Digital bangladesh to “SMART” Bangladesh: Journey So Far and Towards 2041 – Interactive Cares

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Digital bangladesh to “SMART” Bangladesh: Journey So Far and Towards 2041

Hey there, dear readers! Today, we’re diving headfirst into the incredible story of how Bangladesh came up with the term “SMART” and the extraordinary vision it holds for the future..
How Bangladesh Coined the Term “SMART”

Alright, so let’s picture this – it’s 2019, and a bunch of brilliant minds in Bangladesh got together for an epic brainstorming session. They were on a mission to shape the future of their beloved country with a clear and visionary approach. As they tossed ideas around, a spark of genius lit up the room – the term “SMART.”

But hold on, you do want to know the reason behind “SMART”, right?

The term “SMART” stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound – the perfect elements needed for success!

You see, the masterminds behind this idea realized that to make real progress, they needed a vision that was not only ambitious but also practical and actionable. “SMART” was like a magic word that encapsulated all their aspirations, hopes, and dreams for Bangladesh. And so, the term was born, paving the way for a brighter tomorrow.

Vision 2041

Alright, fast forward to the present – we’ve got “SMART Bangladesh: Vision 2041” standing tall like a beacon of hope! Now, why is 2041 such a big deal, you wonder? Well, that’s the year Bangladesh will turn 70! Can you imagine the epic celebration that’ll be?

But here’s the thing – Vision 2041 isn’t just about blowing out 70 candles on a cake. It’s way more than that! It’s like a treasure map that leads us to a land of prosperity, resilience, and development. This visionary roadmap covers everything from economic growth to education, healthcare, infrastructure, environmental sustainability and our journey from digital bangladesh to Innovative Bangladesh: The Road to 2041.

Goals Achieved and Still on the Horizon
Fifty-years into its independence, Bangladesh has many milestones to celebrate. The country is now well placed to strive for a poverty free and advanced economy by 2041. The challenges are challenging but not next to impossible. The ethos of equity and justice, the underlying principles of the Liberation War, ought to be the guiding principles for crossing the milestones of its upcoming journey.

Let’s now look at the targets that have already been accomplished—the bright lights of Vision 2041!

Speaking of our “accomplishments” so far, how can we not talk about Digital Bangladesh first and foremost! Starting with utter disbelief and steady ridicule by naysayers, and yet undaunting conviction by a few, Bangladesh, a technologically-backward country, has clearly made a remarkable journey towards mass digitization in 13 years (2009 to 2021). In the last 13 years, internet penetration in Bangladesh has gone up by 100 times. This means that about 100 times more Bangladeshis are able to take advantage of the internet for information, education, recreation, business, and trade.

It was not possible to think that anybody below the middle class could have mobile phones two decades back. Almost everybody has access to mobile phones today, even if they don’t own one. Nobody could have predicted it in 2008/09, but the Digital Bangladesh vision, and the government, private sector, and citizens believing in Digital Bangladesh, transformed this vision into reality today.

The amazing progress Bangladesh has made in eradicating poverty has been one of its proudest achievements. Millions have been rescued from the grip of poverty thanks to creative social programmes, empowering rural workers, and inclusive economic policies! According to the report published by National News Agency of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha(BSS), the poverty rate in the country came down at 18.7 percent at the national level, which is 20.5 percent in the rural areas and 14.7 percent in the urban areas, according to the key findings of the Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2022.

The ‘one single golden step’ we have stepped up is the power facility which is almost reaching cent percent coverage. The power sector in Bangladesh has seen a genuinely amazing development. The country overcame its power difficulties with tenacious efforts and creative solutions, and now offers its citizens more dependable and accessible electricity. Data from the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) show that the nation’s capacity to produce energy has greatly expanded, going from about 3,200 megawatts in 2009 to over 24,000 megawatts in 2021; resulting in access to electricity to 99% of the country’s population.

Bangladesh has made spectacular progress in the human development front over the last five decades. The country has been implementing well-devised plans and channeling resources to enhance access to education. One major success has been the achievement of the goal of universal enrolment at the primary level. A significant decrease in school dropout rate of 18% currently is another milestone. Gender parity was achieved at primary and secondary education ahead of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Targets. The country’s literacy rate has risen to 74.7% in 2019 from 26.8% in 1974, according to UNDP.

As per information from 2021, despite all sorts of challenges and adversities, the industry has shown a great deal of resilience and grit, emerging as the second largest exporter of ready-made garments (RMG) to the world, after China. Bangladesh’s market share in global RMG trading is 6.5 per cent – a huge matter to take in regard and be proud of.

Bangladesh has successfully positioned itself as a reliable supplier in the global market. The booming industry contributes 11.2 per cent to the country’s GDP. The 4,600-plus RMG units constitute the largest industrial sector in the country, contributing 36 per cent of manufacturing employment and engaging 4.1 million workers. The Bangladesh economy remains highly dependent on the RMG industry for manufacturing, employment, foreign reserves and women empowerment.

Being a part of our motherland, each of us, especially the younger generation has some responsibilities in taking the country forward, faster. In this fast – paced global scenario, as we embrace globalization more and more, it is high time we think outside the box, commit to change and be enthusiastic about it.

By the way, are you aware about the idea generation competitions and business competitions going on in recent times? Interactive Cares presents Idea Innovation 4.0 registration has started! Our esteemed entrepreneurs of Bangladesh, honorable leaders, and talented minds will be joining us just like the last three editions as speakers, judges and participants. A great opportunity for networking, showcasing your extraordinary ideas, collaborating with the energetic brains of this age; huge amounts of prize pools to facilitate the set up of these ideas and social recognition obviously comes hand in hand!

Our shared objectives and unflinching resolve are illuminating our path forward as we stand at the fork in the road of potential. The difficulties we encounter are really opportunities that encourage us to overcome them and leave a legacy of fortitude. Keeping in mind the limitless potential of our trip, let’s carry the torch of optimism, creativity, and unity with each step. Open your hearts to the journey ahead; it is only through our combined efforts that we will create a future brimming with limitless accomplishments – Bangabandhu’s dream of “Shonar Bangladesh”.

The author is an Executive of Interactive Cares, and final year BBA Student of IBA, University of Dhaka

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