Friday, 7 May, 2021
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EDITORIAL

ICT For Development



The 21st century is the age of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). With the advancement of ICTs, the world has made great strides in the fields of social transformation and economic development. Many nations around the world have been able to achieve remarkable economic growth in no time through the application of the disruptive technologies. Such technologies can tremendously change the way consumers behave and industries or businesses operate. E-commerce, online news sites, ride-sharing apps and GPS system are some of the prominent disruptive technologies in use today. There has been an increasing trend worldwide to use ICT and it has brought about sweeping changes in the operation of the state system, management of development, public services, flow of information and social interactions.

As an underdeveloped country, Nepal has adopted the policy of maximising the use of ICTs for improving the living standard of people and achieving the overarching goal of economic prosperity. The country has set a target of graduating to the status of a developing nation by 2026 despite the unprecedented economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nepal has been heading towards transformation in different sectors with the enforcement of 'Digital Nepal Framework-2019'. The policy is being implemented by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. Under this policy, the government services are planned to be made paperless and faceless with the best use of information technology. The Framework makes it easier for the public agencies to provide services to the common people at a low cost and without hassles.

Addressing a 4th National ICT Day function on Sunday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that the foundation of a prosperous Nepal would be possible through the expansion and better use of ICTs. The Prime Minister has said that development of proper infrastructure for ICT is one of the key factors that contribute in building the nation and achieving prosperity and happiness among the countrymen. The very reference to this change is the formal launching of Nagarik App. The Beta version of Nagarik App that was launched on January 15 this year was officially inaugurated Sunday coinciding with the National ICT Day. With the use of this handy App, users are entitled to receive numerous services like getting PAN number, opening bank account, paying vehicle tax, updating KYC, receiving police clearance report, filling up health insurance policy, and opportunity to watch and request for editing personal details and records of Citizens Investment Trust, Employees Provident Fund and academic mark sheets of the school level.

Likewise, Digital Nepal Framework includes eight different programmes which are related to education, health, agriculture, energy, tourism, urban development, finance and digital foundation. The government has begun carrying out works to ensure that all local levels, ward offices, community schools, health centres have access to information technology infrastructure. The broadband internet services are going to be made available to them. A separate information technology centre is also going to be established at each local level. The government aims to materialise the national resolution of Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali through linking every sector with ICT. The government is equally committed to preventing the possible misuse of information technology. It has already introduced an 'Information Technology Bill' in parliament and has accorded high priority to the construction and expansion of the 'Information Highway' considering its significance for national development.