With the installation of ultra-modern software-- Nepali Port -- at 13 immigration offices, including the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Monday, the country is moving closer to realising its vision of digital Nepal. Nepali Port puts sophisticated information system into practice, with positive implications for border security, economic development and tourism promotion. Given that TIA is the main entrance gate for the departure and arrival of Nepalis and foreigners, the new software will come in handy owing to its multiple features. It has compatibility with bio-metric system, provision of Irish camera and finger prints based on real time data base system, according to the news report carried by this daily the other day. It modernises the information system replacing the old and traditional electromagnetic interference (EMI) software. It does not only ensure security and facilitate the hassle-free movements of the visitors at the airport but also helps to keep an eye on the activities of wrongdoers through the collection and sharing of data. The security agencies can make optimal use of this software as it can read and show the pictures of all those criminals identified by Nepal Police and international security bodies.
The TIA security arrangement has often been criticised for its loopholes and laxity. In 2017, the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police had seized 33 kg of gold from the TIA. The smuggling of such a large amount of gold could not be possible without the involvement of different individuals. If not so, the contraband could not have been passed undetected through the customs. Now it has been hoped that the digitised security mechanism will not allow the repetition of such criminal activities such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, money laundering and smuggling. Various criminals have been successful to slip through the net exploiting the weak technology and poor chain of command at the TIA. In this context, the Nepal Port will be instrumental in keeping serious security threats at bay. Established at the cost of Rs. 8 million within a period of one year, this credible software system needs to be replicated in other areas of administration so as to ensure good governance, prompt and effective delivery of public goods and services.
The digitisation of TIA marks important step towards materialising what Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has persistently been calling for developing the TIA into a boutique airport. While inaugurating the establishment of Nepali Port, PM Oli reiterated the very idea but he suggested that modernity and originality must be blended to create a boutique airport. Prime Minister Oli said that the government had its focus on massive resource mobilisation for boosting optimum economic activities by enhancing road, water and railway connectivity in the days ahead. It is imperative to link the key economic undertaking with the national goal of Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali. Located between the two economic giants – Indian and China, Nepal is striving to be a middle income nation by 2030. This requires huge investment, technology and skilled human resources. First and foremost, it is the embrace of digital economy that enables the nation to achieve inclusive economic growth and prosperity.