Hiren Pandit: After the independence of the country, Bangabandhu stepped on the soil of the independent country on January 10, 1972, and returned to the independent Bengal of his dreams. On the day of his return to the country, Bangabandhu called for another war to the cheering crowd. That war is to build Sonar Bangla. Bangabandhu promised the state to take effective measures to bring about a radical change in rural areas through the agricultural revolution, rural electrification, development of cottage industry and other industries, and development of education, communication system and public health, with a view to steadily eliminate urban-rural disparity in an independent country. By including it in Article 16 of the Constitution of Bangladesh, he made a lasting and firm commitment. Bangabandhu’s realization was that our country is a country with immense potential. He saw that all facilities were city-centered. He dreams of developing the villages of Bangladesh as modern and planned villages.
The people of Bengal followed Bangabandhu’s 35 directives as a duty during the war. These directives included administration, education, law and order, port operations, foreign trade, communications, agriculture, services, infrastructure development, industrial construction, food control, bank and treasury bills, tax collection, insurance and trade. Payment of retirement allowance to retired government employees, payment of allowance to government and private employees and primary school teachers etc.
On that day, Bangabandhu remembered the sacrifices of everyone and encouraged everyone to build the country, saying, ‘From today my request, from today my order, from today my command as a brother, not as a leader, not as a prime minister, not as a president, I am yours. Brother, you are my brother. This freedom will not be fulfilled if the people of Bengal do not get enough rice, this freedom will not be fulfilled if the mothers and sisters of Bengal do not get clothes, and this freedom will not be fulfilled if the youth of this country do not get jobs. To change the fortunes of the country’s farmers and agricultural system and to radically reform the country, immediately after gaining independence, they took measures to waive land rent up to 35 bighas, and distribute agricultural materials free or at nominal cost to the farmers.
Bangabandhu started the journey toward the prosperity and development of today’s Bangladesh. He always thought about the people of this country. Bangabandhu dreamed of a golden Bengal that would change the fate of the people of this country, and lead a better and prosperous life. He showed prudence in leading Bangladesh in just a few years.
Through co-operatives, small industries will be developed in villages and Bengal which will be owned by ordinary farmers, laborers and landless oppressed people. He nationalized all major industries, banks, jute mills, sugar mills, textile mills etc. Determined the maximum land ownership limit. Today, he called for joint ownership of hardworking people to build a cooperative system in villages, police stations, and ports. Farmers will get a fair price for their produce; workers will get a fair right to the fruits of their labor.
Only then will the democratic system be shaped by socialist principles and we will reach the desired goal by building an inclusive society through cooperatives. The father of the nation had two dreams – to make Bangladesh independent and to transform the country into a hunger-free, poverty-free golden Bengal. He gave us freedom and his second dream is being fulfilled by his privileged daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Under her leadership, Bangladesh has established itself as a role model of a hunger-free, poverty-free country. Bangladesh is going to become the golden Bangla of Bangabandhu’s dream.
In 2015, the SDGs for Sustainable Development were adopted. Among some of the countries in the world that are at the forefront of achieving these SDGs, Bangladesh is one of them, although it has stumbled a bit this year due to the coronavirus. The news of Bangladesh’s success in achieving SDGs despite various limitations is very promising. The SDGs aim to ensure world peace and prosperity by 2030. 17 Goals have been set for that purpose and there are 169 specific targets. 247 indicators are adopted. The United Nations had previously adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Then came the SDGs. The goals of the SDGs include eradicating poverty, ensuring food security, and good health, ensuring better education and combating gender inequality.
Bangladesh has already become an example in various indicators of social progress. The intensive successful and integrated management of natural disasters has become a role model for various poverty alleviation programs, positive changes in social and economic indicators, etc. Education, empowerment of women, reduction of maternal and child mortality and birth rate, provision of health facilities for poor people and immunization of children are among them.
Lack of data remains a major weakness in achieving the SDGs. In many cases, there is not even the necessary data to judge and analyze progress. Bangladesh still has a lot of work to do in terms of eliminating inequality, peace and justice, role in climate protection and ensuring employment. Decent working conditions and fair wages for women are also very important. Bangladesh is still lagging behind in this regard.
Today’s SDGs are the modern form of Bangabandhu’s inclusive development. Achieving the goals of the SDGs requires women’s participation and leadership in all areas of society. If women’s political empowerment is systematically ensured, Bangladesh will also succeed in achieving the SDGs. How to implement the SDG plans is a big issue. This requires a global partnership.
To succeed in achieving the SDGs, public-private initiatives and state accountability and good governance must be ensured. Continuity of success must be maintained. The father of the nation Bangabandhu is implementing the dream that he wanted to build a golden Bangladesh with hard work and talent. Bangladesh has reached a new height of socio-economic development in the last 14 years. Working with the determination to make Bangladesh a developed-smart Bangladesh by 2041. For this, the vision plan-2041 has been formulated and the implementation has started.
The inauguration of the Metrorail and Padma Bridge are both development milestones. Successfully combating the corona pandemic, education, communication infrastructure, gas, electricity, women’s education, 100% increase in salary of employees, health care, achieving self-sufficiency in food production, support of backward communities, helpless, elderly, widows, disabled persons, divorced women under social programs. Autism, assistance to destitute freedom fighters, shelter scheme, one house one farm scheme, women empowerment and overall development of various sectors have been played a major role by the government led by the Prime Minister.
In these two years 2020 and 2021, a deep wound was created in the world economy. Many countries’ economies collapsed. Our economy also suffers. Just when our economy was recovering from the damage caused by the corona pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war began. As the loss of life due to coronavirus has been reduced by taking timely measures, all efforts have been made to keep the economy running.
More than 16,000 entrepreneurs are currently working in around 8,800 digital centers across the country to deliver services to people’s doorsteps, where 50 percent are women entrepreneurs. As a result of this, on the one hand, the disparity between men and women, on the other hand, the disparity between the rich and the poor and the disparity between rural and urban areas has been removed. Digital Center has changed the outlook as well as simplified the standard of living of the common people. People now believe that it is possible to get all kinds of services close to home. Gaining the trust of people is the biggest achievement in the journey of Digital Bangladesh.
Equal participation of men and women, ensuring access to technology for all irrespective of rich and poor, and reducing distance in access to urban and rural services were all the main objectives and goals of Digital Bangladesh. Thanks to inclusive development and technology, now anyone can work freelancing even in the village. All this has been made possible by the progressive technological, inclusive development of People’s Leader Sheikh Hasina’s Digital Bangladesh.
After the successful implementation of the pledge to build a digital Bangladesh, now the new program has come. That is Smart Bangladesh. A cost-effective, sustainable, intelligent, knowledge-based, innovative Smart Bangladesh will be built on these four main foundations of Smart Citizen, Smart Economy, Smart Government, and Smart Society by 2041.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and researcher