The 13th edition of CAN InfoTech kicked off at the Birendra International Convention Centre on Tuesday with the aim of “promoting information, communication and entertainment technology and branding new Nepal as digitised e-Nepal.” From its modest beginning 12 years ago with 12 stalls and a trickle of visitors, the event this year is expected to lure around 300,000 visitors to its 165 stalls. The sheer number indicates the growing importance and interest in the field of IT. An ICT (Information, communication and technology) conference is also being held at the sidelines of the event from January 10-13 to “Build e-Nepal for Socio-economic Development”. The government, on its part, has come up with an E-governance Master Plan to connect all parts of the country through an information superhighway. The greater use of ICT-enabled tools in facilitating public utilities, increased access to education and e-commerce have also been envisioned. In the long run, say IT experts, Nepal could even act as a digital bridge between India and China.
There is no field that cannot reap the benefits of increased use of ICT-enabled tools. Development of IT when coupled with national development will not only enable the country to keep pace with the rest of the world but also hasten the process of poverty alleviation. But the government is yet to come true on its past promises. Its pledge of Rs 100 million in 2002 for the integration of Nepal into the international IT map by 2010, was never met. It remains to be seen if the new Loktantrik government is capable of realising the vision of a modernised and developed Nepal.