Bhutan to Take ICT to Next Level

Bhutan is concentrating to build political will to take ICT (Information Communications Technology) to the next level.

The total budget to develop ICT during the ninth five-year plan was almost Nu 80 million, which is actually the cost of building one higher secondary school with boarding facilities. For the tenth plan, the budget has increased to almost Nu 2 billion and that is the same amount that the government would be spending to develop Thimphu's urban area. There is an urgency to increase this budget with the help of properly motivated political will. A number of useful applications have been identified and are in the process of implementation, such as the online issuance of security clearance, the agriculture marketing system to provide market rates and information, online forest clearance and land transactions. 90 percent of all government forms can now be downloaded from the Bhutan portal website. One of the major works was the Thimphu wide area network (WAN) project to connect all organisations and agencies in Thimphu valley through high-speed optical fibre for information sharing. Useful local content for Bhutanese people is also stress to increase the use of computers by people. Within the next five years, the government is aiming to establish IT parks, community information centres in all 202 gewogs in the country, set up e-governance applications, implement national broadband network and reduce internet rates within the next year.