Bangladeshi freelancers regain new credibility with ID card project


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Freelancers in Bangladesh finally get a state-approved electronic / virtual ID card.

The announcement of the initiative was made yesterday by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a meeting where the premier virtually launched the Freelancers.gov.bd website and Android mobile app.

This initiative was carried out jointly by the ICT division of the Ministry of Information, the Bangladesh Computer Council, the iDEA project and the Bangladesh Freelancers Development Society (BFDS).

According to ministry officials, the ID card and verification process and the continuation of the initiative will be led by BFDS. The Ministry of Information, the BCC and the iDEA project will provide support at the policy level.

Thanks to the new website freelancers.gov.bd, any valid freelance writer will be able to register in the database at the national level. To obtain the electronic identity card, one must be a Bangladeshi citizen and prove that he has credible professional experience as a self-employed person. They also have to pay TK 1,500 to get the card. In addition, identity applicants will be required to present proof of income in order to obtain the virtual identity card.

Currently, three types of freelancers can register on the platform: individuals, team owners and team members. For individuals and team members, the minimum income requirement in the previous 12 months is $ 1,000, while for team owners it is $ 10,000.

Anyone involved in spamming or other questionable activity will not be able to obtain the ID card.

According to the BFDS, the virtual ID card is just the first step in their plan.

In the near future, this platform also aims to be a hub for tutorials by verified local freelancers. The platform plans to accept only freelancers as mentors with substantial experience and net annual income of $ 20,000. Additionally, the freelancers.gov.bd site will also serve as a local SEO site where certified and credible freelancers can be employed.

“This virtual card will be a means of proving income as well as acting as recognition of their employment. But it is not an accepted form of recognition – financially or administratively speaking. Therefore, we are now in discussion with policy makers concerned to develop this part of the ecosystem so that a freelancer can use it as a means of obtaining loans, credit cards, etc. ”, said Mahfuzur Rahman, general secretary of BFDS.

“The government has several fantastic initiatives to encourage self-employment, including a 10% incentive to earn foreign exchange. Unfortunately, the process is still bureaucratic. Four forms have to be filled out for each transaction, regardless of the amount, for get the incentive, “he added.

Mahfuz expects this platform to help make things smoother in the long run.

Syed Mojibul Huq, project manager of the iDEA project, told the Daily Star that although it is a government approved initiative, it will be led by BFDS as they are the experts in this sector.

He also informed that the government has helped them with the “Dot Gov Dot BD” top level domain to strengthen the credibility of the platform and that it will only support them in policy-related efforts.

Freelancers, however, seemed to have mixed feelings about the announcement of the ID card initiative. While most appreciated the initiative, some were a bit skeptical.

“Paying 1,500 Tk to get a virtual card without the ecosystem supported that will help us gauge our worth – it won’t be of much use to our community,” said Khairul Bashar, a seasoned freelance writer from Khulna.

He also said the initiative may be premature, but is just the start and will be useful in the long run.

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