|1. PRESENT SCENARIO:
Bangladesh is a poor country with a population of about
140 mil crammed into a small area of 55,000 sq. miles.
It is an LLDC country with per capita income of US$
444 (as per recent BRAC data). About half the population
is landless and lives with less than one US dollar per
Literacy rate of the country is less than 60%, though
the enrollment in the primary school is increasing.
Women empowerment is on the rise and enrollment of women
in the secondary and higher secondary schools has improved
“Health service for all” is still a far
cry. Although the Govt. health complexes in the Upazilla
and in some cases in the Union are noteworthy in a poor
country like Bangladesh and also the budget in the health
sector is satisfactory but due to lack of good governance,
people are not getting the health services. But it can
be mentioned that child mortality rate has considerably
improved and life span has increased considerably.
Unemployment is acute, but due to the micro-credit
facilities by NGOs, many poor rural people are getting
some benefit of employment generation.
2. FIVE PILLARS TO SUSTAIN BANGLADESH:
It can be said that Bangladesh is being sustained on
the five main pillars without which sustainability of
the country would have been doubtful.
I think the five main pillars for sustainability of
the country are:
(A) The Poor Farmers:
The poor farmers of the country are working relentlessly
to grow rice, vegetables, fruits etc. Most of the farmers
are in financial crisis to arrange seeds, fertilizers
and irrigation cost. But they somehow manage to cultivate
their meager land and supply rice, vegetables, potatoes,
pulses, onions etc. at a very cheap price. The main
reasons of the fact that they can supply them so cheap
are (a) the farmers do not consider the wage of their
own labour and (b) also they do not consider the rent
of their own land. If they would have considered these
factors, the price of rice and other agriculture products
would have cost at least double. Most of our city people
do not think over these facts, but we should seriously
consider these facts and should give them due price
for their products.
(B) Poor Wage-Earners:
From Bangladesh a lot of wage-earners are going abroad.
Most of the wage-earners are very poor and they go abroad
selling a portion of their land property. These are
the people who send the valuable foreign exchange which
the country needs very badly. The average remittance
of the wage-earners per year is U$ 4 billion which is
a great benefit for the country to meet its huge import
bill. It has to be mentioned here that the wage-earners
have to pay a minimum of Tk. 2.5 lac to a maximum of
Tk. 8.0 lac to the agents who arrange the employment
abroad and in fact the agents are the main beneficiaries.
The poor wage-earners are sometimes unable to get back
their investment even after 3 to 5 years of ill-paid
job abroad. This fact has been found from many wage-earners
in the Middle Eastern countries where their salaries
are sometimes as low as Tk. 5000/- per month and occasionally
this salary is also irregular.
It has to be mentioned here that many upper society
wage-earners of Bangladesh are earning a lot money in
foreign countries, but most of them do not send any
money to Bangladesh, moreover, they want to take money
from their parents for better living abroad or to buy
houses / apartments there. So, we should consider seriously
who are really helping this country to survive.
(C) Low-paid Garment Workers:
The garment workers (90% of which are females) are
working very hard (may be about 12 hours / day) and
getting a poor salary of about Tk. 15,000/- to Tk. 16,000/-
per month (about US$ 20 to US$ 25). The reason of their
poor salary is that most of them have little school
education and that there is no sufficient employment
scope in the country so that they can get better salary
Due to mainly their hard work, the country is getting
export earning of about US$ 6.5 billion annually. This
is the 73% of the country's export earning. It can be
noted here that Bangladesh has now become one of the
five biggest garment exporters in the world and the
garment quality has so much improved that Bangladeshi
garments have been included among most of the best-brands
of the world.
Due to the expansion of garment industry in Bangladesh,
the scope of employment of women has increased tremendously.
At present about 1.8 million women are working in the
garment industry of the country. The employment in the
garment sector has considerably empowered the women
of Bangladesh and there has been a considerable social
change in the country.
(D) Dedicated Businessmen and Entrepreneurs:
There are many dedicated businessmen and entrepreneurs,
not only in the fields of garments but also in pharmaceuticals,
ceramics, leather, tea etc. These businessmen / entrepreneurs
are courageously expanding their business in spite of
hundreds of odds they face very often and they are the
people who are creating enormous scope of employments
in the acute employment-hungry Bangladesh.
We should express our gratitude and show respect to
these courageous entrepreneurs who are contributing
in the prosperity of the country conquering hundreds
of obstacles. We should know that they are the people
to create employment to the millions of youths every
year. Without their employment opportunities, the country
would have been in acute chaos and without their foreign
exchange earning, the country world have been in acute
foreign exchange crises.
It has to be mentioned here that there are many other
small entrepreneurs, such as, manufacturers of machine
tools and makers of small machines locally, owners of
printing presses / photo copiers and manufacturers of
consumer items, such as, biscuits, bread and other food
items. They are creating a lot of employment opportunities.
Without their employment generation, the country would
have been in more acute unemployment.
In the country side there are a lot of entrepreneurs
who are creating a lot of employment in fish culture,
poultry, beef fattening, dairy, goat farming, poultry,
vegetable cultivation, fruit cultivation, flower cultivation
etc. In fact, they are the main employment generators
in the rural Bangladesh.
(E) NGO’s Micro-credit and Poverty Alleviation
It is a fact that NGOs are playing a very vital role
for the development of Bangladesh. NGOs have shown a
great success in micro-credit and poverty alleviation
in the country.
I think there are two main reasons for the success
of NGOs. Number 1 reason is the innovative ideas, like
world-acclaimed innovation of the concept and expansion
of micro-credit by Dr. Mohammad Yunus. Number 2 reason
is the lack of good governance by the Govt. of Bangladesh
and thereby a huge vacuum has been created in the fields
of poverty alleviation and social welfare work. Therefore,
a large number of NGOs both foreign and local have come
up after the liberation of Bangladesh. Poverty was so
acute after liberation that Henry Kissinger, the then
Secretary of State of USA termed Bangladesh as a "bottomless
To describe the success of NGO's micro-credit in Bangladesh,
a local daily newspaper narrated that about 75 thousand
crore Taka is being utilized in micro-credit here and
the rural poor people, mainly women are getting the
benefit. As a result, many thatched houses in the rural
area have been converted into tin-shed nice looking
houses. But the fact remains that more than 40% of the
people are still illiterate and 6 crore people are still
living under less than one US dollar a day. So, NGOs
still have to go a long way to reach our cherished goal
of making a “Poverty-free, disease free, happy
Bangladesh with 100% literacy."
Observation: It has been observed that out of 5 pillars,
first 3 pillars are poor people but dedicated to develop
themselves and remaining 2 pillars are rich people but
dedicated to help the poor. We expect that all our citizens
should come forward to help and cooperate with first
3 pillars for the betterment of our country.
3. EMPLOYMENT GENERATION FOR POVERTY ALLEVIATION:
For poverty alleviation the following 3 factors are
(A) Human Resource Development:
(a) Illiteracy eradication is a must for human resource
development. If a person becomes literate his confidence
grows and efficiency increases many folds. I have suggested
easy Bengali for rapid illiteracy eradication. Easy
Bengali is a simplified form of Bengali language. The
main aim is to literate people quickly with easy method
after which anybody can learn conventional language
without any trouble. In this modern age of information
technology and computers, if our people can be 100%
literate (say up to 35 to 40 years old) within 5~6 years,
we can cope with the world competition. But if we have
to wait for 10 to 30 years (we cannot afford to lose
time) for attaining literacy, we will lose 10 to 30
years to reach our goal of making a “prosperous
Bangladesh” in this highly competitive world.
(b) After illiteracy eradication we have to give our
people vocational training to make them suitable for
the practical work.
A lot of wage earners, skilled and unskilled are going
abroad every year. These people can be trained to make
them much more suitable and efficient to work abroad
by which foreign exchange earning can be increased considerably.
Here it can be mentioned that there is a good opportunity
for Bangladeshi nurses and sailors to get jobs in many
developed countries. To achieve this goal we have to
establish high quality nursing institutes to produce
quality nurses to serve abroad and also world-class
marine training academies for sailors’ training
to produce quality sailors suitable to work anywhere
in the world.
(c) Higher Education: Higher education is a must for
the development of any country. As the quality of our
education has deteriorated considerably, we have to
give special emphasis to improve the quality of education
to make more people suitable for higher education for
the development of Bangladesh.
(B) Infrastructure Development:
Infrastructure development is a pre-requisite for the
development of any country. Bangladesh has achieved
some success in making roads and bridges but lags far
behind in giving electricity supply to the general mass
and also lags in meeting the huge demand of telephones.
Although due to development of private companies for
giving services of mobile telephones, still the services
can not reach the general mass in rural areas due to
lack of electricity.
It is absolutely necessary to develop many more water-ways
which is very much possible in riverine Bangladesh in
order to make transportation cost of goods much cheaper
(say, about 1/5 compared to truck). In a populous country
like Bangladesh development of railway like Japan is
extremely important. Communication by railway for general
mass is not only much cheaper but also much safer, much
more timely and much more convenient and comfortable.
(C) Good Governance:
Good governance is so much important that we have found
from ancient time that a country under a king or emperor
with good governance prospered rapidly, whereas a country
with bad governance lagged far behind. Good governance
is a pre-requisite for any kind of development of a
The following 3 factors are very important for Good
(a) Law and Order:
Maintenance of law and order of a country is desired
by any citizen. Every citizen in the country wants to
get security for life & property which is a very
basic right of a person. If the Govt. fails to give
such security, it has no right to be in power. This
is the law of nature from ancient time.
(b) Eradication of Corruption:
Living a just and honest life is the motto of any human
being. To do corruption means to deprive other’s
right which is a great crime in any religion.
If the higher officials, specially the head, get corrupted,
then the lower officials get corrupted easily. It is
well known that a fish starts getting rotten from its
“head”, so is the case of a society i.e.
if the head in corrupted, others get corrupted. So,
people must choose a just and honest “head”
in order to achieve an honest society.
(c) Political Harmony:
Political harmony is essential for the rapid development
of any society. All of our citizens should take all
kinds of measures that political harmony prevails in
the country. It is very unfortunate that we cannot find
political harmony in our country. Citizens group should
come forward to achieve political harmony in order to
attain rapid development of Bangladesh.
If good governance can be achieved in Bangladesh in
respect of the said 3 factors, then GDP will grow at
double digits and there is no doubt that more and more
investment, both local and foreign will take place rapidly.
Because we have to note that money and technology all
over the world are in excess and they flow in the countries
where security and profit are guaranteed.
4. RURAL DEVELOPMENT BY GOOD AGRO-PLANNING:
Good agro-planning is necessary for the rural development
of a country. Planning should be made so that irrigation
can be done properly, high-yielding seeds, fertilizer
and financial assistance can reach the farmers without
any trouble. Moreover, farmers should be encouraged
for fish culture, poultry, dairy, beef fattening, vegetable
and fruit cultivation giving them ample facilities to
carry on these jobs.
5. COOPERATION WE SOLICIT FROM JAPAN:
Japan being our biggest donor country is giving support
in various sectors namely,
(A) Education & Training: Japan
is providing about 150 scholarships to the Bangladeshi
students for higher studies in Japan. JICA is offering
training in Japan to a large number of Govt. officials
for attaining higher capability in their relative jobs.
Besides, Japan is offering financial help in making
school buildings for the expansion of education in Bangladesh.
(B) Health: Japan is providing financial
assistance in making hospitals and also imparting technical
assistance in hospital management in Bangladesh, Maternal
and Child Health Training Institute in Azimpur is a
successful example. Besides, Japan has made a modern
hospital in Narayangonj.
Japan has also constructed a large number of water
tanks to supply pure drinking water to the people of
(C) Roads & Bridges: Japan’s
help in this sector is commendable. Shitalakkya Bridge,
Meghna Bridge, Meghna-Gumati Bridge, Rupsha Bridge and
a considerable contribution in Jamuna Bridge are bright
(D) Disaster Management: Japan has
constructed a large number of cyclone shelters and embankment
in the coastal area of Bangladesh. Whenever there is
any disaster in Bangladesh, Japan comes forward quickly
to render help.
(E) Rural Development by Agro-planning:
JICA is providing a number of experts and young volunteers
for the rural development of Bangladesh. Prof. Kaida
is one of many important JICA experts engaged in the
(F) Besides, Japan is providing financial
assistance through JBIC in various infrastructure development
in power sector and other necessary fields.
(G) Help Solicited in other Sectors:
Bangladesh lags behind in flood control, water-ways
development, electricity service, telephone service
and railway development. As Japan is extremely successful
in these fields, we solicit Japan’s cooperation
in these vital sectors for the development and poverty
alleviation of our country.
Besides, Bangladesh has very little experience in managing
the traffic congestion of mega cities like Dhaka. Japan
having vast experiences in this field, can help Bangladesh
to tackle the traffic congestion of Dhaka-city by introducing
two or three modes of transport system, such as, rails,
subways, water-ways etc. instead of using only roads.
Proposal: Japan is not only our biggest
Donor country, but also it should be our biggest development
partner. To materialize this aim, we Bangladeshis should
take initiative. We should make the “Look East
Policy“ like Malaysia and make a thorough planning
regarding what we want to request Japan to do for us
for the mutual benefit of both the countries .
After the liberation Japan was the country to help
Bangladesh in a big way both financially and technically.
It was a country which was a “friend in need “.
So, we can rely on Japan and we should strengthen our
relation with Japan looking after each other’s
interest in true sense.
6. CONTRIBUTION OF JAPANESE NGOs IN BANGLADESH:
There are 3 Japanese NGOs, namely, OSICA International,
Shapla Neer and International Angels Association which
are actively working in Bangladesh. Out of these 3,
OISCA International and Shapla Neer (previously Help
Bangladesh) have started operation just after the liberation
OISCA is the abbreviation of “Organization for
Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement”.
It is engaged in imparting agricultural training to
the young people to make them more capable in their
fields of work. OISCA has established a large residential
training centre in Savar in 1981 and has been giving
training to a large number of youths for more than 25
years. Noticing the success of OISCA, Govt. of Bangladesh
requested the Japanese Govt. to establish a training
centre for women and accordingly a women training centre
was established with the Japanese grant in the adjacent
compound of OISCA and it is running successfully.
OISCA being the biggest and oldest Japanese NGO working
in Bangladesh is keen in imparting training and modern
technology in agriculture for income generation in rural
Bangladesh and also technology for supplying pure drinking
water for the rural people. Thus OISCA wants to play
a vital role in poverty alleviation improving sustainability,
environment and good governance among the rural people
Shapla Neer has been engaged in the social welfare
activities, such as training the poor women in the rural
areas to make them self sufficient. Many of the women
have become self sufficient and are leading their lives
nicely carrying out some income generating activities.
International Angels Association has established an
orphanage and a training centre for vocational as well
an agriculture training in Konabari, Gazipur. The Association
is also providing scholarships to a large member of
poor and meritorious students in Bangladesh. They established
a few schools in various parts of Bangladesh the country.
7. FUTURE OF BANGLADESH IN THE EYE OF FOREIGN
Time Magazine in its recent publication has predicted
a bright future for Bangladesh in spite of its many
odds. Jeffrey Sachs, a famous writer has narrated similar
better future for Bangladesh.
(A) JEFFREY SACHS:
In his famous book, named, “The End of Poverty,”
Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Millennium Development Goal
of United Nations has stated about Bangladesh that it
has placed itself on the ladder of development. He has
narrated, “ Bangladesh has managed to place its
foot on the first rung of the ladder of development
and has achieved economic growth and improvements of
health and education party through its own heroic efforts,
partly through the ingenuity of NGOs like BRAC and Grameen
Bank and partly through investments that have been made,
often at significant scale, by various donor governments
that rightly viewed Bangladesh not as a hopeless basket
case but as a country of worthy of attention, care and
(B) TIME MAGAZINE:
Time Magazine in its recent publication on 4th April,
2006 reported that in spite of many odds it has been
facing, a bright future of Bangladesh is visible. Time
Magazine has reported:
“Bangladesh, dubbed in the 1970s by Henry Kissinger
as a "bottomless basket," is making surprising
progress on other fronts, too. According to the U.N.D.P.,
the country now scores higher than neighbor India on
several key barometers of social development, such as
infant mortality, child vaccination, and employment
of women—a striking turnaround over the past decade
or so. The country's much-praised micro-credit scheme,
operated by the Grameen Bank, has lent an average of
$120 each to 5.8 million people. And the government
says 100% of young children are now enrolled in primary
school, and that girls at last have equal access to
education. The economy is looking up, too. GDP has grown
by at least 5% for three years running, and the Asian
Development Bank predicts that growth will hit 6.5%
in 2006. And Goldman Sachs has rated Bangladesh as one
of 11 developing nations that, in the long term, could
emulate the success of China, India, Brazil and Russia.
Christine Wallich, World Bank country head, says that
in the past 12-18 months international opinion has indeed
gone through a sea change. Bangladesh, she says, is
now seen as "the little engine that could."
Dramatic proof of that comes in plans by India's biggest
business group, Tata, for a $2.5 billion investment
in Bangladesh in steel, gas, coal and power. If it proceeds
as planned, that would exceed the total foreign direct
investment the country has attracted since independence.”
In conclusion we can say that Bangladesh has a bright
future ahead. Poverty alleviation at rapid speed should
be the motto of all our citizens. We should try to achieve
the Dream of “Golden Bengal” of our great
poet Tagore. As the poet of our National Anthem has
dreamt it, it is the duty of our people to materialize
his dream for our betterment. Only after materializing
his dream, we can more boastfully sing our National
Anthem “Amar Sonar Bangla “.