Nepal | March 30, 2020

Illiteracy, old policies hurdles for ‘Digital Nepal’

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 7

Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gokul Baskota, has said that digital illiteracy and policies that have remained unchanged for a long time, are the major obstacles to establishing ‘Digital Nepal’ in the next five years.

Speaking at an inauguration ceremony of the three-day Mobile Nepal Congress (MNC) 2019 organised by Huawei Nepal, Minister Baskota said that the government is currently making efforts to digitise the country and some obstructions need to be overcome as soon as possible.

“We are planning to digitise Nepal and for that the government has brought a Digital Nepal framework. However, the digital literacy rate in the country that stands at only 31 per cent has become a challenge for use,” he said. Meanwhile, total literacy rate of the country is 65 per cent and the mobile penetration percentage is almost 100 per cent.

“Even though mobile penetration stands at almost 100 per cent, we have not been able to provide internet access to all citizens and the service quality of mobile service providers is also not as expected,” Minister Baskota said. “That is why utilisation of new technologies is a necessity in today’s context because the world is rapidly progressing in the information communication technology (ICT) sector and we are still lagging behind.”

The minister further said that the world is already preparing for 5G, however Nepal is still in the infant stage of 4G service.

“Hence, it is necessary to increase the digital literacy rate,” he said adding, “Moreover, we also need to amend or get rid of policies that are not ICT friendly to create a favourable environment for the ICT sector to develop.”

Likewise, he also mentioned about ICT Act that is currently in discussion phase at Parliament.

“Now the country is moving towards digital economy era. Every sector including health, education, agriculture, tourism, irrigation, energy, forestry, among others should adopt digital economy,” Baskota added.

He also said that such events like MNC are essential to enhance the knowledge on ICT sector.

“Meanwhile, another major problem is that we talk a lot about projects but the implementation aspect has always remained lethargic. Implementation could have been affected due to lack of skilled human resources, however the government is doing its best to overcome that challenge,” he said.

As per Denny Deng, CEO of Huawei Nepal, event has been organised to provide the opportunity to all ICT stakeholders to observe Huawei’s new technologies that can provide support in developing Nepal’s ICT industry.

A version of this article appears in print on April 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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