Column
Bangladesh on roll in past four years

01 Nov 2013

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Bangladesh emerged as an independent country on December 16, 1971 and carved out a place for itself on the atlas.

 At present Bangladesh has a population of about 16 crore and it covers an area of 147570 sq km. It is one among the most densely populated countries in the world. Due to its geographic location, the country faces many obstacles - such as natural disaster, adverse weather, cyclone, tornado, torrential shower and flood - that impede its development. Bangladesh accounted for 60% of total deaths occurred due to natural disaster in the whole world during the last two decades.

 
In independent Bangladesh general elections have so far been held nine times. In addition to political party rule the country has witnessed military and dictatorial rule as well as rule by caretaker government. The present political government was formed on January 6, 2009. It was preceded by caretaker government that ruled for two years (2007 & 08). Earlier, from 2001 to 2006 the country was ruled by BNP/Jamaat alliance that secured two-thirds majority in the 8th General Elections. Some other rightist Islamist groups were also partners of this alliance. People of the country were ill-at-ease as they could not accept the extreme Islamic tilt of the BNP/Jamaat government that brought the country to the door steps of Islamic fundamentalism. Islamic fanaticism adversely affected the country’s administration and had its repercussions on the judicial system. The country became regressive and started moving towards disaster. There were synchronized country wide bomb blast accompanied with the advent of Bangla Bhai and suicide bombers. Bangladesh also witnessed extremes of corruption and crime during this time. The country came under the rule of Hawa Bhavan in stead of Parliament. 
 
During  the caretaker government rule Khaleda Zia and her two sons Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko were imprisoned for stealing the country’s wealth. Khaleda Zia’s sons are still now staying abroad and can not return to Bangladesh for all the crimes committed by them.
 
Awami League also secured two-third majority in the 9th parliamentary election held in December 2008. Reining in crimes is one of the most distinguished achievements of the Awami League government. Number of crimes has lessened now. There has been perceptible improvement in various sectors. Implementation of Hatirjhil project is a great achievement. The most notable achievement has been the formation of Special Tribunal for holding trial of Razakar and other anti-liberation elements for their role in 1971.
 
At Shahbag the people of the country were demanding death sentence for the Razakar and other war criminals of 1971. Jamaat was strongly against this demand. As its ally, BNP also supported Jamaat and along with Jamaat it took part in unleashing violence to suppress the Shahbag movement. Ignoring Jamaat and BNP’s protests, the Awami League government has been continuing with the process of holding trial to bring the war criminals of 1971 to justice.
 
After improvement in law and order situation, the country’s economy occupies the next place in the parameters by which one evaluates performance of a government. After the news regarding collapse of the Rana Plaza appeared in press, a number of tragic incidents followed. But a piece of good news from a World Bank report went almost unnoticed. It stated that in 2000, six crore thirty lakh people lived below poverty lines in Bangladesh, but this figure came down to four crore thirty lakh in 2010. The credit for this goes to the present government’s untiring efforts aimed at alleviating poverty. Despite increase in population during the period 2000 to 2010 there has been 26% decline in the number of people living below poverty line. People living below poverty line are those whose daily income is less than $2 and calorie intake is less than 2100 gm.
 
The World Bank survey has revealed that infant mortality rate has declined and literacy rate increased in Bangladesh during this time. 98% of the country’s girls have joined primary schools which is an all time record. This can be attributed to the present government’s efforts to ensure gender parity and spread education in the country.
 
Compared to previous BNP/Jamaat government there has been manifold increase in employment generation and 10% increase in opportunities for self employment and self reliance. There has also been increase in employment opportunities. Families nowadays have more than one wage earner. Average income has increased by 5.5% during ten years from 2002 to 2012. The New Age, Wall Street Journal, The Economist and many other international magazines have hailed Bangladesh’s economic progress as the best by any South Asian country.
 
During the last five years Bangladesh has made rapid strides in various fields including agriculture, environment, disaster management and manpower development. In 2000 only 10% of those living below poverty line were covered under electrification programme. This field has witnessed rapid progress and in 2012, 42% of such people have been covered under the same.
 
Last but not the least, economists of Standard Charter Bank believe that Bangladesh would soon be able to join ‘Seven Point Club’ (an association of countries achieving 7% economic development) and this is something to be proud of.



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