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Bangladesh

The Bangladeshi civil society is divided over Bangladesh’s stance towards incoming Rohingyas from Myanmar, who are fleeing a state of fascist oppression. At one side, there is a group who propounds that Bangladesh should open the border for Rohingya people on humanitarian grounds, whereas on the other side, there is another group who argues that Rohingyas are not in any way Bangladesh’s problem

 

The last evening of 2016 was pleasant as I saw my nieces were happily playing in the garden. Still, something didn’t feel right. I think we woke up today to a different world than the one in which we woke up yesterday. Perhaps my cynical mind led me to review the world where my nieces are playing without thinking what the outer world would look like in their future. If I sound like an Orwellian writer, I can’t help it at the moment.

 
The latest exercise afoot in Bangabhaban with President Abdul Hamid having a series of discussions with all listed political parties, aimed at forming first a Search Committee (SC) and then the next Election Commission as per recommendation of the SC, is nothing new.  
 

There are also a lot of garment factories there, we also know that. And as is normal in a poor country the people working in those factories do not receive high incomes. This is normal because that's what it being a poor place means--wages are low, incomes are low. As Paul Krugman has pointed out that's because productivity is low--human labour there adds little value thus it is lowly paid. And the solution is that that labour should be adding more value. And when the average value added of that labour is the same as it is in the US then everyone will be getting paid US wages. And yes, wages will rise to US levels, not US fall to those of Bangladesh.

 

Since my residence is in Mirpur, I often encounter hijras at either Bijoy Sarani or Agargaon on my way home in the evening. For some reason, I get terrified at the sight of them. Hence, I keep a Tk10 note ready every time I see them, in case they ask for money from me.

 
We have just celebrated the 45th anniversary of our Victory Day — a symbol of our independence, achieved despite severe odds and with great sacrifice. This December, 2016, I felt great satisfaction and pride in the manner in which we have moved forward, overcome evolving challenges, and emerged as a leader among developing nations.  
 

In Bangladesh, the supply of clean and uncontaminated water has fallen far short of demand due to inadequate flows in the major rivers, pollution caused by disposal of effluents and chemicals, salinity intrusion in the coastal areas, and arsenic contamination.

 
 

After the successful achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the whole world is now focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals. Bangladesh is a great example of a country which has achieved most of the MDGs. It is a country that is now trying to embark on the right track to achieving the SDGs.

 

The government appears to have committed itself to achieving two economic goals: (1) to graduate to a middle income country by 2021 and (2) to transform into a developed country by 2041. These are admirable goals to set for the nation. However, it has not made clear what it really means by ‘middle income country’ or ‘developed country’.

 

Former Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda has come forth with a suggestion that calls for serious and purposeful discussion. The names of individuals shortlisted for the positions of CEC and Election Commissioners, he has said, should be publicized through the media in order for public scrutiny to be applied to an examination of the ability or otherwise of the nominees for the Election Commission. Coming from a person whose high reputation as CEC under the last caretaker regime remains impeccable, the idea must not be ignored. 

 


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