Aspire to Innovate-a2i recently celebrated its 13th anniversary, marking over a decade of providing technology services to marginalized communities through digital centres. The event was held in the Singra upazila in Natore and was attended by the state minister for Information and Communication Technology Division, Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP as the chief guest. The event was also attended by the Project Director of a2i, Md Mamunur Rashid Bhuiyan; Natore Superintendent of Police Md. Tariqul Islam, PPM; and other special guests including Tariqul Islam, PPM; Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Center Establishment Project Deputy Project Director (Deputy Secretary) Md Mokhtar Ahmed, and Project Director of Bangladesh-India Digital Services and Employment Training Center Establishment Project, Md Amirul Islam.
The state minister for ICT, Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, inaugurated the training programs for the BDSAT Centre, Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Centre, and Har Power Project. These initiatives are part of the Bangladesh India Digital Service and Employment Training Centre, and the inauguration took place on the anniversary of the Digital Centre in Singra.
Speaking as the chief guest, the ICT state minister said The State Minister for ICT said that starting from birth registration and death registration, paying electricity bills, registering to go abroad, financial transactions, where one had to go to the upazila or district headquarters, spending hundreds of rupees, waiting for days, the work that took three months, the dust that entered the record room, the suffering and the violence of the brokers, the arena of corruption, but the people’s leader Sheikh Hasina took the initiative to establish this digital centre to deliver the service to the doorstep of the people in a corruption-free way at an affordable price using technology. With the talent and labor of the digital entrepreneur brothers and sisters, the people’s leader Sheikh Hasina’s Digital Bangladesh has reduced the time of three months to three minutes. This is Sheikh Hasina’s Digital Bangladesh.
More than 17,800 women and men entrepreneurs of 9397 digital centers spread across the country are providing more than 385 public and private services to the citizens easily, quickly and at a low cost. More than 75 lakh services are being provided from digital centers every month. The entrepreneurs have so far saved 78.14 percent of the time, 16.55 percent of the cost and 17.38 percent of the commute of the citizens.
The state minister mentioned that the initiative has received international recognition and will be the model for a smart Bangladesh. This model is being replicated in many countries, including the Philippines, South Africa, Ghana, and Cambodia. The government plans to set up 1,000 village digital centers across the country by 2024, ensuring that technology services are accessible to every corner of the village. The Minister also said, we are setting up village digital centres so that no one is left behind from smart services in Smart Bangladesh. Not only this, 20 lakh youth from here will be given smart skills and employment in the next year. Additionally, the government is working on creating smart villages and citizens through various initiatives.
As the special guest, a2i Project Director Md Mamunur Rashid Bhuiyan emphasized that the digital centre will play a pivotal role in boosting the rural economy. He added that smart technology will serve as a powerful tool for the development of Bangladesh. Furthermore, in order to support the needs of expatriates, there are plans to establish an expatriate help desk in all digital centers across the country by 2024. Additionally, expatriate digital centers will be established in 10 countries with a significant number of expatriates. The smart services of the National Board of Revenue will be made available from all these centres. The number of these services will increase from 385 to 500. The digital centre will be one of the key instruments for building a Smart Bangladesh.
Natore Deputy Commissioner Abu Nasser Bhuiyan presided over the program while Nilufa Yasmin, deputy project director of ICT Division’s Har Power Project conducted it.
Awards were given to the best female and male entrepreneurs selected by the district and upazila administration during the year-end celebration of the digital center. A male and female entrepreneur will be awarded as the best entrepreneur in the district. Besides, one best entrepreneur (female/male) from each of the seven upazilas was awarded.
At that time, among others, the Project Manager of a2i Md. Mazedul Islam, Singra Upazila Branch Awami League President Mr. Sheikh Md. Ohidur Rahman, Singra Municipality Mayor Md. Jannatul Ferdous, No. 8 Shercoal Union Chairman Principal Md. Lutfal Habib Rubel, Capacity Development Expert Mr. Ashoke Biswas, and National Consultant Masum Billah along with senior officials of the ICT Division, a2i, Natore District Administration, Singra Upazila Administration, Municipality, and related institutions were present.