Awami League has announced its election manifesto with the slogan ‘Smart Bangladesh: Development is visible, employment will increase this time’ ahead of the 12th National Parliament elections on December 27. In the manifesto announced by Awami League, a total of 11 issues have been given special importance, including creating new jobs, bringing the price of goods within the purchasing power, spreading democratic practices, ensuring the accountability of law-and-order forces, increasing efficiency in the financial sector, making healthcare affordable, building a smart Bangladesh based on modern technology.
The manifesto also said that the government would continue to provide support and subsidies for agriculture as well as investment support in agricultural inputs to increase agricultural production. Usable agricultural machinery will be made readily available and accessible. Subsidy on agricultural machinery will continue. Commercial agriculture, biotechnology, genetic engineering robotics, artificial intelligence, and nano-technology including the development of rural non-agricultural sector and suitable strategies will be adopted to deal with globalization.
Special emphasis will continue to be laid on the innovation of modern agricultural technology and the expansion of agricultural research facilities. Livestock productivity to be increased by 1.5 times by 2028 in the fisheries and livestock sector. Loans on easy terms, necessary subsidies, technical advice, and policy support have also been proposed to increase self-employment and eradicate poverty through the establishment of commercial dairy, poultry and fish farms.
Bangladesh has been a ‘role model’ of development to the world under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the 15 years of people’s consideration, Bangladesh requests to maintain the benefits of LDCs until 2026 due to the transition to low-middle income countries. Many mega projects have been implemented, Padma Multipurpose Bridge, Dhaka Metrorail, Commencement of Third Terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka Elevated Expressway, Rooppur Nuclear Power Project, Karnaphuli Tunnel, Matarbari Deep Sea Port, Matarbari 1320 MW Power Project, Payra Port, Payra 1320 MW Power Project, Rampal Power Project, Banshkhali Power Project.
The slogan of Awami League’s 2008 manifesto was ‘Charter for Change’, 2014 was ‘Bangladesh is moving forward’, 2018 manifesto was titled ‘Bangladesh on Prosperity and Progress’. It contained 21 special pledges. MDGs have been implemented with great success as part of the MDG Achieving and SDG Implementation Strategy (2016-30). Implementation of sustainable development i.e. in the implementation of SDGs, the implementation has been successfully started in all the necessary areas including housing, food security, education, health care, clean water, sanitation facilities, reduction of child and maternal mortality, and ensuring equality.
During the announcement of the manifesto, it was also informed that taking into account the global situation in the field of socio-economic development, steps are being taken to innovate and implement new strategies. Awami League President Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for voting by boat, promising to build a developed, prosperous and smart Sonar Bangla in the election manifesto of Awami League. Addressing the countrymen, she said, ‘Whatever mistakes were made in the course of the last 15 years of government, she attributed her success to herself and the people for all the achievements. She called for forgiveness of past mistakes. She vowed to learn from past mistakes and conduct future activities according to people’s expectations. Sheikh Hasina mentioned these at the manifesto announcement ceremony for the 12th National Parliament Election.
Awami League President Sheikh Hasina pointed out that despite having sincerity and dedication, she does not claim that we have always been 100% successful in running the government. However, the Bangladesh Awami League does not believe in the politics of words. Awami League tries to implement what it says. The implementation of election manifestos of 2008, 2014 and 2018 is proof of that. But now and then man-made, natural and global obstacles slow us down. From 2013 to 2016, we had to move forward by countering BNP-Jamaat’s efforts to spread arson and militancy.
Since 2009, several natural disasters have been faced. The biggest blow came in 2020 when the global coronavirus pandemic broke out. The pandemic devastated economies and health systems around the world. On review, it can be said that the election manifesto of the Awami League party is realistic. In recent times, public importance issues have prevailed. Awami League’s new manifesto promises to establish a correlation between market prices and income. Apart from this, the commitment to take the country to the upper-middle income category by 2031 and to build a developed-prosperous and smart Bangladesh by 2041 has been reiterated.
Awami League President Sheikh Hasina declared her conviction on controlling inflation while officially announcing the manifesto. He also laid great emphasis on monetary policy to control inflation. He expressed hope that if the monetary policy is implemented successfully, it will be possible to control the price of goods in the domestic market. Besides, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that everything that needs to be done will be done to bring the prices of daily commodities to a bearable level. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that after coming to power, various initiatives will be taken to increase agricultural subsidies and increase the production capacity of farmers. Agriculture is the main driving force of the country’s economy.
With the development of agriculture, the wheels of the economy will become more dynamic. However, the manifesto also mentions plans for the development of other industries. Above all, the topic of increasing the facilities and socio-economic development of marginalized and disadvantaged people has come up again and again. The manifesto promises the efficient use of technology to increase the rights and opportunities of the people and the development of the backward people of the society. For the development and expansion of the industry, the issues of ensuring workers’ rights, setting up green factories, establishing rights and safety at workplaces, increasing facilities in the industrial sector, and increasing employment have come up.
Through the election manifesto, the ruling party has prioritized the needs of the common people. Inflation has made life miserable for the common man. The election manifesto has been framed with an emphasis on price control. The people of the country look to politicians for solutions. Awami League has been able to understand people’s aspirations. Their plans are far-reaching realistic and timely to include the disadvantaged and low-income people. As the main driving force of the country has been given importance to the agriculture sector, so also importance has been given to other sectors of industry. Not only that, emphasis has been placed on setting up green factories keeping in mind the issue of climate change.
It is said that corruption and lack of good governance are the two poisons of the country’s economy. The government already has a zero-tolerance stance and a pledge to fight corruption. This time, the manifesto expressed the conviction to take more contemporary steps to establish good governance. Right now, Bangladesh is standing in a transitional period. The country is going to join the ranks of developing countries from the list of least developed countries. This passage is like an honor on the one hand, but also a huge challenge on the other. The government formed by the January 7 election must have the ability to face this challenge.
Only the Awami League can face this challenge and take the country to new heights. By the hands of Bangladesh Awami League, the bearer of the spirit of the liberation war, Bangladesh will be established as a high-middle-income country by 2031 and a developed-rich smart Sonar Bangla by 2041. He once again called on us to serve you by voting for the electoral symbol of Bangladesh Awami League. He mentioned that if you vote for us, we will give you development, peace and prosperity. Awami League is emphasizing the development of agriculture in its manifesto in the 12th National Assembly elections, keeping the promise of ‘food for all’ in front.
The manifesto mentions that agriculture is one of the main drivers of Bangladesh’s economy and people’s livelihood. Apart from meeting the food and nutritional needs of the people of this country, agriculture has an important role in employing the rural population, providing raw materials for industry, and increasing export income. Therefore, immediately after independence, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman initiated the agricultural revolution by taking various groundbreaking steps to increase agricultural production and ensure food security, giving utmost importance to the development of agriculture and farmers. At present, the Awami League government under the leadership of Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina is also working with the highest importance on agriculture in the management of the state.
According to related sources, rice production has crossed the record in the fiscal year 2022-23. Currently, Bangladesh ranks third in the world in the production of rice, vegetables, and onions. Apart from this, Amadeo country ranks 2nd in jute production, 4th in tea production, and 7th in potato production. Domestic and foreign fruit cultivation is progressing well. Farmers are being encouraged to cultivate various unconventional but profitable crops including coffee, cashew nut, pepper, malta, and dragon fruit. In 2006, the per capita consumption of fruit was 55 grams, in 15 years it increased to 85 grams in 2023. In 15 years, 699 tolerant, improved and high-yielding varieties of crops and about 708 technologies have been developed in the country. Apart from this, work is going on to modernize agriculture through mechanization.
From 2010 to 2023, about 1 lakh 33 thousand agricultural machinery including combine harvesters, reapers, seeders, and power tillers have been provided to farmers at subsidized prices. The implementation of the agricultural mechanization project worth Tk 3000 crore is ongoing. All in all, the agricultural system of the country is being transformed from ‘subsistence’ agriculture to ‘commercial agriculture’. To keep this trend intact, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League has pledged to follow a sustainable development strategy based on the plan in the manifesto.
The strategy aims to meet the nutritional needs of the growing population, ensure supply and access to nutritious food for all, development of commercial agriculture, expansion of agro-based industries, development of rural physical infrastructure, increase and diversification of exports of agricultural and non-agricultural products, poverty alleviation and improvement of the standard of living of the rural population. As always, the annual budget allocation will be increased and private investment in the rural sector will be encouraged this time. ‘Food for all’ is the main goal and commitment of Awami League. The sustainable development strategy will continue to be followed based on the vision plan formulated for the development of agriculture, agro-agriculture and rural economy. The strategy aims to meet the nutritional needs of the growing population, ensure supply and access to nutritious food for all, development of commercial agriculture, expansion of agro-based industries, development of rural physical infrastructure, increase and diversification of exports of agricultural and non-agricultural products, poverty alleviation and upliftment of the standard of living of the rural population.
An increase in annual budget allocation and private investment in the rural sector will be encouraged. Bangabandhu’s daughter promised that the program already taken to increase agricultural production will be expanded in the coming days. Agricultural loans will continue to be given at subsidized interest of 4 percent to make agricultural loans accessible and affordable; The central bank will refinance commercial banks at a rate of 0.5 percent. As a result, commercial banks will be more encouraged to distribute agricultural loans.
Apart from this, the Awami League will continue to provide support and subsidies for agriculture as well as investment support in agricultural materials to increase agricultural production. Also, easy-to-use agricultural machinery will be made available and readily available to reduce labor shortage in agriculture and increase productivity. Subsidy will continue on agricultural machinery. The Awami League government is already implementing the policy of bringing all lands under cultivation with the aim of further increasing agricultural production. Sheikh Hasina’s promise, no land will remain uncultivated. Emphasis will be placed on developing integrated agricultural systems. Apart from this, ensuring food security, meeting nutritional needs, creating employment, alleviating poverty, expanding export trade, and above all, the importance of fisheries and livestock sector in the socio-economic development of Bangladesh is immense.
Sheikh Hasina’s government is giving equal importance to the fisheries and livestock sectors to create entrepreneurs, create employment, and keep the rural economy functioning to meet the animal needs of the growing population. By 2028, livestock productivity will be increased by one and a half times. Loans on soft terms, necessary subsidies, technical advice, and policy support will be provided to establish commercial dairy and poultry farms, increase self-employment, and alleviate poverty. An increase in domestic production of quality fodder materials, expansion of processing technology, and reasonable pricing will be ensured.
Diversification of animal products, processing, and export-oriented industries will be expanded. Commercial farm mechanization and automated production systems will expand in preparation for the 4th Industrial Revolution. By ensuring sustainable fish production to achieve food security with maximum use of resources, fish production will be increased from 49 lakh 15 thousand metric tons to 58 lakh 40 thousand metric tons and the amount of fish consumption per person will be increased from 67.80 grams to 75 grams to meet nutritional needs.
Strengthening the sound management of marine fisheries resources and responsible fishing will ensure to development a green economy. Delta hotspot-based projects and programs will be undertaken to improve the quality of life and adapt and increase the capacity of local communities to deal with the adverse effects of climate change.
Ensuring sustainable use of fishery resources through value chain development, and production of diverse value-added fisheries and fishery products will reduce fishery wastage by 10 percent and create employment for about 6 lakh people in this sector in the next 5 years. To increase the export of fish and fish products, the private sector will be encouraged in the production and marketing of export-oriented fish and fish products; Export income will be increased from Tk 4,790 crore to Tk 15,000 crore by organizing fish expo and establishing exclusive economic zone for processing fish products to encourage importers to expand new markets outside the country.
The ongoing program will be expanded to increase livestock production. Facilities will be increased for processing, marketing and value addition of these products. Improved varieties of fry, feed, and disease treatment will be continued for further expansion of fish farming in ponds and paddy fields where possible. Other facilities including cheap capital and electricity connection will continue to be provided to the farmers.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and a researcher