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OPINION-Embracing Digitization and Technological Advancement: A Pragmatic Path for Bhutanโ€™s Future

Bhutan, with its sizable population and territory, stands at a critical juncture in its development trajectory. Embracing digitization and technological advancement is not only a pragmatic choice but a necessary step for the nationโ€™s progress. By investing in smart infrastructure, systems, and services, Bhutan can pave the way towards becoming a technologically-driven nation. However, in parallel to this pursuit, it is crucial to build robust institutions and develop a skilled workforce capable of handling the challenges and opportunities of a smart nation.
Unlocking the Potential of Technology:
The integration of technology into various sectors has the potential to revolutionize Bhutanโ€™s development landscape. By embracing digitization and technological advancements, Bhutan can improve governance, enhance public services, and foster innovation and economic growth. The entire system of a technologically-driven nation is not an unattainable dream for a small nation like Bhutan; rather, it is an achievable reality that can positively impact the lives of its citizens.
Reconsidering Developmental Plans:
In order to realize the vision of a smart nation, the government needs to reevaluate its developmental plans and prioritize investments in smart technological infrastructure, systems, and services. By integrating digital platforms and e-governance initiatives, Bhutan can streamline administrative processes, enhance transparency, and improve service delivery to its citizens. This shift towards digitization will require a strategic reallocation of resources and a proactive approach to embracing new technologies.
Investing in Smart Technological Infrastructure:
Building smart technological infrastructure is essential for a technologically-driven nation. From robust connectivity to digital payment systems and advanced data management, investing in the necessary infrastructure will lay the foundation for a digitally empowered Bhutan. This infrastructure will enable the seamless flow of information, facilitate e-commerce, and ensure efficient and effective service delivery across sectors.
Developing Skilled Human Resources:
While investing in technological infrastructure is crucial, building capable institutions and developing a skilled workforce is equally important. Bhutan must invest in education and training programs that equip its citizens with the necessary digital literacy and technical skills. By nurturing a pool of skilled professionals, the nation can effectively navigate the challenges and harness the opportunities presented by digitization and technological advancements.
Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship:
The journey towards a smart nation requires the cultivation of innovation and entrepreneurship. Bhutan should create an ecosystem that encourages and supports startups, research, and development initiatives. By providing access to funding, mentorship programs, and supportive policies, the government can foster an environment where ideas thrive and new ventures flourish. This approach will not only spur economic growth but also contribute to job creation and the diversification of the economy.
Building Robust Institutions:
In addition to technological advancements, Bhutan needs to focus on building robust institutions capable of managing and regulating the digital landscape. This includes enacting comprehensive policies and legislation that safeguard data privacy and security, protect against cyber threats, and ensure responsible and ethical use of technology. Strong institutions will instill confidence in citizens and investors alike, fostering trust in the digital ecosystem.
Promoting Digital Inclusion:
As Bhutan embraces digitization, it is crucial to prioritize digital inclusion. Ensuring that all segments of society have access to and can benefit from technological advancements is vital for creating an equitable and inclusive digital society. Efforts should be made to bridge the digital divide by providing internet connectivity to remote areas, offering digital literacy programs, and promoting affordable access to digital devices. No one should be left behind in the digital transformation journey.
Collaborating with International Partners:
Bhutan can leverage international collaborations and partnerships to accelerate its digitization efforts. Learning from the experiences of other countries and tapping into global expertise can provide valuable insights and best practices for a successful digital transformation. By fostering collaboration with international organizations, Bhutan can access resources, funding, and technical support that can further bolster its digitization initiatives.
As Bhutan embraces digitization and technological advancement, it opens up a world of opportunities for the nationโ€™s progress. By investing in smart technological infrastructure, systems, and services, Bhutan can enhance governance, improve public services, foster innovation and economic growth, and create a more inclusive society. However, alongside this pursuit, equal emphasis must be placed on building institutions and developing a skilled workforce capable of handling the challenges and opportunities that arise. By doing so, Bhutan can confidently embark on its journey towards becoming a smart nation, where technology is harnessed for the betterment of its people and the sustainable development of the nation as a whole. Through a strategic and holistic approach, Bhutan can navigate the digital landscape and emerge as a shining example of a technologically-driven nation.

Tashi Dorji, Thimphu

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