Jan 07, 2016
The first day of new academic session 2016 was marked with a high note of festivity, exuberance and celebration as around 4.4 million students of primary and secondary grades were handed over a new set of textbooks in all the schools across the country. This year, during the “Textbook Festival Day”, the biggest free text book distribution scheme in the world, the government provided 334 million copies of textbooks. The government in 2009 started distributing textbooks to students free of cost and till date has distributed 1.95 billion copies of textbooks.
The Awami League led government’s foreign policy has lifted the image of Bangladesh to a newer height around the globe in 2015. The biggest success came when the Indian Parliament endorsed the much-awaiting Land Boundary Agreement, ending decade old humanitarian crisis of erstwhile 111 enclave dwellers. Moreover, firm anti-terrorism policy, signing of four nation motor vehicle agreement, exploring the potentials of blue economy, joining Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and high profile visits of different head of the states were highlights of the year.
Strong vigilance and surveillance in garment factories round the year, by both public and private initiatives, have resulted in stellar progress being made in making factory owners adhere to safety measures and ensuring a safe environment for the workers. Through safety assessment, the sector has been able to reassure buyers that Bangladesh is a safer place for the workers. Safety assessments found less than 2% factories risky and shut them down.
Key macro and micro economic indicators yielded positive and upward trends throughout 2015, on top of 6.5% GDP growth. Over last five years, the country maintained over 6% growth. Growing sectors include agriculture, manufacturing, apparel, shipbuilding and ship breaking industries while investments were also in increasing mood. Moreover, the number of overseas employment for Bangladeshis stood at 538,667 in December 2015 which was 425,684, a year back.
Owing to an assortment of policies, the country saw the earnings form exports in the just concluded year register a 6.4 % rise and set a new record, exceeding the target by 1.38%. In the last six months, the earning went up to $16.08 billion, up from $14.91 billion in the said times a year ago. Pharmaceutical products, leather goods, rubber and jute products are among others which contributed to this milestone. Processes are also well underway to export mango and to explore other export products to enlarge the country’s export basket.
The much awaited four lane highway in Dhaka-Chittagong route will be opened to public in May this year. Inauguration of the project will mark a giant step forward towards reshaping the communication system while transportation by road in the said route will be made much easier, curtail time and ease the long traffic overhaul. This project coincides with the government’s plan to redesign the existing infrastructure for facilitating growth and businesses.
Fresh impetus has been boosted in the country’s pursuit to build the first ever deep seaport as the foreign firms are engaged in a stiff battle to secure the contract. This week, a number of high esteemed builders from India, China and other countries have submitted their bids. Construction works will include the dredging of 35 nautical miles to develop 14.5-metre-draught shipping channel that will deal with fast-growing volume of cargoes as Chittagong Port's capacity is reaching its limit while the country is predicted to handle 3.0 million containers by 2019.
In view of opening a new horizon of garment exports in Chittagong, a memorandum of understanding has been struck between concerned authorities allowing BGMEA to get land and permission to set up a separate apparel zone at Kalurghat. As per the MoU, the apparel zone will be set up on the CCC's 10.36 acres land at a cost of US$30 million The apparel zone will have 10 buildings of seven-story each, and each floor of each building will have 20,000 square feet space.
According to the government’s latest census, the number of economic units has doubled between 2003 and 2013 riding on the fast expanding non-farm activities across Bangladesh. In 2003, the number of economic units was 3.7 million that swelled to 7.18 million in 2013 while the economic units have increased 71% since 1986. Emergence of new economic units by entrepreneurs and full-time workers has opened up new opportunities.
The World Bank has pledged to provide Bangladesh with a $100 million grant to help the country enable 19.5 million children receive primary education and complete grade V. Currently, almost 100% enrolment is ensured in primary schools and nearly 80% of them complete their primary education. With a raft of measures devised and implemented by the current government, Bangladesh has carved out its name as the biggest success story in achieving global educational goals.
Endowed with a bounty of natural beauties, Bangladesh declared 2016 as the Year of Tourism with a target to increase the inflow of foreign tourists by 70% to 1 million and secure US$ 200 million earnings from the sector annually by 2018. To revitalize the industry, the government has taken a $25 million new tourism mega plan and established Bangladesh Tourism Board as a statutory body in 2010, which has already implemented a number of impressive programmes last year.
The government has set out a plan to generate 800 megawatt (mw) electricity from solar projects by 2018 as part of its vision to harness 10% power from renewable energy sources. The plan includes generation of 1,600 mw from solar, 1,300 mw from wind and 45 mw from biomass, biogas and hydro power projects by 2021 so that the total electricity generation goes up to 20,000 mw.
According to data from the central bank, inflow of remittance in Bangladesh increased 2.5% year-on-year to $1.31 billion in December last year. More than .5 million men and 92,000 women migrated to different countries while the numbers stood at about 4,00,000 and 76,007 at the end of last year. Successful labour diplomacy and exploration of new manpower landing destinations have fueled the rise in both remittance earning and more overseas employment opportunities.
The government will impart training to some 10,000 entrepreneurs of union digital centres (UDC) on citizen journalism to regularly post grassroots development news on UP websites and various social networking sites. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division and Tathyaseba Barta Sangstha (TSB) in this regard. TSB will implement the three-year programme.
Ending 68 years wait of former enclave dwellers of getting basic amenities, the government has sanctioned an ambitious project worth $24 million to help those people turn around their lives. First of its kind, the project money will be laid out to connect villages with towns to facilitate marketing of agricultural produce and create employment opportunities. New roads, bridges and culverts will also be constructed under the project to change the course of the lives of these people.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives