The BIPS process involved stakeholders from Government, semi-government and the private sector. Five Committees were formed along the lines of the Digital Opportunity Initiative (www.opt-init.org), covering Policy, Infrastructure, Human Capacity, Content and Applications, and Enterprise. With inputs from open consultative workshops and previous ICT studies, the Committees formulated strategies and activities designed to progress Bhutan's ICT development. Bhutan is a landlocked, mountainous kingdom with a small and scattered population. It has a rich cultural heritage rooted in Mahayana Buddhism, and a compact and competent Government. ICT is a relatively recent phenomenon in Bhutan.
Three overall policy objectives underpin the initiatives in the BIPS Report:
to use ICT for Good Governance;
to create a Bhutanese Info-culture; and
to create a "High-Tech Habitat".
The initiatives are aggregated under five strategic and logical headings.
Policy activities focus on making governance more efficient, transparent and inclusive, introducing a modern legal and regulatory framework, strengthening the relevant policy and regulatory bodies, and investigating ways to fund ICT and reduce the costs of ICT services.
The infrastructure activities focus on implementing the liberalized and competitive infrastructure market, and increasing co-ordination between infrastructure providers, and ensuring that there is affordable, fast, secure, sustainable and appropriate ICT infrastructure throughout Bhutan.
Human capacity activities are aimed at ensuring appropriate ICT awareness and skills from basic computer literacy to the high level technical skills to boost the ICT industry. Activities outlined in this area aim to improve the quality and coverage of training institutions, including through developing a Centre of Excellence to boost the quality and accredit ICT training institutes in Bhutan. A national ICT awareness campaign is another important element.
Content and Applications
To enable Bhutan to fully harness the benefits of ICT for its development, the activities include establishing the framework for e-business, using ICT to preserve our cultural heritage, enhancing quality and accessibility of health and education, broadening our national media and web presence and supporting good governance.
Planned activities will boost the competency of the local ICT private sector, and provide business opportunities through outsourcing RGoB ICT work. Access to finance will be addressed, as well as a strategy to target export of ICT services and boost the application of ICT in non-ICT businesses. The Report identifies a number of risks to successful implementation of the BIPS strategies and activities. National commitment will be crucial, as well as financial support from our donor partners. Ensuring appropriate human capacity to implement and manage the activities will also be important. Implementation will be spread across various Government Ministries, agencies and the private sector. The newly-established ICT Units in each Ministry will be utilized to monitor progress, with bi-annual progress reports to the Council of Cabinet Ministers.