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Budget: Govt aims to transform country into IT hub

B360 May 29, 2024, 2:41 pm
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KATHMANDU: The government has set a target to develop the country into a hub for Information Technology (IT).

Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun, while unveiling the budget for the fiscal year 2024/25 at the joint session of the federal Parliament on Tuesday, projected that exports in the IT sector will reach Rs 3 trillion over the next decade.

With the aim of creating 500,000 direct and 1 million indirect jobs in the IT sector, the forthcoming year will be declared as the launch year of the IT sector.

The budget plans to position IT as a supporting pillar for the national economy and establish a legal basis for adopting the latest IT in the country. According to Minister Pun, provisions will be made for the development, promotion, and regulation of artificial intelligence (AI). "In the IT field, high-speed, reliable, and high-quality Internet services and intellectual property protection will be ensured with a consistent policy," he stated.

Institutional arrangements will be made for the implementation and monitoring of the Digital Nepal Framework by revising it. A total of Rs 690 million has been allocated for this project. The government plans to advance the work of the IT Park with infrastructure such as high-speed internet and secure electricity by using appropriate government and private buildings in Kathmandu Valley and Butwal in the fiscal year 2024/25.

Free space will be provided to operate the 'work station' in the park for three years. Multi-storey buildings will be constructed at Charkhaal in Dillibazar, Kathmandu, for the operation of a cutting-edge IT hub in a joint policy partnership programme. Similarly, Rs 170 million has been allocated to establish a knowledge park in Khumaltar, Lalitpur.

The government has arranged for public bodies to prioritise domestically produced software. The government is planning to develop standards for the data centres to be operated from the policy sector while upgrading the existing government data centres. The budget mentions the issue of making the storage, security, and use of electronic data systematic and reliable, and making arrangements for 'internships' for young people studying IT at the bachelor's and master's level in IT-related institutions.

The budget aims to provide high-speed internet services to all wards, centres, community schools, and health sectors and to reduce the 'digital divide' in disadvantaged areas, among women, and communities.

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