite service to BBS, Radios and disaster communication by June 2018.
The Thimphu Techpark made a huge turnaround in the last 2 years where, more than 850 youths are currently employed. “We will soon have a second techpark with a capacity to employ 400 youth by December 2019 and the Techpark is generating about Nu. 180 million annually to the economy,” the minister said.
He also said that they are working towards bringing down the cost of internet bandwidth which has continued to remain highest in the region. “During the 12FYP we want to open a new gateway for redundancy and target to provide Internet for Nu. 1000 per Mbps and I shall strive to achieve this target,” Lyonpo said.
Having gone through your first draft of 12th FYP, I am happy and I will try to ensure that it is accepted and endorsed by the government. “I could not have expected a better draft with the clear priority areas in the 3As (Accessibility, Adoption and Application). This will play a central role in achieving Digital inclusive Bhutan by 2023 and I am confident that by 2023, Bhutan will be positioned to compete with any of the countries in the region,” he added.