June 22, 2017
Honorable Prime Minister (HPM) Sheikh Hasian flew to Sweden, of late, in what appears as the first ever visit by any Bangladesh Premier since the country became independent in 1971, ushering in a new dawn in the relation between the countries. During this four-day visit, both premiers identified new areas of cooperation, pledging to step up efforts to increase ties as regards to economy, trade and investment. Moreover, a new chapter of bilateral cooperation has unfolded in the fight against the menace of terrorism.
Expressing her commitment to change the course of national progress, HPM Sheikh Hasian pinned hopes that Bangladesh's per capita income would reach $12,000 and the size of its economy $2.5 trillion by 2041. According to the Premier, by 2041, Bangladesh economy will be the centre of the Asian economy, given that the country will play a remarkable role in [maintaining] the local supply chain and the global value chain as well as in establishing regional and sub-regional communication and connectivity.
Many students from the South Asian countries flock to Bangladeshi medical schools, given that Bangladesh is increasingly standing out as an attractive option for medical aspirants with a reasonable cost in comparison with other countries in Asia, Europe and North America. There are more than 75 seats for international students in various government-run medical colleges in Bangladesh, while 20-25% of seats in private medical colleges are reserved for them. On the other front, the country has reasons to rejoice too, given that a total of 593 foreign students were studying in 18 of the country’s 37 public universities in 2015, while1,548 international students were studying in private universities in 2015.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres showered praise on HPM Sheikh Hasian for her role in taking the country towards the path of progress, particularly in the areas of economic growth, resilience and risk management. Referring to the threats of climate change, the Secretary-General said that he wants to see Bangladesh in the frontline of the battle against climate change, as always. He also expressed hope that Bangladesh would be in the forefront of the implementation of SDGs.
Bangladesh has installed 13,596MW power plants since the Independence, with the Awami League accounting for more than 61% of electricity generation capacity in the last eight years. In sync with the government’s promise to light up every houses by 2021, the power generation capacity, including the captive power plants, has been extended up to 15,351MW. Bangladesh's power generation capacity touched the 9,000MW mark for the first in June last year while on May 27 this year, power generation mark reached all time high of 9,356MW.
In a recent move, two power network projects involving Tk 13,909.21 crore have been sanctioned aiming to expand electricity coverage in the country's eastern and western parts. As part of the project, works are underway to set up a 39,100-kilometer distribution line to give 1.3 million consumers electricity connections. On top of that, 34 more power plants with 11,363MW generation capacity were under construction -- 16 plants with 6,707MW by the government and 18 with 4,656MW by private companies.
German and French experts joined hands with Russians as the latter started works to install Bangladesh's maiden nuclear power plant (NPP) in northwestern Rooppur laying high priority on safety standards. According to the chief of JSC ASE, a key foreign trade engineering company of State Corporation "Rosatom" for construction of nuclear power facilities abroad, said Rooppur plant's design was made in line with the world's first "Generation 3+" NPP of Novovoronezh plant, now in operation in Russia. Russia will start building the reactor for Rooppur this year as per the contract strictly complying with the IAEA terms and conditions.
Plan has been laid out to widen a narrow 51-kilometre road from Ashuganj river port to Akhaura land port to four lanes for smooth transhipment of Indian goods. Scheduled to be complete by 2020, under the project, 16 bridges, 36 culverts, 10 foot over bridges, two underpasses and two rail overpasses will be either built or rebuilt. The project has four parts. The first, from the river port to the Ashuganj intersection on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway (0.65 kilometres), is a paved road at present.
A new project has been rolled out to build a dual-gauge railway line connecting Chittagong and Cox's Bazar to promote trade and regional connectivity. The project, which is closely aligned with Bangladesh's seventh five-year plan, will provide efficient, safe and environmentally-friendly railway transport. Scheduled to open in 2022, the 102 kilometre-rail link aims to transport 2.9 million passengers annually between Chittagong and Cox's Bazar by 2025. It will help boost Bangladesh Railway's freight market share to 15% and passenger market share to 10% by 2020.
In a remarkable move, the government endorsed a project to set up a series of small liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the country’s major river and seaports to meet the growing natural gas demand. Initially, approval will be given for setting up of small-scale LNG terminals in the existing Sangu platform, Chittagong port and Mongla port jetties and other public and private jetties The industrial units will also be allowed for setting LNG terminals in the bank of Karnaphuli River.
Nearly 64% of the country’s brickfields, widely considered as one of the major sources of air pollution, have so far been got environment friendly technology, according to media reports. There are 6,646 brickfields across the country. Of these, owners of 4,227 brickfields so far converted their units into environment friendly ones by modernising with eco-friendly technologies like Zigzag, Hybrid Hoffman or Automatic Tunnel. The Brick Making and Brickfield Establishment (Control) Act 2013, which came into effect in July 2014, clearly prohibits conventional technologies in the brick-making industry.
A plan has been set in motion to establish three new training centers at Khulna, Barisal and Rajshahi under the Bangladesh Rural Development Board. At present, there are three training centers under the BRDB, which includes Bangladesh Rural Development Training Institute (BRDTI) at Khadimnagar in Sylhet, Noakhali Rural Development Training Center (NRDTC), and Tangail Women Training Center. In addition to this, the BRDB also has more twenty-three Upazila Training Unit (UTU) across the country.
The government is making a mega-plan to avert and tackle disasters in hills after deaths in landslides triggered by heavy rains in five southeastern districts. a high-level committee of 21 members was formed to assess the damage in the disaster and set the next course of action. The committee has been given 30 days to make a report. under the current government, Bangladesh, a worst affected one of climate change, carved out its name as a successful and exemplary one in reducing deaths in natural disasters through enhancing its preparedness by manifold.
The government is going to establish 'Joyeeta', a business venture, at every district to enable womenfolk to get deserving profit and play an important role for country's socioeconomic development. The women entrepreneurs could play an important role for country's socioeconomic development by engaging themselves in Joyeeta activities. Successful women entrepreneurs are called "Joyeeta" (a Bengali word for successful women). Joyeeta Onneshone Bangladesh - a government initiative introduced in 2009 - has had a tremendous impact on the society.
More than 3.12 million foreign tourists visited Bangladesh between 2010 and 2015, signaling a new dawn in the making in the country’s tourism sector. The year 2015 had seen the highest number of tourists -- 643,094 -- visiting the country. Endowed with the bounty of natural beauties, this green delta is decked with rivers, the longest sea-beach, the largest mangrove forest – some among many wonders that can attract the tourists.
The government has released cash incentives amounting to Tk 11 billion to be disbursed among major exporters for the fiscal year (FY) 2016-17. Of the Tk 11.00 billion, the jute and jute product sub-sector will get Tk 1.00 billion, while other sectors will receive the remaining amount. At present, some 20 export sectors including textiles and apparels, frozen fish, leather products, agro-based products and agro-processing industry, halal meat, bone paste, potato, light engineering, ship and pet bottle flakes are receiving cash incentives.
The global regulator has given the go-ahead to the design of Bangladesh's first Tier 4 national data centre, which will boost the country's data storage capacity. The data centre will help in safeguarding digital contents and ensuring cyber security of the country. At present, Bangladesh has a Tier 3 data centre, which is inadequate to meet the country's demand. The Tier 4 centre, which will be built inside Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City at Kaliakoir in Gazipur at a cost of Tk 1,516.91 crore, will be the first-of-its-kind in Asia and the sixth in the world.
The largest ever digital database of over 2, 53,000 identified criminals, including a large number of militants, has been prepared and made operational last week. The database contains 150 types of information such as photographs, biometric finger prints, irises and previous criminal records and punishments in criminal offences. Currently, the RAB officials concerned are adding related information to the main server of the database in one minute of arrest of any criminal or militant by the anti-crime elite force.
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