Following India’s Footsteps

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Ul Islam is the new President of Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS), the IT Association of
Bangladesh. Among the founder-members of BCS, Islam is actively involved in the
development of IT industry in Bangladesh. He is also serving his tenure as Director of
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) from 1998-2000.

What purpose does the Bangladesh
Computer Samity serve?

BCS is established along the lines of Computer Society of India (CSI) and plans to develop
a framework of consensus amongst its members and the business community to attain a common
objective.

What made Bangladesh realize the
importance of IT?

The successes of our neighboring countries like India, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia
have inspired us to give a serious thought toward creating the right environment for IT
development. In order to emulate their success, the Ministry of Commerce, Govt of
Bangladesh, formed a committee to make recommendations for promoting export of computer
software.

Actually, most of our planning is a direct
implementation of India’s policies. That is why we propose to invite prominent
personalities from the IT industry in India for the convention in December this year.

What are the steps that the Govt of
Bangladesh has taken for the development of the IT
industry?

The first step that the Government has taken is to declare the IT industry as a
thrust sector. Around three acres of land have been set aside at Tongi-Ashulia near Dhaka
for an Information Technology Village (ITV) which will be built along the lines of the
Software Technology Parks (STP) in India.

What are the main areas of focus
with regard to the development of the IT industry?

The main requirement of the IT industry is a trained workforce. The JRC Committee
has recommended that at least 1,000 trained personnel should be ready by the year 1999.

Computer education has been made compulsory
at the high-school level. It is extremely important to create an awareness amongst
students in colleges and universities regarding software development. The Bangladesh
University for Engineering Technology (BUET) has started a four-year course and BIIT is
offering a diploma course in computers.

How do you plan to provide jobs for
the IT personnel being trained?

We are considering the possibility of obtaining sub-contract projects from
organizations in India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. A team of marketing personnel will
be sent abroad on a regular basis to establish contacts with prospective clients. All
government, semi-government, private sector companies, and banks are being encouraged to
replace the manual system of documentation with the computerized one. This will definitely
open up job prespects for the trained personnel within the country.

What are your future plans?
The JRC report recommended that BCC should prepare a database of
organizations/institutions engaged in outsourcing software and data processing services.
Bangladesh IT professionals who have been working abroad can be encouraged to return home
and provide guidance for the development of the industry. The EPB should also set up
liaison offices in the UK and USA to create an awareness regarding the efforts of the
Bangladesh Government. We expect IT to be the major revenue earner for the country in the
next century.

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