Dec 24, 2015
The Cabinet this week approved the largest power plant of Bangladesh to date, the 2,400 MW Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. To be built at a cost of $12.65 billion, the plant would use a new generation reactor that has a lifespan of 60 years with an option of extending it for 20 years. The reactor contains improved safety features, and its passive safety system is capable of working for 72 hours in case of any critical or emergency situation.
According to a report revealed this week by Campaign for Popular Education (Campe), an incredible milestone has been set by Bangladesh in increasing enrollment rate, attendance, and competencies of students while both the dropout rate and total number of out-of-school children decreased. Within a space of last two decades, the country saw a staggering 81.4% of households have at least one literate person, up from 58% in 2000.
A report released by Human Development Index shows Bangladesh has outshone all the South Asian countries including the likes of India, showing the world a new road in translating its income into human development. Health education, social safety and new technology adoption show astonishing progress with an average annual growth of 1.64% in the last two and a half decades.
Life expectancy continues to rise in Bangladesh as people around the country lived on average to ripe old age of 70.7 in 2014, up from 66.8 years six years back. According to the latest BBS survey, maternal mortality ratio per 1,000 live births dipped to 1.93 in 2014 from 2.16 in 2010. Besides, the rate of disability dropped to nine last year from 10.18 in 2010. Overall economic development, expansion of health services, better access to telecommunications and a rise in literacy rate have largely accounted for the attainment.
A hydroponics system in Bangladesh, based on floating gardens, has been recognised by the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) for innovation, sustainability, and adaptability. This environmentally friendly traditional cultivation technique utilises the natural resources of wetlands to grow vegetables and other crops almost all year round, providing numerous social, economic, agricultural, and ecological benefits to the local population.
All pro liberation forces in Bangladesh felt sorrow and righteous fury about the recent remarks made by Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Khaleda Zia for her questioning the number of martyred souls for the country’s blood soaked independence in 1971. Freedom fighters, war crimes researchers, martyrs' family members, war crimes prosecutors and different pro-liberation organisations rallied in the street in demand for enacting a law, "Genocide Denial Law", similar to the "Holocaust Denial Law" in Germany while protesters termed that act as moral outrage and national disgrace.
Given the recent graduation of Bangladesh to the lower middle income status, hopes are on the horizon that the country would become Asia’s next Tiger and emerge as the 23rd economically flourished country in the world in a span of three years. As of now, Bangladesh stands at 44th position advancing from 58th in 2012.Taking the world aback, a remarkable growth rate of 6% growth has been achieved annually amid the global meltdown. Last week, the WB chief economist pinned hopes that an ambitious target of 8% growth rate is even achievable for the people in this land.
Towards the country’s pursuit to realise its dream of launching the maiden satellite by 2017, foreign and local engineers are at hard work on the design of Bangabandhu satellite under the supervision of French company Thales Alenia Space. Once launched, the satellite will set a landmark step forward in making the national vision –Digital Bangladesh—a reality. Digital divide will be narrowed down as broadcasting and telecom services will be reached to rural areas while all South Asian countries will reap its benefits.
As part of bringing in a wholesale reform aiming to transform the healthcare delivery system by 2032, an ambitious scheme has been launched to bring around 1,00,000 outreached families under better healthcare coverage. Initiated on a pilot basis, this scheme would see selected families given a card that would entitle them to take admission to hospitals in the upazilas and avail treatment of 50 diseases with diagnosis and medicine for free. The government will pay Tk 1,000 a year to each family as health premium against which they will be able to avail of treatment up to Tk 50,000 a year.
With the introduction of the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system, the country has gained another step forward in elevating and remodeling the entire financial management. On the newly introduced initiative, policymakers and experts expressed high optimism saying that it would ensure instant fund flow throughout the country and leads to a vibrant economy in Bangladesh. Moreover, it will help create new channels for reaching wider financial inclusion initiatives across the country.
Taking a giant step forward in ensuring social and human development along with economic development of the country, the Awami League government has sanctioned a new Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy. It makes provisions for, among others: minimum age for work; fair wages; decent working conditions; fixed working hours; identity cards; contract of employment; maternity leave and legal actions against physical or verbal abuse and sexual harassment. Enactment of the policy has received high praise from different stakeholders.
Renewing her pledge to stand for riding the country of the menace of religious extremism and extremists, Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina commented that Bangladesh would go ahead overcoming all obstacles with the united efforts of the people of all religions. With a call to stand together to eliminate all evil forces, the Bangladesh Premier said the country overcame the hurdles as united efforts were put in place for welfare of the people. The Prime Minister said this while exchanging greetings with members of the Christian community on the eve of Christmas 2015 at her residence.
Over the last six years, real and measurable progresses are being made in the energy sector resulting in an unprecedented level of power being generated while a whopping number of 74% people have gained electricity access. The power generation capacity has increased by 1,229 MW in the last one year taking the total installed power generation capacity to 11,877 MW from 1,0648 MW a year back. This landmark attainment is reached largely because of the present government’s vision to ensure electricity for all by 2021.
Works are well underway build the country's first petroleum pipeline between the port city of Chittagong and Dhaka for easy transportation of fuel oils at reduced costs. State-run Padma Oil Co Ltd (POCL) has already invited bids from interested firms to work as a consultant to build the maiden oil- carrying pipeline. To be laid out on a stretch of around 265 kilometres, the pipeline would carry refined petroleum products from the port city at the quickest possible time.
Bangladesh is now weighing a major option like maritime cooperation with China after having signed last June a pact with India on blue economy blooming in the bay. To give the initiative a major boost, groundwork has been started for the formation of a joint working group (JWG) on maritime cooperation. Both of the said countries maintain regular contacts to negotiate weapons transfers, inspect military facilities, and explore areas of defence cooperation since 1976.
Located strategically between South and South-east Asia, Bangladesh has developed a new concept to become a most attractive hub for regional connectivity and businesses. Being at the concept level, it looks into opening up new opportunities to widen networking on issues like inequality, people-to-people contact, food security and energy cooperation. Currently, the country is a member in SAARC, BIMSTEC, BBIN, BCIM and poses the potential to help its neighbouring countries grow more.
The Asian Development Bank is going to provide Bangladesh with $205 million in finances to help increase access to reliable supply of electricity and improve efficiency and capacity of power systems. Under the loan scheme, the existing analogue billing meters will be replaced by 700,000 pre-paid meters in Dhaka division. The loan will also help replace the ageing steam and gas turbine power plants with a more efficient 400-MW gas-fired combined cycle power plant and upgrade and construct 72 KM of transmission lines and four substations.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives