From Father to Daughter: The Story of Bangladesh's Surprising Rise in South Asia

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Published on May 30, 2022
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The infrastructural and economic development of Bangladesh in the last era is a surprise to the whole world today. The UN resolution states: If this trend of development in Bangladesh continues, it will soon be enlisted as a developed country from a developing one. This change in Bangladesh compared to the South Asian countries is an unprecedented event. Once upon a time, no one would have believed that the per capita income of the poverty-stricken people of Bangladesh would be higher than that of the neighbouring big country India. In 2013, Bangladesh's per capita income was almost half that of India, it was even lower in 2008 However, in 2022, when India's per capita income is about two thousand dollars, Bangladesh's per capita income has exceeded two and a half thousand dollars. Even with the value of the taka has increased gradually reducing the gap with the rupee over the past decade. The value of the taka is now almost touching the rupee. The story of Bangladesh’s rise started with a comparison with India as it is now the most economically and militarily strong international power in South Asia.

Bangladesh has been re-emerged newly in the world thanks to the tireless efforts of Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her far-sighted planning. In this regard, the people's leader Sheikh Hasina said in an article written by her, “As I look back at all we have achieved, I can’t help but wish my father could see us now. I know how proud he would be of how far we have come, and I know he would remind us that there is more work to be done. It is the indomitable spirit of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman that drives us forward, and we dare not rest till we achieve all his dreams.”

In the article 'Striving to Realize the Ideals of My Father', the Prime Minister mentioned the three steps behind the transition to today's Bangladesh. The first step was the inspiration she got from Bangabandhu’s thoughts on the state, on which she planned to develop the country in the next two steps.

To tell the story of the renaissance of today's digital Bangladesh, we have to look back to 2008 when Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina announced the 'Charter of Change’ and the Awami League formed the government. At that time, only eight lakh people in the country were under internet service. But after forming the government, the daughter of Bangabandhu took the initiative to provide internet service all over the country. As a result, in less than a decade, 98 per cent of the country’s population has come under the Internet and at least 120 million people are getting Internet services. Due to this internet service, a new profession called Freelancing has spread to the village after village. Millions of people have become self-sufficient by working on the Internet at home, contributing to the government's remittance income.

The resistance to extremism, terrorism and corruption, and a congenial atmosphere have ensured work all over the country. The diversified working opportunities, professional security and business stability boosted the country’s economy, rising Bangladesh as a middle-income country. The United Nations has recognized Bangladesh as a developing country for achieving economic growth through good governance, increasing the per capita income of the people, improving in human resource index due to government social safety security and service programs and gaining a stable and reliable position in economic fragility index.

Despite the corona pandemic, Bangladesh's foreign reserves stood at around 48 billion dollars in 2020. After meeting various import dues, currently, it is still stable at around 45 billion dollars. Meanwhile, Bangladesh has achieved the milestone of earning foreign currency. Our country has earned the highest remittance of 21 billion dollars in 2021 amid hundreds of obstacles. Even in the field of garment exports, our country has achieved the second top position in the world in 2020.

Meanwhile, the government has already set up 8,500 digital centres and 86,500 digital classrooms across the country to keep pace with the modern world in information technology. Regular training is being imparted to the people through training centres and IT parks rose the income from the IT sector to two billion dollars from just 25 million dollars while revenue from this sector has increased to 68 million dollars from just four million dollars. With 6 and a half lakh IT professionals, at least 50 lakh people have become self-reliant by joining the new small business sector related to information technology.

On the other hand, a revolution has also taken place in the agricultural sector. Once a food-deficient country, Bangladesh is now self-sufficient in food production. Bangladesh is now one of the top 5 countries in the world in terms of fish and vegetable production. Vegetables and fruits are also being exported abroad to meet the food and nutrition needs of the people of the country. As 43% of the people in our country are involved in agriculture, the government is making arrangements for the development of salinity-tolerant rice and crop varieties for the coastal areas and modern market management for the farmers.

After ensuring 100% electrification across the country, now the Awami League government has emphasized more than 100 EPZ-based export-oriented trade for modern agriculture and industrial economy. Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is making utmost efforts to fully educate the new generation. Bangabandhu’s daughter is taking forward the Children’s Protection Act formulated by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after independence. As part of this, in addition to providing compulsory primary education and free books, various stipends and scholarships are being provided to about 23 million students (from primary to higher education). That is why the education rate has now increased to almost 80 per cent.

Bangabandhu first took initiatives to ensure equal rights for women by preserving a 10 per cent quota for the backward women of the country in the Jatiya Sangsad and in government service. In that continuation, initiatives, taken by Sheikh Hasina-led government for female education since 2009, helped the rate of female students rise by 55.07 per cent in SSC, 50.21 per cent in HSC and 35.21 per cent at the university level. As part of the social and economic empowerment of women, women are appointed as judges in high and lower courts, secretary of administration, deputy commissioner and superintendent of police at the district level, upazila executive officer at the upazila level, in charge of various police stations. Women have also been posted in the Army-Navy-Air Force, BGB at the border and Vice-Chancellors in various universities. Thus, women’s empowerment has boosted the country's overall economy and reduced gender inequality.

The revolutionary development in the health sector has reduced the rate of children and maternal death by 85 per cent. While the child mortality rate was 141 after independence, it has now come down to around 20. While the average life expectancy of the country’s people was 47 years, it has been increased to 73 years due to proper treatment and healthcare facilities.

Bangabandhu created cluster villages to give shelter to the landless after independence. The present Awami League government has also expanded its initiative to use the state land to house the helpless people. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government has provided shelter to about one million homeless people through two projects. Then they are given specialized professional training to reduce the poverty in society.

Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is continuing the initiatives that Bangabandhu took for building roads and bridges in war-torn Bangladesh to unite the whole country. As a result, four-lane roads have been built across the country in the last decade while all roads in every village have been improved. Raw materials from different parts of the country can easily go to big markets and ports including the capital, keeping the wheel of the rural economy moving. The Awami League government built the Bangabandhu Jamuna Bridge shortly after the formation of the government in 1996 to connect the greater northern region with the capital. Similarly, the Padma Bridge has been constructed to connect the south-western part of the country with the rest of the country. The launch of this bridge will increase the country's GDP by one per cent.

Just as Bangabandhu set up the Betbunia Earth Satellite Centre shortly after independence to modernize the country, Bangladesh has been able to send Bangabandhu Satellite into space on the initiative of Bangabandhu's daughter. Due to this communication satellite, people of 31 islands in remote and coastal areas of the country are enjoying internet facilities. The satellite has also earned Tk 300 crore from the domestic market in the last three years. Bangabandhu's ideology and philosophy are the main driving force behind the way today's Bangladesh is moving forward. And Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu, is working tirelessly to take the Bengali nation to a dignified position in the world by implementing the philosophy of development cherished by the Father of the Nation. Everyone should stay with this progress. The recent part may seem like a fairy tale with the development of a country for future generations. Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu.