Dec 29, 2016
According to a recent from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Bangladesh retained top position in a league among 48 remittances receiving Least Developed Countries (LDCs) last year. The country earned a total of US$ 15.4 billion in the year under review among seven top remittance-earning countries of the LDCs followed by Nepal at $7.0. Being one of the top ten remittance- earning countries in the world, Bangladesh earned $ 14.94 billion in 2014, $ 13.83 billion in 2013, $ 14.16 billion in 2012 and $ 12.16 in 2011, reveals this report.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution titled Culture of Peace proposed by Bangladesh at a meeting of the UN General Assembly. The objectives of the resolution are to promote peace and get rid of the hatred and intolerance. This year 100 countries, including some European states, were the co-sponsors of the resolution while representatives of 20 countries spoke on it. The resolution was introduced in the assembly in 1999, followed by observation of the "Decade for Culture of Peace" across the world.
During his recent visit to Bangladesh, David Saperstein, US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, expressed his satisfaction at the prevalence of substantial religious freedom in Bangladesh in terms of freedom of worship and peaceful coexistence of various faith-based communities. According to his view, the government deserved appreciation for responding to attacks on minority communities, for taking steps, rebuilding some of their buildings that were destroyed, looking for the perpetrators, holding them accountable, and for providing security.
A marked rise is vindicated in production of three major food grains by 13% in the past six years with rice yield showing a growth of 8.59% to strengthen further the food security, according to latest official statistics. The figures showed that rice production rose to 35 million tonnes from 32.2.5 million tonnes, wheat to nearly 1.4 million tonnes from 0.969 million tonnes and maize yield jumped to over 2.5 million tonnes while the volume was only 1.370 million tonnes six years ago.
Bangladesh has extended its support to the Qatari candidature in the post of Director General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina extended the support when Dr Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, the adviser of the Diwan Amiri of the State of Qatar and the Qatari candidate in the Unesco director general post, paid a courtesy call on the PM at her office. During the visit of the envoy, a memorandum of understanding has been signed to take the ties between the countries to a newer height.
Infrastructure and Mega Projects
With an aim to uplift the scales of progress in rural areas, a new project worth $300 million has been undertaken by the government in assistance with the World Bank. Under the LGSP recipe, the government is providing funds to union parishads (UPs) across the country for the infrastructure and social developments in their command areas. Starting in 2000 as a pilot project in Sirajganj, the project was later expanded across the country in 2012 to build on its success in the bottom-up process of uplift.
The country’s railway sector has undergone a complete overhaul, turning the sector out into a safe, fast, cheap and comfortable means of communication for the countrymen. As many as 20 sets of diesel electric multiple unit (DEMU) trains from China have been procured for the capital and other important cities of the country. With these DEMUs, 16 pairs of commuter trains are plying between Dhaka and Narayanganj while four pairs between Dhaka and Joydevpur. Besides, a project has been undertaken for feasibility study to construct circular railways around Dhaka city to reduce traffic jam.
Growth and Development
The government has prepared a roadmap for the tea sector involving $124.3 million aiming to boost production, create 30,000 additional permanent jobs and improve the standards of living of workers. Now that 1,270 kg of tea is grown per hectare, with the average usage of tea land, this new plan intends to raise tea production at 110 million kg by 2025 from 162 gardens. Plans have been laid out to construct 15,000 houses for workers, 15,000 toilets, 40 deep tube-wells and 4,500 hand-driven wells in order to improve the living standards of workers.
A host of development schemes, as envisaged and put in place by the present government, reached a new height in the outgoing year with the launch of several large-scale schemes, including some transformative infrastructure projects targeting a higher economic growth in line with the Seventh Five-Year Plan. The projects include those for power generation and transmission line renovation and expansion, expansion of some important highways, construction of bridges, infrastructure development for the railway, gas pipeline expansion, socioeconomic and some rural development.
The manpower export scored a staggering 35% rise over the last year’s level with sending over 0.7 million workers this year, yet another success added to the overall governance of HPM Sheikh Hasina’s administration. Between January and December, around 49,249 Bangladeshi nationals went abroad with most of them making it to the Gulf and many Middle Eastern countries. Moreover, a programme has been rolled out to develop 0.5 million skilled manpower in the country to ensure sustainable development.
An agreement worth $167 million has been struck between the government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in a bid to improve infrastructure and operational efficiency of the country's gas sector. The project aims to improve efficiency in natural gas production by installing seven wellhead gas compressors at the Titas gas field and expand natural gas transmission pipeline capacity by constructing a 181-kilometre, 36-inch parallel gas transmission pipeline from Chittagong through Feni to Bakhrabad.
As part of government target to distribute 30 million improved cook stoves by 2030, some 70,000 improved stoves have been installed in the country's coastal region, aiming to reduce household air pollution and cope with climate change impacts. Implemented in eight sub-districts in the coastal region, this initiative seeks to ensure distribution of clean cook stoves among five million households by 2017.
Works are well underway to set up a new power plant in Khulna with a capacity to generate 330MW of power in an effort to supply more electricity to the people of the southern parts of the country. Of the amount, China will finance $256.5 million in the project, while the remaining $157.9 million will come from the state coffer. Over the last eight years, some 81 power stations with a generation capacity of 10,353 megawatts (MW) have been set up, bringing in around 76% people under electricity.
Social Justice and Equity
Agriculture loan disbursement grew by nearly 23% or $178.9 milion in the first five months of the current fiscal year (FY) 2016-17 compared to the same period of the previous fiscal. This rise signifies the growing demand for availing the scheme from the farmers while media reports stand out as a testament to the positive impacts this initiative has brought in the lives of farmers. With the arrival of the Boro and Robi-cropping season, the central bank advised all banks for taking effective measures to meet the growing demand for such credits from interested farmers.
Introduced by the present government, a 24-hour helpline has turned out to be an instrumental mechanism for preventing the menace of child marriages in rural families of Bangladesh. Throughout last year, as many as 219 such child marriages were stopped, given that installation of this helpline ensure that the concerned officials get to know of any such marriage in their locality in quickest possible time.
International and Regional Cooperation
In an interview given to the leading Indian newspaper ‘The Hindu’, Ambassador of USA to Bangladesh Mercia Bernicat has lauded HPM Sheikh Hasina’s stance against terrorism. She commented that the Bangladesh Prime Minister has acted on her policy of zero tolerance towards terrorists from the time she came to office. She has worked very closely with the government of India and we are finding her and her government excellent partners in the fight against terror.
Two submarines bought for Bangladesh Navy from China reached Chittagong port this week. Bangladesh Navy has added the two submarines to its fleet for the first time in its history to further intensify monitoring in the Bay and enhance the force's combat capability. On November 14, Rear Admiral Liu Zizhu on behalf of the Chinese government handed over the submarines to Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed at a ceremony at Liaonan shipyard in China's Dalian state.
Digital Bangladesh
Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) has developed a mobile application “BMD Weather App” so that smartphone users can get daily update on weather. Smartphone users can now download the mobile application from the Google Play Store as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated it at her office on Tuesday. The app shows the latest weather information, including air temperature, air pressure, direction, and amount of rain from automatic weather monitoring centers situated across the country.
The Directorate of Textile has introduced 'e-service' on Tuesday making registration and other services available online for entrepreneurs. Financed by Access to Information (a2i) Programme Service Innovation Fund, the 'e-service' was introduced under the project 'Online One Click Registration and Other Service Delivery by Directorate of Textile by Developing an E-Centre Network Using ICT.' These services form part of a number of programmes undertaken for the expansion of textile sector.
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