Nu 1.17bn approved for Digital Drukyul in FY 2020-21

Nine components under the Digital Drukyul flagship program are in full swing which make for 51.3% of financial progress with an approved budget of Nu 1.17bn in financial year (FY) 2020-21.

The components include Integrated citizen services, E-Patient Information System, Digital School, E-Business, One Digital Identity, Government Initiated Network and ICT Capacity and Capability.

According to the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC), Nu 3.13bn has been earmarked for Digital Drukyul flagship program. The program aims to harness the power of ICT to transform Bhutan into a smart and inclusive society.

Of the nine components, the government has approved around Nu 267mn on government initiated network (1,000 government offices, schools and hospitals and five rings in backbone network to be connected) in FY 2019-20 and Nu 449mn in FY 2020-21.

With this component, an electronic patient information system to centrally manage patient records of all health centers will be developed and about 1,000 schools, hospitals and offices will be provided with broadband Internet connection.

Nu 300mn was approved for One Digital Identity (Digital identity, biometrics and digital signature) in FY 2020-21. A total of Nu 34mn was budgeted in FY 2019-20. Of it, Nu 29.4mn is utilized and Nu 4.5mn remains with 86.6% of financial progress.

According to the GNHC, this component will facilitate a robust ICT infrastructure with systems such as a single digital identity and access to reliable information systems; while also developing a strong domestic ICT industry to not only sustain the initiatives but also leverage it for digital export in the future.

Nu 55mn approved has been approved for Digital School (EMIS 3.0 and digital courses), Nu 30mn for E-Business (Integrated Business Licensing and Single Customs-Trade System) and Nu 57mn for ICT Capacity and Capability (ICT professionals’ certification and digital literacy for non- ICT) in this FY.

Meanwhile, issuance of business licenses of all categories, clearances for export and import, and most commonly availed public services such as birth registration, death registration, pension services, marriage certificate, vehicle services, issuance of various permits, construction approvals and utility services, will be streamlined and eased by enabling government agencies to interact and coordinate more efficiently without burdening the citizens.

It is also expected that the successful implementation of the program will lay the foundation for the success of e-Commerce in the country.

A GNHC official said that the contract awarded Nu 457mn for government-initiated network over two years and a Nu 249mn work order was issued. “In 209 offices, optical fiber equipments and accessories for region 3 and 4 for Phase 1 are delivered and dispatched for respective sites for installation,” he said.

He added around 190 agencies/offices will be connected with fibers connection and DrukREN Core Network equipment delivered at respective site for installation by end of September.

He shared that the contract signed between DRC, MoF and TTPL, DHI on June 16, 2020 for Bhutan Integrated Taxation System (BITS) amounts to a contract of Nu 610mn, Nu 35mn more than the initial budget of Nu 575mn.

Meanwhile, about 80% of e-learning system development platform is going to be launched in August and September.

Digital Drukyul is expected to be achieved through focused turnkey initiatives that will radically improve citizens’ satisfaction with public services in the areas of health care, education, business licensing and other critical public services.

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu