Amid mass criticism following a news report saying Tk90 crore was being spent for making the Covid-19 vaccine registration app, the health directorate and ICT Division have spurned the news, claiming it untrue, intentional, baseless and conspiratorial.
Separate rejoinders have been issued from the offices, saying that not a single penny was spent to get the app developed.
In the official rejoinder, the ICT Division explained that the mobile app is being developed under its in house development scheme. Neither the ICT Division, nor the DGHS will have to spend money in this purpose.
"The ICT Division will develop the app totally free of cost and hand over it to the DGHS. There was no spending for the development of 'Surakkha' app and the ICT Division did not seek any amount in this regard," read the rejoinder.
It also added that the ICT division had earlier developed a software – Central Aid Management System (CAMS) – of its own and handed over to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said the ICT Division has a database software. As per direction from the Prime Minister's Office, the programmers employed in the ICT Division are developping the 'Surakkha Platform' on the previous database.
The state minister thinks that the media report has been circulated with an intention to thwart a good initiative (vaccination).
Meanwhile, DGHS's Management Information System Director Professor Mizanur Rahman also came up with the same remark.
The Information and Communication Technology Division and the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) are jointly developing the app under their own initiative and manpower, reads a rejoinder issued by Mizanur Rahman.
It said the news of Tk90 crore app development cost is completely baseless. Rather, it is an estimated amount assumed to be spent in one year for the app's operational purposes, including hosting, NID verification, musking and SMS sending.
However, the cost can be reduced as NID verification and SMS sending will be operated by another division of the government, which is under discussion, the statement added.
As the Covid-19 vaccine is likely to arrive in Bangladesh by January, the government is on the final stage of making a mobile application for the vaccination programme.
One can get registered through the mobile app to avail the Covid-19 vaccine. After downloading the app, one will need to register with mobile and NID numbers.
It will be open for everyone. People who are in the priority list of getting the vaccine will also have to register first. Some 25 lakhs people will be allowed to register each month.