Mar 22, 2018
Literacy rate rises by 26% in 10 years
The adult literacy rate has marked 26.10% rise in the past 10 years, taking it to a record high of 72.76 in 2016, according to the latest data of UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) on Bangladesh literacy rate. The data showed that the total adult literacy was 46.66 percent in 2007 when 43.74% female and 49.83% adult male were literate. With this sharp rise in the total adult literacy in a decade, the percentage of educated male and female also shot up to 75.62 and 69.90 accordingly. The data also revealed that the number of educated young male and female rose remarkably in the past 10 years.
The UN Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has commended Bangladesh's endeavour and achievements at the first review of the national report of Bangladesh at the 63rd session of the committee for the International Covenant on Economic, Social, Cultural Rights that concluded in Geneva. At the review meeting, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam led the Bangladesh delegation. To respond to the question of addressing the issues of discrimination, the state minister highlighted, inter alia, the wide base of the social safety net, the 15th amendment of the constitution in the protection of rights of the ethnic minorities. In this regard, he mentioned that Bangladesh ranked 34th in the world in the Inclusive Development Index.
The newly appointed Country Representative of the UNFPA in Bangladesh, Dr Asa Torkelsson lauded Bangladesh's stellar achievements in the field of women empowerment, ensuring gender parity and sexual and reproductive health. The envoy also assured UNFPA's continued support for overall development of the country and commended Bangladesh's graduation from one of the least developed countries (LDCs) to middle-income one. Her comments came when she presented her credentials to Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali at the latter's office this week.
Japan has conveyed three messages to the government of Bangladesh as it wants to see a safe return of the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. Visiting Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Iwao Horii said promoting repatriation of those displaced people was also needed form the humanitarian perspectives as the approaching monsoon raises their risk at crowded makeshift camps in Cox's Bazar. According to reports, those messages include: the government highly appreciate Bangladesh government's efforts for the displaced persons, pinning hopes that both governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar continue to communicate with each other closely and that the repatriation will be steadily realised.
Bangladesh generates 10,000MW for first time
Power generation crossed a milestone of 10,000 megawatts for the first time in Bangladesh. The government is committed to ensuring access to electricity for the entire population by 2021. It is expected that 100% electricity coverage would be possible much before 2021, according to the Power Cell under the Power Division. In 2009, the access to electricity was 47 percent which is now at 83 percent, it added. As of 2017, the government increased installed power generation capacity to 16,046MW from 4,942MW in 2009.
Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) targets ensuring 100% electrification in all 460 upazilas of the country by December this year. As part of the initiative, over 100 upazilas are now ready to come under 100 power coverage through a function, expected to be attended by Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Torkelsson's comments came when she presented her credentials to Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali at the latter's office this week.
Ashuganj Power Station Company Limited (APSCL) signed a contract with two Chinese firms to set up a new Combined Cycle Power Plant with a capacity of 400 megawatt (MW). As per the contract, the China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC) and China National Corporation for Overseas Economic Cooperation (CCOEC) will supply and construct Ashuganj 400 MW combined cycle (East) project at a contract value of US$ 177.76 million within next 36 months. Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) financed the project along with the Bangladesh government with having APSCL's own funding.
Some 1.3 million new employment opportunities were created in the country in the last fiscal year (FY17) while some 1.4 million people entered into paid employments from unpaid employments during the same period, according to the findings of the Labour Force Survey 2016-17 which was disseminated today at the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) auditorium. The survey findings also revealed that during the time, around 1 million employment opportunities for Bangladeshis were created in abroad making overall employment opportunities 3.7 million.
A farming initiative, backed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and IOM, the UN Migration Agency and funded by the US State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), is bringing new opportunities and improving nutrition for families living on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. In the past six months, almost 700,000 Rohingyas have fled violence in Myanmar. Since the influx began, local residents in the Cox's Bazar area have struggled with significant challenges from overstretched infrastructure to major hikes in food prices.
The government is spending nearly $6.30 million for upgrading the Bangladesh Marine Fisheries Academy (BMFA) as an international training center and a marine resource based research organization. Under the project, the government will build hostel for foreign cadets, officers residence, women cadet hostel, residential quarters for employees, swimming pool, gymnasium and auditorium complex.
The embassy of the Netherlands in Bangladesh has contributed $800,000 to the World Food Programme (WFP) to scale up an initiative on rice fortification in Bangladesh. Rice fortification aims to reduce micronutrient deficiencies among vulnerable groups in Bangladesh through access to nutrient-dense, fortified rice. The initiative is being implemented by WFP in collaboration with Ministry of Food and Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, and other partners, said a press release.
As part of the Rohingya joint response plan, Unicef will provide $113 million to meet the needs of 720,000 children -- Rohingya as well as Bangladeshi children in the communities hosting them -- through the end of 2018. The extraordinary efforts of the Bangladesh government, with support from the humanitarian community, brought crucial protection and relief to children and families, many of whom had escaped death, said Unicef. The crisis continues -- the Rohingyas are still fleeing Myanmar with around 500 new arrivals every week over the past month. The scale of immediate, basic, life-saving needs including the daily need of 17 million litres of clean water remains immense.
Scholars, think-tanks, government officials, diplomats, business leaders and other stakeholders of the Bay of Bengal region have convened in Dhaka to take stock of the seven countries grouping BIMSTEC's achievements and chart a future course of action. It was established through the adoption of Bangkok Declaration in June 1997 to promote cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, technological exchange and other interrelated areas and contribute to peace, progress and prosperity in the region. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are the members of the grouping now.
The plastic industry has been growing at about 20% a year on the back of spiralling demand from domestic and export markets. In fiscal 2017-18, the domestic market size of plastic products hit Tk 25,000 crore, according to the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Export Association (BPGMEA). Plastic exports rose 31% year-on-year to $117 million last fiscal year, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau. Bangladesh currently manufactures 142 plastic items and the number is increasing by the day. The country mainly exports intermediate products like film plastic, household items and garment accessories to the US, Canada, the Europe, China, India and Nepal.
The government is going to hire an internationally recognized and experienced firm to run the marketing activities of the country's first satellite Bangabandhu-I. The government will do it to grab the maximum financial benefit from both domestic and international market by selling the frequency of the satellite. The satellite will have 40 transponders, of which 14 in C-band and 26 in Ku-band. One transponder is equivalent to 36 MHz. Some 20 transponders will be deployed for domestic users while the remaining will be sold in international market.
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