Zunaid Ahmed Palak
Open Russian tech universities’ offshore campus in Bangladesh: Palak to ambassador
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak today (September 11, 2022) requested Russia to open offshore campuses of its technical universities in Bangladesh – to develop the IT sector here and upskills youths. He made the call at a meeting with Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Alexander Mantytskiy, at the former’s office at ICT Tower in Dhaka’s Agargaon area. During the meeting, they discussed various issues, including cooperation in cyber security capacity building and introduction of inter-operable digital transaction (IDTP) system between Russia and Bangladesh Also read: 80% of travel market remains unexplored: Palak Besides, business and investment by Russian technology companies in robotics, machine learning, AI, AR and VR, land allocations for Russian companies in hi-tech parks here, arrangement of Bangladesh-Russia investment summit, participation of Russian IT companies in Digital World Summit here in December, and start-up exchange programs came up for discussion in the meeting. The Russian ambassador assured full cooperation in these sectors, expressing hope that the bilateral relations between the two countries in various fields including ICT will be strengthened in the near future. ICT Senior Secretary NM Zeaul Alam, Managing Director of Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority Bikarna Kumar Ghosh and Director General of Digital Security Agency Khairul Amin were present, said a PID handout. Read: Nagad becomes world's fastest-growing fintech company after conquering local market: Palak
80% of travel market remains unexplored: Palak
ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak has said Bangladesh has only explored about 20 percent of its travel market while the rest of it remains unexplored. "Many foreigners and tourists are unaware of the beautiful destinations here. I hope that with the growth of ShareTrip and Startup Bangladesh, the tourism industry of the country will grow at the same pace," added. Palak was speaking at a programme in Dhaka Sunday night, marking online travel agent ShareTrip's third anniversary. Also read: Hi-tech parks to help Bangladesh become knowledge-based economy: Palak At the event, ShareTrip handed over awards to market players for their contributions to the travel and tourism industries during 2020-2021. Sami Ahmed, managing director of Startup Bangladesh, also attended the event as a special guest. ShareTrip Co-Founder and CEO Sadia Haque and founder Kashef Rahman were present. Sami said: "I am excited to announce Startup Bangladesh's investment in ShareTrip. Startup Bangladesh proudly welcomes ShareTrip to the family, an organisation that has accumulated 50 percent of the country's online travel market in only three years." Also read: Judiciary to be fully digitized within 2 years: Palak Sadia said: "We are an active changemaker in the travel ecosystem. We aim to revolutionise the domestic hotel industry, which is still at a very nascent stage in Bangladesh."
Foundation stone of Barishal hi-tech park laid
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak has laid the foundation stone of a hi-tech park in Barishal city’s Kashipur area on Thursday morning. The hi-tech park is being built under the ‘District-based Hi-tech Park Building Project’ undertaken by the Hi-tech Park Authority of the ICT Division. Besides, the park is being built on 6.5 acres of land at a cost of Tk 170 crore. The construction of the hi-tech park will be completed within next two years. Once established, at least 1,000 youths will be able to receive training from it. Besides it will create job opportunities for 3,000 youths. Talking to reporters, Palak said that the hi-tech park will turn Barishal into a technology-based city. Read: Hi-Tech Park to turn Khulna industrial area into tech-based zone: Palak “Barishal will turn into a Silicon City, which will help in the making of a Smart Bangladesh,” Palak added. Mayor of Barishal City Corporation (BCC) Serniyabat Sadek Abdullah, Managing Director of Bangladesh Hi-tech Park Authority Dr Bikarna Kumar Ghosh and other officials and political leaders were present during the event. BCC Mayor Sadek said that the initiative by the government to build a hi-tech park in Barishal has fulfilled the long-cherished desire of the people of this part of the country. “I hope a generation rich in ICT-based knowledge will grow in Barishal due to this park,” added Sadek.
FAO keen to work for modernisation of agriculture sector
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has expressed interest in working with Bangladesh to modernise the agriculture sector using technology. FAO Representative in Bangladesh Robert D. Simpson said this during a meeting with State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak in the city’s Agargaon on Sunday. Also read: Most vulnerable now paying more for less food: FAO Besides, Simpson said they want to work jointly on various issues, including agro-machineries and Agricultural Technology Blended Learning, to introduce smart agriculture in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh will have to embrace rapid changes in next 20 years: Palak
Over the next 20 years, Bangladesh will have to cope with rapid changes in agriculture, education, health, transportation, communication and the way the country's people work and conduct businesses, said State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak. He was delivering a keynote on the second day of Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress 2022 Friday. Palak said: "We have achieved the Digital Bangladesh – Vision 2021. Now our goal is to become a 'Smart Bangladesh' – an innovative, knowledge-based advanced economy by 2041." Also Read: Palak visits Microsoft firm in USA "The Smart Bangladesh Vision 2041 has set specific targets for different indicators. We aim to reach a per capita income of $12,500 from $2,594, making Bangladesh the 23rd largest economy in the world by 2041." The Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress, jointly held by Huawei and the ASEAN Foundation, has gathered over 1,500 government officials, experts, researchers, partners, and analysts from more than ten countries in the Asia-Pacific to explore the future of digital innovation and the digital economy. Topics include ongoing advancements in ICT, speeding up digital transformation across industries, as well as green and low-carbon development.
Cooperation between Bangladeshi, Indian startups to be mutually beneficial: Palak
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak and Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami Monday inaugurated the six-part webinar series, "Shoto Borsho Shoto Asha – Rise Up." The Indian High Commission in Dhaka, Startup Bangladesh, Startup India, and the ICT Division of Bangladesh are jointly organising it. The webinar series is also supported by Economic Reporters Forum, Bangladesh Startup Consortium and BD AIR. Speaking at today's event, hosted by Startup Bangladesh Managing Director and CEO Tina Jabeen, Palak said: "Increased cooperation between the startups in Bangladesh and India will be mutually beneficial." High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami said in the next six months, the RiseUp platform will bring together mentors, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors from India and Bangladesh. He hoped that the platform will facilitate an effective cross-learning opportunity that will benefit talented entrepreneurs from both countries, especially young innovators. READ: Bangladesh to launch ‘Jogajog’ as alternative to Facebook, says Palak Doraiswami also recalled that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited 50 Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to visit India and connect with the country's startup and innovation ecosystem during his state visit to Bangladesh in March 2021. The high commissioner stressed that the RiseUp series could facilitate such linkages to jumpstart tangible cooperation. Following the opening ceremony, a panel discussion on "StartUp Landscape in Bangladesh and India – Tech StartUps Transforming the Future" was held. Yamini Bhushan Pandey, CEO of Startup Incubation and Acceleration Division at Indian School of Business and Sharad Sharma, co-founder of iSPIRT Foundation India and member of National Startup Advisory Council, were joined by Wasim Alim, co-founder and CEO of Chaldal, and Rahat Ahmed, CEO of Anchorless Bangladesh. READ: Telemedicine service to be launched at 16000 community hospitals: Palak Monday's webinar will be followed by more discussions on the regulatory environment for startups, ways to overcome hurdles to create a successful startup, fundraising strategies, strategies for startups to go international and startup opportunities in Bangladesh and India.
Making Bangladesh safer for women
Young Bangla, the country’s biggest platform for the youth, has unveiled the website of Women’s Safety in Public Places (WSPP), a campaign aimed at curbing the rise in crimes against women. State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak formally launched the website during a virtual discussion on women’s safety in public places on Thursday evening. The event was organised by Young Bangla, the youth platform of the Centre for Research & Information. Read:Young Bangla to share findings on women safety issues today Recalling Bangabandhu’s generosity towards women who were violated by the Pakistani Occupation Forces during the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh, he said, “Our mothers and sisters made the highest level of sacrifice during the Liberation War." "When these women gave birth to children, neither they nor their kids knew who their fathers were. But, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman then said -- 'put Bangabandhu's name as the father of these war children. And put their home address as Dhanmondi 32'," the Minister said. "Had Bangabandhu been alive for 10 more years, he could turn this Bangla into Golden Bengal 40 years down the line from today. Then, 50 years into the independence, we wouldn’t have to conduct a webinar to ensure the safety and dignity of women at public places," he added. To ensure women’s safety in public transport, Zunaid asked all bus owners should keep a copy of all digitally registered documents, such as the National ID Card, of drivers and helpers before appointing them so that they could be tracked in case of any untoward incident. “If one crore people can register through the Surokkha website for vaccination, why can’t we ensure that there are digital records of the identities and driving licences of all bus drivers and helpers,” he said. "When there is information about these vehicles, it will be ensured that at least any crime occurring in any of these 15 to 20 lakh vehicles will not go unreported." The Minister said the government is also planning to launch a device that could be worn as a bracelet by women. "If a women finds herself in a threatening situation, and if that bracelet is shaken or pressed, an alert will be digitally conveyed to the nearby police station. CRI, Young Bangla, UNDP, and ICT can jointly get this done,” he added. Read: DNCC teams up with Young Bangla to make masses embrace masks Zunaid said they wanted to make an app named Joy with advanced technology so that in an untoward situation, "the scene is recorded through audio or video in an automated way and the crime scene can be digitally tracked". He also revealed that some customised games are being made for different age groups of children so that they can learn while playing, how to be respectful towards people, particularly women. Van Nguyen, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh, underscored the need for engaging youths to make the campaign successful. “I sincerely congratulate all youth organisations and also the youth leaders who have been actively engaged with this campaign and volunteering valuable time to bring positive changes in the society." She also called other stakeholders to extend necessary support and take actions to make public places safer for all women and girls. Habibur Rahaman, Associate Coordinator of Young Bangla, shared a summary of the findings from a situation analysis conducted by youth organisations at 10 different places. A total of 10 youth organisations conducted Focus Group Discussion (FGD), Stakeholder Analysis, and Case Study Analysis in 10 districts. Respondents claimed they often face harassment at public places. Anup Kumar from Aporajita, Khulna, and Sabitree Hembram youth representatives from UNDP shared individual experiences while engaging stakeholders in districts. Read:Young Bangla gathers young artists to share their pandemic experiences "We have been able to bring a perpetrator to book in our locality with the support of law enforcement agency. Previously, powerful people used to evade justice easily while abusing girls from ethnic communities. The situation has changed for the better," said Sabitree. However, she called for combined efforts to reinforce the campaign and demanded policy changes to ensure safety in public places for all women. Amena Begam BPM, Deputy Inspector General (Protection) of Special Branch, Bangladesh Police, and President of Bangladesh Police Women Network (BPWN), highlighted the roles undertaken by Bangladesh Police, especially BPWN, in preventing harassment against women during Covid.
170,000 schools to be connected with high speed internet by 2030: Palak
Some 1.7 lakh, or 170,000 primary and secondary schools will be connected with high speed fibre optic internet connectivity within 2030, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said Tuesday. The state minister inaugurating a “Girls in Tech Day Bangladesh 2021” program organized by International Telecommunication Union’s Asia and Pacific regional office. The campaign will be implemented under the Digital Connectivity project, he said. Also read: 35,000 modern digital labs to be installed to give more access to girls: Palak Palak said, “The ICT department is working closely with the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education to include Coding learning in the primary education syllabus from next year.” Moreover 35,000 modern digital computer labs will be established across the country for making a skilled next generation, he said. The initiative is one of the many taken by the government like Girls in ICT Program, Job Opportunity and Empowerment, ensuring no one lags in technology, said the State Minister. Also read: F-commerce entrepreneurs rising significantly: Palak With the assistance of the United Nations, fifty thousand entrepreneurs have been created, 4,000 women freelancers who aspire to be entrepreneurs while 7,000 women were trained to work as IT service providers and call center agents, he said. Fifty percent of the entrepreneurs working in 7,000 Union Digital Centers are currently women, which is an achievement for the bottom up approach taken by the government, said Palak.
'Charer Master' applauded for highlighting Digital Bangladesh
Video streaming site Bongo is presenting seven original telefilms this Eid-ul-Fitr – combining works of Bangla literature and film through its based on books (BoB) project – among which "Charer Master" received applause from ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak for showcasing a non-nonsense story of Digital Bangladesh. Directed by Vicky Jahed, the telefilm is based on the novel of young writer Rahitul Islam, which features a young computer engineer who leaves his lavish city life and moves to the village to promote education in the rural area. After facing hurdles from society and personal life, the hero's journey ends with fulfilling his aim. Also read: Bongo introduces seven original telefilm adaptations Based on Books (BoB) this Eid The state minister was present as the special guest on Facebook live for a recent episode of "Bongo BoB Season 1 Limelight with Charer Master," broadcasted from the Bongo BoB Facebook page. Referring to the success of Digital Bangladesh in the story, Palak said, "While I interact with the young people during my visits to rural areas, I find that most of them aspire to come to the city or eventually go abroad as they think they might get better opportunities there." Read Best Bengali Thriller Movies in 2021 "Rahitul offers an exceptional example of a hero's journey, showcasing Digital Bangladesh that we dream of, which is very inspiring," he added.
35,000 modern digital labs to be installed to give more access to girls: Palak
The government is establishing 35,000 modern digital laboratories across the country,aiming to encourage and give more access to girls and young women in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT). State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said this while addressing a virtual roundtable discussion on ‘Accelerating Digital Inclusion for Girls and Women’ as the chief guest. Read Women continue making amazing contributions in STEM fields: US He also stressed the need for collaborative effort in mentoring and monitoring from the Government, non-government and private sector to ensure digital inclusion of girls and young women.