The World Bank is going to provide assistance to Nepal with 140 million dollars i.e. 17 billion 25 million rupees for the implementation of the Digital Nepal Framework. The World Bank has supported the amount for the implementation of the ‘Digital Nepal Acceleration’ project.
Anil Dutt, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, informed that Digital Nepal Acceleration Project was introduced to help the successful implementation of the framework. According to the World Bank, 1,500 people will get employment under this project.
The government released the Digital Nepal Framework in 2076. But even though the framework has been around for 3 years, it has not been able to pick up speed. Therefore, the Digital Nepal Acceleration Project has been introduced to speed up the Digital Nepal Framework.
Through the Digital Nepal Acceleration Project, the fundamentals for Digital Nepal will be expansion of access to broadband connectivity, enhancement of capacity to move to digital economy and strengthening of digital governance.
Broadband connectivity is essential for Digital Nepal. Broadband Internet is now being expanded even by the Telecommunication Authority. Although it is easy in urban areas, it is very difficult to expand the access of internet to remote rural areas.
A lot of investment is required to build connectivity infrastructure. Therefore, through this project, citizens living in remote areas will also be provided access to the Internet at the same rate as in the city, he said.
For this, the concept of ‘Viability Fund’ has been brought forward. The government plans to make policy reforms and mobilize private sector investment for Internet expansion.
This will also improve internet connectivity. So far, Nepal does not have access to submarine cables, due to which Nepal is buying bandwidth at high prices.
To reduce that, access to Nepal will be provided to the submarine cable through this project and a virtual landing station will be built. This will make the internet cheaper.
The Digital Economy
Similarly, to build a digital economy, the funds of the DNA project will also be spent on developing digital literacy, he said. Currently, digital literacy is lacking. Due to the lack of digital literacy, proper use of technology including smartphones has not been possible.
This will also develop digital skills. It is believed to reduce the skill gap between academia and industry.
The government has made a five-year plan for this. Dutt says that there is a plan to train 250 people in the first year as a pilot.
The government plans to train 250 people in the first year and 1500 in 5 years. But he says that this number is low and it can be increased. The project will also support digital businesses and startups. An IT park will be built.
There is a problem because they could not get land for the IT park and because they did not understand its importance. According to the design of information technology parks established in foreign countries, the government is working according to the plan to establish a park in Nepal by providing security and acquiring land.
Similarly, the DNA project will also help in preparing a digital government. DNA funds will also be spent on increasing the adoption of digital signatures and strengthening cyber security.
The government has established the Office of the Controller of Certification for the implementation of digital signatures. Currently, only one CA is authorized as a certification body. Others have not taken permission. Dutt believes that other CAs did not come because they saw less opportunities in digital signature.
In order to strengthen cyber security, the concept of establishing cyber security center, security operating center, network operating center and cyber security laboratory, forensic lab is in the project.
This project will also be used to increase the capacity of government data centers and cloud services. The government has now constructed recovery centers at GIDC and Hetaunda within Singha Durbar. Dutt said that he is trying to develop Nepal as a country that provides cloud services.
‘We have high stakes. If we put a data center in a high area, the consumption of electricity will be reduced. Because of that, other countries can have data centers,’ he said.
Institutional structure for DNA implementation
The government is going to set up various structures for the implementation of the Digital Nepal Acceleration Project. For implementation, there will be a steering committee under the coordination of the Secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
The heads of various agencies will be members. Similarly, there will be a project management unit in the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. In addition to the Ministry, the Department of Information Technology, Nepal Telecommunication Authority and National Information and Technology Center will also be in the unit.
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