Zunaid Ahmed Palak, an inspiring leader of Digital Bangladesh
17th May, the birthday of our honorable State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, the most influential leader, icon of youth and key person for implementing Digital Bangladesh vision, designed by Architect of Digital Bangladesh Mr. Sajeeb Wazed Joy. Mr. Palak followed his father’s footsteps in politics and became a member of the Bangladesh Awami League. He has been involved in active politics of Bangladesh for the last 25 years.
Digital Bangladesh is a dream name. This dream was born amidst many sarcasm and criticism but that dream is now a reality. The concept of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ is a novel approach to keeping up with the rest of the world. People now have access to information and technology resources as a result of the implementation. Through online, we can obtain daily services delivered to our homes and we now access health and medical services, education, offices, courts, banks, political meetings, and conferences.
Under Mr. Palak’s foresight leadership, ICT Ministry has been working to build hi-tech parks, human resources development and IT industry promotion, e-governance and e-service delivery and creating a vibrant start-up ecosystem in Bangladesh. He has been playing an important role in innovation and digital entrepreneurship, climate change, women’s empowerment through technology and creating equal opportunity for all.
Mr. Palak has made an undeniable contribution to Mr. Sajeeb Wazed Joy’s vision of making Digital Bangladesh. Under his leadership, ICT Ministry has taken many remarkable initiatives such as building nation-wide Hi-tech Parks, Sheikh Kamal IT and Incubation Center, Sheikh Russel Digital Labs, 4 tier National Data Center, EDC and many more. Besides these, ICT ministry initiates many skill development projects like: Learning and Earning Development project (LEDP), She Power project, Mobile Game and Application Development Project, EDGE etc. Through these projects, industry’s resource gap will be minimized and these skilled resources will generate foreign revenue, it also reduces unemployment. Moreover, the freelancing and e-commerce sector gets priority to boost employment. All initiatives taken by the ICT Ministry got appreciation from every citizens of the country.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, ICT Ministry initiated various digital services including Food for Nation, Call for Nation, Corona Tracing App, WhatsApp Bot. One of the greatest initiatives taken by ICT Ministry is ‘Surokkha’ web portal for Covid-19 vaccine registration. In addition, emergency services related to corona, telemedicine services and emergency food aid for the underprivileged were being provided massively in that corona situation. To ensure the availability of services for all, ICT Ministry also provided emergency services through 999, 333, 106, 109 and 1090 helplines.
Approximately 18,000 government offices across the country were connected to the internet via dedicated high-speed connections, and one of the world’s largest web portals with 25,000 government websites was developed under Mr. Palak’s guidance. Bangladesh also received the ITU’s Sustainable Development Award, the WSIS Plus 10 Award, and the WITSA Public Service Excellence Award.
For his magnificent leadership, he was nominated as ‘Young Global Leader’ in 2016 by the World Economic Forum. In 2018, he was appeared on the list of ‘World’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government’ published by Apolitical, a London-based international organization.
Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak is representing the youth in the politics of Bangladesh. He can understand the needs and dreams of the youth. On the other hand, since he is their contemporary, young men and women are inspired by his activities like workshops, seminars, speeches.
Mr. Palak’s inspiring leadership and passion on technology has created a stir in the whole IT industry. He works very closely with all the IT associations like: BASIS, BCS, BACCO, e-CAB, ISPB. He creates numerous policies for the betterment of the ICT industry. Access to finance has become easier now because he is working continuously for this policy. Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak has launched Start-up Bangladesh initiative through which new entrepreneurs are getting fund facilities. He is also working to create the international market for the local companies where they can sell their products and services.
Information technology is the main driving force of Digital Bangladesh. People of Bangladesh dreamt for a better life with hope, dream and aspiration. Digital Bangladesh is the first step towards establishing a knowledge-based society for achieving the dream of a happy, prosperous and well-off life for the people of Bangladesh. Our honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working restlessly to fulfill the dream of Sonar Bangla of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. And we believe that as a key resource of Digital Bangladesh, Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak’s contribution will accelerate the vision.
In Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak’s birthday, I wish may God bless him with good health and long life.
Author Name: Liakat Hossain
Secretary General of Amrai Digital Bangladesh Foundation