The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Bhutan is in a nascent stagehowever, the basic ICT indices – IT literacy, PC penetration, etc – are gradually picking up. The focus of the government is to enhance GNH by building a knowledge society empowered by ICT. For this, the government is taking a dual approach – the first is to further efficiency building measures through ICT. The government already has some projects underway in this areaexample Chiphen Riphel, which is a part of this effort and aims to enhance the IT literacy in the country. Broadband connectivity is also being extended to all gewogs to build Customer Information Centers as locations for disseminating important government to citizen services and for taking feedback from the people on the ground. The second approach is to develop ICT related sectors for exportsand local consumption. The sectors that fall under this are – data centers, design enabled services (specifically animation), non-voice BPOs and Media and films.
- Employment creation and increase in GDP contribution
- Brand Bhutan as a Hi-Tech ICT services based destination by 2013
- Best-in-class talent and infrastructure
Four key initiatives have been identified for achieving these aspirations
I. Demand Creation for IT/ITES industry
This initiative aims to position Bhutan as a premier ICT services destination especially for outsourcing of Data Centres and BPOs by, amongst others, creating an end-to-end enabling environment for investor participation in Bhutan.
The initiative will entail carrying out the following activities within a strict implementation schedule
- Organize publicity events to brand Bhutan as an attractive destination on the ‘ICT for GNH theme’ (by organizing the first professionally managed mega PR event inviting media personnel, industry leaders etc. and engage in partnerships with private firms to sponsor these events)
- Create a single window clearance agency for promoting Bhutan as an ICT destination and facilitating investment by foreign firms
- Attempt to invite technology development partners like Microsoft to setup their development research labs in areas like green data centres etc.
II. Talent Development
This initiative is aimed at building the talent needed for developing the IT/ITES industry further. Different project activities and ongoing efforts will be consolidated to increase IT literacy across schools and colleges by instituting an IT based curriculum and usage and train and create a suitable workforce for ICT industry in Bhutan of IT tools.
III. Infrastructure Building
This initiative will help create suitable and viable infrastructure for ICT development through cost competitive and quality infrastructure
The initiative entails
- Provision of land outside the IT Tech Park to data centre
- Making Internet usage costs competitive with India costs
- Continue giving fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to IT/ITES industry
IV. Establishing conducive Legal, Policy and Regulatory Framework
This initiative is around creating a best-in-class regulatory framework for ICT Development in Bhutan to protect the interests of both investors and domestic people.
The following are the main activities
- Reviewing the BICMA Act to put in data security, privacy and cyber laws to attract anchor tenants
- Studying the best-in class data security, privacy laws to protect domestic citizen and enterprise rights