Smart Bangladesh and Welfare State should be the Goal of Awami League Election Manifesto

October 12, 2023

Hiren Pandit: Awami League brought forward the slogan of building a Smart Bangladesh at last year’s conference. Since then, the party members have kept talking about the transformation of Digital Bangladesh into Smart Bangladesh in all areas. Awami League leaders are promoting the concept of Smart Bangladesh in their speeches. Through this, the work of bringing the people in favor of Smart Bangladesh and taking public opinion in their favor has started. Everyone hopes that this plan will be fulfilled through the announcement of the election manifesto. At the same time, the main goal should be to establish a welfare state.

The people of the country hope that the Awami League’s election manifesto will include the establishment of a smart Bangladesh and a welfare state. It is expected that the main goal will be the sector-wise economic development that has taken place in the last 15 years, in the next 5 years by maintaining this continuity and giving a sustainable form of economic development. In this manifesto, the people of the country get the benefits and take the necessary steps to make Bangladesh a welfare state.

The goal of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, for the liberation of Bengalis, in all fields including socio-economic, and cultural should be taken seriously and as a spirit.

It is known that the election manifesto will have several goals, one of which is the goal of Smart Bangladesh by 2041. Delta Plan or 100-Years Plan. There must also be a plan to prepare for the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution. Awami League’s vision is to build a ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041 if it can form a government again. Smart Bangladesh will be based on smart citizens, a smart economy, a smart government and a smart society. Besides, more emphasis should be given to converting every village into a city.

This year’s manifesto will be very different from the past manifestos, especially in 2018, when no one thought about the coronavirus pandemic. A war like the Russia-Ukraine war was never thought of by anyone. Especially the coronavirus pandemic, war, global recession, political instability, stagnation, politicizing and de-politicizing everything, giving unnecessary advice, complaining to foreigners, disinformation, rumors, and development of the government without the eyes of some of the civil society members.

These issues include curbing inflation, rising commodity prices, ensuring quality education, creating skilled youth, diversifying foreign trade, finding new destinations for foreign labor markets and preventing depletion of reserves. But the concerned say this year’s manifesto will contain a long-term plan to deal with the economy’s challenges, for generations to come.

This time the manifesto of building Smart Bangladesh will be given, its aim will be to establish a welfare state. In addition to creating skilled citizens, a smart economy, smart education, smart industrial policy and smart facilities for the countrymen should be ensured.

The country is moving towards Smart Bangladesh through the creation of Digital Bangladesh. The government has been applauded for delivering free books to students on the first day of the academic year, but more work needs to be done on quality education. There has been a great success in the production of agricultural products and it must be sustained. But technology should be given more importance in agriculture. The issue of bilateral relations with the neighboring country India is also a new polarization of success from the side of the government.

The issue of corruption has returned to the top of the discussion. Taking effective measures against corruption was the second priority in the election manifesto of 2018 but the desired achievement was not possible. People’s standard of living has improved a lot now. Due to the abnormal increase in the prices of goods, the suffering of low-income people has increased.

Along with the increase in power generation, the demand has also increased. It is not possible to provide new electricity connections to industries. The discovery of two gas fields and the acquisition of two gas fields is also a relief for the government. However, due to the increase in the price of oil and electricity in six stages, the common people have suffered. As a matter of priority, as per the election manifesto on establishing good governance, the strong suppression of terrorism and militancy is quite positive.

However, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations are keeping a watchful eye on the elections this time. If they see signs of irregularities in the election, they are threatening to impose various sanctions against Bangladesh before the election. It would be disastrous for both Awami League and Bangladesh. However, during the last 15 years of rule of Awami League, a very appreciable dynamic was created in the economy of Bangladesh. But some allegations of irregularities, corruption, looting and money laundering have made those achievements questionable.

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, including Padma Multipurpose Bridge, Dhaka Metrorail, the inauguration 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 etc.

Bangladesh Awami League, the oldest and largest political party in the country, has all the expectations of the people. The main reason for this is the manifestation of the democratic practices of the people of this country. The party built by Bangabandhu has contributed a lot to the development of Bangladesh. This party gave the nation an independent country. It has given many development gifts. However, the nation’s expectations from the Awami League are high. There is a lot of development going on in the country, many mega projects are being implemented and the government has handled the coronavirus pandemic very efficiently.

There are also many other positive achievements. But in some cases, there is a shortfall in meeting the expectations of the people. In fact, there is no end to people’s expectations. People expect humane values, democracy, civil rights and people involved in running the country. Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina has been leading this party for almost 42 years. She organized the party and brought it to power by facing various crises and conspiracies.

She knows not only the party, but the people of the entire country and tries to understand everyone. Leaders and workers of all levels of the party have immense trust and faith in him. Sheikh Hasina is leading the party. We hear about corruption in various sectors. Awami League must take steps to eliminate financial irregularities. Bangabandhu’s commitment to stand as a more dignified nation, continue democratic progress and build a democratic society, especially in these three areas, we are a little far from expectations.

This position has to be filled according to people’s expectations and it is not possible that another party will come and change everything overnight. However, the gap between expectations and achievements remains. It is about social and human dignity; It is about the election that the government is working on these issues. The government will fulfill the expectations of the people and try to eliminate these problems.

If you work, there will be criticism, there will be conspiracies, there will be rumors and propaganda, but the leaders and workers of Awami League will definitely move forward to face those conspiracies unitedly. Awami League made the Election Commission fully independent by law. Earlier, the Election Commission did not have financial capacity. The whole was kept with the office of the Prime Minister so that the Election Commission could work independently, and money was arranged directly from their budget.

Preparation of the manifesto is going on ahead of the elections. It is true that what is good is not only the achievement of independence or the establishment of a state but the perpetuation and sustainability of the sovereignty of the state and the solid foundation of its economy laid by the father of the nation. She has given the necessary roadmap and instructions to achieve economic, social and cultural security and liberation of the nation.

The past manifesto of the Awami League had a roadmap for long-term development beyond the specific term of the government. It is true that Awami League’s manifesto as a people’s party is not just a party manifesto, but it is actually a manifesto for the progress and progress of the entire nation. It is important what the people of the country expect from the Awami League in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Some activities and election promises of Bangladesh Awami League’s election manifesto can be mentioned. The role of all democratic parties is essential in national progress. However, the Bangladesh Awami League has to focus on many issues. That is, there were promises on various issues including reduction of inflation, control of commodity prices, provision of employment for unemployed youth, increase in growth rate, employment, the establishment of rule of law and bringing corruption down to zero. Even though the work of delivering civic facilities to every village has started, speed has to be increased. Efforts should be made to show a statistic of the extent to which the specific development plans of industrial development, local government, health, communication, defense and other sectors have been implemented.

Apart from this, there is a need to have more initiatives to transform the youth into skilled manpower, ensure employment as well and accelerate the progress of prosperity and 2041 Smart Bangladesh. In addition to the promises for the future, the manifesto should also highlight the implementation of the past promises and the development picture of 15 years. “Bangladesh on the march of prosperity”. 21 special pledges were placed in it. They were described. The title of the 2008 ‘ Charter for Change’, 2014 ‘Bangladesh Moving Forward’, 2018 manifesto was ‘Prosperity and Progress Bangladesh’.

21 special pledges were: My Village-My City: Expansion of modern urban facilities in every village, Youth Power-Bangladesh Prosperity: Transforming the youth into skilled manpower and guaranteeing employment, Zero tolerance policy against corruption, Women empowerment, Gender equality and child welfare, Nutrition and ensuring safe food; Elimination of terrorism, sectarianism, militancy and drugs, speedy and quality implementation of mega projects, strengthening democracy and rule of law, eradicating poverty, increasing quality of education at all levels, increasing public and private investment, ensuring quality healthcare for all, greater use of digital technology for overall development , Ensuring electricity and energy security, mechanization of modern agricultural systems, efficient and service-oriented public administration, people-friendly law enforcement agencies, development of blue-economy-sea resources, safe road legislation, taking a positive role in ensuring safe roads, welfare of the elderly, persons with disabilities & autism and Sustainable and inclusive development for Properous Bangladesh. There is scope for further work on these or re-examining the commitments to see how much more work needs to be done.

It is very important to work towards establishing an exploitation-free dynamic and harmony in Bangladesh. According to public expectations, they should take a proactive role as soon as possible in order to uphold the spirit of our great liberation war. The expectation of 17 crore people of the country is that the national election will be held at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year as per the schedule announced by the Election Commission. After five years, the people will exercise their right to vote and give their favorite party the responsibility of running the country. The gap between public expectations and reality remains. It is expected that the Awami League will take whatever steps are necessary to make Bangladesh a smart welfare-oriented state.

The writer is a, columnist and researcher

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