National, Front Page

Nation close to Sonar Bangla

Published : 16 Mar 2021 10:22 PM | Updated : 17 Mar 2021 12:52 AM

Bangladesh has made an impressive progress and fulfilled almost all criteria towards building ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by the Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, experts said.   

Despite numerous challenges, Bangladesh is committed to nourishing the health of our planet, and working towards building a “Sonar Bangla,” under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, they added.

Once, Bangladesh was called a 'bottomless basket', but the country is now the 41st largest economy in the world.

Bangladesh has moved out of the list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and attained the status of the developing country.

Bangladesh has surpassed many countries in South Asia in various social indicators. In this context, economists said 50 years after the final victory in the war of independence, Bangladesh, where about 80 percent of the people were living in poverty in 1971, has become known to the world as a role model of development. 

Dr Atiur Rahman, former governor of Bangladesh Bank, told Bangladesh Post,  “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dreamt of building ‘Sonar Bangla’ since his student life.

Before the coming of the British, a businessman of Murshidabad could have bought the huge city if he wanted to, which means Bengal was fabulously rich. Bengal was one of the richest and its wealth was legendary in the world. This is why, Bangabandhu was dreaming this dream,” he said.

After Independence, Bangabandhu told an Indian journalist, “I am really going to have an independent, peaceful, progressive and prosperous Bangladesh.”

“Bangladesh did not have a dollar and reserves, not even the Central Bank itself. At a time when one crore people were refugees, about 20 lakh houses were destroyed, roads, airports, railways were all destroyed, standing on that ruin, Bangabandhu was dreaming of building a golden Bengal,” Atiur said.

Atiur said Bangabandhu took three very important policies during this period including raising food production, controlling the population and emphasising on education.

If Bangabandhu had survived another decade, we could have achieved the developed country status earlier, he said, adding that we could get the benefits of having a continuity in government like Singapore and Malaysia.

Anyway, the country is developing very fast under the leadership of Bangabandhu’s daughter, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for continuing the government, he mentioned.

Under the visionary leadership of Sheikh Hasina, the country has turned almost ‘Sonar Bangla’ as most of the criteria has already been fulfilled, and it has a target to achieve a developed country status by 2041, Rahman said.

Now, the country has performed better than others in many development indicators including GDP growth and Human Development Index (HDI), he added.

Bangladesh has made impressive progress in the last decade in many economic indicators including export earnings, remittance inflow, reserves, per capita income and poverty reduction, he mentioned.

Dr AB Mirza Azizul Islam, eminent economist and former adviser to a caretaker government, said if you want to know about the economic progress in the country, in the almost 50 years of independence, the country's socio-economic and economic development has been unprecedented.

The size of the macro-economy has multiplied. Education rates, per capita income and foreign exchange reserves have increased, he mentioned.

Significant progress has also been made in poverty alleviation, he said adding that Bangladesh has moved out of the list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and is now becoming a developing country.

Mirza said, “Currently, our involvement with the world market has increased. There has been good progress in the export sector. Once, exports were 5 percent of GDP. At present, it has increased to 15-16 percent.”

In the pre-independence period, the people of this land were subjected to extreme economic exploitation, deprivation and discrimination.

Besides, human life expectancy was very low due to various reasons including hunger, malnutrition and ill health.

The education rate was low. There was not enough employment. After the victory on 16 December 1971, Bangladesh has become a wonder in the last 50 years by overcoming various obstacles and now it is on the highway of development.

During these five decades, the economy has been able to make progress in almost every sector, including poverty alleviation, per capita income, growth in gross domestic product (GDP), export earnings and foreign exchange reserves.

At the same time, maternal and infant mortality rates have declined significantly. The average life expectancy of the people of the country has increased. The garment sector is known worldwide as 'Made in Bangladesh'.

According to the information received from the Ministry of Finance, the first budget of Bangladesh was placed in the National Assembly on June 30, 1972 after independence and the size of that budget was only Tk 786 crore

After almost 50 years, the size of the budget has increased 722 times in the current fiscal year 2020-21 to 5,68,000 crore.

In addition, the Annual Development Program (ADP) was Tk 501 crore in 1972, which has increased to Tk 205,000 crore in 2020.

Now the country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth has reached 8.15 percent.

Record GDP growth was achieved in the fiscal year 2018-19.

In the last fiscal year 2019-20, however, the amount was 5.24 percent due to Covid-19 pandemic.

While many countries in the world were in a negative trend in GDP growth due to this pandemic, the 5.24 percent growth of Bangladesh is also surprising to many.

The government expects 8.20 percent GDP growth in the current fiscal year 2020-21 after overcoming the impact of the corona. In 1972, the average per capita income of the people of Bangladesh was only $129.

At the end of the outgoing 2019-20 fiscal year, the average annual per capita income exceeded $2,000 to stand at $2,064.

In other words, the per capita income of the people of the country has increased almost 16 times in about 50 years.

Earlier, 100 percent of the funds for development activities were allocated from foreign grants. Now about 66 percent is allocated from domestic sources.

Not only that, Bangladesh has acquired the capacity to build the Padma Bridge, a project worth more than Tk 30,000 crore, with its own funds.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, in almost 50 years, the expected trade has also been achieved.

In the financial year 1972-73, the export income of Bangladesh was only $340 million. Finally, in the fiscal year 2019-20, the amount was 40.6 billion.

In 1971, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Bangladesh was Tk 800.75 crore. At present, the size of GDP is Tk 31,71,800 crore.

On the other hand, Bangladesh's progress in foreign exchange reserves is also enviable. The country’s forex reserves crossed $44 billion for the first time to stand at $44.03 billion in the last month.

In 1971, where about 80 percent of the population lived below the poverty line, the figure was 20.50 percent in the beginning of the last year. In 1971, the average life expectancy was a little over 47 years. At present the average life expectancy is 72.6 years.