May 19, 2016
Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged global leaders to join hands to create a safer environment for women and girls alongside empowering them as agents of social transformation. Addressing the opening ceremony of Global Women Leaders’ Forum in Sofia, Bulgaria, the Premier pointed out the steps taken in Bangladesh such as adopting laws which provide for compensations for victims of violence and trafficking, introducing community clinics for reproductive healthcare services to women and having 60% of teaching positions at the primary level reserved for women.
Terming Bangladesh a climate resilient country, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien has said Bangladesh’s success in combating natural calamities can be emulated by many other countries. The comments were made while the expert was replying to questions during a video press conference organised by the UN Headquarters in New York and locally coordinated by UN Information Centre (UNIC) Dhaka. Bangladesh has taken a number of steps to face the challenges of climate change, as a result of which HPM Sheikh Hasina in 2015 won the UNEP Champion of the Earth award.
Investigators have unraveled the clues in most of the cases related to the target killings recently witnessed by Bangladesh. An activist of outlawed militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) made judicial confession that he took part in the killing of Rajshahi University's Professor Rezaul. Police also arrested a suspect over the murder of USAID official Xulhaz Mannan and one other. What is notable is that the involvement of Jamaat-Shibir activists have been found in many of these crimes.
Seven mega development projects by the government are well underway and are expected to make landmark impact for the country. Around 33% progress been achieved already in the construction of the Padma Bridge, while contracts have been signed and full swing progresses are being made in six other mega projects including the nuclear power plant and metro rail project. Two more important projects have been brought under 'Fast-Track' scheme supervised by HPM Sheikh Hasina herself.
Works are progressing at full steam in the project to turn the two-lane Dhaka-Chittagong highway into a four lane one. Given that major part of this diversion has already been completed, officials concerned with the project have lent high optimism that the upgraded track will be open to the public very soon. This project will give the key route a complete overhaul, ensuring a smooth traffic.
The long-cherished dream of the capital dwellers for metro rail is nearing towards reality, as HPM Sheikh Hasina would open its final construction next month. With most of the preparatory works including the feasibility study and other required activities complete, hopes run high that the 21 kilometer long track would be open to the public before 2021. Once completed , this new track will give the city a respite from busy traffic, and provide the dwellers with a time bound and faster communication mode.
Western experts and policymakers lauded the progress Bangladesh has made in the apparel sector since the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013. The observation was made at a discussion organised by the Asian Development Bank on the sidelines of ADB's annual meeting held in Frankfurt, Germany in the first week of May. David Hasanat, chairman of Viyellatex Group and a leading garment exporter in Bangladesh, pointed out that work places have been made safer and workers enjoy more rights now than before.
Scientists in Bangladesh have come up with a solution for southern farmers who have long been deprived of the benefits of high-yield modern rice varieties (MVs) that cannot grow on tidal wetlands. After 12 years of arduous breeding process, they have succeeded in developing two modern varieties suitable for cultivation in the tidal floodplain ecosystem of the southern delta region, with the promise of an additional yield of one million tonnes a year. The varieties -- proposed as BRRI dhan77 and BRRI dhan78 -- are set to get regulatory approval anytime this month.
A new era begins in the education sector as the government has devised and is implementing a series of steps to take the standard of the primary education to the global level. The level of education at primary level has been extended to Class VIII from the existing Class V in light of the National Education Policy approved in 2010. Moreover, decisions have been taken to recruit as many as 28,000 teachers at the primary level across the country to take the menace of illiteracy to a zero level.
According to a recent report, as carried by Bhutanese leading daily Kuensel, works are going on to forge a trilateral cooperation among Bhutan, Bangladesh and India that will enable Bangladesh to invest in the Bhutanese power sector to re-import the electricity. A draft memorandum of understanding on the trilateral collaboration is being circulated among the three friendly countries. Excerpts of the report say, the Awami League government recently approved $1 billion for the project while the money will be equity investment in the project, and Bangladesh will get a proportionate share of the production from the project.
The government has finalized its energy efficiency and conservation master plan aiming to reduce per GDP energy intensity by 20% by 2030, thus saving considerable amount of foreign currency needed to set up power plants. Finalised recently, the "Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan (EECMP) 2030" has the target of saving consumption of power by 15% by 2021 also. If things move toward the right direction, then it will help save 7,482 gigawatt per hour power, which is equivalent to an annual power generation of a 2,000 megawatt (MW) power plant.
India has identified three rural outposts spread across Bangladesh to set up its first foreign special economic zones (SEZs), in a neighbouring country. A joint working group of the two countries set up during Indian premier Modi's visit to Dhaka last June picked the sites at Bheramara near Khulna, Keraniganj near Dhaka and Mirsharai in Chittagong for possible SEZs at its first meeting recently. Last year, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced her government's plans to set up 100 economic zones throughout the country to accelerate economic development of the people.
Bangladesh government has decided to initiate pearl farming in the country to tap the prospect of export earnings from the valuable gemstone produced by oysters under specific conditions. The government is going to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the government of Vietnam in this regard for obtaining assistance from the latter. Vietnam has assured Bangladesh of providing technological support as well as high pearl-yielding variety of mussel to help it start pearl cultivation. Bangladesh has already started works to discover a durable technology to cultivate pearl in the country.
Bangladesh and Egypt have agreed to sign a bilateral investment agreement to boost investment in the industrial sector for mutual benefits of the two countries. The decision was taken between the Commerce Ministers of both countries in May in Cairo. Private investors from Egypt are keen to invest in such sectors as fertilizer, paper, petrochemical and shipbuilding. Egypt has assured Bangladesh of extending all governmental assistances to Egyptian entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh.
Praising family planning and population control initiatives of Bangladesh, Rakiatou Christelle Kaffa Jackou , Niger's Minister for Population, said women are at the core of progress of the country. During a recent visit to Bangladesh, the Minister also vowed to adopt such initiatives involving women as the key policy to reduce population in six Sahel countries, including Niger. Following the footstep of Bangladesh, the envoy said they will set up factories to manufacture contraceptives and technical school to train girls of their countries to reduce population growth.
Digital Bangladesh
The much-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) proposal has been cleared by the Prime Minister's Office which paved the way for launching the service in the country. The Post and Telecommunications Ministry is hopeful to introduce the MNP service by this year. After completing all remaining procedures related to tender floating and other related issues by BTRC, it would take around one month to fully introduce the service. MNP enables mobile phone users to move from one network to another within the country's territory without any change to the original number.
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak has said that the country is going to have a new law to curb IT misuse. The minister said that suggestions are being taken from various ministries on the blueprint of the proposed "Digital Securities Act". Currently the blueprint is with the finance ministry for its review. Soon it will be tabled before the council of ministers. With Bangladesh experiencing rapid digitization under the current government's vision of a 'Digital Bangladesh', focus is now on ensuring that the security arrangements for such a vision are also full-proof.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives