History of Bangladesh & current economic and cultural constitutions

There have been ongoing controversies and debates on some aspects of the current Bangladesh Constitutions, especially since the BAL government came to power in January 2009. No specific and written proposal has yet been published by the government; so we are still in the dark about what Amendments (if any) are intended. The following discussions, therefore, are mainly academic and based on various comments made by the ruling party leaders on different occasions. The purpose is to enlighten the general public to Constitutional issues and stimulate constructive debates on a very serious national issue.

Before going into any discussion, it is perhaps necessary to give a short account of the Amendments made to Bangladesh Constitution since its adoption after in 1972. The Fourteen Amendments made so far are as follows.

First Amendment: In 1973, the Constitution (First Amendment) Act 1973 was passed inserting sub-art (3) in Article 47 whereby any law providing for the detention and trial of war criminals was kept out of the purview of the provision of Part III relating to fundamental rights.

Second Amendment: The original Constitution did not have any provision for proclamation of state of emergency and preventive detention. By the Constitution (Second Amendment) Act 1973, Article 33 was amended providing for preventive detention and Part IXA was inserted conferring power on Parliament and the Executive to deal with emergency situations and providing for suspension of enforcement of the fundamental rights during the period of emergency.

Third Amendment: The Constitution (Third Amendment) Act 1974 was passed to give effect to the agreement with India giving up the claim in respect of Berubari and retaining Dahagram and Angorpota.

Fourth Amendment: The Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act 1975 made major changes into the Constitution. The presidential form of government was introduced in place of the parliamentary system; a one-party system in place of a multi-party system was introduced; the powers of the Parliament were curtailed; the Judiciary lost much of its independence; the Supreme Court was deprived of its jurisdiction over the protection and enforcement of fundamental rights. This Act (i) amended Articles 11, 66, 67, 72, 74, 76, 80, 88, 95, 98, 109, 116, 117, 119, 122, 123, 141A, 147 and 148 of the Constitution; (ii) substituted Articles 44, 70, 102, 115 and 124 of the Constitution; (iii) amended Part III of the Constitution out of existence; (iv) altered the Third and Fourth Schedule; (v) extended the term of the first Jatiya Sangsad; (vi) made special provisions relating to the office of the President and its incumbent; (vii) inserted a new part, i.e. part VIA in the Constitution and (viii) inserted Articles 73A and 116A in the Constitution.

Fifth Amendment: The Constitution (Fifth Amendment) Act was passed by the Jatiya Sangsad on 6 April 1979. This Act amended the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution by adding a new Paragraph 18 thereto, which provided that all amendments, additions, modifications, substitutions and omissions made in the Constitution during the period between 15 August 1975 and 9 April 1979 (both days inclusive) by any Proclamation or Proclamation Order of the Martial Law Authorities had been validly made and would not be called in question in or before any court or tribunal or authority on any ground whatsoever. The expression ‘Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim’ was added before the Preamble of the Constitution. The expression ‘historic struggle for national liberation’ in the Preamble was replaced by ‘a historic war for national independence.’ One party system was replaced by multiparty parliamentary system. Fundamental principles of state policy were made as ‘absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah, nationalism, democracy and socialism meaning economic and social justice.’

Sixth Amendment: The Constitution (Sixth Amendment) 1981 was passed providing, inter alia, that if the Vice President is elected as President, he shall be deemed to have vacated his office on the date on which he enters upon the office of President.

Seventh Amendment: The Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act 1986 was passed ratifying all the Proclamations and Proclamation Orders and the amendments made in the Constitution by such Proclamations and Proclamations Orders and all actions of the Martial law authorities and declaring those to have been validly made and done. By the same Act the retiring age of the Judges of the Supreme Court was fixed at 65 in place of 62.

Eighth Amendment: The Constitution (Eighth Amendment) Act 1988 was passed amending Article 100 of the Constitution and thereby setting up six permanent Benches of the High Court Division outside the capital and authorising the President to fix by notification the territorial jurisdiction of the permanent Benches. By the same Act, ‘Islam’ was made the state religion of Bangladesh . This Act also amended (i) the word ‘Bengali’ into ‘Bangla’ and ‘Dacca’ into ‘Dhaka’ in Article 5 of the Constitution, (ii) Article 30 of the Constitution by prohibiting acceptance of any title, honours, award or decoration from any foreign state by any citizen of Bangladesh without the prior approval of the President.

Ninth Amendment: The Constitution (Ninth Amendment) Act 1989 was passed in July 1989. This amendment provided for the direct election of the Vice-President; it restricted a person in holding the office of the President for two consecutive terms of five years each; it also provided that a Vice-President might be appointed in case of a vacancy, but the appointment must be approved by the Jatiya Sangsad.

Tenth Amendment: The Constitution (Tenth Amendment) Act 1990 amended, among others, Article 65 of the Constitution, providing for reservation of thirty seats for the next 10 years in the Jatiya Sangsad exclusively for women members, to be elected by the members of the Sangsad.

Eleventh Amendment: The Constitution (Eleventh Amendment) Act 1991 ratified all actions taken by the caretaker government headed by Justice Shahabiuddin Ahmed. It also ratified the appointment of Chief Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed as the Vice President who later became Acting President upon Ershad’s resignation. In addition, the Act also confirmed and made possible the return of Acting President Shahabuddin Ahmed to his previous position of the Chief Justice of Bangladesh.

Twelfth Amendment: The Constitution (Twelfth Amendment) Act 1991 re-introduced the parliamentary form of government; the President became the constitutional Head of the State; the Prime Minister became the executive Head; the cabinet headed by the Prime Minister became responsible to the Jatiya Sangsad; the post of the Vice-President was abolished; the President was required to be elected by the members of the Jatiya Sangsad.

Thirteenth Amendment: The Constitution (Thirteenth Amendment) Act 1996 provided for a non-party Caretaker Government which, acting as an interim government, would give all possible aid and assistance to the Election Commission for holding the general election of members of the Jatiya Sangsad peacefully, fairly and impartially. The caretaker government, comprising the Chief Adviser and not more than 10 other advisers, would be collectively responsible to the President and would stand dissolved on the date on which the Prime Minister entered upon his office after the Constitution of the new Sangsad.

Fourteenth Amendment: The Constitutional (fourteenth Amendment) Act 1994 was passed providing, among others, the following provisions: reservation of 45 seats for women on a proportional representation basis for the next 10 years; increase in the retirement age of Supreme Court Judges from 65 to 67 years; and displaying of portraits of the President and the Prime Minister in all government, semi-government and autonomous offices and diplomatic missions abroad.

Analysis and comments

It is observed from the above summary, that a few Amendments made at one time under certain compelling circumstances were subsequently removed by another Amendment, and also that several of these had a broad nationwide consensus. But a few of the Amendments were enacted without proper debates and thorough discussions involving all the stake holders including people adhering to different, sometime opposing, ideological or political views. Amendments that were the result of one-dimensional thought, lack of respect for democratic practices or expediency have obviously come under severe criticisms, sometimes for valid reasons and sometimes for sectarian political purposes.

The BAL leaders want to amend the present Constitution, because according to them, the Constitution was made ‘Communal’ by introducing the words ‘Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim’ in the preamble and by making ‘Islam’ the ‘state religion’ at the expense of the principle of ‘Secularism’. This brought about fundamental changes to Constitution, which is true in my opinion, but I am not sure whether this made Bangladesh ‘more Islamic’ or ‘communal’ than before. It is noted that equal rights, including freedom to practice all religions, are guaranteed in the Constitution. There may be some ambiguity and it is true that some fringe groups have been agitating for introduction of ‘Sharia Law’. This, of course, is scaring the religious minorities for the potential loss of their religious rights and freedom under an ‘Islamic Republic’ in the style of Pakistan or Afghanistan under Taliban rule. Majority Muslims of Bangladesh are also concerned since such arrangements may encourage the extremist groups to adopt violent and terrorist methods for a change of the government and the system.

The BAL leaders and their die-hard supporters allege that the Fifth Amendment is the root of all evils in Bangladesh , and that all mischief, corruption, intolerance, politics of conspiracy, ‘Islamic Extremism and militancy’, etc., started only after the overthrow of the BKSAL regime in 1975. But they remain conspicuously silent on the Fourth Amendment enacted by a civilian government which established a one-party (BKSAL) dictatorial system or even the Third Amendment which ceded Bangladesh territory to a different country. It is also alleged that the Fifth Amendment destroyed ‘the values and spirit’ of the liberation war and so this should be cancelled. They argue that the original state principles (nationalism, democracy, socialism and secularism) as incorporated as fundamental state principles in the 1972 Constitution should be restored, to establish the ‘Rule of Law’ and prevent ‘Islamic Terrorism’.

The Fifth Amendment was enacted by a military government in the aftermath of a series of murderous coups, counter-coups and regime change. The period was very painful, uncertain and critical for the ‘sovereign existence’ of Bangladesh as it faced hosts of political, economic and security challenges from both within and outside. One may have reservations about some aspects of this or any other Amendment but it is important also to consider the overall situation prevailing at the time. And it is wrong, in my view, to condemn any or all the Amendments if the existing circumstances demanded it, but we have a right, in fact obligations, to look at them critically and reassess the situation.

The most controversial part of the Amendment was the Indemnity for the killings in the aftermath of the August 15, 1975 coup that overthrew the BKSAL regime. The ousted government was led by civilian politicians but it was undisputedly a dictatorial regime with unlimited powers in the hands of the President who could be elected for as many terms as possible (most people took this for a ‘President-for Life’ arrangement).

Of course, there are deficiencies, in some cases contradictions, in the Constitution as it has evolved during the last 37 years and these should be rectified in the light of aspirations and practical needs of a modern democratic and civilised society. The Constitution should serve the people, all the people, irrespective of creed, caste, gender and ethnicity. Constitutional provisions must guarantee equal rights, privileges as well as responsibilities for all citizens of the state; none should feel marginalised and discriminated by any provision of the Constitution. And, no act of treason or murder, whether committed by individual or any state organ, should be condoned or indemnified by any Constitutional provision.

The 1972 Constitution had four basic principles: Nationalism (Bangalee), Democracy, Socialism and Secularism. Three of these principles (Democracy, Socialism and Secularism) were perhaps taken from Indian Constitution.

The Constitution was adopted immediately after the birth of Bangladesh , and those were the days when Bangladesh was strongly allied with India and Soviet Russia, and still lacked formal recognition from Pakistan , China and most of the Arab and Muslim countries. Those were also the days of Vietnam and the slogan of Socialism inspired millions of young activists throughout the third world including Bangladesh . It is also a fact that the Bangladeshi students and youths were in the forefront of our independence struggle. Senior political leaders including Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (who had been pro-capitalist and pro-western throughout his political career) had to accommodate the wishes and zeal of this vast youth force. But the irony is that BAL had no real understanding or genuine commitment to Socialism as opposed to Capitalism. Socialism was only a convenient slogan to nationalize the Banks and other financial institutions from the hands of their former owners (mainly from West Pakistan or Muslim expatriates from India ). The USA and pro-western elements thought that this was a disastrous step and there was another potential ‘red republic’ in the making.

The word ‘Socialism’ was not omitted altogether from the Constitution by the subsequent amendments but redefined by saying that it meant ‘economic and social justice’. This assured the West and pro-capitalist elements that Bangladeshi Socialism is not socialism in the real sense, it was not the socialism as it was then practised in China or Soviet Russia, and that there is no reason to be panicked. In the light of the major changes in the world economic and power relations over the last decades (specially since the collapse of Soviet model, end of Cold war, revisions in the Chinese model), debates on this ‘revisionist socialism’ in the Constitution is rather muted. Some of our former ‘Socialist revolutionary leaders’ are happily co-habiting with semi-feudal, pro-capitalist parties.

The debate on ‘Nationalism’ (Bangalee vs Bangladeshi) seems to be driven by emotion. Personally, I feel quite comfortable being known as a ‘Bangladeshi’ national with ‘Bangalee’ cultural and linguistic heritage and with a Muslim faith. Citizens who are not Bangalee but of other ethnic and cultural roots and profess any of the non-Muslim faiths should feel quite comfortable if their nationality is ‘Bangladeshi’. I find no contradiction in this kind of arrangement. But it is wrong to define all the citizens of Bangladesh as ‘Bangalee’; they would not feel comfortable with is this definition. Those who raise controversies and unnecessary debates on this issue are not helping Bangladesh to establish its distinct national identity.

The issue of ‘Secularism’ is more sensitive as it is supposed to be more progressive and all embracing as opposed to the word ‘Islam or Muslim’ in the Constitution. Whether the present BAL government really wants to delete the words ‘Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim’ from the preamble and ‘Islam is the state religion’ from the Constitution to reinstate the word ‘Secularism’, remain to be seen. Still we may make a few comments for general discussion.

In my opinion, it would be very controversial and difficult to remove the words from the preamble. Whether it was right or wrong at the time of its addition to the Constitution is another question. But doing this now would send a wrong signal to the vast majority of Muslims about the intention of the BAL government.

The fact remains that in many ‘secular’ western countries, belief in the Almighty God (Allah) remains a cardinal principle. These countries have Christian majority populations, and Christian traditions, rituals and culture dominate the social and cultural life of most people, although legitimate rights of people practicing other religious faiths, as well as those of atheists or agnostics, are acknowledged, respected, and legally guaranteed. There are extremists and fanatics also within these secular Christian societies, but the legal system is strong enough to contain their activities that advocate hatred, racism and violence. The societies are economically, socially and politically more advanced and mature with a high degree of tolerance for different religions, culture and opposing views. Bangladesh society is relatively backward in economy, political and social culture compared with the European societies and what is acceptable in Europe may not be acceptable in Bangladesh .

Does religion clash with secularism? According to many people, it does so when religion and only religion is the guiding force for all political and social activities within a state. We have witnessed this in Afghanistan , Sudan or Somalia , Kashmir , Chechnya or even in Iran to some extent. But the matter is more complex that it appears on the surface. There are dozens of other reasons for the instability, turmoil, and conflicts in most of these societies.

The question of religion (Islam) is often invoked by certain quarters (both at home and abroad), but the underlying unresolved national questions (right of self determination as guaranteed by the UN Charter), foreign aggressions and occupation associated with extreme violations of basic human rights to life, property and dignity are often ignored. Blaming Islam for all the ills of the world is clearly one-sided and wrong. We are dismayed to see that many people condemn Pakistan, for example, for branding itself as an ‘Islamic’ country but they have no problem in supporting the purely ‘Jewish’ nature of Israel, a settler colonial, racist state that is acting as an advanced outpost of the militarist imperialists and bent on destroying the Palestinian people and subjugating other Middle Eastern Muslim states. Despite anti-Islam, anti-Bangladesh propaganda by some R&AW inspired elements, independent Bangladesh has not witnessed any serious communal riots or systematic repression of religious minorities, whereas in India, which has a ‘secular’ label, repression of religious and ethnic minorities, communal riots, caste and class violence happen more or less regularly. The main point is not what you profess but what you do.

Personally, I do not support that the idea that politics and state structure of a modern country should be based exclusively on a very rigid interpretation of holy books, although I have no problem in accepting the basic teachings of honesty, tolerance, fellowship and humanity which are the core values of all religions. Unfortunately, some people who themselves are devoid of any moral values dominate our politics and exploit the name of religion to fool the common people.

One such person is he who staged a coup to overthrow a democratically elected government in 1982 and amended the Constitution to make ‘Islam’ the State Religion. Many people believe that this was done not for the love of Islam but for his own political agenda. He was the worst type of political manipulator, financially and ethically corrupt, and he did everything that goes against the basic teachings of Islam.

The irony is that the same person is now a partner in the current BAL government. What would he say if and when the government amends the Constitution to remove ‘Islam’ and incorporates ‘Secularism’ in its place? Would that be acceptable to the majority Muslim population? Honestly, I do not know. But I have a feeling that it will arouse intense emotional feelings to cause greater dissension and destabilisation. There is every chance of the issue or intention of the government being misinterpreted. Can the government handle the situation, even with its more than two-thirds majority in the parliament?

We can write many good words and sentences in the Constitution, but this by itself does not guarantee a system of democracy and good governance, unless the rule of law and justice providing equal opportunity for all religious and ethnic communities are practised. Secularism was a part of the Constitution until the Fifth Amendment, but was the socio-political situation better then? The answer is a clear ‘No’. We are still alive to tell the story of mismanagement, nepotism, corruption, grabbing of ‘enemy’ properties and industries, one-party dictatorship, mad made famine, factional fighting and state sponsored killings by Rakkhi Bahini and other killer groups. What led to the coups and counter-coups in 1975, only after a few years of the country’s independence? We should give up emotion and half-truths and do an objective analysis based on facts. Blaming only this person or that person, this country or that country, for all ills of the country’s failure to establish a genuine democratic order and just society is not good enough. We must do some soul-searching and work together to analyse the problems and find the best possible solution.

In conclusion, we have no objections in enacting another Amendment by the present or future governments, but if and when this is done, there must be full debates and participation by all the political parties, intelligentsia and concerned citizens.

British Rule in Bangladesh (1757-1947)
The greatest discontinuity in the history of Bengal region occurred on June 23, 1757 when the East India Company – a mercantile company of England became the virtual ruler of Bengal by defeating Nawab Siraj-ud Daulah through conspiracy. Territorial rule by a trading company resulted in the commercialization of power. The initial effects of the British rule were highly destructive. As the historian R.C. Dutt notes, “the people of Bengal had been used to tyranny, but had never lived under an oppression so far reaching in its effects, extending to every village market and every manufacturer’s loom. They had been used to arbitrary acts from men in power, but had never suffered from a system which touched their trades, their occupations, their lives so closely. The springs of their industry were stopped, the sources of their wealth dried up”. The plunder of Bengal directly contributed to the industrial revolution in England. The capital amassed in Bengal was invested in the nascent British industries. Lack of capital and fall of demand, on the other hand, resulted in deindustrialization in the Bangladesh region. The muslin industry virtually disappeared in the wake of the British rule.
In the long run, the British rule in South Asia contributed to transformation of the traditional society in various ways. The introduction of British law, a modern bureaucracy, new modes of communication, the English language and a modern education system, and the opening of the local market to international trade opened new horizons for development in various spheres of life. The new ideas originating from the West produced a ferment in the South Asian mind. The upshot of this ferment were streams of intellectual movements which have often been compared to the Renaissance. Furthermore, the Pax Britannica imposed on South Asia created an universal empire that brought different areas of the sub-continent closer to each other.
The British rule in Bengal promoted simultaneously the forces of unity and division in the society. The city-based Hindu middle classes became the fiery champions of all-India based nationalism. At the same time, the British rule brought to surface the rivalry between the Hindus and Muslims which lay dormant during the five hundred years of Muslim rule. The class conflict between Muslim peasantry and Hindu intermediaries during the Muslim rule was diffused by the fact that these intermediaries themselves were agents of the Muslim rulers. Furthermore, the scope of exploitation was limited in the subsistence economy of pre-British Bengal.
The economic exploitation of the British provoked an intense reaction against the Raj in Bengal. However, the grievances against the British rule varied from community to community. The Hindu middle class, which styled itself as the bhadralok, was the greatest beneficiary of the British rule. The Hindu middle class primarily originated from trading classes, intermediaries of revenue administration and subordinate jobs in the imperial administration. On the contrary, the establishment of the British rule deprived the immigrant Muslim aristocracy (ashraf) of state patronage. The immigrant Muslim – upper caste Hindu coalition which characterized the Muslim rule was replaced by a new entente of the British and the caste Hindus. The new land settlement policy of the British ruined the traditional Muslim landlords. The Muslim aristocracy which had hitherto been disdainful of their native co-religionists sought the political support of the downtrodden Muslim peasantry (atraf) who were exploited by Hindu landlords and moneylenders. The Muslim elite in Bengal manipulated to their advantage the social insecurity of the less privileged without giving up their exclusiveness.

The conflict between Muslim peasants and Hindu landlords was reinforced by the rivalry between Hindu and Muslim middle classes for the patronage of the imperial rulers. In the nineteenth century, both Hindu and Muslim middle classes expanded significantly. The Muslim middle class did not remain confined to traditional aristocracy which consisted primarily of immigrants from other Muslim countries. The British rule in Bengal contributed to the emergence of a vernacular elite from among locally converted Muslims in the second half of the nineteenth century. This was facilitated by a significant expansion of jute cultivation in the Bangladesh region. The increase in jute exports benefited the surplus farmers (Jotedars) in the lower Bengal where the Muslims were in a majority. The economic affluence of surplus farmers encouraged the expansion of secular education among local Muslims. For example, the number of Muslim students in Bengal increased by 74 percent between 1882-83 and 1912-13.
Faced with the economic and cultural domination of the Hindu intermediaries in Bengal (bhadralok), the ashraf (traditional Muslim aristocracy), the newly created Muslim jotedars who constituted the vernacular elite and Muslim peasants (atraf) closed ranks. Despite their outward unity, the coalition of various Muslim interest groups in Bengal was fragile. The interests and ideological orientations of these groups were dissimilar. Unlike the jotedars and peasants, the ashraf in Bengal spoke Urdu. The vernacular Muslim elites and peasants in Bengal wanted agrarian reforms; the ashraf was a staunch proponent of absentee landlordism. The Muslim vernacular elite and atraf identified themselves with the local culture and language, the ashraf was enthralled by Islamic universalism. The internal contradictions of the Muslim society in Bengal were naturally mirrored in their political life.

Initially, the leadership of the Muslim community in Bengal belonged to ashraf for two reasons. First, the size of the vernacular elite was too small in the beginning of the twentieth century and the vernacular elite itself tried to imitate the traditional aristocracy. Secondly, because of the institutional vacuum in the rural areas, it was very difficult to mobilise politically Muslim masses in the Bengal region. The easiest means of arousing such masses was to appeal to religious sentiments and emotions. In this charged atmosphere the natural leadership of the Muslim masses in Bengal lay with the immigrant ashraf who monopolized the religious leadership.

The rivalry between Muslim ashraf and Hindu bhadralok first surfaced in the political arena, when the British partitioned the province of Bengal in 1905 for administrative reasons. The nascent Muslim middle class under the leadership of the Muslim Nawab of Dhaka supported the partition in the hope of getting patronage of the British rulers. To the Hindu bhadralok who had extensive economic interests on both sides of partitioned Bengal, the move to separate the Bengali-speaking areas in East Bengal and Assam was a big jolt. They viewed it as a sinister design to weaken Bengal which was the vanguard of struggle for independence. The bhadralok class idolized the “Golden Bengal”. Though initially the anti-partition movement was non-violent, the dark anger of the Hindu middle class soon found its expression in terroristic activities. The emotionally charged atmosphere culminated in communal riots. The partition of Bengal ultimately turned out to be a defeat for all. The Raj had to eat the humble pie and annul the partition in 1911. To the Muslims, the annulment of the partition was a major disappointment. It virtually shook their faith in the British rulers. To the Hindu bhadralok of

Bengal, the annulment was a pyrrhic victory. “The net result of these developments in Bengal during the first decade of this century, so far as the bhadralok leadership of Bengal was concerned, lay in the exposure of its isolation, its inner contradictions and the essentially opportunistic character of its politics”.

The communal politics of confrontation and violence which erupted during the partition of Bengal was interrupted by a brief honeymoon during the non-cooperation movement led by the Indian National Congress and the Khilafat movement of the Indian Muslims in the second decade of 20th century. Bengal witnessed in the twenties the emergence of the charismatic; leadership of Chitta Ranjan Das who had the foresight to appreciate the alienation of the Muslim middle classes. In 1923 Das signed a pact with Fazlul Huq, Suhrawardy and other Muslim leaders. This pact which is known as the Bengal Pact provided guarantees for due representation of Muslims in politics and administration. The spirit of Hindu-Muslim rapprochement evaporated with the death of C.R. Das in 1925. However, even if Das were alive he might not have succeeded in containing the communal backlash. The communal problem was not unique to Bengal, it became the main issue in all India politics. As the communal tension mounted in the 1930s, the Muslim ashraf in Bengal which had close ties with the Muslim leadership in other parts of the sub-continent pursued a policy of communal confrontation.

The Road to Pakistan
The Pakistan Resolution of 1940 at Lahore was the outcome of the political confrontation between Hindus and Muslims. The Lahore Resolution demanded that geographically contiguous units “be demarcated into regions which should be constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary so that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority should be grouped to constitute “Independent States” in which the constitutional units be autonomous and sovereign”. From the constitutional point of view, the Lahore Resolution asserted that South Asia consisted of many nations and not of two nations. It was, in effect, a blueprint for the balkanization of South Asia and not merely for its partition into two units.
The fervour for the Lahore Resolution sprang not merely from the disillusion of the Muslims with the Hindu leadership. It was also facilitated by the vagueness of the Resolution which promised everything to everybody. The vernacular Muslim elites in Bengal maintained that the Lahore Resolution was legally a charter for a Muslim dominated independent and sovereign Bengal. The immigrant Muslim ashraf in Bengal thought that the Lahore Resolution was a mandate for merging geographically dispersed Muslim majority areas into an Islamic state. Ultimately the demands of the vernacular Muslim elite for an independent Bengal was opposed by both the ashraf and the Hindu middle class. Ironically the formal decision for partition of Bengal was taken not by Muslim but by Hindu leaders who fought for an undivided Bengal four decades ago.

The partition of the South Asian sub-continent into two independent states in 1947 was a defeat for the British policy. It partially undid the PaxBritannica which was the greatest achievement of the Raj. Nevertheless, the partition forestalled the balkanization of the sub-continent which would have swept away the entire political structure which was so labouriously built by the British rulers. The eastern areas of Bengal were constituted into a province of Pakistan and her political boundaries were drawn up arbitrarily.

The Birth of Bangladesh and Resolution of the Identity Crisis Pakistan, which emerged constitutionally as one country in 1947, was in fact “a double country”, the two wings were not only separated from each other by more than one thousand miles, they were also culturally, economically and socially different. “The cure, at least as far as the East Bengalis were concerned, proved to be worse than the disease”.

The relationship between the East and the West wings of Pakistan was the mirror image of the Hindu-Muslim relations in the undivided sub-continent. The creation of East Pakistan did not resolve the identity crisis of the majority people in the Bangladesh region. The political leadership in Pakistan was usurped by the ashraf and their fellow-travellers. The spread of secular education and monetization of the rural economy swelled the ranks of the vernacular elite who was intensely proud of the local cultural heritage. This compounded the dichotomy of language and religion. As a recent scholar rightly observes, “The Bengali love affair with their language involves a passionate ritual that produces emotional experiences seldom found in other parts of the world”. The Language Movement during 1948-52 which demanded the designation of Bengali as the state language of Pakistan undermined the authority of the ashraf and reinforced the role of the vernacular elite. In British India, the Muslims of Bengal united under the banner of Islam to escape from the exploitation of Bengali Hindus who shared the same mother tongue. In the united Pakistan, the Bengalis of East Pakistan reasserted their cultural and linguistic identity to resist the exploitation of their co-religionists who spoke in a different language. Though history repeated itself in Pakistan, the lessons learnt from Hindu-Muslim confrontation were forgotten. Neither in undivided India nor in united Pakistan, the dominant economic classes agreed to sacrifice their short-term interests. Democratic verdicts were brushed aside and economic disparity between the two wings widened under the aegis of military dictatorships in Pakistan.
The disintegration of united Pakistan is not, therefore, in the least surprising. However, the way in which Bangladesh was born is unique to South Asia. Bangladesh was the product of a sanguinary revolution. The Pakistan army had to be defeated physically in 1971 to establish the new state. The birth of Bangladesh resolved the dichotomy between religion and habitat, and between extra-territorial and territorial loyalties by recognizing both the facts as a reality in the life of the new nation

The British Raj
Beginning in the middle of the eighteenth century, when the foundations of British rule were effectively laid, the British government showed increasing interest in the welfare of the people of India, feeling the need to curb the greed, recklessness, and corrupt activities of the private British East India Company. Beginning in 1773, the British Parliament sought to regulate the company’s administration. By 1784 the company was made responsible to Parliament for its civil and military affairs and was transformed into an instrument of British foreign policy.

Some new measures introduced in the spirit of government intervention clearly did not benefit the people of Bengal. The Permanent Settlement (Landlease Act) of Lord Charles Cornwallis in 1793, which regulated the activities of the British agents and imposed a system of revenue collection and landownership, stands as a monument to the disastrous effects of the good intentions of Parliament. The traditional system for collecting land taxes involved the zamindars, who exercised the dual function of revenue collectors and local magistrates. The British gave the zamindars the status and rights of landlords, modeled mainly on the British landed gentry and aristocracy. Under the new system the revenue-collecting rights were often auctioned to the highest bidders, whether or not they had any knowledge of rural conditions or the managerial skills necessary to improve agriculture. Agriculture became a matter of speculation among urban financiers, and the traditional personal link between the resident zamindars and the peasants was broken. Absentee landlordship became commonplace, and agricultural development stagnated.

Most British subjects who had served with the British East India Company until the end of the eighteenth century were content with making profits and leaving the Indian social institutions untouched. A growing number of Anglican and Baptist evangelicals in Britain, however, felt that social institutions should be reformed. There was also the demand in Britain, first articulated by member of Parliament and political theorist Edmund Burke, that the company’s government balance its exploitative practices with concern for the welfare of the Indian people. The influential utilitarian theories of Jeremy Bentham and James Mill stated that societies could be reformed by proper laws. Influenced in part by these factors, British administrators in India embarked on a series of social and administrative reforms that were not well received by the conservative elements of Bengali society. Emphasis was placed on the introduction of Western philosophy, technology, and institutions rather than on the reconstruction of native institutions. The early attempts by the British East India Company to encourage the use of Sanskrit and Persian were abandoned in favor of Western science and literature; elementary education was taught in the vernacular, but higher education in English. The stated purpose of secular education was to produce a class of Indians instilled with British cultural values. Persian was replaced with English as the official language of the government. A code of civil and criminal procedure was fashioned after British legal formulas. In the field of social reforms, the British suppressed what they considered to be inhumane practices, such as suttee (self-immolation of widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands), female infanticide, and human sacrifice.

British policy viewed colonies as suppliers of raw materials and purchasers of manufactured goods. The British conquest of India coincided with the Industrial Revolution in Britain, led by the mechanization of the textile industry. As a result of the British policy of dumping machine-made goods in the subcontinent, India’s domestic craft industries were thoroughly ruined, and its trade and commerce collapsed. Eastern Bengal was particularly hard hit. Muslin cloth from Dhaka had become popular in eighteenth-century Europe until British muslin drove it off the market.
Data as of September 1988

East Pakistan (Bengali:; Purbo Pakistan, Urdu: مشرقی پاکستان; Mashriqī Pākistān) was a provincial state of Pakistan that existed in Bengal region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent from 1955 until 1971, following the One Unit programme which laid the existence of East Pakistan.

In 1905, the region of Bengal under the British Empire was partitioned into East and West Bengal which separated the Muslim majority eastern areas from the Hindu majority western areas. The partition of Bengal saw the mainstream revival of Hindu-Muslim riots which both Bengali Muslims and Hindus further apart, leading to more unrest in Bengal.In 1947, the East Bengal’s parliament favored the Partition of India after approving the June 3rd Plan presented by the Viceroy of India Lord Earl Mounbatten, and merged with the new province of East Bengal of the Dominion of Pakistan. From 1947 until 1954, the East Bengal was an independent administrative unit which was governed by the Pakistan Muslim League led by Nurul Amin. In 1955, the Bengali Prime minister Muhammad Ali Bogra devolved the province of East Bengal and established the state as East Pakistan with Dhaka its state capital.During this time, the 1954 elections were held which saw the complete defeat of Pakistan Muslim League led by Nurul Amin by the nexus of Communist Party, Marxist-Leninist Party allying with the Awami League. The Awami League gained the control of the East Pakistan after appointing Huseyn Suhrawardy for the office of Prime minister. The socialist rule was violently ended in 1958 by the U.S.-backed military ruler General Ayub Khan who disbanded the political parties and took tough actions against the communist mass in both East and West Pakistan. This authoritarian period that existed from 1958 until 1971, is often regarded as period of mass repression, resentment, and political neglect and ignorance.Allying with the population of West, the East population unanimously voted for Fatima Jinnah during the 1965 presidential elections against Ayub Khan. The elections were widely believed to be heavily rigged in the favor of Ayub Khan using state patronage and intimidation to influence the indirectly elected electoral college. The economic disparity, impression that West Pakistan despite being less populated than East Pakistan was ruling and prospering at its cost further popularize the Bengali nationalism.The support for state autonomy grew when Awami League introduced the Six point movement in 1966, and participated with full force in the 1970 general elections in which the Awami League had won and secured the the exclusive mandate of East-Pakistan.

After the general elections, President General Yahya Khan attempted to negotiate with both Pakistan Peoples Party and Awami League to share power in the central government but talks were failed when President Yahya Khan authorized an armed operation (codename Searchlight) to curbed down the Awami League. As response to this operation, the Awami League announced the declaration of independence of East Pakistan on March 26, 1971 and began an armed struggle against the Pakistan, with India staunchly supporting Awami League by the means of propaganda and providing arm ammunition to its guerrilla forces.

East Pakistan’s culture was influenced by the Communism in neighboring India. In 1954, the Communist Party had brutally defeated the Pakistan Muslim League and had major influence in poor mass of the East Pakistan. The East Pakistan initially allied with Soviet Union where the tendency of communism was far more greater than the West. East Pakistan had an area of 147,570 km2 (56,977 mi2), bordering India on three sides (East, North, and West) and the Bay of Bengal to the South. East Pakistan was one of the largest provincial states of Pakistan, with the largest population, largest political representation, and sharing the largest economic share. A nine month long war ended on December 16 of 1971, when the Pakistan Armed Forces overran in Dhaka, ultimately signing the instrument of surrender which resulted the largest in number of prisoners of war since World War II. Finally on December 16, 1971, East Pakistan was officially disestablished and was succeeded as the independent state of Bangladesh.

Geographical history
Main article: History of Bangladesh (1947–1971)
Many notable Muslim Bengali figures were among the Founding fathers of present date, State of Pakistan. The country was born in bloodshed and came into existence on August 14, 1947 confronted by seemingly insurmountable problems. As many as 12 million people Muslims leaving India for Pakistan, and Hindus and Sikhs opting to move to India from the new state of Pakistan which had been involved in the mass transfer of population between the two countries, and perhaps two million refugees had died in the violence that had accompanied the migrations in the borders of West Pakistan. Pakistan’s boundaries were established hastily without adequate regard for the new nation’s economic viability. Even the minimal requirements of a central government, skilled personnel and officers, equipment, and a capital city with government buildings were missing. Until 1947, the East Wing of Pakistan, separated from the West Wing by 1,600 km of Indian territory, had been heavily dependent on Hindu management. Many Hindu Bengalis left for Calcutta after partition, and their place, particularly in commerce, was taken mostly by Muslims who had migrated from the Indian state of Bihar or by West Pakistanis from different provinces.

Political history
Main articles: East Bengal, West Bengal, and Constitution of Pakistan of 1956
The Bengal was divided into two provinces on July 3, 1946 in preparation for the Partition of India, the Hindu majority of West Bengal and the Muslim majority of the East Bengal. The two provinces each had their own Chief Ministers and Governors. In August 1947, the West Bengal became part of India and East Bengal became part of Pakistan. Throughout this time, the tensions between East Bengal and the West Pakistan led to the One-Unit policy by Bengali Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra. In 1955, most of the western wing was combined to form a new West Pakistan province (which contained four provinces and four territories) while East Bengal became the new province of East Pakistan (a single provisional state). In 1955, Bogra appointed communist leader Abu Hussain Sarkar as Chief Minister and Amiruddin Ahmad as Governor.
Following the promulgation of 1956 Constitution, Prime minister Bogra appointed Bengali bureaucrat and retired Major-General Iskander Mirza was as Interior minister and the Army Commander of army General Ayub Khan as the Defence minister whilst Muhammad Ali remained Economic minister. The main objective of the new government was to end disruptive provincial politics and to provide the country with a new constitution. After a revision, the Supreme Court of Pakistan declared that the Pakistan Constituent Assembly must be called. Governor-General Ghulam Mohammad was unable to circumvent the order, and the new Constituent Assembly, elected by the provincial assemblies, met for the first time in July 1955. Bogra, who had little support in the new assembly, fell in August and was replaced by Choudhry. Ghulam Mohammad, plagued by poor health, was succeeded as governor general in September 1955 by Mirza.

Socialist-Communist rule
Main article: Democratic Republic Government of East-Pakistan

The communist parties played an influential role in staging the massive protests for the Bengali Language Movement which led the destruction of PML in East Pakistan, 1950s.

The tendency of communism was far more greater and deeper in East Pakistan than the West, and had massive support in poor, working class, and peasant circles on the issues of Bengali nationalism and Bengali Language Movement. The Communist Party of Pakistan that was established in 1948 had pushed its membership in all over the country and had considerable support on economical issues in the East. Previously in 1952, the communists had played an integral and major role in staging the massive protests, mass demonstration, and strikes for the Bengali Language Movement. All over the country, the political parties had favored the general elections in Pakistan with the exception of Muslim League. The military, bureaucracy and the United States was nervous with good reasons where the support for the Soviet Union began to rise in both East and West. Finally in 1954, the legislative elections were to be held for the Parliament. Unlike in West, not all of the Hindu population migrated to India, instead a large number of Hindu population was in fact presented in the state. The communist influence deepened and was finally realized in the elections. The United Front, Communist Party of Pakistan and the Awami League returned to power, inflicting sever defeat to Muslim League. Out of 309, the Muslim League only won 10 seats, whereas the communist party had 4 seats of the ten contested. The communists working with other parties had secured 22 additional seats, totaling 26 seats. The right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami had completely failed in the elections.

In 1955, the Workers-Peasant Party, Communist Party, and the Marxist-Leninist Party named Abu Hussain Sarkar as the Chief minister of the State who ruled the state in two non-consecutive terms until 1958 when the martial law was imposed.

Martial law
Main article: Martial law in Pakistan

The nexus of Communist Party, Marxist-Leninist and Awami League won the 1954 elections for East Pakistan.

In East Pakistan, the political impasse culminated in 1958 in a violent scuffle in the East-Pakistan parliament between the members of the Pakistan Muslim League and the East-Pakistan police, in which the deputy speaker was fatally injured and two ministers badly wounded. Uncomfortable with the workings of democratic ststem, unruliness in the East Pakistan parliamentary elections and the threat of Baloch separatism in West-Pakistan, Bengali President Iskandar Ali Mirza issued a proclamation that abolished all political parties in both West and East Pakistan, abrogated the two-year old constitution, and imposed the first martial law in the country on October 7, 1958.

President Mirza announced that “the martial law would be a temporary measure, lasting only until a new constitution was to be drafted. On October 27, President Mirza swore in a twelve-member cabinet that included Army Commander General Ayub Khan as Defence Minister as well as chief martial law administrator of the country, along with three other senior military officers in ministerial positions. The cabinet included among the eight civilians, one of them being Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former Karachi University lecturer.

Roughly after two weeks, President Mirza’s relations with Pakistan Armed Forces deteriorated leading Army Commander General Ayub Khan relieving the president from his presidency and forcefully exiling President Mirza to United Kingdom. General Ayub Khan justified his actions after appearing on national radio declaring that: “the armed forces and the people demanded a clean break with the past…”. Until 1962, the martial law continued while Field Marshal Ayub Khan purged a number of politicians and civil servants from the government and replaced them with military officers. Ayub called his regime a “revolution to clean up the mess of black marketing, (sic), and corruption.”.

Presidential republic and economy
Main articles: 1970 Bhola cyclone, Pakistani general election, 1970, and Constitution of Pakistan of 1962
The martial law continued until 1962 when the government of Field Marshal Ayub Khan commissioned a constitutional bench under Chief Justice of Pakistan, Muhammad Shahabuddin, containing ten senior justices, each five from East Pakistan and five from West Pakistan. On May 6, 1961, the commission sent its draft to President Ayub Khan who thoroughly examined the draft with consulting with his cabinet. In January 1962, the cabinet finally approved the text of the new constitution, promulgated by President Ayub Khan on March 1, 1962 and finally came into effect on June 8, 1962. With the success of 1962 constitution, the East Pakistan had became a Presidential republic and abolished all parliamentary institutions in East Pakistan. The 1962 constitution had provided the presidential system for both provincial states (West Pakistan and East Pakistan) that each states were given autonomy to run their separate presidential provincial governments. The responsibilities and authority of the center and the provinces were clearly listed in the Constitution.
During the years between 1960 and 1965, the annual rate of growth of the gross domestic product per capita was 4.4% in the West Pakistan versus 2.6% in the East Pakistan. Furthermore, Bengali politicians pushing for more autonomy complained that much of Pakistan’s export earnings were generated in East Pakistan by the export of Bengali jute and tea. As late as 1960, approximately 70% of Pakistan’s export earnings originated in the East Wing, although this percentage declined as international demand for jute dwindled. By the mid-1960s, the East Pakistan was accounting for less than 60% of the nation’s export earnings, and by the time of Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, this percentage had dipped below 50%. This reality did not dissuade Mujib from demanding in 1966 that separate foreign exchange accounts be kept and that separate trade offices be opened overseas. By the mid-1960s, West Pakistan was benefiting from Ayub’s “Decade of Progress,” with its successful “green revolution” in wheat, and from the expansion of markets for West Pakistani textiles, while the East Pakistan’s standard of living remained at an abysmally low level. The Bengalis were also upset that West Pakistan, because it was the seat of government, was the major beneficiary of foreign aid.

Military government
With Ayub Khan ousted from office in 1969, Commander of the Pakistani Army, General Yahya Khan became the country’s second ruling Chief Martial Law Administrator. Both Bhutto and Mujib strongly disliked General Khan, but patiently endured him and his government as he had promised to hold an election in 1970. During this time, strong nationalistic sentiments in East Pakistan were perceived by the Pakistani Armed Forces and the central military government. Therefore, Khan and his military government wanted to divert the nationalistic threats and violence against non-East Pakistanis. The Eastern Military High Command was under constant pressure from the Awami League, and requested an active duty officer to control the command under such extreme pressure. The high flag rank officers, junior officers and many high command officers from the Pakistan’s Armed Forces were highly cautious about their appointment in East-Pakistan, and the assignment of governing East Pakistan and appointment of an officer was considered highly difficult for the Pakistan High Military Command.

Civil disobedience
East Pakistan’s Armed Forces, under the military administrations of Major-General Muzaffaruddin and Lieutenant-General Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, used an excessive amount of show of military force to curb the uprising in the province. With such action, the situation became highly critical and civil control over the province slipped away from the government. On 24 March, dissatisfied with the performance of his generals, Yahya Khan removed General Muzaffaruddin and General Yaub Khan from office on 1 September 1969. The appointment of a military administrator was considered quite difficult and challenging with the crisis continually deteriorating. Vice-Admiral Syed Mohammad Ahsan, Chief of Naval Staff of Pakistan Navy, had previously served as political and military adviser of East Pakistan to former President Ayub Khan. Having such a strong background in administration, and being an expert on East Pakistan affairs, General Yahya Khan appointed Vice-Admiral Syed Mohammad Ahsan as Martial Law Administrator, with absolute authority in his command. He was relieved as Chief of Naval Staff, and received extension from the government. On 1 September Admiral Ahsan assumed the command of the Eastern Military High Command, and became a unified commander of Pakistan Armed Forces in East-Pakistan. Under his command, the Pakistani Armed Forces were removed from the cities and deployed along the border. The rate of violence in East Pakistan dropped, nearly coming to an end. Civil rule improved and stabilized in East Pakistan under Martial Law Administrator Admiral Ahsan’s era. The next year, in 1970, it was in this charged atmosphere that parliamentary elections were held in the country in December 1970.

Position towards West-Pakistan

1971 film about East Pakistan
The tense diplomatic relations between East and West Pakistan reached a climax in 1970 when the Awami League, the largest East Pakistani political party, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, (Mujib), won a landslide victory in the national elections in East Pakistan. The party won 167 of the 169 seats allotted to East Pakistan, and thus a majority of the 300 seats in the Parliament. This gave the Awami League the constitutional right to form an absolute government. Khan invited Mujib to Rawalpindi to take the charge of the office, and negotiations took place between the military government and the Awami Party. Bhutto was shocked with the results, and threatened his Peoples Party’s members if they attended the inaugural session at the National Assembly. Bhutto was famously heard saying “break the legs” of any member of his party who dared enter and attend the session. However, fearing East Pakistani separatism, Bhutto demanded Mujib to form a coalition government. After a secret meeting held in Larkana, Mujib agreed to give Bhutto the office of Presidency with Mujib as Prime Minister. General Yahya Khan and his military government were kept unaware of these developments and under pressure from his own military government, refused to allow Rahman to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. This increased agitation for greater autonomy in the East. The Military Police arrested Mujib and Bhutto and placed them in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. The news spread like a fire in both East and West Pakistan, and the struggle for independence began in East Pakistan.
The senior high command officers in Pakistan Armed Forces, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former Karachi University professor of political science, began to pressure General Yahya Khan to take armed action against Mujib and his party. Bhutto later distanced himself from Yahya Khan after he was arrested by Military Police along with Mujib. Soon after the arrests, a high level meeting was chaired by Yahya Khan. During the meeting, high commanders of Pakistan Armed Forces unanimously recommended an armed and violent military action. East Pakistan’s Martial Law Administrator Admiral Ahsan, unified commander of Eastern Military High Command (EMHC), and Air Marshal Mitty Masud, Commander of Eastern Air Force Command (EAFC), were the only officers to object to the plans. When it became obvious that a military action in East Pakistan was inevitable, Admiral Ahsan resigned from his position as Martial Law Administrator in protest, and immediately flew back to Karachi, West Pakistan. Disheartened and isolated, Admiral Ahsan took early retirement from the Navy and quietly settled in Karachi. Once Operation Searchlight and Operation Barisal commenced, Air Marshal Masud flew to West Pakistan, and unlike Admiral Ahsan, tried to stop the violence in East Pakistan. When he failed in his attempts to meet General Yahya Khan, Masud too resigned from his position as Commander of Eastern Air Command, and took retirement from Air Force.

Final years and war
See also: Bangladesh Liberation War

Separatist/nationalistic flag of East Bengal
Lieutenant-General Sahabzada Yaqub Khan was sent in to East Pakistan in emergency, following a major blow of the resignation of Vice Admiral Ahsan. General Yaqub temporarily assumed the control of the province, as he was made the unified commander of Pakistan Armed Forces. General Yaqub mobilized the entire major forces in East Pakistan, and were re-deployed in East Pakistan.
On 26 March 1971, the day after the military crackdown on civilians in East Pakistan, Mujibur Rahman declared the independence of Bangladesh. All major Awami League leaders including elected leaders of National Assembly and Provincial Assembly fled to neighboring India and an exile government was formed headed by Mujibur Rahman. While he was in Pakistan Prison, Syed Nazrul Islam was the acting President with Tazuddin Ahmed as the Prime Minister. The exile government took oath on 17 April 1971 at Mujib Nagar, within East Pakistan territory of Kustia district and formally formed the government. Colonel MOG Osmani was appointed the Commander in Chief of Liberation Forces and whole East Pakistan was divided into eleven sectors headed by eleven sector commanders. All sector commanders were Bengali officers from defected Pakistan Army. This started the Bangladesh Liberation War in which the freedom fighters, joined in December 1971 by 400,000 Indian soldiers, faced the Pakistani Armed Forces of 365,000 plus Paramilitary and collaborationist forces. An additional approximately 25,000 ill-equipped civilian volunteers and police forces also sided with the Pakistan Armed Forces. Bloody guerrilla warfare ensued in East Pakistan.

Dissolution of East Pakistan

The portrait of Pakistan Movement showing East Pakistanis. People of East Bengal played a crucial role in the creation and success of Pakistan Movement in the 1940s.
The Pakistan Armed Forces were unable to counter such threats. Poorly trained and inexperienced in guerrilla tactics, Pakistan Armed Forces and their assets were successfully sabotage by the Bangladesh Liberation Forces. On April 1971, Lieutenant-General Tikka Khan succeeded General Yaqub Khan as Commander of unified forces. General Tikka Khan led the massive violent and massacre campaigns in the region. He is held responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of Bengali people in East Pakistan, mostly civilians and unarmed peoples. For his role, General Tikka Khan gained the title as “Butcher of Bengal”. General Khan faced an international reaction against Pakistan, and therefore, General Tikka was removed as Commander of Eastern front. He installed a civilian administration under Abdul Motaleb Malik on 31 August 1971, which proved to be ineffective. However, during the meeting, with no high officers willing to assume the command of East Pakistan, Lieutenant-General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi volunteered for the command of the East Pakistan. Inexperienced and the large magnitude of this assignment, the government sent Vice-Admiral Mohammad Shariff as second-in-command of General Niazi. Admiral Shariff served as the deputy unified commander of Pakistan Armed Forces in East Pakistan. However, General Niazi proved to be a failure and ineffective ruler. Therefore, General Niazi and Air Marshal Enamul Haque, Commander of Eastern Air Force Command (EAFC), were failed to launch any operation in East Pakistan against Indian or its allies. Except Admiral Shariff who continued to press pressure on Indian Navy till the end of the conflict. Admiral Shariff made it nearly impossible for Indian Navy to land its naval forces on the shores with his well effective plans . The Indian Navy was unable to enter into the East Pakistan through shores and Pakistan Navy was still offering resistance. Therefore, The Indian Army, from all three directions of the province, entered in the East Pakistan. The Indian Navy then decided to wait near the Bay of Bengal until the Army reaches the shores.
The Indian Air Force had dismantled the capability of Pakistan Air Force in East Pakistan. Air Marshal Enamul Haque, Commander of Eastern Air Force Command (EAFC), was seriously failed to protect armed action by Indian Air Force in the air. thus, Indian air force has enjoyed dominance in the air and PAF was completely unable to give resistance.

Fall of Dhaka
On 16 December 1971 the Pakistan Armed Forces finally surrendered to the joint liberation forces of Bangladesh freedom fighters and Indian army. Headed by Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Arora, commander of Western Army Command of Indian Army. General AAK Niazi, the last unified commander of Pakistan Armed Forces, signed the surrender letter. Over 93,000 personnel, including General Niazi and Admiral Shariff, were taken as Prisoner of War. On 16 December 1971 the East Pakistan was finally disintegrated as a part of Pakistan. The Eastern Military High Command, civilian institutions, and paramilitary forces were collapsed and disbanded. Mujib returned to free Bangladesh on 10 January 1972 by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Bangladesh quickly gained recognition from most countries and with the signing of the Shimla Agreement, most of the countries accepted the new state. Bangladesh joined the United Nations in 1974.

Foreign affairs
Main article: Foreign relations of East Pakistan

United States
Main article: United States-East Pakistan relations
“ Each side did what it had to do. Each acted on its own national interest which clashed for a brief moment… ”
—Henry Kissinger, 2012
The East Pakistan had extremely hostile relations with the United States and the tendency of communism and Anti-American sentiment was greater in East-Pakistan, which highly benefited the Soviet Union in 1971. In 1954, when the United States dispatched the Military Assistance Advisory Group for West Pakistan, the East Pakistan Parliament signed a statement, which denounced Pakistan’s government for signing a military pact with United State. The United States also denied the economical aide to East and avoided to provide training to East-Pakistan Army and the East Pakistan Rifles, but was managed by Pakistan itself.
In 2012, former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger addressed the U.S. policy on East Pakistan, as “Gun boat diplomacy”. Talking to India Today on March 18 of 2012— nearly 41 years of disintegration of East Pakistan, Kissinger mesmerized and quoted that: “India and the former Soviet Union had made a near-alliance around this time….. It was in the national interest of the US to preserve West Pakistan….”, Kissinger maintained. Kissinger further noted that the preservation of West Pakistan was far more important for the United States than anything in the region. In a book, “War and Succession” Kissinger said:
There was no question of “Saving” East-Pakistan. The United States had recognized for months that (sic)…. (succession) of East Pakistan was inevitable; (war)… was not necessary to accomplished. The U.S. strove to preserve (West) Pakistan as an independent state. Since, the U.S. had judged that India’s real aim was to encompass its disintegration….
—Henry Kissinger, 1990,

Soviet Union
Main article: Soviet Union-East Pakistan relations
The East-Pakistan had extremely friendly relations with the Soviet Union, although the Soviet government tried its best to keep East Pakistan intact with the West Pakistan. During the time of conflict, Soviet Union sympathized with the East Pakistan and entered in the conflict when the Soviet Armed Forces ordered the Soviet Navy dispatched two groups of cruisers and destroyers and a nuclear submarine armed with nuclear missiles from Vladivostok.

Main article: India-East Pakistan relations
See also: Mukti Bahini and Mitro Bahini
“ The Independence of East Pakistan as Bangladesh… was a national objective and interest of India during its time… ”
—Henry Kissinger, 2012,
East Pakistan enjoyed a strong interaction, healthy relations and close cultural ties with Republic of India. During the time of partition, the Bengali Hindus did not migrated to India, only few colonies close to border re-located in India. Although the formation was orgnanized but East Pakistan did not took role in 1947 war and no pressure was applied in Eastern borders. During the war theater of 1965 indo-Pakistan war, the East-Pakistan government remained silenced and did not send any reinforcement troops to press any pressure on Eastern India.The line of action was seen extremely hostile by West-Pakistan and an impression against East-Pakistan was built.
India played a massive role in helping East Pakistan gain independence. India under Indira Gandhi fully supported the cause of the East Pakistanis and its troops and equipment were used to fight the Pakistani forces. The Indian Army also gave full support to the main Bangladeshi guerrilla force, the Mukti Bahini. Finally, on 26 March 1971, Bangladesh emerged as an independent state. Since then, there have been several issues of agreement as well as of dispute.

Saudi Arabia
Main article: Saudi Arabia-East Pakistan relations
During the time of conflict, the Faisal of Saudi Arabia and Government of Saudi Arabia gave strong criticism to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his government for destabilizing the East Pakistan as well as the Pakistan. The Saudi Arabia did not welcomed the succession of East Pakistan, and its communism was strongly opposed by the King Faisal who had strong anti-Communism views.

Main article: People’s Republic of China-East Pakistan relations
Due to close interaction with Soviet Union and India, China also remained hostile towards East-Pakistan, and criticized East-Pakistan’s Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for causing the disturbance in Pakistan and refused to diplomatically recognized the succession of East Pakistan.

Main article: Eastern Military High Command of East Pakistan

The border of -Indo-East Pakistan border showed by the U.S. Army, c. 1960.
Since its unification with Pakistan, the East Pakistan Army had consisted of only one infantry brigade, which was made up of two battalions, the 1st East Bengal Regiment and the 1/14 or 3/8 Punjab Regiment in 1948. These two battalions boasted only five rifle companies between them (an infantry battalion normally had 5 companies). This weak brigade, under the command of Brigadier-General Ayub Khan (local rank Major-General – GOC of 14th Army Division), together with the East Pakistan Rifles which was tasked with defending East Pakistan during the Kashmir War of 1947.[33] The PAF, Marines, and the Navy had little presence in the region. Only one PAF combatant squadron, No. 14 Squadron Tail Choppers, was active in East Pakistan. This combatant squadron was commanded by an air force Major PQ Mehdi (later four-star general). The East Pakistan military personnel were trained in combat diving, demolitions, and guerrilla/anti-guerrilla tactics by the advisers from the Special Service Group (Navy) who were also charged with intelligence data collection and management cycle.
The East Pakistan Navy had only one active-duty combatant destroyer, the PNS Sylhet; one submarine Ghazi (which was repeatedly deployed in West); four gunboats, inadequate to function in deep water. The joint special operations were managed and undertaken by the Naval Special Service Group (SSG(N)) who were assisted by the army, air force and marines unit. The entire service, the Marines were deployed in East Pakistan, initially tasked with conducting exercises and combat operations in riverine areas and at near shoreline. The small directorate of Naval Intelligence (while the headquarters and personnel, facilities, and directions were coordinated by West) had vital role in directing special and reconnaissance missions, and intelligence gathering, also was charged with taking reasonable actions to slow down the Indian threat. The armed forces of East Pakistan also consisted the paramilitary organization, the Volunteers from the intelligence unit of the ISI’s Covert Action Division (CAD). All of these armed forces were commanded by the unified command structure, the Eastern Military High Command, led by an officer of three-star rank equivalent.

Tenure Governor of East Pakistan[1] Political Affiliation
14 October 1955 – March 1956 Amiruddin Ahmad
Muslim League

March 1956 – 13 April 1958 A. K. Fazlul Huq
Muslim League

13 April 1958 – 3 May 1958 Hamid Ali (acting) Awami League

3 May 1958 – 10 October 1958 Sultanuddin Ahmad
Awami League

10 October 1958 – 11 April 1960 Zakir Husain
Muslim League

11 April 1960 – 11 May 1962 Lieutenant-General Azam Khan, PA
Military Administration
11 May 1962 – 25 October 1962 Ghulam Faruque

25 October 1962 – 23 March 1969 Abdul Monem Khan
Civil Administration
23 March 1969 – 25 March 1969 Mirza Nurul Huda
Civil Administration
25 March 1969 – 23 August 1969 Major-General Muzaffaruddin,[34] PA
Military Administration
23 August 1969 – 1 September 1969 Lieutenant-General Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, PA
Military Administration
1 September 1969 – 7 March 1971 Vice-Admiral Syed Mohammad Ahsan, PN
Military Administration
7 March 1971 – April 1971 Lieutenant-General Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, PA
Military Administration
April 1971 – 31 August 1971 Lieutenant-General Tikka Khan, PA
Military Administration
31 August 1971 – 14 December 1971 Abdul Motaleb Malik

14 December 1971 – 16 December 1971 Lieutenant-General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, PA
Military Administration
16 December 1971 Province of East Pakistan dissolved
Chief Ministers
Tenure Chief Minister of East Pakistan[1] Political Party
August 1955 – September 1956 Abu Hussain Sarkar Shramik Krishak Samajbadi Dal

September 1956 – March 1958 Ata-ur-Rahman Khan Awami League

March 1958 Abu Hussain Sarkar Shramik Krishak Samajbadi Dal

March 1958 – 18 June 1958 Ata-ur-Rahman Khan Awami League
18 June 1958 – 22 June 1958 Abu Hussain Sarkar Shramik Krishak Samajbadi Dal

22 June 1958 – 25 August 1958 Governor’s Rule
25 August 1958 – 7 October 1958 Ata-ur-Rahman Khan Awami League
7 October 1958 Post abolished
16 December 1971 Province of East Pakistan dissolved

Memorials and Legacy
Main article: Pakistan and its Nuclear Deterrent Program

MLA General Nazi signing the Instrument of Surrender with counterpart General Aurora and General Jacob, 1971.
The trauma was extremely severe in Pakistan when the news of succession of East Pakistan as Bangladesh reached to Pakistan— a psychological setback, complete and humiliating defeat that shattered the prestige of Pakistan Armed Forces. The governor and martial law administrator Lieutenant-General Amir Khan Nazi was defamed, his image was maligned and his honors were stripped. The people of Pakistan could not come terms with the magnitude of defeat, spontaneous demonstrations and mass protests erupted on the streets of major cities in (West) Pakistan. General Yahya Khan surrendered powers to Nurul Amin of Pakistan Muslim League, the only first and last Vice-President and Prime minister of Pakistan.

Prime minister Amin invited Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (sworned as President, later Prime minister) and the Pakistan Peoples Party to take control of Pakistan, and in a color ceremony where Bhutto addressed his daring speech to his nation via national television. At this ceremony, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto waved his punch in the air and pledged to his nation to never to allow or repeat the surrendered of his country as equivalent to as East Pakistan, therefore, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto launched and orchestrated the large-scale atomic bomb project in 1972. In memorial of East Pakistan, the East-Pakistan diaspora in Pakistan established the East-Pakistan colony in Karachi, Sindh. In accordance, the East-Pakistani diaspora also composed patriotic to tribute Pakistan after the war; songs such as Sohni Dharti (lit. Beautiful land) and “Jeevay, Jeevay Pakistan (lit. long-live, long-live Pakistan), were composed by Bengali singer Shahnaz Rahmatullah in 1970s and 1980s.

To Western observers, the loss of East Pakistan was a blessing— but it was a trauma that was not seen so; even as for today it is still not seen so. In a book, “Scoop! Inside Stories from the Partition to the Present”, written by Pakistan-born Indian politician Kuldip Nayar, noted that “Losing of East Pakistan and Bhutto’s releasing of Mujib did not mean anything to Pakistan’s policy as in if there was no liberation war. Bhutto’s policy, and even as of today, the policy of Pakistan continues to state that “she will continue to fight for the honor and integrity of Pakistan. East Pakistan is an inseparable and unseverable part of Pakistan”
The Bangladesh Liberation War (Bengali: Muktijuddho) was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against State of Pakistan . The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh.

The war broke out on 26 March 1971 as army units directed by West Pakistan launched a military operation in East Pakistan against Bengali civilians, students, intelligentsia, and armed personnel who were demanding separation of the East from West Pakistan. Bengali military, paramilitary, and civilians formed the Mukti Bahini (Bengali: “Liberation Army”) and used guerrilla warfare tactics to fight against the West Pakistan army. India provided economic, military and diplomatic support to the Mukti Bahini rebels, leading West Pakistan to launch Operation Chengiz Khan, a pre-emptive attack on the western border of India which started the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
On 16 December 1971, the allied forces of the Indian army and the Mukti Bahini defeated the West Pakistani forces deployed in the East. The resulting surrender was the largest in number of prisoners of war since World War II.
Bangladesh Liberation War
Part of the Cold War

First row: A column of Mukti Bahini fighters, Pakistan Army soldiers firing mortars
Second row: Indian Army troops march towards Jessore, Bengali refugees from East Pakistan fleeing to India
Third row: Lt General A A K Niazi of the Pakistan Eastern Command signs the instrument of surrender over to Bangladesh-India Allied Forces, Bangladeshis celebrating the Liberation of Dhaka

Date 26 March – 16 December 1971
Location East Pakistan

Result • Indian and Mukti
Bahini victory against Pakistan
• Subsequent independence
of Bangladesh
Eastern Military High
Command collapse
changes East Pakistan secedes
to become Bangladesh

Mukti Bahini
India (joins the war on 3 December 1971)[1] Pakistan
Pakistan Defence Forces

Commanders and leaders
General M. A. G. Osmani
Lt.Gen. J.S. Aurora
FM Sam Manekshaw
Lt.Gen. Sagat Singh
Maj.Gen. JFR Jacob
LGen A.A.K. Niazi
LGen Tikka Khan
RAdm M. Shariff
Air-CDRE Enamul Huq

Bangladesh Forces: 175,000
India: 250,000 Pakistan Combatant Forces: ~ 365,000
Para Military: ~250,000

Casualties and losses
Bangladesh Forces: 30,000
India: 1,426 KIA
3,611 Wounded (Official)
1,525 KIA
4,061 Wounded Pakistan
~8,000 KIA[citation needed]
~10,000 WIA[citation needed]
(56,694 Armed Forces
12,192 Paramilitary
rest civilians)
Civilian death toll: Up to 3,000,000 (estimates)

In August 1947, the Partition of British India gave birth to two new states; a secular state named India and an Islamic state named Pakistan. Pakistan comprised two geographically and culturally separate areas to the east and the west of India.The western zone was popularly (and for a period of time, also officially) termed West Pakistan and the eastern zone (modern-day Bangladesh) was initially termed East Bengal and later, East Pakistan. Although the population of the two zones was close to equal, political power was concentrated in West Pakistan and it was widely perceived that East Pakistan was being exploited economically, leading to many grievances. Administration of two discontinuous territories was also seen as a challenge.

On 25 March 1971, rising political discontent and cultural nationalism in East Pakistan was met by brutal suppressive force from the ruling elite of the West Pakistan establishment in what came to be termed Operation Searchlight.

The violent crackdown by West Pakistan forces led to Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declaring East Pakistan’s independence as the state of Bangladesh on 26 March 1971. Pakistani President Agha Mohammed Yahya ordered the Pakistani military to restore the Pakistani government’s authority, beginning the civil war. The war led to a sea of refugees (estimated at the time to be about 10 million) flooding into the eastern provinces of India. Facing a mounting humanitarian and economic crisis, India started actively aiding and organising the Bangladeshi resistance army known as the Mukti Bahini.

Language controversy
Main article: Bengali Language Movement
In 1948, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s first Governor-General, declared in Dhaka (then usually spelled Dacca in English) that “Urdu, and only Urdu” would be the common language for all of Pakistan. This proved highly controversial, since Urdu was a language that was only spoken in the West by Muhajirs and in the East by Biharis, although the Urdu language had been promoted as the lingua franca of Indian Muslims by political and religious leaders such as Sir Khwaja Salimullah, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk and Maulvi Abdul Haq. The language was considered a vital element of the Islamic culture for Indian Muslims; Hindi and the Devanagari script were seen as fundamentals of Hindu culture. The majority groups in West Pakistan spoke Punjabi, while the Bengali language was spoken by the vast majority of East Pakistanis. The language controversy eventually reached a point where East Pakistan revolted while the other part of Pakistan remained calm even though Punjabi was spoken by the majority groups of West Pakistan. Several students and civilians lost their lives in a police crackdown on 21 February 1952. The day is revered in Bangladesh and in West Bengal as the Language Martyrs’ Day. Later, in memory of the 1952 killings, UNESCO declared 21 February as the International Mother Language Day in 1999.
In West Pakistan, the movement was seen as a sectional uprising against Pakistani national interests and the founding ideology of Pakistan, the Two-Nation Theory. West Pakistani politicians considered Urdu a product of Indian Islamic culture, as Ayub Khan said, as late as 1967, “East Bengalis… still are under considerable Hindu culture and influence.”But, the deaths led to bitter feelings among East Pakistanis, and they were a major factor in the push for independence.

Although East Pakistan had a larger population, West Pakistan dominated the divided country politically and received more money from the common budget.
Year Spending on West Pakistan (in millions of Pakistani rupees)
Spending on East Pakistan (in millions of Pakistani rupees) Amount spent on East as percentage of West
1950–55 11,290 5,240 46.4
1955–60 16,550 5,240 31.7
1960–65 33,550 14,040 41.8
1965–70 51,950 21,410 41.2
Total 113,340 45,930 40.5
Source: Reports of the Advisory Panels for the Fourth Five Year Plan 1970–75, Vol. I, published by the planning commission of Pakistan.
Bengalis were underrepresented in the Pakistan military. Officers of Bengali origin in the different wings of the armed forces made up just 5% of overall force by 1965; of these, only a few were in command positions, with the majority in technical or administrative posts.West Pakistanis believed that Bengalis were not “martially inclined” unlike Pashtuns and Punjabis; the “martial races” notion was dismissed as ridiculous and humiliating by Bengalis.Moreover, despite huge defence spending, East Pakistan received none of the benefits, such as contracts, purchasing and military support jobs. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 over Kashmir also highlighted the sense of military insecurity among Bengalis as only an under-strength infantry division and 15 combat aircraft without tank support were in East Pakistan to thwart any Indian retaliations during the conflict.

Although East Pakistan accounted for a slight majority of the country’s population, political power remained firmly in the hands of West Pakistanis. Since a straightforward system of representation based on population would have concentrated political power in East Pakistan, the West Pakistani establishment came up with the “One Unit” scheme, where all of West Pakistan was considered one province. This was solely to counterbalance the East wing’s votes.

After the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s first prime minister, in 1951, political power began to be devolved to the President of Pakistan, and eventually, the military. The nominal elected chief executive, the Prime Minister, was frequently sacked by the establishment, acting through the President.

East Pakistanis noticed that whenever one of them, such as Khawaja Nazimuddin, Muhammad Ali Bogra, or Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, he were swiftly deposed by the largely West Pakistani establishment. The military dictatorships of Ayub Khan (27 October 1958 – 25 March 1969) and Yahya Khan (25 March 1969 – 20 December 1971), both West Pakistanis, only heightened such feelings.
The situation reached a climax when in 1970 the Awami League, the largest East Pakistani political party, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a landslide victory in the national elections. The party won 167 of the 169 seats allotted to East Pakistan, and thus a majority of the 313 seats in the National Assembly. This gave the Awami League the constitutional right to form a government. However, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a Sindhi and former professor), the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, refused to allow Rahman to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Instead, he proposed the idea of having two Prime Ministers, one for each wing. The proposal elicited outrage in the east wing, already chafing under the other constitutional innovation, the “one unit scheme”. Bhutto also refused to accept Rahman’s Six Points. On 3 March 1971, the two leaders of the two wings along with the President General Yahya Khan met in Dhaka to decide the fate of the country. Talks failed and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called for a nationwide strike. Bhutto feared a civil war, therefore, he sent his most trusted companion, dr. Mubashir Hassan.A message was convened and Mujib decided to meet Bhutto. Upon his arrival, Mujib met with Bhutto and both agreed to form a coalition government with Mujib as Premier and Bhutto as President. However, these developments were unaware to military, and Bhutto increased his pressure on Mujib to reached a decision.

On 7 March 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (soon to be the prime minister) delivered a speech at the Racecourse Ground (now called the Suhrawardy Udyan). In this speech he mentioned a further four-point condition to consider the National Assembly Meeting on 25 March:
The immediate lifting of martial law.

Immediate withdrawal of all military personnel to their barracks.
An inquiry into the loss of life.

Immediate transfer of power to the elected representative of the people before the assembly meeting 25 March.

He urged “his people” to turn every house into a fort of resistance. He closed his speech saying, “Our struggle is for our freedom. Our struggle is for our independence.” This speech is considered the main event that inspired the nation to fight for its independence. General Tikka Khan was flown in to Dhaka to become Governor of East Bengal. East-Pakistani judges, including Justice Siddique, refused to swear him in.
Between 10 and 13 March, Pakistan International Airlines cancelled all their international routes to urgently fly “Government Passengers” to Dhaka. These “Government Passengers” were almost all Pakistani soldiers in civilian dress. MV Swat, a ship of the Pakistan Navy, carrying ammunition and soldiers, was harboured in Chittagong Port and the Bengali workers and sailors at the port refused to unload the ship. A unit of East Pakistan Rifles refused to obey commands to fire on Bengali demonstrators, beginning a mutiny of Bengali soldiers.

Response to the 1970 cyclone
The 1970 Bhola cyclone made landfall on the East Pakistan coastline during the evening of 12 November, around the same time as a local high tide,killing an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 people. Though the exact death toll is not known, it is considered the deadliest tropical cyclone on record. A week after the landfall, President Khan conceded that his government had made “slips” and “mistakes” in its handling of the relief efforts due to a lack of understanding of the magnitude of the disaster.
A statement released by eleven political leaders in East Pakistan ten days after the cyclone hit charged the government with “gross neglect, callous and utter indifference”. They also accused the president of playing down the magnitude of the problem in news coverage. On 19 November, students held a march in Dhaka protesting the slowness of the government response. Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani addressed a rally of 50,000 people on 24 November, where he accused the president of inefficiency and demanded his resignation.
As the conflict between East and West Pakistan developed in March, the Dhaka offices of the two government organisations directly involved in relief efforts were closed for at least two weeks, first by a general strike and then by a ban on government work in East Pakistan by the Awami League. With this increase in tension, foreign personnel were evacuated over fears of violence. Relief work continued in the field, but long-term planning was curtailed. This conflict widened into the Bangladesh Liberation War in December and concluded with the creation of Bangladesh. This is one of the first times that a natural event helped to trigger a civil war.
Operation Searchlight
Main article: Operation Searchlight
A planned military pacification carried out by the Pakistan Army – codenamed Operation Searchlight – started on 25 March to curb the Bengali nationalist movement by taking control of the major cities on 26 March, and then eliminating all opposition, political or military,within one month. Before the beginning of the operation, all foreign journalists were systematically deported from East Pakistan.
The main phase of Operation Searchlight ended with the fall of the last major town in Bengali hands in mid-May. The operation also began the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities. These systematic killings served only to enrage the Bengalis, which ultimately resulted in the secession of East Pakistan later in the same year. The international media and reference books in English have published casualty figures which vary greatly, from 5,000–35,000 in Dhaka, and 200,000–3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole, and the atrocities have been referred to as acts of genocide.
According to the Asia Times,
At a meeting of the military top brass, Yahya Khan declared: “Kill 3 million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands.” Accordingly, on the night of 25 March, the Pakistani Army launched Operation Searchlight to “crush” Bengali resistance in which Bengali members of military services were disarmed and killed, students and the intelligentsia systematically liquidated and able-bodied Bengali males just picked up and gunned down.
Although the violence focused on the provincial capital, Dhaka, it also affected all parts of East Pakistan. Residential halls of the University of Dhaka were particularly targeted. The only Hindu residential hall – the Jagannath Hall – was destroyed by the Pakistani armed forces, and an estimated 600 to 700 of its residents were murdered. The Pakistani army denies any cold blooded killings at the university, though the Hamood-ur-Rehman commission in Pakistan concluded that overwhelming force was used at the university. This fact and the massacre at Jagannath Hall and nearby student dormitories of Dhaka University are corroborated by a videotape secretly filmed by Prof. Nurul Ullah of the East Pakistan Engineering University, whose residence was directly opposite the student dormitories.
The scale of the atrocities was first made clear in the West when Anthony Mascarenhas, a Pakistani journalist who had been sent to the province by the military authorities to write a story favourable to Pakistan’s actions, instead fled to the United Kingdom and, on 13 June 1971, published an article in the Sunday Times describing the systematic killings by the military. The BBC writes: “There is little doubt that Mascarenhas’ reportage played its part in ending the war. It helped turn world opinion against Pakistan and encouraged India to play a decisive role”, with Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi herself stating that Mascarenhas’ article has led her “to prepare the ground for India’s armed intervention”.

Hindu areas suffered particularly heavy blows. By midnight, Dhaka was burning,[citation needed] especially the Hindu dominated eastern part of the city. Time magazine reported on 2 August 1971, “The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Pakistani military hatred.”
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was arrested by the Pakistani Army. Yahya Khan appointed Brigadier (later General) Rahimuddin Khan to preside over a special tribunal prosecuting Mujib with multiple charges. The tribunal’s sentence was never made public, but Yahya caused the verdict to be held in abeyance in any case.[citation needed] Other Awami League leaders were arrested as well, while a few fled Dhaka to avoid arrest. The Awami League was banned by General Yahya Khan.
Declaration of independence
See also: Bangladeshi Declaration of Independence and This time the struggle is for our freedom
The violence unleashed by the Pakistani forces on 25 March 1971, proved the last straw to the efforts to negotiate a settlement. Following these outrages, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman signed an official declaration that read:
Today Bangladesh is a sovereign and independent country. On Thursday night, West Pakistani armed forces suddenly attacked the police barracks at Razarbagh and the EPR headquarters at Pilkhana in Dhaka. Many innocent and unarmed have been killed in Dhaka city and other places of Bangladesh. Violent clashes between E.P.R. and Police on the one hand and the armed forces of Pakistan on the other, are going on. The Bengalis are fighting the enemy with great courage for an independent Bangladesh. May Allah aid us in our fight for freedom. Joy Bangla.

Sheikh Mujib also called upon the people to resist the occupation forces through a radio message. Mujib was arrested on the night of 25–26 March 1971 at about 1:30 am (as per Radio Pakistan’s news on 29 March 1971).
A telegram containing the text of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s declaration reached some students in Chittagong. The message was translated to Bengali by Dr. Manjula Anwar. The students failed to secure permission from higher authorities to broadcast the message from the nearby Agrabad Station of Radio Pakistan. They crossed Kalurghat Bridge into an area controlled by an East Bengal Regiment under Major Ziaur Rahman. Bengali soldiers guarded the station as engineers prepared for transmission. At 19:45 hrs on 27 March 1971, Major Ziaur Rahman broadcast the announcement of the declaration of independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur. On 28 March Major Ziaur Rahman made another announcement, which was as follows:

This is Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro. I, Major Ziaur Rahman, at the direction of Bangobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, hereby declare that the independent People’s Republic of Bangladesh has been established. At his direction, I have taken command as the temporary Head of the Republic. In the name of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, I call upon all Bengalis to rise against the attack by the West Pakistani Army. We shall fight to the last to free our Motherland. By the grace of Allah, victory is ours. Joy Bangla.
The Kalurghat Radio Station’s transmission capability was limited. The message was picked up by a Japanese ship in Bay of Bengal. It was then re-transmitted by Radio Australia and later by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

M A Hannan, an Awami League leader from Chittagong, is said to have made the first announcement of the declaration of independence over the radio on 26 March 1971. There is controversy now as to when Major Zia gave his speech. BNP sources maintain that it was 26 March, and there was no message regarding declaration of independence from Mujibur Rahman. Pakistani sources, like Siddiq Salik in Witness to Surrender had written that he heard about Mujibor Rahman’s message on the Radio while Operation Searchlight was going on, and Maj. Gen. Hakeem A. Qureshi in his book The 1971 Indo-Pak War: A Soldier’s Narrative, gives the date of Zia’s speech as 27 March 1971.

26 March 1971 is considered the official Independence Day of Bangladesh, and the name Bangladesh was in effect henceforth. In July 1971, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi openly referred to the former East Pakistan as Bangladesh. Some Pakistani and Indian officials continued to use the name “East Pakistan” until 16 December 1971.
Liberation war

Main article: Bangladesh War timeline
March to June
Leaflets and pamphlets played an important role in driving public opinion during the war.
See also: Mukti Bahini
At first resistance was spontaneous and disorganised, and was not expected to be prolonged. But when the Pakistani Army cracked down upon the population, resistance grew. The Mukti Bahini became increasingly active. The Pakistani military sought to quell them, but increasing numbers of Bengali soldiers defected to the underground “Bangladesh army”. These Bengali units slowly merged into the Mukti Bahini and bolstered their weaponry with supplies from India. Pakistan responded by airlifting in two infantry divisions and reorganising their forces. They also raised paramilitary forces of Razakars, Al-Badrs and Al-Shams (who were mostly members of the Muslim League, the then government party and other Islamist groups), as well as other Bengalis who opposed independence, and Bihari Muslims who had settled during the time of partition.

On 17 April 1971, a provisional government was formed in Meherpur district in western Bangladesh bordering India with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was in prison in Pakistan, as President, Syed Nazrul Islam as Acting President, Tajuddin Ahmed as Prime Minister, and General Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmani as Commander-in-Chief, Bangladesh Forces. As fighting grew between the occupation army and the Bengali Mukti Bahini an estimated 10 million Bengalis, sought refuge in the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal.
June – September

The eleven sectors
See also: List of sectors in Bangladesh Liberation War and Bangladesh 1971: Opposing Plans
Bangladesh forces command was set up on 11 July, with Col. M. A. G. Osmani as commander-in-chief (C-in-C) with the status of Cabinet Minister, Lt. Col. Abdur Rabb as chief of Staff (COS), Group Captain A K Khandker as Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) and Major A R Chowdhury as Assistant Chief of Staff (ACOS).
General Osmani had differences of opinion with the Indian leadership regarding the role of the Mukti Bahini in the conflict. Indian leadership initially envisioned Bengali forces to be trained into a small elite guerrilla force of 8,000 members led by the surviving East Bengal Regiment soldiers operating in small cells around Bangladesh to facilitate the eventual Indian intervention, but the Bangladesh Government in exile and General Osmani favored the following strategy:

Bengali conventional force would occupy lodgment areas inside Bangladesh and then Bangladesh government would request international diplomatic recognition and intervention. Initially Mymensingh was picked for this operation, but Gen. Osmani later settled on Sylhet.
Sending the maximum number to guerrillas inside Bangladesh as soon as possible with the following objectives:

Increasing Pakistani casualties through raids and ambush
Cripple economic activity by hitting power stations, railway lines, storage depots and communication networks.
Destroy Pakistan army mobility by blowing up bridges/culverts, fuel depots, trains and river crafts.
The strategic objective is to make the Pakistanis to spread their forces inside the province, so attacks can be made on isolated Pakistani detachments.

Bangladesh was divided into Eleven sectors in July each with a commander chosen from defected officers of the Pakistani army who joined the Mukti Bahini to conduct guerrilla operations and train fighters. Most of their training camps were situated near the border area and were operated with assistance from India. The 10th Sector was directly placed under the Commander in Chief (C-in-C) General M. A. G. Osmani and included the Naval Commandos and C-in-C’s special force.Three brigades (11 Battalions) were raised for conventional warfare; a large guerrilla force (estimated at 100,000) was trained.

Three brigades (8 infantry battalions and 3 artillery batteries) were put into action between July – September. During June –July, Mukti Bahini had regrouped across the border with Indian aid through Operation Jackpot and began sending 2000 – 5000 guerrillas across the border, the so called Moonsoon Offensive, which for various reasons (lack of proper training, supply shortage, lack of a proper support network inside Bangladesh etc.) failed to achieve its objectives. Bengali regular forces also attacked BOPs in Mymensingh, Comilla and Sylhet, but the results were mixed. Pakistani authorities concluded that they had successfully contained the Monsoon Offensive, and they were not far from the truth.
Guerrilla operations, which slackened during the training phase, picked up after August. Economic and military targets in Dhaka were attacked. The major success story was Operation Jackpot, in which naval commandos mined and blew up berthed ships in Chittagong on 16 August 1971. Pakistani reprisals claimed lives of thousands of civilians.[citation needed] The Indian army took over supplying the Mukti Bahini from the BSF. They organised six sectors for supplying the Bangladesh forces.

October – December
See also: Mitro Bahini Order of Battle December 1971, Pakistan Army Order of Battle December 1971, Evolution of Pakistan Eastern Command plan, and Operation Jackpot

Bangladesh conventional forces attacked border outposts. Kamalpur, Belonia and Battle of Boyra are a few examples. 90 out of 370 BOPs fell to Bengali forces. Guerrilla attacks intensified, as did Pakistani and Razakar reprisals on civilian populations. Pakistani forces were reinforced by eight battalions from West Pakistan. The Bangladeshi independence fighters even managed to temporarily capture airstrips at Lalmonirhat and Shalutikar. Both of these were used for flying in supplies and arms from India. Pakistan sent another 5 battalions from West Pakistan as reinforcements.
Indian involvement

Illustration showing military units and troop movements during the war.
See also: Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Major battles
Battle of Boyra
Battle of Garibpur
Battle of Dhalai
Battle of Hilli
Battle of Kushtia

Wary of the growing involvement of India, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) launched a pre-emptive strike on Indian Air Force bases on 3 December 1971. The attack was modelled on the Israeli Air Force’s Operation Focus during the Six-Day War, and intended to neutralize the Indian Air Force planes on the ground. However, the plan failed to achieve the desired success since India had anticipated such an action. The strike was however seen by India as an open act of unprovoked aggression. This marked the official start of the Indo-Pakistani War.

As a response to the attack, both India and Pakistan formally acknowledged the existence of a state of war between the two countries, even though neither government had formally issued a Declaration of War.

Three Indian corps were involved in the invasion of East Pakistan. They were supported by nearly three brigades of Mukti Bahini fighting alongside them, and many more fighting irregularly. This was far superior to the Pakistani army of three divisions. The Indians quickly overran the country, selectively engaging or bypassing heavily defended strongholds. Pakistani forces were unable to effectively counter the Indian attack, as they had been deployed in small units around the border to counter guerrilla attacks by the Mukti Bahini. Unable to defend Dhaka, the Pakistanis surrendered on 16 December 1971.

The speed of the Indian strategy can be gauged by the fact that one of the regiments of Indian army (7 Punjab now 8 Mechanised Inf Regiment) fought the liberation war along the Jessore and Khulna axis. They were newly converted to a mechanised regiment and it took them just 1 week to reach Khulna after capturing Jessore. Their losses were limited to just 2 newly acquired APCs (SKOT) from the Russians.

India’s external intelligence agency, the RAW, played a crucial role in providing logistic support to the Mukti Bahini during the initial stages of the war. RAW’s operations, in then East Pakistan, was the largest covert operation in the history of South Asia.

Pakistani response
Pakistan launched a number of armoured thrusts along India’s western front in attempts to force Indian troops away from East Pakistan. Pakistan tried to fight back and boost the sagging morale by incorporating the Special Services Group commandos in sabotage and rescue missions.[citation needed]

The air and naval war
The Indian Air Force carried out several sorties against Pakistan, and within a week, IAF aircraft dominated the skies of East Pakistan. It achieved near-total air supremacy by the end of the first week as the entire Pakistani air contingent in the east, PAF No.14 Squadron, was grounded because of Indian airstrikes at Tejgaon, Kurmitolla, Lal Munir Hat and Shamsher Nagar. Sea Hawks from INS Vikrant also struck Chittagong, Barisal and Cox’s Bazar, destroying the eastern wing of the Pakistan Navy and effectively blockading the East Pakistan ports, thereby cutting off any escape routes for the stranded Pakistani soldiers. The nascent Bangladesh Navy (comprising officers and sailors who defected from the Pakistani Navy) aided the Indians in the marine warfare, carrying out attacks, most notably Operation Jackpot.
Surrender and aftermath

Indian Lt. Gen J.S. Aurora and Pakistani Lt. Gen A.A.K. Niazi’s signatures on the Instrument of Surrender.

Pakistani Army Commander in the Eastern Command, Lt. General A. A. K. Niazi, signing the Instrument of Surrender in front of General of Officer Commanding in Chief of India and Bangladesh Forces in the Eastern Theatre, Lt. General Jagjit Singh Aurora. 16th December, 1971
On 16 December 1971, Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi, CO of Pakistan Army forces located in East Pakistan signed the Instrument of Surrender. At the time of surrender only a few countries had provided diplomatic recognition to the new nation. Over 90,000 Pakistani troops surrendered to the Indian forces making it the largest surrender since World War II.Bangladesh sought admission in the UN with most voting in its favour, but China vetoed this as Pakistan was its key ally.The United States, also a key ally of Pakistan, was one of the last nations to accord Bangladesh recognition.To ensure a smooth transition, in 1972 the Simla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan. The treaty ensured that Pakistan recognised the independence of Bangladesh in exchange for the return of the Pakistani PoWs. India treated all the PoWs in strict accordance with the Geneva Convention, rule 1925. It released more than 93,000 Pakistani PoWs in five months.

Further, as a gesture of goodwill, nearly 200 soldiers who were sought for war crimes by Bengalis were also pardoned by India. The accord also gave back more than 13,000 km2 (5,019 sq mi) of land that Indian troops had seized in West Pakistan during the war, though India retained a few strategic areas; most notably Kargil (which would in turn again be the focal point for a war between the two nations in 1999). This was done as a measure of promoting “lasting peace” and was acknowledged by many observers as a sign of maturity by India. But some in India felt that the treaty had been too lenient to Bhutto, who had pleaded for leniency, arguing that the fragile democracy in Pakistan would crumble if the accord was perceived as being overly harsh by Pakistanis.

Reaction in West Pakistan to the war
Reaction to the defeat and dismemberment of half the nation was a shocking loss to top military and civilians alike. No one had expected that they would lose the formal war in under a fortnight and there was also anger at what was perceived as a meek surrender of the army in East Pakistan. Yahya Khan’s dictatorship collapsed and gave way to Bhutto who took the opportunity to rise to power. General Niazi, who surrendered along with 93,000 troops, was viewed with suspicion and hatred upon his return to Pakistan. He was shunned and branded a traitor. The war also exposed the shortcomings of Pakistan’s declared strategic doctrine that the “defence of East Pakistan lay in West Pakistan”. Pakistan also failed to gather international support, and found itself fighting a lone battle with only the USA providing any external help. This further embittered the Pakistanis who had faced the worst military defeat of an army in decades.

The debacle immediately prompted an enquiry headed by Justice Hamoodur Rahman. Called the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, it was initially suppressed by Bhutto as it put the military in a poor light. When it was declassified, it showed many failings from the strategic to the tactical levels. It also condemned the atrocities and the war crimes committed by the armed forces. It confirmed the looting, rapes and the killings by the Pakistan Army and their local agents although the figures are far lower than the ones quoted by Bangladesh. According to Bangladeshi sources, 200,000 women were raped and over 3 million people were killed, while the Rahman Commission report in Pakistan claimed 26,000 died and the rapes were in the hundreds. However, the army’s role in splintering Pakistan after its greatest military debacle was largely ignored by successive Pakistani governments.[citation needed]

Rayerbazar killing field photographed immediately after the war, showing dead bodies of intellectuals (Image courtesy: Rashid Talukdar, 1971)
Main article: 1971 Bangladesh atrocities
During the war there were widespread killings and other atrocities – including the displacement of civilians in Bangladesh (East Pakistan at the time) and widespread violations of human rights – carried out by the Pakistan Army with support from political and religious militias, beginning with the start of Operation Searchlight on 25 March 1971. Bangladeshi authorities claim that three million people were killed, while the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, an official Pakistan Government investigation, put the figure at 26,000 civilian casualties. The international media and reference books in English by authors and genocide scholars such as Samuel Totten have also published figures of up to 3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole. A further eight to ten million people fled the country to seek safety in India.

A large section of the intellectual community of Bangladesh were murdered, mostly by the Al-Shams and Al-Badr forces, at the instruction of the Pakistani Army. Just 2 days before the surrender, on 14 December 1971, Pakistan Army and Razakar militia (local collaborators) picked up at least 100 physicians, professors, writers and engineers in Dhaka, and murdered them, leaving the dead bodies in a mass grave. There are many mass graves in Bangladesh, and as years pass, more are being discovered (such as one in an old well near a mosque in Dhaka, located in the non-Bengali region of the city, which was discovered in August 1999). The first night of war on Bengalis, which is documented in telegrams from the American Consulate in Dhaka to the United States State Department, saw indiscriminate killings of students of Dhaka University and other civilians. Numerous women were tortured, raped and killed during the war; the exact numbers are not known and are a subject of debate. Bangladeshi sources cite a figure of 200,000 women raped, giving birth to thousands of war babies. The Pakistan Army also kept numerous Bengali women as sex-slaves inside the Dhaka Cantonment. Most of the girls were captured from Dhaka University and private homes. There was significant sectarian violence not only perpetrated and encouraged by the Pakistani army, but also by Bengali nationalists against non-Bengali minorities, especially Biharis.

On 16 December 2002, the George Washington University’s National Security Archive published a collection of declassified documents, consisting mostly of communications between US embassy officials and United States Information Service centres in Dhaka and India, and officials in Washington DC. These documents show that US officials working in diplomatic institutions within Bangladesh used the terms selective genocide and genocide (see The Blood Telegram) to describe events they had knowledge of at the time. Genocide is the term that is still used to describe the event in almost every major publication and newspaper in Bangladesh, although elsewhere, particularly in Pakistan, the actual death toll, motives, extent, and destructive impact of the actions of the Pakistani forces are disputed.

Foreign reaction

United Nations
Though the United Nations condemned the human rights violations during and following Operation Searchlight, it failed to defuse the situation politically before the start of the war.
Following Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s declaration of independence in March 1971, India undertook a world-wide campaign to drum up political, democratic and humanitarian support for the people of Bangladesh for their liberation struggle. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi made a whirlwind tour of a large number of countries in a bid to create awareness of the Pakistani atrocities against Bengalis. This effort was to prove vital later during the war, in framing the world’s context of the war and to justify military action by India. Also, following Pakistan’s defeat, it ensured prompt recognition of the newly independent state of Bangladesh.
Following India’s entry into the war, Pakistan fearing certain defeat, made urgent appeals to the United Nations to intervene and force India to agree to a cease fire. The UN Security Council assembled on 4 December 1971 to discuss the hostilities in South Asia. After lengthy discussions on 7 December, the United States made a resolution for “immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of troops.” While supported by the majority, the USSR vetoed the resolution twice. In light of the Pakistani atrocities against Bengalis, the United Kingdom and France abstained on the resolution.
On 12 December, with Pakistan facing imminent defeat, the United States requested that the Security Council be reconvened. Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was rushed to New York City to make the case for a resolution on the cease fire. The council continued deliberations for four days. By the time proposals were finalised, Pakistan’s forces in the East had surrendered and the war had ended, making the measures merely academic. Bhutto, frustrated by the failure of the resolution and the inaction of the United Nations, ripped up his speech and left the council.
Most UN member nations were quick to recognize Bangladesh within months of its liberation.

USA and USSR The United States supported Pakistan both politically and materially. U.S. President Richard Nixon denied getting involved in the situation, saying that it was an internal matter of Pakistan. But when Pakistan’s defeat seemed certain, Nixon sent the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal,a move deemed by the Indians as a nuclear threat. Enterprise arrived on station on 11 December 1971. On 6 and 13 December, the Soviet Navy dispatched two groups of ships, armed with nuclear missiles, from Vladivostok; they trailed U.S. Task Force 74 in the Indian Ocean from 18 December until 7 January 1972.

The Nixon administration provided support to Pakistan President Yahya Khan during the turmoil.

Nixon and Henry Kissinger feared Soviet expansion into South and Southeast Asia. Pakistan was a close ally of the People’s Republic of China, with whom Nixon had been negotiating a rapprochement and which he intended to visit in February 1972. Nixon feared that an Indian invasion of West Pakistan would mean total Soviet domination of the region, and that it would seriously undermine the global position of the United States and the regional position of America’s new tacit ally, China. In order to demonstrate to China the bona fides of the United States as an ally, and in direct violation of the US Congress-imposed sanctions on Pakistan, Nixon sent military supplies to Pakistan and routed them through Jordan and Iran, while also encouraging China to increase its arms supplies to Pakistan.

The Nixon administration also ignored reports it received of the genocidal activities of the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan, most notably the Blood telegram.

The Soviet Union supported Bangladesh and Indian armies, as well as the Mukti Bahini during the war, recognising that the independence of Bangladesh would weaken the position of its rivals – the United States and China. It gave assurances to India that if a confrontation with the United States or China developed, the USSR would take countermeasures. This was enshrined in the Indo-Soviet friendship treaty signed in August 1971. The Soviets also sent a nuclear submarine to ward off the threat posed by USS Enterprise in the Indian Ocean.
At the end of the war, the Warsaw Pact countries were among the first to recognize Bangladesh. The Soviet Union accorded recognition to Bangladesh on 25 January 1972. The United States delayed recognition for some months, before according it on 8 April 1972.

As a long-standing ally of Pakistan, the People’s Republic of China reacted with alarm to the evolving situation in East Pakistan and the prospect of India invading West Pakistan and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. Believing that just such an Indian attack was imminent, Nixon encouraged China to mobilise its armed forces along its border with India to discourage it. The Chinese did not, however, respond to this encouragement, because unlike the 1962 Sino-Indian War when India was caught entirely unaware, this time the Indian Army was prepared and had deployed eight mountain divisions to the Sino-Indian border to guard against such an eventuality. China instead threw its weight behind demands for an immediate ceasefire.

When Bangladesh applied for membership to the United Nations in 1972, China vetoed their application because two United Nations resolutions regarding the repatriation of Pakistani prisoners of war and civilians had not yet been implemented. China was also among the last countries to recognize independent Bangladesh, refusing to do so until 31 August 1975.

Politics of Bangladesh takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Bangladesh is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The Constitution of Bangladesh was written in 1972 and has undergone fifteen amendments.
Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
Zillur Rahman
Bangladesh Awami League
12 February 2009
Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina
Bangladesh Awami League
6 January 2009
The President is the head of state, a largely ceremonial post. The real Executive branch power is held by the Prime Minister, who is the head of government. The president is elected by the legislature every five years and has normally limited powers that are substantially expanded during the tenure of a caretaker government, mainly in controlling the transition to a new government. Bangladesh has instituted a unique system of transfer of power; at the end of the tenure of the government, power is handed over to members of a civil society for three months, who run the general elections and transfer the power to elected representatives. This system was first practiced in 1991 and adopted to the constitution in 1996.
The prime minister is ceremonially appointed by the president, commanding the confidence of the majority of the MPs. The cabinet is composed of ministers selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president.

Legislative branch
The 300 members are elected by universal suffrage at least every 5 years. There is universal suffrage for all citizens at the age of 18.
“On 16 May 2004, the Jatiyo Sangshad (the National Parliament) passed the 14th constitutional amendment to reintroduce quotas for women (article 65). The number of seats in parliament is to be raised to 345, 45 (15%) of which will be reserved for women in the next parliament. The seats will be allocated to parties in proportion to their overall share of the vote. This quota system replaces the previous quota law which expired in 2001. Until 2001 a system of reserved seats for women was used, where 30 seats out of 330 were reserved to women (chosen by indirect election by the 300 directly elected MPs). This provision of guaranteeing women reserved seats expired in April 2001. This quota system was first introduced by the 1972 Constitution (originally providing for 15 reserved seats for women, out of 315 seats, for a period of 10 years). In 1978 a presidential proclamation enlarged the number of reserved seats to 30 and extended the period of reservation to 15 years from the date of promulgation of the constitution of the Republic in December 1972. The constitutional provision lapsed in 1987 and was re-incorporated in the constitution by an amendment in 1990 to be effective for 10 years from the first meeting of the legislature next elected. This provision also lapsed in 2001. The Parliament elected in October 2001 does not have reserved seats for women. Women’s groups are lobbying for these seats to become directly electe]d positions and for the number of reserved seats to be increased.” The 9th Parliament had its first sitting on January 25, 2009.

Political parties and elections
For other political parties see List of political parties in Bangladesh. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Bangladesh.
See also: Bangladesh Election Commission
The threemajor parties in Bangladesh are the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Awami League and Jatiya Party. BNP finds its allies among some secularIslamist parties like Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh while the Awami League aligns itself traditionally with leftist and secularist parties. Another important player is the Jatiya Party, headed by former military ruler Hossain Mohammad Ershad. The Awami League-BNP rivalry has been bitter and punctuated by protests, violence and murder. Student politics is particularly strong in Bangladesh, a legacy from the liberation movement era. Almost all parties have highly active student wings, and students have been elected to the Parliament.
Three radical Islamist parties, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) and Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Harkatul Jihad were banned in February 2005 on grounds of militancy and terrorism. Following the first series of bans, a series of bomb attacks took place in the country. The evidence of staging these attacks by these extremist groups have been found in the investigation, and hundreds of suspected members have been detained in numerous security operations, including the head the of those two parties in 2006. The first recorded case of a suicide bomb attack in Bangladesh took place in November 2005.[citation needed].
Extremist groups Shahadat-e-al-Hikma Bangladesh and Hizb-ut-Tahrir Bangladesh were banned on 22 October 2009 by the government, as the group was trying to destabilize the country by stoking the army after the 2009 BDR mutiny.
General Election, 1970

National Council Election, 1970
The election was held on 7 December 1970. The total number of voters were 2,94,79,386. The number of casting votes was 1,70,05,163 (57.68%), the valid casting votes was 1,64,54,278.
The summary of the National Council Election, 1970
Serial Political Party Total Candidates Seats Votes Percentage Symbol
1 Awami League
162 160 1,23,38,921 74.9% Boat
2 PDP 79 1 4,83,571 2.9%
3 Nijame Islami 49 0 0 0%
4 Jamaat-e-Islami
70 0 9,91,908 6%
5 Pakistan Muslim League (Convention) 93 0 4,64,185 2.8%
6 Pakistan Muslim League (Kou) 50 0 2,74,453 1.6%
7 Pakistan Muslim League (Kayum) 65 0 1,75,822 1%
8 National Awami Party (Wali) 39 0 3,10,986 1.8%
9 Independent (politician) 114 1 5,61,083 3.4%

Serial Political Party Total Candidates Seats Votes Percentage Symbol
1 Awami League
300 288 89% Boat
2 PDP 2 1%
3 Nijame Islami 1
4 Jamaat-e-Islami
1 3%
5 Pakistan Muslim League (Convention) 0 1%
6 Pakistan Muslim League (Kou) 0 0.05%
7 Pakistan Muslim League (Kayum) 0 0.05%
8 National Awami Party (Wali) 1 0.9%
9 Independent (politician) 7 5%
Provincial Council Election, 1970
The election was held on 17 December 1970. The percentage of casting votes was (57.69%), and the number of reserved women seat was 10.
The summary of the Provincial Council Election, 1970

First General Election, 1973
The election was held on 7 March 1973. Total number of voter=3,52,05,642; Cast votes=1,93,29,683 (54.9%); Valid casting votes=1,88,51,808 (53.54%); Reserved Women Seats=15.
e • d
Summary of the 07 March 1973 Bangladeshi Jatiyo Sangshad election
Serial Party Total Candidates Seats Votes % Symbol
1 Awami League
300 293 1,37,93,717 73.2% Boat
2 Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal
237 1 12,29,110 6.52% Torch
3 National Awami Party (Mozaffar) 224 0 15,69,299 8.33% Hut
4 National Awami Party (Bhasani) 169 0 10,02,771 3% Sheaf of Paddy
5 Communist Party of Bangladesh
4 0 47,211 0.25% Key
6 Communist Party of Bangladesh (L)
2 0 18,619 0.1% Bullock Cart
7 Bangladesh Jatiyo League 8 1 62,354 0.33% Plough
8 Banglar Communist Party 3 0 11,911 0.06% Axe

Second General Election, 1979
The election was held on 18 February,1979. Total number of voter=3,87,89,239; Cast votes=1,96,76,124 (50.94%); Valid casting votes=1,92,68,437 (49.67%); Reserved Women Seats=30.
e • d
Summary of the 18 February 1979 General Election election
Serial Party Total Candidates Seats Votes % Symbol
1 Bangladesh Nationalist Party
298 207 79,34,236 41.16% Sheaf of Paddy
2 Awami League(Malek)
295 39 47,34,277 24.55% Boat
3 Awami League(Mizan)
184 2 5,53,426 2.72% Ladder
4 Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal
240 8 9,31,851 4.84% Torch
5 Muslim Democratic League
266 20 19,41,394 10.08% Lantern (Hurricane)
6 National Awami Party (Mo)
89 1 4,32,514 2.25% Hut
7 National Awami Party (Naser) 28 0 25,336 0.14% Rose
8 National Awami Party (Nuru Jahid) 38 0 88,385 0.46% Lamp
9 Communist Party of Bangladesh
11 0 75,455 0.39% Key
10 United Peoples Party
70 0 1,70,955 0.89% Bullock Cart
11 Bangladesh Jatiyo League
14 2 69,319 0.36% Plough
12 Bangladesh Gono Front
46 2 1,15,622 0.60 Bicycle
13 Jatioybadi Gonotantrik Dal
29 0 27,259 0.14 Fish
14 Shromik Krishak Somajbadi Dal
2 0 4,954 0.02 Umbrella
15 Bangladesh Samyabadi Dal
20 1 74,771 0.39
16 Bangladesh Gonotantrik Andolon
16 0 7,738 0.04 Chair
17 Bangladesh Labour Party
18 1 34,259 0.17 Clock
18 Jatioy Janata Party
9 0 10,932 0.06 Mango
19 Bangladesh Jatioy Dal(Huda)
6 0 0 Date Tree
20 Bangladesh Gonotantrik Dal
5 0 3,564 0.01
21 Jatiyo Ekata Party
3 1 44,459 0.23 Inkpot
22 Peoples Democratic Party
3 0 5,703 0.02 Horse
23 Bangladesh Janat Mukti Party
3 0 3,363 0.01 Spade
24 Jatiotabadi Gonotantrik Chashi Dal
2 0 130 0.01 Elephant
25 United Republican Party
2 0 389 0.01 Pineaple
26 Bangladesh Gono Ajadi League
1 0 1,378 0.01 Aeroplane
27 Bangladesh Nejame Islami
1 0 1,575 0.01 Candle
28 Bangladesh Tati Samity
1 0 1,8340 0.01 Pitcher
29 National Republican Party
1 0 14,429 0.07 Cow
30 Independent
422 16 19,63,345 10.10%

Serial Party Total Candidates Seats Votes % Symbol
1 Jatiya Party
299 251 1,76,80,133 68.44% Plough
2 Bangladesh Awami League
256 76 74,62,157 26.15% Boat
3 Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh
76 10 13,14,057 4.60% Balance Scale
4 Communist Party of Bangladesh
9 5 2,59,728 0.91%
5 National Awami Party (Mozaffar)
10 2 3,68,979 1.29%
6 National Awami Party
5 3,68,979 1.29%
7 Bangladesh Krishok Shromik Awami League 6 3 1,91,107 0.67%
8 Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal (Rob)
4 7,25,303 2.54%
9 Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal (Siraj)
14 3 2,48,705 2.54%
10 Muslim League
4 4,12,765 1.45%
11 Bangladesh Workers Party
3 1,51,828 0.53%
11 Independent 453 32 46,19,025 16.19%
12 Others 4,90,389 1.73%
Third General Election, 1986
The election was held on 7 May 1986. Total number of voter=4,78,76,979; Cast votes=2,89,03,889 (60.31%); Valid casting votes=—–; Reserved Women Seats=30
e • d
Summary of the 07 May 1986 Bangladeshi Jatiyo Sangshad election

Fourth General Election, 1988
The election was held on 3 March 1988. Total number of voter=4,98,63,829; Cast votes=2,88,73,540 (54.93%); Valid casting votes=2,85,26,650; Reserved Women Seats=30.
e • d
Summary of the 03 March 1988 Bangladeshi Jatiyo Sangshad election
Serial Party Total Candidates Seats Votes % Symbol
1 Jatiya Party
299 251 1,76,80,133 68.44% Plough
2 Combined Opposition Party
269 19 32,63,340 12.63%
3 Jatioyo Samajtantrik Dal (Siraj) 25 3 3,09,666 1.20%
4 Freedom Party
112 2 8,50,284 0.94% Axe
5 Others 214 25 34,87,457 13.50%

Fifth General Election, 1991
The election was held on 13 January 1991. Total number of voter=6,20,81,793; Cast votes=3,44,77,803 (55.45%); Valid casting votes=3,41,03,777; Reserved Women Seats=30.
e • d
Summary of the 27 February 1991 Bangladeshi Jatiyo Sangshad election
Serial Party Total Candidates Seats Votes % Symbol
1 Bangladesh Nationalist Party
300 140 1,05,07,549 30.81% Sheaf of Paddy
2 Bangladesh Awami League
264 88 1,02,59,866 30.08% Boat
3 Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami
222 18 41,17,737 12.2% Balance Scale
4 Jatiyo Party
272 35 40,63,537 11.92% Plough
5 Jaker Party (JDP)
251 0 4,17,737 1.22% Rose

Sixth General Election, 1996
Main article: Bangladeshi general election, February 1996
Following boycotts by the main opposition party Bangladesh Awami League, BNP won the uncontested elections. However, amidst protests, they were made to cave into Awami League’s original demands, dissolve the parliament, and hold elections under a neutral caretaker government after the enactment of the 13th amendment.

Seventh General Election, 1996
Main article: Bangladeshi general election, June 1996
Bangladesh Awami League won the general elections for the first time since 1973 by forming a coalition government, since they fell 5 seats short of a majority.

Eighth General Election, 2001
Main article: Bangladeshi general election, 2001
BNP won two-third majority in the parliament and won the elections.

Ninth General Election, 2008
Main article: Bangladeshi general election, 2008
Bangladesh Awami League won two-third majority in the parliament and won the elections.

Judicial branch
The highest judiciary body is the Supreme Court. Until recently, Chief Justice and judges were recommended by the Prime Minister and formally appointed by the President. Since 1991 political parties during their tenure in government have initiated the separation of the judiciary.(from what?) The separation by presidential promulgation acts have signed and passed. Acts on the separation of Judiciary Administration, Remuneration, Pay and Leave, etc. have all been completed. The Supreme Court have now judiciary and administrative authority over all lower courts.[citation needed]


Provisional Government
Main article: Provisional Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s first government took oath of office in Meherpur, Kushtia on April 10, 1971, after Major Ziaur Rahman initiated the first revolt with his battalion against a brutal five division army crackdown on the local people of Bangladesh, and declared independence on March 26, 1971 in Chittagong. The provisional government of the new nation of Bangladesh was formed in Dhaka with President of the Republic, Justice Abu Sayeed Choudhury, and Tajuddin Ahmed as Prime Minister, and General M.A.G Osmani as Commander in Chief of Bangladesh Forces. As this government was formed during the war of independence from Pakistan, its significance holds a distinction. Its temporary headquarters were soon set up at 8 Theatre Road in Calcutta, India, with a cabinet. The Bangladesh Forces was set up and organised under 11 Sectors to conduct all operations pretaining towards independence from Pakistan under the leadership of the Sector and Brigade commanders.

1972-1975: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
On January 10, 1972, Mujib was brought from India and was placed at the helm of government, still according to the election victory under the unified Pakistan government. In 1973 after the first Bangladesh elections, he continued his term in office with immense backing from India, and public popularity, but had great difficulty transforming this popular support into the political strength needed to function as head of government. The new constitution, which came into force in December 1972, created a strong executive prime minister, a largely ceremonial presidency, an independent judiciary, and a unicameral legislature on a modified Westminster model. The 1972 constitution adopted as state policy the Awami League’s (AL) four basic principles of nationalism, secularism, socialism, and democracy.

The first parliamentary elections held under the 1972 constitution were in March 1973, with the Awami League winning a massive majority. No other political party in Bangladesh’s early years was able to duplicate or challenge the League’s broad-based appeal, membership, or organizational strength. Mujib and his cabinet having no experience in governance nor administration, relied heavily on experienced civil servants and political factions of the Awami League, the new Bangladesh Government focused on relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of the economy and society. Mujib nationalised the entire economy, banking and industrial sector. Economic conditions took a serious downturn. On top of that heavy corruption among his own party members, factions and senior leadership also added to the devastation and famine. The then U.S. Secretary of State termed Bangladesh a Bottomless Basket. In December 1974, Mujib decided that continuing economic deterioration and mounting civil disorder required strong measures. After proclaiming a state of emergency, Mujib used his parliamentary majority to win a constitutional amendment limiting the powers of the legislative and judicial branches, establishing an executive presidency, and instituting a one-party system, the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL), which all members of Parliament were obliged to join.

Despite promises, no sign of improvement in the economic situation surfaced. Implementation of promised political reforms was almost nil, and criticism of government policies became increasingly centered on Mujib. Serious disorientation in the armed services, disenchantment in society, detoriaration of law and order created a huge mistrust of Mujib and his government including the Awami League itself. The then chief of army staff K M Shafiullah and chief of air staff A.K. Khandker stood stunned and idle during this situation. In August 1975, Mujib, and most of his family, were assassinated by a small group of mid-level army officers. Mujib’s daughters, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, happened to be out of the country. A new government, headed by former Mujib associate Khandakar Moshtaque, was formed.

1975 August-1975 November
Mujib’s senior cabinet minister Khondakar Mushtaq Ahmad formed a new government and immediately initiated a few critical changes in Mujib’s policies and rules of business in government. However, within three months the first military coup took place in Bangladesh by senior members of the army, removing Mushtaq and replacing his administration. Armed forces personnel along with internal political and government forces fell into a chaotic dispute, resulting in a vacuum at the highest level of government.

1975-1981: Ziaur Rahman
Following Mushtaq’s removal, jail killings of arrested members Mushtaq’s cabinet, and assassination of Brigadier General Khaled Musharaf by a segment of army personnel, a very short lived revolution resulted in the emergence of arrested deputy Army Chief of Staff Major General Ziaur Rahman (“Zia”), who managed to take the lead and bring the whole nation out of a political quagmire. His first action was to communicate to the people through radio and television and bring order and calm to the nation. He pledged full support to the civilian government headed by President Chief Justice Sayem. Acting at Zia’s behest, Sayem dissolved Parliament, and instituted state of emergency under martial law. Fresh elections were to be in 1977 under a multi party democracy with full freedom of the press.

Acting behind the scenes of the Martial Law Administration (MLA), Zia sought to invigorate government policy and administration. Lifting the ban on political parties from Mujib’s one party BAKSAL rule, he sought to revitalize the demoralized bureaucracy, to begin new economic development programs, infrastructure buildup, a free press and to emphasize family planning. In November 1976, Zia became Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA) and assumed the presidency upon Sayem’s retirement 5 months later, held national elections in 1978.

As President, Zia announced a 19-point program of economic reform and began dismantling the MLA. Keeping his promise to hold elections, Zia won a 5-year term in June 1978 elections, with 76% of the vote. In November 1978, his government removed the remaining restrictions on political party activities in time for parliamentary elections in February 1979. These elections, which were contested by more than 30 parties, marked the culmination of Zia’s transformation of Bangladesh’s Government from the MLA to a democratically elected, constitutional one. The AL and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), founded by Zia, emerged as the two major parties. The constitution was again amended to provide for an executive prime minister appointed by the president, and responsible to a parliamentary majority. Zia invigiorated a strong foreign policy based on sovereignty and economic independence. He initiated many social programs to uplift the poor through honest hard work and education. His greatest legacy on the people of Bangladesh was unity and self dependence.

In May 1981, Zia was assassinated in Chittagong by dissident elements of the military. There was no coup or uprising attempted, and the major conspirators were never taken into custody or killed. In accordance with the constitution, Vice President Justice Abdus Sattar was sworn in as acting president. He immeditaely set out to continue Zia’s policies and called for fresh elections. Due to President Zia’s tremendous popularity Satter won as the BNP’s candidate. President Sattar sought to follow the policies of his predecessor and retained essentially the same cabinet.

1982-1990: Hussain Mohammed Ershad

Hussein Muhammad Ershad
Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Hussain Mohammed Ershad assumed power in the second, but, bloodless coup in March 24, 1982. To strenghthen his hold on government Ershad suspended the constitution and—citing pervasive corruption, ineffectual government, and economic mismanagement—declared martial law. The following year, Ershad assumed the presidency, retaining his positions as army chief and CMLA, first time in Bangladesh. During most of 1984, Ershad sought the opposition parties’ participation in local elections under martial law. The opposition’s refusal to participate, however, forced Ershad to abandon these plans. Ershad sought public support for his regime in a national referendum on his leadership in March 1985. He won overwhelmingly, although turnout was small. Two months later, Ershad held elections for local council chairmen. Pro-government candidates won a majority of the posts, setting in motion the President’s ambitious decentralization program. Political life was further liberalized in early 1986, and additional political rights, including the right to hold large public rallies, were restored. At the same time, the Jatiya (People’s) Party, designed as Ershad’s political vehicle for the transition from martial law, was established.
Despite a boycott by the BNP, led by President Zia’s widow, Begum Khaleda Zia, parliamentary elections were held on schedule in May 1986. The Jatiya Party won a modest majority of the 300 elected seats in the national assembly. The participation of the Awami League—led by the late Prime Minister Mujib’s daughter, Sheikh Hasina Wazed–lent the elections some credibility, despite widespread charges of voting irregularities.
Ershad resigned as Army Chief of Staff and retired from military service in preparation for the presidential elections, scheduled for October. Protesting that martial law was still in effect, both the BNP and the AL refused to put up opposing candidates. Ershad easily outdistanced the remaining candidates, taking 84% of the vote. Although Ershad’s government claimed a turnout of more than 50%, opposition leaders, and much of the foreign press, estimated a far lower percentage and alleged voting irregularities.
Ershad continued his stated commitment to lift martial law. In November 1986, his government mustered the necessary two-thirds majority in the national assembly to amend the constitution and confirm the previous actions of the martial law regime. The President then lifted martial law, and the opposition parties took their elected seats in the national assembly.
In July 1987, however, after the government hastily pushed through a controversial legislative bill to include military representation on local administrative councils, the opposition walked out of Parliament. Passage of the bill helped spark an opposition movement that quickly gathered momentum, uniting Bangladesh’s opposition parties for the first time. The government began to arrest scores of opposition activists under the country’s Special Powers Act of 1974. Despite these arrests, opposition parties continued to organize protest marches and nationwide strikes. After declaring a state of emergency, Ershad dissolved Parliament and scheduled fresh elections for March 1988.
All major opposition parties refused government overtures to participate in these polls, maintaining that the government was incapable of holding free and fair elections. Despite the opposition boycott, the government proceeded. The ruling Jatiya Party won 251 of the 300 seats. The Parliament, while still regarded by the opposition as an illegitimate body, held its sessions as scheduled, and passed a large number of bills, including, in June 1988, a controversial constitutional amendment making Islam Bangladesh’s state religion.
By 1989, the domestic political situation in the country seemed to have quieted. The local council elections were generally considered by international observers to have been less violent and more free and fair than previous elections. However, opposition to Ershad’s rule began to regain momentum, escalating by the end of 1990 in frequent general strikes, increased campus protests, public rallies, and a general disintegration of law and order.
On December 6, 1990, Ershad offered his resignation. On February 27, 1991, after 2 months of widespread civil unrest, an interim government oversaw what most observers believed to be the nation’s most free and fair elections to date.

Hasina-Khaleda rivalry

Begum Khaleda Zia

Sheikh Hasina Begum
1991-1996: Khaleda Zia
The center-right BNP won a plurality of seats and formed a coalition government with the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, with Khaleda Zia, widow of Ziaur Rahman, obtaining the post of Prime Minister. Only four parties had more than 10 members elected to the 1991 Parliament: The BNP, led by Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia; the AL, led by Sheikh Hasina; the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), led by Golam Azam; and the Jatiya Party (JP), led by acting chairman Mizanur Rahman Choudhury while its founder, former President Ershad, served out a prison sentence on corruption charges. The electorate approved still more changes to the constitution, formally re-creating a parliamentary system and returning governing power to the office of the prime minister, as in Bangladesh’s original 1972 constitution. In October 1991, members of Parliament elected a new head of state, President Abdur Rahman Biswas.
In March 1994, controversy over a parliamentary by-election, which the opposition claimed the government had rigged, led to an indefinite boycott of Parliament by the entire opposition. The opposition also began a program of repeated general strikes to press its demand that Khaleda Zia’s government resign and a caretaker government supervise a general election. Efforts to mediate the dispute, under the auspices of the Commonwealth Secretariat, failed. After another attempt at a negotiated settlement failed narrowly in late December 1994, the opposition resigned en masse from Parliament. The opposition then continued a campaign of Marches, demonstrations, and strikes in an effort to force the government to resign. The opposition, including the Awami League’s Sheikh Hasina, pledged to boycott national elections scheduled for February 15, 1996.
In February, Khaleda Zia was re-elected for the second term by a landslide in voting boycotted and denounced as unfair by the three main opposition parties. In March 1996, following escalating political turmoil, the sitting Parliament enacted a constitutional amendment to allow a neutral caretaker government to assume power conduct new parliamentary elections; former Chief Justice Mohammed Habibur Rahman was named Chief Advisor (a position equivalent to prime minister) in the interim government. New parliamentary elections were held in June 1996 and were won by the Awami League; party leader Sheikh Hasina became Prime Minister.

1996-2001: Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina formed what she called a “Government of National Consensus” in June 1996, which included one minister from the Jatiya Party and another from the Jatiyo Samajtantric Dal, a very small leftist party. The Jatiya Party never entered into a formal coalition arrangement, and party president H.M. Ershad withdrew his support from the government in September 1997. Only three parties had more than 10 members elected to the 1996 Parliament: The Awami League, BNP, and Jatiya Party. Jatiya Party president, Ershad, was released from prison on bail in January 1997.
Although international and domestic election observers found the June 1996 election free and fair, the BNP protested alleged vote rigging by the Awami League. Ultimately, however, the BNP party decided to join the new Parliament. The BNP soon charged that police and Awami League activists were engaged in large-scale harassment and jailing of opposition activists. At the end of 1996, the BNP staged a parliamentary walkout over this and other grievances but returned in January 1997 under a four-point agreement with the ruling party. The BNP asserted that this agreement was never implemented and later staged another walkout in August 1997. The BNP returned to Parliament under another agreement in March 1998.

In June 1999, the BNP and other opposition parties again began to abstain from attending Parliament. Opposition parties have staged an increasing number of nationwide general strikes, rising from 6 days of general strikes in 1997 to 27 days in 1999. A four-party opposition alliance formed at the beginning of 1999 announced that it would boycott parliamentary by-elections and local government elections unless the government took steps demanded by the opposition to ensure electoral fairness. The government did not take these steps, and the opposition has subsequently boycotted all elections, including municipal council elections in February 1999, several parliamentary by-elections, and the Chittagong city corporation elections in January 2000. The opposition demands that the Awami League government step down immediately to make way for a caretaker government to preside over paliamentary and local government.

2001-2006: Khaleda Zia
Khaleda led four-party aliiance wins two third of total parliamentary seats while BAL wins only 62 seats that represent the smallest opposition after 1991. Khaleda Zia won a second term in 2001. Her coalition included several Islamist parties, a fact which was criticized by those who feared post-9/11 Islamic radicalism and de-secularization in Bangladesh. Islamist violence targeting courts and imposing social strictures became a serious problem as Zia’s term wore on. It came to a head in 2005 with the first suicide bombing and a coordinated bombing. This problem abated as two parties were outlawed and the leaders of the movement were rounded up.

2006-2008: caretaker government
An election was scheduled for the end of 2006, however it did not take place. The caretaker government was accused of BNP bias by Hasina and her coalition, who fomented nationwide protests and shutdowns. In January 2007, the head of the caretaker government stepped down, many believe under pressure from the military.

Fakhruddin Ahmed, former World Bank economist, was selected to replace him and has committed himself to rooting out corruption and preparing a better voter list. Emergency law was declared and a massive campaign to crack down on corruption is underway. By July 2007 some 200,000 people had been arrested. The government says it will hold elections before the end of 2008.

In April, Ahmed’s administration attempted to reform the political parties by exiling Hasina and Zia, but they backed down amid domestic and international protestations. Hasina, who had been visiting her children in the US, was allowed to return but she faced serious charges, including involvement in the assassination of four political rivals. In July, she was taken into custody after two businessmen testified that she had extorted ৳80 million (US$1.16 million) from them. This provoked angry protests from her supporters; even her bitter rival Khaleda Zia, as well as six British MPs and MEPs, called for her release. Khaleda herself faces charges of tax evasion.

2009-Present: Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wins the election on December 29, 2008 and the caretaker government ended its authority on January 6, 2009. Awami League President Sheikh Hasina becomes the Prime Minister of Bangaldesh for the second time.

On 25 February 2009, border guards in the Bangladesh Rifles mutinied and killed more than 50 army officers, testing the hold of the new government. The political situation has stabilized since the mutiny.

AKM Bodruddoja ChowDHury
Formerly Known as B Chowdhury ( Bikolpodhara Bangladesh Founder)
Dr A.Q.M. Badruddoza Chowdhury (Bengali: এ.কিউ.এম. বদরুদ্দোজা চৌধুরী; born November 1, 1932, Bikrampur, Dhaka, Bangladesh) was the 15th president of Bangladesh and founding secretary-general of Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Early life
His father, Kafiluddin Chowdhury, was a political leader of Awami League and served as Minister in provincial cabinet of the then East Pakistan. Being inspired by Ziaur Rahman, the founder chairman of the party, he entered into politics as the Secretary General of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) during its early years. He won the parliament election of 1979 as a BNP nominee from Munshigan and served as cabinet minister during the years 1979-1982. When the Bangladesh Nationalist Party again won parliamentary elections in 1991, after a short stint as Education Minister, he was appointed Deputy Leader of the House of Bangladesh parliament under the leadership of Begum Khaleda Zia.
In 2001, during the second spell of Khaleda Zia’s premiership, Chowdhury became foreign minister of Bangladesh. Shortly afterward, in November 2001, he became the President of Bangladesh. After a short stint of seven months, he decided not to visit BNP party leader and long-time-colleague Ziaur Rahman’s grave on his death anniversary, trying to stay neutral. Party leaders accused the President of betraying the party. It was expected that the BNP-majority parliament would start an impeachment process. Hence, Dr Chowdhury resigned from office before the situation could turn any murkier.
Dr Chowdhury felt the need of a third force in the de facto two-party democracy in Bangladesh. He expressed recruiting civil society members in politics to fight corruption and terrorism and establish good governance in the country through an alternate stream (lit. Bikalpa Dhara) political party. He, along with his son Mahi B. Chowdhury and BNP parliamentarian M A Mannan resigned from BNP to work for the new political party. Mohammed Ohid Uddin founded the UK Bracnh of Bikolpodhara, He is also the member of the central committee Bangladesh. Dr Chowdhury was the President, with M A Mannan as the secretary-general of the new party, Bikolpodhara Bangladesh formed in March 2004. It had been a strong critic of the government during the time, and most of its members were defects from the ruling BNP. BNP parliamentarian Oli Ahmed too had defected from BNP to join Bikalpa Dhara, but later split to form Liberal Democratic Party. He has been the party’s President since its inception, except for a brief period between December 2008 and April 2009, during which time he had resigned from his post after the party could secure no seats during the 9th parliament elections.

Dr. Kamala Hossain
Kamal Hossain (Bengali: কামাল হোসেন, born on 20 April 1937)
is a Bangladeshi politician, statesman and lawyer. He is credited as being one of the principal authors of the Constitution of Bangladesh.

Administrative divisions
At the local government level, the country is divided into divisions, districts, subdistricts (Upazila), unions, and villages. The lowest level of local government representative are Local officials of union council those who are elected at the union level election. All larger administrative units are run by members of the civil service.

Dr. Hossain was arrested during the Bangladesh Liberation War in April 1971 by the Pakistani Government and kept in custody in West Pakistan. He was released together with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman when both of them left Pakistan for London.

After East Pakistan earned its independence and became Bangladesh, Dr. Hossain served in the Government of Bangladesh under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the Minister of Law (1972–1973), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1973–1975) and Minister of Petroleum and Minerals (1974–1975). One of his earliest tasks as Minister of Law was the drafting of the Constitution of Bangladesh which was completed in 1972.

He was a member of the Awami League until the early 1990s, when he formed his own political party, Gano Forum (People’s Forum), following disputes with Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina. Since leaving the Awami League, he has unsuccessfully stood for election to Parliament in several General Elections.
He was awarded a Bachelor of Jurisprudence degree with honours from the University of Oxford in 1957 and a Bachelor of Civil Law from the same institution in 1958. In 1964 he was awarded a Doctorate in International Law. He was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn, London.
Legal career
He is a leading advocate in Bangladesh and has conducted a number of landmark cases, published in various law journals in Bangladesh. In addition he has appeared in several international arbitrations, both as a lawyer and an arbitrator, including acting as an arbitrator in the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal.
Role in the International Arena
Dr. Hossain is renowned worldwide as a jurist and enjoys a long-standing association with the United Nations. Between 1998 and 2003, he served as the UN Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan. He is a current member of the UN Compensation Commission. He has also acted as an observer in various elections around the world.

Kader Siddiqui

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• Kader Siddiqui (Bengali: কাদের সিদ্দিকী, born 1948 Tangail) is one of the most famous fighters and organizers of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Often hailed as Bagha (Tiger) Kader or Bongo Bir (Hero of Bengal), Siddiqui has to be decorated as Bir Uttom (Great Hero) by the government of Bangladesh. He organized and fought with an estimated 10,000-strong guerilla force in the Tangail region against the Pakistan Army. This army was called Kaderia Bahini (Kader’s Army). This group carried out many successful guerrilla operations in Tangail. Siddique was wounded at the Makrar battle near Balla village. Kaderia Bahini is notable for the capture of a Pakistani ship with large quantities of arms and ammunitions at Bhuapur. At the end of the war, on December 16, Siddique’s forces entered Dhaka along with the Indian forces, signalling the end of the war.

• Involvement in massacres of prisoners of war
• According to a report in The Times, Siddiqui’s guerillas beat up and subsequently bayoneted and shot to death a group of prisoners (who they claimed were Razakars) after a rally held near Dhaka Stadium on December 19, at which Siddiqui himself gave an hour long speech. The prisoners were murdered after performing Islamic prayers together with their captors. According to the same source, shortly before murdering them, the Mukti Bahini soldiers promised the prisoners ‘a fair trial, as in any civilised country’.
• Abdul Kader Siddiqui personally bayoneted three prisoners to death and the entire incident was filmed by foreign film crews whom Siddiqui invited to witness the spectacle. Siddiqui was subsequently arrested by the Indian Army.
• Siddiqui discussed his involvement in the murders in an interview with Yasmin Saikia, the author of ‘Women, War and Making Bangladesh: Remembering 1971’. After describing an event in which Siddiqui shot a Mukti Bahini soldier for stealing a shawl from a Bengali civilian, Saikia states, referring to the Dhaka stadium
• incident, that ‘at the time he did not think of his act as a crime against humanity, being swayed by the Bengali public sentiment for revenge. Today he knows that both the acts – killing a younger soldier for a petty theft and killing the Biharis for being different from the Bengalis – were public acts of violence disguised under the label of national morale to establish the power of the Bengalis and claim victory, but they were violent acts, nonetheless, and he is pained by his past’.
• Siddiqui was never tried for these crimes[citation needed].

• Post-1971
• After East Pakistan seceded from West Pakistan and became Bangladesh, Siddiqui went back to his home town of Tangail where he enjoyed considerable patronage from the Awami League, the party of then Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Mujibur Rahman.[6]
• After the assassination of Mujibur Rahman in 1975, Siddiqui and his followers organised attacks on the authorities of Khondakar Mushtaque’s government. Elements loyal to Siddiqui operated from bases in Assam province in India and were actively supported by India’s Border Security Force.
• Siddiqui is presently an MP in the parliament of Bangladesh.

International organization participation

Brief Description of the Country and its National/State Government Structure

Bangladesh emerged as an independent nation state in 1971. Although a new state, Bangladesh is an old country with a long recorded history of several thousand years. In its recent past it was part of Pakistan (1947-1971) and was known as East Pakistan. Prior to this, different parts of the present Bangladesh territory were under the British India (1765-1947), the Mughals and other Muslim rulers and before them under Buddhist and Hindu rulers.

Bangladesh lies in the northeastern part of South Asia between 20 34′ and 26 38′ north latitude and 88 01′ and 92 41′ east longitude. The country is bounded by India in the west, north, northeast and east, by Myanmar in the southeast and by the Bay of Bengal in the south. The area of the country is 56,977 square miles or 147,570 square kilometres. The limits of territorial waters of Bangladesh are 12 nautical miles; the area of the high seas extending to 200 nautical miles measured from the base lines constitutes the economic zone of the country. Climatically, the country belongs to the humid tropics and it is vulnerable to a number of natural hazards like cyclones, floods and riverbank erosion, which almost regularly displaces a large number of people. Physiographically, Bangladesh is predominantly a delta plain of one of the largest river systems of the world. Only a part in the southeastern area is hilly. In spite of the apparent physical homogeneity and small territorial size of the country, Bangladesh does show regional variations in physical infrastructural and socio-economic development. Since its Independence, the development planners of Bangladesh have given consideration to the importance of regional balance for integrated national development. And yet, regional imbalances do exist. These imbalances are among macro-regions, meso-regions, micro regions and urban and rural regions (Islam 1997).

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics conducted the third decennial population census in March 1991. The population stood at 111.4 million in 1991 (BBS 1993). The percentage of the urban population was 20.1 while that of the rural population was 79.9. The intercensal growth rate of population estimated by using the adjusted population of 1991 census was 2.1 per annum. Assuming a medium variant of declining fertility and mortality, Bangladesh is expected to reach a population of 141 million by the year 2000 and 185 million by the year 2015. The density of population was approximately 647 per square kilometres in 1981. It has increased to 755 per square kilometres in 1991. The sex ratio of the population was 106 males per 100 females and is comparatively higher in urban areas.

Table 1. Population Projection Dhaka Megacity Area (DMA) and Dhaka City
Corporation (DCC)
Year Total population (m) Growth rate (%) Urban population (m) Growth rate (%) Population of Dhaka Mega City ‘000 Growth rate (%) DCC Population ‘000 Growth rate (%)
1990 113.7 – 22.9 – 7346 – 3800 –
1995 126.8 2.18 29.4 5.0 9059 4.19 5000 5.48
2000 141.1 2.13 37.3 4.8 10850 3.61 6100 3.77
2005 155.8 1.98 46.4 4.4 12623 3.02 7000 2.75
2010 170.5 1.80 56.8 4.0 14230 2.39 7600 1.64
2015 184.6 1.56 67.9 3.6 15679 1.94 8000 1.02
Source: DMDP July 1994, p. 2-9 and present study for DCC
Estimates that have been made for Dhaka city apply respectively to the years 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 as these are census or mid-census years. According to the 1990-1991 LFS, the total civilian labour force of the country was estimated at 51.2 million; 31.1 million males and 20.1 million females. The urban population of Bangladesh has experienced rapid growth since the late 1940s, after the withdrawal of the colonial British rule and more so since the early seventies, after the Independence of the country in 1971. The current rate of urban growth (approximately 5 per cent) is one of the highest in Asia. Dhaka, the capital and also primate city of the country, grows at nearly 6 per cent annually, its present population amounting to about 9 million. According to official statistics, there are currently 522 urban areas in the country according. Only 138 of these have been given municipal status. The pattern of spacing of these municipal towns and cities is fairly balanced in the country.
Table 2. Number of Urban Centres by Size (1961-1991)
Size of urban places 1961 1974 1981 1991
All sizes 78 108 491 522
Above 1 million – 1 2 2
100,000-999,999 4 5 14 23
25,000-100,000 20 37 66 92
Less than 24,999 54 65 409 405
Source: Islam, 1997
The literacy rate of the country obtained from the 1991 census was 32.4 per cent for the population of 7 years and older. Literacy rate in urban areas is over 40 per cent. While 38.9 per cent of males are literate, the rate of literacy for females is only 25.5 per cent. The percentage of Muslim population was 88.3 while that of Hindu, Buddhist and Christian was respectively 10.5, 0.6 and 0.3. There were 19.4 million households in the country distributed over 59,990 Mauzas (revenue villages). The economy of Bangladesh is dominated by agriculture, which contributes nearly 35 per cent of GDP and over 65 per cent of the employment. Industries play an important role but contribute less than 15 per cent to the GDP. Trade, commerce and services are the other major contributors to the national economy.
Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries of the world in terms of GNP per capita (which was about 270 US dollars in 1997) it ranks among the lowest 10. However, in terms of the Human Development Index it fares somewhat better and is placed above 25 countries in the 160-country list of UNDP’s Human Development Report. During the past decade there has been some improvement in the poverty situation of the country. Yet, according to the nationally defined poverty level, 48 per cent of the rural population and 44 per cent of the urban population in Bangladesh were found to be poor in 1988-89 (BBS 1993 p. 319). Nearly half of these populations were hard-core poor. The magnitude of poverty is easily felt in both rural and urban areas. Poverty is particularly visible in Dhaka, the Capital. The difference in levels of poverty in urban and rural area party explains the large scale rural to urban migration of the population.
National governmental and political structure
Bangladesh has a unitary form of government. For the convenience of administration, the country is divided into six Administrative Divisions: Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal and Sylhet. Each Division is placed under a Divisional Commissioner and is further subdivided into Districts with a District Commissioner (DC) as the Chief Administrator. After the administrative reorganization carried out in 1982, the country was divided into 64 Districts. 20 of these Districts existed for a very long period while the rest are the ones upgraded from former Sub-Divisions. The 20 old Districts are now popularly known as Greater Districts. Below the district level there are the Thanas which number 490 in the country. During 1982-1990, 460 of the Thanas were upgraded to Upazilas or Sub-Districts. With the abolition of the Upazila system in 1991, the Upazila Regional Administrative System reverted to the earlier Thana structure. All Divisions and district headquarters and most of the Thana headquarters are urban centres. Below the level of Thana, there are rural micro areas known as Unions (4,451 in number) and Grams or Villages (more or less 80,000).

The divisional level is the highest tier of administration, after the national level. The Divisional Commissioner (popularly known as the Commissioner) is the head of the divisional administration. He only plays a supervisory role over all the departments and agencies in the Division because the divisional office of each department is directly linked to its national office. He also coordinates the functions of the district administration in the Division. The Divisional Commissioner became involved in development functions only since the establishment of the Regional (Divisional) Development Boards in 1976. The Regional Development Boards is responsible for those projects of the District Boards which the latter cannot finance or does not have expertise to look after. The Regional Development Boards are somewhat less active at present. The District has been the focal point in the administrative system of Bangladesh. The head of the district administration is known as the Deputy Commissioner (or more popularly the DC). In addition to the administrative offices at district level which (linked to their respective higher echelon) the office of the Deputy Commissioner is divided into a number of Divisions and sections. Within its planning and implementation section the Annual and Midterm Plans are prepared. The physical infrastructure section is responsible for the construction of physical infrastructure throughout the district unless it is of very small nature. In that case it falls under the jurisdiction of the Thana administration. The rural development section administers the rural development programmes. The administrative head of the Thana is known the Thana Nirbahi Officer.
The District and Thana executives are assisted by a large number of officials as well as professional and technical personnel appointed by the central government. Local government in urban and rural areas is entrusted to bodies elected by the people. Such bodies are called Municipalities or Pourashavas (numbering 138) in urban areas and Union Parishads or Union Councils (numbering 4,451) in rural areas (BBS, 1993). With the passage of the Gram Parishad Bill and the Union Parishad on 4 September 1997 in Parliament, local government structure is to be implemented at the grass-roots level. Four of the largest Municipalities, Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi, have been given metropolitan status and are known as City Corporations. For many years these City or Municipal Corporations were run and headed by nominated rather than elected Mayors, although members of the City Corporation Council (Ward Commissioners) have been elected from the respective wards. Once again, in March 1994, the four metropolitan areas had their Mayors elected directly by the people.

Evolution of Local Government, its Legal and Political Background

The story of the evolution of the local government system in Bangladesh is in many ways similar to that of India and Pakistan as all three countries share a common history. Local governments in one form or another have been in existence in the Indian subcontinent for centuries. Two varieties of self-government institutions, i.e. the headman and Panchayats appear to be operational in rural areas since early times. The headman was not an elected official but came from the most dominant family in the village. His importance was due to two factors: all contacts, be it political or administrative, between the villager and authorities had to be routed through him and he was involved in collection of taxes from the village. The Panchayat was an elected body with executive and judicial functions. But often the headman controlled the Panchayat (Siddiqui 1992:15). During the Mughal rule of India, the Panchayat system disappeared altogether.
Mughal contribution to the development of urban local government was remarkable as Mughals gave considerable importance to towns. Each town included a number of wards or Mohallas. A Mir Mahalla was appointed to act as a spokesman for each Mahalla. The Kotwal, or Chief Executive Officer of the town, wielded wide-ranging powers including magisterial, police, fiscal and municipal power. He was assisted in performing his duties by two officials: a Kazi who was a judicial officer and a Mahatasib who was assigned to prevent illegal practices, (Siddiqui 1992: 17-18). The Mughal system with all its novelties lacked mechanisms for participation by the citizens. It was nothing more than a top-down hierarchical administrative system that was intended to be an extension of the central authority into the local areas.
During almost two hundred years of British rule (1765-1947) over the Indian subcontinent, a number of experiments were made with the local government system. All the experiments were intended to devise a system that would serve their imperial interest. The major objective of the British in India was twofold: maximization of land revenue collection and maintenance of law and order. Naturally, the British as an imperial power had little understanding of and interest in indigenous local self-governing institutions. Though in 1870 the Village Chowkidari Act in Bengal established union Panchayats to collect tax to maintain Chowkidars (village police), Lord Ripon’s Resolution on local self-government laid the foundation of local self-government in rural India. This resolution of May 18 1882 was important for two reasons: it set out general principles for development of local institutions in the future and provided the rationale behind functions of local bodies. The Rippon resolution was passed in 1885 as the Bengal Local Self-Government Act III of 1885.
In the arena of urban local government, British policy resulted in setting-up a municipal administration in the Presidencies and giving responsibilities to municipal committees for a number of civic amenities. But until the 1870s, officials or their designated representatives ran urban local government bodies. Gradually Municipalities became representative bodies with the promulgation of a number of acts between 1870 and 1947. These acts, among other things, introduced election as a mode of choosing one’s representative and subsequently extended its coverage. But Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the Municipalities continued to be elected indirectly by the popularly elected commissioners. One of the acts, the Bengal Municipal Act of 1932, strengthened the powers of Municipalities in levying rates and taxes and in the utilization of funds (Siddiqui 1994:47). But the same act provided considerable powers, to the government and local officials to inspect, supervise and control Municipalities and negated the powers of taxation of local level bodies to a large degree.
Union boards consisted of two-thirds elected members while the rest were nominated. The Chairman was elected among members of the union boards. The boards were given a number of specific responsibilities including the authority to levy taxes. By the end of the 1920s district boards were functioning under the stewardship of non-official chairmen. During the formative years of Pakistan’s existence as an independent nation until 1971, the provincial government of East Pakistan initiated some important changes. General Ayub Khan, who seized power in 1958, introduced a system of local government known as Basic Democracy. But the concept of Basic Democracy, a four-tier system, lacked novelty and innovation. It bore a clear resemblance of two layers, the union councils and municipal committees of the British days (Khan 1997). Since Independence in 1971, a number of attempts have been made to tinker with the local government system in Bangladesh. Changes have been made from time to time in terms of the nomenclature of tiers of local government, but almost nothing was done to strengthen local governments. Therefore, the structure of the local government system has remained more or less unchanged.
Immediately after Independence in 1971, the name of the Union Council was changed to Union Panchayat and an administrator was appointed to manage the affairs of the Panchayat. The name of Thana Council was changed to Thana Development Committee while the District Council was named Zila Board or District Board. Again in 1973, Union Panchayat’s name reverted to Union Parishad. A more significant change in the local government system was brought about in 1976 through the Local Government Ordinance. This ordinance provided for a Union Parishad for a union, a Thana Parishad for a Thana and a Zila Parishad for a district. The Union Parishad comprised one elected Chairman and 9 elected members, two nominated women members and two peasant representative members. The Thana Parishad consisted of the Sub-Divisional Officer being the ex-officio Chairman, the Circle Officer and a Union Parishad Chairman. The Zila (District) Parishad was to consist of elected members, official members and women members whose numbers were determined by the government. Its term of office was five years. However, no elections were held and government officials ran the Parishad.

In 1980, as a result of an amendment of the Local Government Ordinance, the Swanirvar Gram Sarker (self-reliant village government) was introduced at the village level, but was abolished by a Martial Law Order in July 1982. A major change was initiated in the local government system through the introduction of the Local Government (Upazila Parishad and Upazila Administration Reorganization) Ordinance in 1982. This Ordinance was followed by the Local Government (Union Parishad) Ordinance in 1983, the Local Government (Zila Parishad) Act in 1988 and the three Hill Districts Acts and Palli Act in 1989. The Upazila Parishad Ordinance (1982) was particularly significant as this was supposed to help implementation of the decentralization programme of the government. In the Upazila System (as it came to be known), the (directly) elected Chairman would have the principal authority in running the affairs of the Upazila, his tenure being five years. The Upazila Nirbahi Officer would be subservient to the Chairman. After nine years of reasonably effective implementation, the Government of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, who came to power through a fair election, abolished the Upazila system in 1991. During its five-year tenure, the government could not provide an alternative democratic form of local government. When after another free and fair election in 1996 the Bangladesh Awami League came to power, they constituted a Local Government Commission and came up with a Report on Local Government Institutions Strengthening in May 1997. The Commission has recommended a four-tier local government structure including Gram/Palli (Village) Parishad, Union Parishad, Thana/Upazila Parishad and Zila (District) Parishad.
All these tiers are concerned with rural/regional administration, while urban local governments remain outside the Commission’s purview. The two major tiers of urban local government’s, Pourashava (for smaller Municipalities) and City Corporation (for four of the largest cities) are in order.

Local Government Categories and Hierarchies
The rural/regional local government as proposed by the latest commission on local government would have four tiers:
▪ Gram (Village) Parishad, (40,000);
▪ Union Parishads (4403);
▪ Thana/Upazila Parishads (460);
▪ Zila (District) Parishads (64).
Urban areas have a separate set of local governments. The Bangladesh Census Commission recognized 522 urban areas in 1991 (with a population of about 5000 or more) but only about 138 of the larger urban areas among these have urban local governments. The four largest cities have a City Corporation status, while the rest are known as Pourashavas or Municipalities, which again are classified according to financial strength.
Table 3. Hierarchy of Urban Local Governments
City Corporation Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi
Pourashavas (Municipalities) 38
Category Annual income level
Class I Pourashavas 6 million +
Class II Pourashavas 2 million
Class III Pourashavas Less than 2.5 million
In addition, there are also some urban centres that are under military Cantonment Boards. As the City Corporation and Pourashavas (Municipalities) are true urban local governments, their function, administration and financial structure will be further elaborated on below. The large number of small urban centres are administered under the Union Parishad system of (rural) local government. Some urban centres have a fairly large population but have not yet been declared a Municipality and therefore also remain under Union Parishad management.
Local Government Functions
Rural and urban local government bodies are entrusted with a large number of functions and responsibilities relating to civic and community welfare as well as local development. The functions of the Gram Parishads, Union Parishad, Thana/Upazila Parishads and Zila (district) Parishads are elaborate and include amongst other optional functions. The present government in its recent Local Government Institutional Strengthening Report, written by the Local Government Commission in May 1997, has laid down the responsibilities of the various rural and rural/regional local bodies. The Gram Parishad and Union Parishad Bills have been approved on 4 September 1997, while Thana Upazila/Zila Parishad Bills will be placed in Parliament soon.
Rural local government functions
The Gram Parishad functions are as follows:
▪ Conducting socio-economic surveys of households, every five years to be used for development plan preparation;
▪ Maintain vital statistics like registration of births-deaths, marriage etc.;
▪ Make plans for natural resource management and development;
▪ Supervise management of primary educational institutes; motivate parents to send their children to school and create better awareness for adult and female literacy;
▪ Create awareness for better primary health care;
▪ Maintain law and order and control terrorism, violence against women etc.;
▪ Ensure participation in local and central government development planning;
▪ Encourage co-operatives and NGOs;
▪ Initiate participatory development of local roads, bridges, culverts etc.;
▪ Support various development activities related to agriculture;
▪ Encourage and initiate tree plantation programmes;
▪ Assist various organizations in their development efforts.
Union Parishads have also been assigned functions quite similar to Gram Parishad functions. In addition, Union Parishads have been assigned with the adoption and implementation of poverty alleviation programmes directly by themselves and through NGOs and co-operatives. The Thana/Upazila Parishads are entrusted with functions similar to Gram Parishads and Union Parishads. In addition, they have the responsibility of making integrated 5-year development plans for the Thana/Upazila on the basis of plans submitted by the Union Parishads. Zila (District) Parishads are responsible for monitoring activities of the Thana/Upazila Parishads, implementing district level economic, social and cultural development programmes and preparing project proposals for road, bridges and culverts.

Urban local government functions
Pourashavas (Municipalities) and City Corporations constitute the two types of urban local governments. The four largest cities of Bangladesh (Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi) are City Corporations. The functions of Pourashavas and City Corporations are basically similar with one important difference: the 1997 Pourashavas Ordinance categorized the functions of Pourahsavas as compulsory and optional. This categorization does not apply to City Corporations. However, for both Pourashavas and City Corporations functions continue to be seen as compulsory and optional.
Mandatory functions
▪ Construction and maintenance of roads, bridges and culverts;
▪ Removal, collection and disposal of refuse;
▪ Provision and maintenance of street lighting;
▪ Maintenance of public streets, provision of street watering;
▪ Provision and regulation of water supply;
▪ Establishment and maintenance of public markets;
▪ Plantation of trees on road sides;
▪ Regulation of insanitary buildings and prevention of infectious diseases and epidemics;
▪ Registration of births, deaths and marriages;
▪ Provision and maintenance of slaughter houses;
▪ Provision and maintenance of drainage;
▪ Control over the contruction and reconstruction of buildings;
▪ Provision and maintenance of graveyards and burning places;
▪ Control over traffic and public vehicles.
Optional functions
▪ Checking adulteration of food products;
▪ Control over private markets;
▪ Maintenance of educational institutions and provision of stipends to meritorious students;
▪ Provision of flood and famine relief;
▪ Provision and maintenance of parks and gardens;
▪ Establishment of welfare homes, orphanages, prevention of begging and organization of voluntary social welfare services;
▪ Establishment of public dispensaries, provision of public urinals and latrines;
▪ Establishment of veterinary hospitals, registration of cattle sale and improvement of livestock;
▪ Celebration of national holidays;
▪ Reception of distinguished visitors;
▪ Establishment of public libraries and reading rooms;
▪ Promotion of community development schemes; and
▪ Naming of roads and numbering of houses.
The Pourashavas/City Corporations are empowered to perform a variety of socio-economic and civic functions, as described above. In practice, however, they cannot perform all these functions owing to the acute paucity of funds caused by poor and irregular collection of taxes, non-realization of taxes from government, semi-government and autonomous organizations for years together and insufficient government grants. The functions actually performed are:
• Construction and maintenance of roads, bridges and culverts;
• Removal, collection and disposal of refuse;
• Provision and maintenance of street lighting;
• Provision of water supply;
• Establishment and maintenance of public markets;
• Provision, maintenance and regulation of graveyards and burning places;
• Registrations of birth, deaths and marriages;
• Maintenance of slaughter houses;
• Control over private markets;
• Provision and maintenance of parks and gardens;
• Naming of roads and numbering of houses;
• Provision of nominal stipends to primary education institutions; and
• Slum improvement.
Apart form the formal functions described above, the Pourashavas/City Corporations perform some additional functions such as issuance of certificates and settlement of petty disputes (over ownership/control of land, houses and markets) through discussions with concerned parties and with the help of commissioners and other functionaries. Some of the more important certificates are character, nationality, birth, death and succession certificates. Character and nationality certificates are required for job applications and admission to educational institutions. Birth, death and succession certificates are issued to the legal heirs on request and are also necessary for mutation of land ownership.
During the past decade, 20 Pourashavas and the four City Corporations have also been carrying out an additional function (on project basis) of slum improvement. The funding for this came from UNICEF. Dhaka City Corporation has even made the slum improvement an integral part of activities with its own funding and tries to rehabilitate slum dwellers and street hawkers. Besides, Dhaka recently has started to maintain a City Museum and has begun construction of a large theater for dramatic performance. Some of the Municipalities maintain public libraries.
The Pourashava (Municipal) Parishads and City Corporation Parishads are elected directly by the people. Each Poura Parishad is supposed to have a Chairman and a Commissioner for each Ward, while a City Corporation is supposed to have a Mayor as head of the Parishad (Council) and a Commissioner for each Ward. The number of Wards depends on the size of the city. Although women can contest for direct election, there are also reserved seats for them. These are filled through election of the Chairman/Mayor and Commissioners only. The tenure of an elected urban local government is five years. The latest City Corporation elections were held in March 1994.

Local Government Finances
Local bodies in Bangladesh are in constant shortage of funds. The sources of their income are generally taxes, rates, fees and charges levied by the local body as well as rents and profits accruing from properties of the local body and sums received through its services. Contribution from individuals and institutions, government grants, profits from investments, receipts accruing from the trusts placed with the local bodies, loans raised by the local body and proceeds from such services are another source of income governments may direct to be placed at the disposal of a local body. Holding taxes is the most important source of own income of local bodies. Loans and voluntary contributions are rare. Non-tax revenues are of two kinds: fees and tolls and rents and profits on properties of the local bodies. Urban local bodies raise between 55-75 per cent of the revenue from their own source while a significant proportion comes from government grants. Nowadays, foreign or international project funds also contribute a significant share of a corporation’s budget.
Table 4. Sources of Municipal Revenue
Source Sub-components
Property tax Property tax on annual value of buildings and lands
Conservancy rate
Water rate (except Dhaka and Chittagong)
Lighting rate
Shared property tax Surcharge on the transfer of property ownership
Other taxes Tax on professions, trade and callings
Tax on vehicles and animals
Tax on cinema, dramatic and entertainment
Tolls and minor taxes (on advertisement, marriage etc.)
Non-tax source Fees and fines
Rents and profits from property
Other sources
Loans Internal, from banks, etc.
International agencies
Government grants Salary compensation grants
Octroi compensation grants
Normal development grants
Extra ordinary grants
Source: Chowdhury, 1997
The tax management of Municipalities is weak, resulting in poor collection (Chowdhury 1997). There are many reasons for this, including a poor assessment system, lack of efficient manpower and legal issues (e.g. more than 50 per cent of property assessments are appealed with proceedings taking time and judgment generally going against the Municipalities). Corruption is another major reason for low collection of taxes. Municipal expenditures are mainly geared towards physical infrastructure (equaling 30 to 40 per cent of total expenditures). Public Health in turn accounts for 15 to 20 per cent and administrative expenditure average between 7 to 16 per cent. Expenditures on social sectors are negligible (Chowdhury 1997 p. 42).
Table 5. Revenues and Expenditure of City Corporations and Pourashava (1982-1983)
Income revenue City corporation District Pourashava Sub-Division Pourashava Minor Pourashava
Property taxes 38.65% 26.35% 27.17% 21.38%
Other taxes 8.85% 9.9% 7.51% 6.74%
Total tax 47.50% 36.30% 34.68% 28.12%
Non-tax 34.39% 40.48% 45.89% 47.01%
Grants 16.35% 19.18% 9.22% 22.30%
Deposits and advances 1.76% 4.04% 10.21% 2.57%
Expenditure City corporation District Pourashava Sub-Division Pourashava Minor Pourashava
Administration 14.87% 29.62% 25.96% 24.47%
Health and health care 17.69% 20.12% 13.40% 16.27%
Physical development 60.69% 37.57% 43.73% 48.99%
Education 1.16% 2.32% 1.46% 0.19%
Miscellaneous 1.29% 3.59% 6.45% 5.87%
Deposits and advances 3.80% 6.71% 10.00% 5.20%
Source: Chowdhury, 1996
Table 6. Pattern of Expenditure of Dhaka City Corporation (in %)
Expenditure 1980-1981 1984-1985 1990-1991
General administration 17.97% 7.29% 7.56%
Health, sanitation, conservancy, drainage and medical services 38.98% 23.71% 23.54%
Public works including street lighting 35.11% 58.32% 46.23%
Loan repayment and refund 0.53% 7.74% 18.33%
Miscellaneous 7.41% 3.94% 4.44%
Total 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%
Source: DCC budget statements of different years
In the case of Dhaka loan repayment is increasingly becoming a major item. The existing system of financial management fails to provide appropriate financial information to allow activities to be planned and controls are not being applied in the most efficient and effective manner. The annual statement of accounts of a local body is to be prepared after the closing of every financial year (June-July). Then the statement is to be forwarded to the prescribed authority by the thirty first of December of the following year. There is also a provision for public inspection of the accounts. The accounts of every local body are to be audited in a specified manner, by different level authorities for different levels of local bodies. However, the following auditing procedures are common to all bodies:
• The audit authority can examine all the books and documents and also the elected and non-elected functionaries of the body;
• After completion of the audit, the audit party is to submit an audit report of the respective authorities. However, Siddiqui notes that: “In practice, local government auditing is lax and irregular and amounts to mere paper audit” (Siddiqui 1992 p. 174).
Personnel Systems in Local Government
Local government bodies in Bangladesh are managed by a combination of elected people and appointed personnel. The Chairman and members of the Zila Parishads, including women, are all elected by direct vote. In addition, elected Chairmen of Upazilas and Municipalities would also become members of the Parishads, without voting rights. The District Commissioner (or Chief Civil Administrator) would serve as Executive Officer of the Parishad while the MPs elected for the Zila would be available as Advisers to the Parishad. In the case of the appointed people, for such levels as the Thana/Upazila Parishad, Zila Parishads and urban local governments (Pourashavas and City Corporation), there is both staff directly recruited by the local body as well as some sent on deputation (i.e. secondment) from the central government. Appointments at Gram and Union Parishads are all locally done and the people selected are also generally from within the locality.

In the proposed new system, Union Parishad would have a full time Secretary, 9 Mahalladars (Neighbourhood Workers) and 1 (Caretaker). There would also be a Tax Collector and an Assistant Secretary, who would also work as an accountant. The Chairman of the Union Parishad is the Chief Executive. In the proposed new system, the Thana/Upazila Parishad would represent officers and employees of all central government administrative and development agencies. As long as they work at the Thana/Upazila Parishad, they serve as seconded officers and employees, (except for the police and judiciary). The Parishad’s own staff includes a secretary, an assistant secretary, one accountant, a security guard and one sweeper. The Chairman has a three member personal staff. All officials are answerable to the Chairman. In case of the Zila Parishad; the secretary is a deputed (seconded) official from the government. All other officials such as the administrative officer and others are employees of the Zila Parishad. In respect of Hill Tract District Local Government Parishads, the Deputy Commissioners work as ex-officio Secretaries of the Parishad.
Pourashavas and City Corporation have their own personnel set-up determined by the government. Each of the four City Corporations and a number of Pourashavas has a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) seconded from the central civil service. Under such situation all other officials, whether directly recruited by the Pourahsavas or City Corporation, or coming on secondment, are directly under the CEO. He assists the Chairman or Mayor in the affairs of the Pourahsava or Corporation. He is the custodian of all Pourashava/Corporation records and may also exercise magisterial powers. In the case of Dhaka City Corporation, exception is seen in the fact that all senior level appointments in its services are made by the Mayor. He is also the supreme chief executive of the Corporation making all major negotiations and signing and contracts. For other City Corporations the CEO makes appointments.

Except the Union Parishads, all other local government bodies have officials on secondment, which belong to their respective cadre services. Their parent department indicates their service conditions. On the other hand officials and employees directly recruited by the Union Parishad, Thana/Upazila Parishad and Zila Parishad are guided by the Local Council Service Rules. In the case of Pourashavas and Corporations, these are guided by their respective service rules. The Special Affairs Division under the Prime Minister’s Secretariat is responsible for employees of Hill District Local Government Parishads. The Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives is the central personnel agency for the management of Local Council Service and Pourahsava and Corporation service.

In the rural and urban local government system, a few of the officials and employees are recruited through election, while others are appointed. The employees in most cases outnumber the elected executives. The local governments recruit the general staff through a set procedure. Government does not earmark any officers exclusively for the local government bodies. Government, however, places some civil servants and technical personnel (e.g. engineers, doctors etc.) with the local government bodies on ‘deputation’ (secondment) for a specified period (normally 3 years) from its central pool. Such employees or officials are officially barred from belonging to any political party or support any political ideology. There is as of yet no such cadre as the Local Government Service Cadre. Any local government body may appoint temporary class IV (lowest level) employees on a work charge basis to meet urgent requirements.

Training of local government officials and employees is generally limited to the officers and conducted at the National Institute of Local Government (NILG), located at Dhaka. Elected representatives as well as appointed and nominated personnel are provided training at NILG. Some are even sent abroad for short term training. Lower level technical or general staff are rarely given any training or chance to improve their skills.
Service conditions

The salary scale and service conditions are more or less similar to other government services in the country. In addition to basic salary certain fringe benefits such as house rent allowance, medical allowance, contributory provident fund, gratuity benefits, festival bonus etc. are enjoyed by local body employees. Normal retirement age is 57. Class III and Class IV in large corporations and Municipalities also form unions to uphold their rights and privileges.

The Bangladesh Local Council Servants Rules (1968) guide the disciplinary conduct of employees of local bodies. These rules contain grounds for penalization, which include inefficiency, misconduct, corruption and subversion. Enforcement of disciplinary action often becomes difficult due to union pressure.

Central-Local Links
In the existing system, local government bodies are subject to strong control from higher level authorities, specially the central government. In case of Union Parishad, there used to be a dual control and supervision exercised by both Upzila Parishad and the central government in various matters. In the recently approved system however, control would only come from the central government, e.g. in auditing income expenditures. In case of Upazila/Thana Parishad and Zila Parishad, similar control will prevail from central government. Upazila/Thana and Zila Parishads would also be subject to internal auditing. The present Awami League government (in power on a five-year term since June 1996) has taken steps to give importance to the empowerment of local governments, beginning at the Gram (Village) Parishad to the Zila (District) Parishad. To this end, a Commission was set up and a report has been prepared. The Gram Parishad Bill and the Union Parishad Bill have already been approved. Upazila/Thana Parishad and Zila Parishad Bills are yet to be placed in the Parliament. But it already appears that the Cabinet is not enthusiastic about the recommendation to transfer or devolve some 26 Departments of the central government at the Upazila and Zila levels. However, the debate is ongoing and a positive outcome is expected.
The autonomy of urban local governments is yet to be discussed. This issue was not included within the Terms of Reference of the Commission. At present, local governments are subject to control in various matters, such as:
• The National Government exacts legislation on local bodies and formulates detailed rules relating to conduct of election, business, powers and duties of chairmen, assessment of taxes, preparation of budget, making of contracts, appointment and service matters of local government employment, accounts and audit and many other important areas. Even when local governments make regulations, these are to be approved by the central government;
• The Central Government has the final authority in the determination of the size and boundaries of the local body’s territory;
• The Central Government has the power to decide on the structure and composition of the local bodies;
• The Central Government substantially controls the personnel system of local bodies, particularly the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer in City Corporations and Pourashavas as well as other officials;
• The Central Government controls the functional jurisdiction of local bodies. Besides, designated functions (as in ordinance), the government can assign any other function to a local body;
• Inter-institutional disputes within local body areas are to be settled by the Central Government;
• In the large cities there are multiple agencies offering services to the citizens. Often there is serious lack of coordination amongst them and between the local government body and service delivering central government agencies. This recently assumed a critical situation in Dhaka, as a reaction to which the Mayor of Dhaka proposed a Metropolitan Government for Dhaka. In response, the Central Government formed a Coordination Committee in October 1996 headed by the Minister for Local Government, rather than by the Mayor. Central Government control over even the largest urban local government was thus increased rather than relaxed;
• In the field of finance, government supervision and control is wide and strict. In addition to financial control in general, the central government can wield power by reducing or enhancing Grant-in-aid to local bodies, even to city authorities like Dhaka;
• The Central Government asserts control and supervision over general administration of local bodies, including of large City Corporations. The central government may order an inquiry into the affairs of a local body generally or into any particular affair either on its own initiative or on an application made by any person to the government; and
• The Central Government has the power to dissolve a local body on charge of gross inefficiency, abuse of power, or inability to meet financial obligations. However, instances of such action in Bangladesh have been rare in recent time.
The present system of local government in Bangladesh is under heavy control of the central government. It is hoped however, that the ongoing process of empowering local governments by the present regime will be able to bring about significant change in the structure. Even if it is a partial success, this would be some gain in favour of local body autonomy.

Extent of Public Participation
The Constitution of Bangladesh framed and approved in 1972, within a year of the country’s Independence, categorically emphasizes the need for establishing local government with a representative character (Chapter 3, Article 59). It also implies direct participation of the people in constituting the local body and in managing the affairs of such bodies. However, in the years following the adoption of the Constitution, the spirit of people’s participation in local bodies was not always adequately maintained. Frequent changes in the local government structure are partly responsible for this. The extent and quality of people’s participation have also been variable. The best participation was the opportunity of casting votes during the election of local bodies. But elections were not held at regular intervals. For urban local bodies however, the record is satisfactory for the first time since the 1994 election in the four City Corporations, when people elected their Mayors directly. The election of women representatives so far has been indirect. The present government’s Local Government Commission has recommended election of women representatives (unreserved seats) directly by the people at all levels of local government. The bills for Gram Parishad and Union Parishads have already approved this. The first election of the Union Parishad with such representation of women was held in 1998.

The Local Government Commission has also recommended participation of various categories of disadvantaged groups in local body activities, through nomination in committees. At village level, people’s participation is very much in practice in all NGO led programmes, as well as in many government programmes. As for the urban areas, local level (i.e. Ward level) participation has been sought, but with limited success so far. The four City Corporations and 20 Pourashavas with Slum Improvement Projects have over 300 slums where community members, especially women, participate in local government led programmes quite effectively. Some City Corporations and Municipalities with Healthy City Projects (e.g. Chittagong, Rajshahi, Cox’s Bazar and Sylhet) with local government leadership have been able to ensure participation of the people in urban development activities. However, it should be categorically mentioned that public participation in purely local government led programme is still limited. In fact, local governments are as slow in initiating good programmes or in devising innovative actions. As a reactive measure, civil society groups are now coming forward to begin action and invite/encourage local governments to participate with them.

The Way Ahead
Local government as a political institution to ensure public participation in development activities is yet to take proper shape in Bangladesh. Since Independence in 1971, successive governments have tried to use the local government system for their own political interest. The party or regime in power wanted to make the local government representatives their power base and manipulated the system to this end. In a recent paper Dhaka University Professor of public administration notes that: “The existing administrative structure and elected local bodies do reach the grass-roots level and have almost all the features necessary for participatory decentralized administration. But, this structure has failed so far to perform efficiently for two reasons. Despite the strong support for local government enshrined in the Constitution, the central government has compromised these advantages by exercising control over local government and starving these agencies of resources. Most administrative decisions still remain to be taken centrally. Frequently they involve top-level officials in the secretariat, even some ministers depending on the subject. Several abortive attempts have been made at decentralisation, but the system has remained highly centralized. As of such, local bodies are characterized by weak administrative capacity, a limited financial and human resource base and little public participation” (Ahmed 1997).
Aware of the above problems, the present Awami League Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set up a high powered Reform Commission. The objective was formulated as follows: “Establishing truly representative democratic local bodies entrusted with administrative and financial powers with a view to expediting Decentralized development process and ensuring spontaneous people’s participation in planning and management of local level development” (Ahmed 1997). The intention of the Government is clear and straightforward. It has already shown sufficient commitment, but it still has to prove whether the intention can be transformed into reality. In that respect, the December 1997 election at the 4503 Union Parishads under the new local government provisions was a big test case. It made the Government start realizing it should think of carrying out reforms for the urban local governments, ensuring direct election of women members and that participation of other disadvantaged groups in municipal or urban development needs to be considered seriously as well. In addition, the power of Municipalities and corporations needs to be enhanced, in both political-administrative terms as well as economic terms. Higher degrees of self-reliance on the part of the urban local bodies would be necessary for their autonomous existence and reduction of central control.

Ahmed, S.G., Local Government System in Bangladesh: Empowerment, Participation and Development, Round Table on Local Government Reform, TSC, Parliamentary System Council, Dhaka University, October 1997
BBS, Statistical Pocket Book of Bangladesh, Government of Bangladesh, Dhaka, 1996
BBS, Statistical Pocket Book of Bangladesh, Government of Bangladesh, Dhaka, 1993
BBS, Census of Population 1991, Government of Bangladesh, Dhaka, 1993
Chowdhury, A. I., Nazrul Islam and M.M. Khan Resource Mobilization and Urban Governance in Bangladesh, Dhaka: Centre for Urban Studies, 1997
Government of Bangladesh and Local Government Commission, Local Government Institutions Strengthening Report, Dhaka, May 1997
Islam, N., ed. M. Chatterjee and Y. Kaizong, Mc. Millan, Urban and Regional Development in Bangladesh: Past Trends and Future Prospects, Regional Science in Developing Countries, London, 1997
Khan, M. M., Urban Local Governance in Bangladesh: an Overview, Urban Governance in Bangladesh, Dhaka Centre for Urban Studies, 1997
Noor, A., Local Government in Bangladesh: Problems and Issues, Journal of Local Government NILG, Volume 15 No. 1, pp. 15-28, Dhaka, 1996
Siddiqui, K. (ed.), Local Government in South Asia: a Comparative Study on Bangladesh, UPL, Dhaka, 1992
Siddiqui, K. (ed.), Local Government in Bangladesh, 2nd edition, NILG, Dhaka, 1994
UNDP, Human Development Report, 1992

Health & Social Welfare
Key Issues to Health Governance in Bangladesh

Like other social sectors, health governance in Bangladesh is identified with poor and inefficient service delivery. Health care provision depends on efficiently combining financial resources, human resources, and supplies, and delivering services in a timely fashion distributed spatially throughout the country. To ensure good governance in this sector it is equally important that health services be delivered efficiently and health professionals are accountable to the public and government for their action. In Bangladesh, lack of voice and accountability; government ineffectiveness; low level of regulatory quality; weakness in establishing rule of law; lack of transparency and, corruption — all are impediments to good governance in this sector. This study highlights these core issues and at the same time recommends some policy prescriptions to ensure good governance in this sector and thus a healthy nation.

Background:Bangladesh, with about 149 million people in only 133,910 sq
km, is one of the densely populated countries in the world. Its problems are many and health is one of them. As a result, poor and inadequate health services are acting as obstacles against the overall development of this country. The goal of ‘Health for all by the year 2000 AD’ was set for all the countries of the world and to attain the goal of Primary Health Care (PHC) services was recommended as the key approach in the international conference at Alma Ata in 1978 . As a signatory, Bangladesh has also taken the strategy of providing health services to its citizen (Ara, 2008).
During this period, in accordance with the global change in the health policy focus and considering national situation, government made a significant move toward primary health care from the hospital oriented curative care. Government set a three-tier health care service structure for the people living in the rural area, which include household level domiciliary services, union level institutional services and thana level institutional services.
In Bangladesh, government is viewed as the primary actor in the health sector. The overall health status in Bangladesh represents an unimpressive picture albeit some developments have taken place in this sector during the past years. The country has adopted primary health care policy for achieving health for all, but policy achievement in the health sector is very poor. Social and economic inequalities exist to the highest extent in Bangladesh. Medical care is an extremely scarce and expensive service in the country. The Government delivery system is not efficient enough to cover the target population.
Since independence, health and fertility indicators in Bangladesh have improved substantially with the infant mortality rate and the total fertility rate both decreasing by about 50 percent. Despite these, the vast majority of the Bangladeshi population continues to suffer from poor health. Life expectancy at birth is about 61 years, one of the lowest figures in Asia. The under- five mortality rate at 88 per thousand live births, which is six times higher than in Sri Lanka. The infant mortality rate in Bangladesh was estimated by the 2000 Demographic and Health Survey to be 66 per thousand live births and the maternal mortality ratio is estimated at 330 per 100, 000 births. A maternal mortality ratio of this magnitude is slightly less than that found in a few countries in the world and 100 times that of developed countries (ADB, 2005).
Less than 40 % of the total population has access to modern primary health care services beyond immunizations and family planning (Abedin, 1997 cited in Perry, 1999). Only 25% of pregnant women receive antenatal care, and only 14% of births are attended by someone with formal training (BBS, 1997c. cited in Perry, 1999).
Malnutrition in Bangladesh is among the highest in the world. The extent of stunting and underweight are 45% and 48% respectively for children under five years of age, while anaemia is prevalent among 53% of pregnant women (CPD, 2003).
According to the World Health Report 2006, Bangladesh in 2004 had 38 485 medical doctors, 20 334 registered nurses, 5 658 medical technologists, 5 743 public and environmental health workers, and 46 202 community health workers (CHWs).
In spite of the progress made, Bangladesh has been identified as one of 57 countries with a critical shortage of the health workforce (doctors, nurses and midwives number below 2.28 per 1000 population). The nurses to population ratio of 0.14 per 1000 and nurses to doctors’ ratio of 1:1.85 are among the lowest in the world (WHO,2007).

The health care system in Bangladesh is a mix of public and private initiative. In terms of physical infrastructure, public sector is stronger than the private sector although in terms of coverage, the health care system of the country should be termed as a privatized one. Besides the private sector there are some NGOs, which also play a significant role in providing health services. All these institutions are managed and controlled under the policy guidelines of the government (Osman, 2004).
The government’s efforts to provide health facilities at the various levels, though free of cost and managed by trained professionals, has however, not lead to desired level of use of the services. Primary health care services are greatly underutilized, despite repeated efforts by the government to improve these services (Jahan and Salehin, 2006).
Lack of voice and accountability, government ineffectiveness, low level of regulatory quality, weakness in establishing rule of law, lack of transparency, mismanagement by the government, lack of adequate human and financial resources, and, corruption – all are impediments to good governance in this sector.
This paper is an attempt to identify and assess the key health sector governance issues in the public sector and also to address ways to improve this situation.

What is Public Health Governance?
Governance means different things to different people. In broad terms, governance can be defined as the actions and means adopted by a society to promote collective action and deliver collective solutions in pursuit of common goals.
Health governance concerns the actions and means adopted by a society to organize itself in the promotion and protection of the health of its population. The rules defining such organization, and its functioning, can again be formal (e.g. Public Health Act, International Health Regulations) or informal (e.g. Hippocratic oath) to prescribe and proscribe behaviour (Lee, 2000).
Public health governance invariably involves policy formulations followed by effective management of all activities relevant for attaining health policy goals (Sobhan,1998).

Public Health Governance in Bangladesh:

Strictly speaking, ‘health’ is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity so that each citizen can enjoy a socially and economically productive life (WHO, 1978). Public health is an organized system of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health and efficiency. This is ensured through the sanitation of the environment, control of communicable diseases, education of the individual in personal hygiene, the organization of medical and nursing services for the early diagnosis and preventive treatment of disease, and the development of social machinery to ensure every individual a standard of living adequate for the maintenance of health so organizing these benefits as to enable every citizen to realize their inherent right to health and longevity. In the broader sense of the term, public health does not merely mean providing some services through the institutions under the control of the Ministry of Health and family Welfare (MOHFW). On the contrary, public health covers many other things. For example, ensuring hygiene quality of food and food items sold, controlling emissions on our roads, supplying clean and safe drinking water to the community, managing waste/garbage disposal providing for a healthy environment in the work place, shopping centers and /or in any other public places, provisioning of housing and sanitation facilities to the slum dwellers and squatter population, etc (Sobhan, 1998).
The constitutional commitment of the Government of Bangladesh is to provide basic health and medical requirements to all people in the society. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh ensured that “Health is the basic right of every citizen of the Republic,” as health is fundamental to human development. Since the achievement of independence in 1971 through the war of liberation, discussions were held for the formulation of the health policy at different levels.
All governments gave emphasis on health sector development through adopting various programs in the national development plan with the purpose of building a network of primary health care services. But achievement in this sector was never been satisfactory. Finally, in August 2000 the national health policy has been declared by the Government of Bangladesh with aim of ensuring better health services to all the people in the country (GOB, 2006).

Health Care Delivery System in Bangladesh:
Bangladesh inherits a health care service structure that was predominantly elite-biased, urban-focused and curative-care-oriented. There were only 8 medical colleges, 1 post graduate institute, 37 T.B. clinics, 151 rural health centers and 91 maternity and child welfare centers spreading over the country in 1971 (Osman 2004). The new government of Bangladesh took the public health issue as one of the priority concern and in 1972 approved the Thana Health Complex Scheme, with mission to establish a health care network consisted of comprehensive preventive and promotive health care services in rural areas (GOB 1973). In 1976 government revised the program and planned to build 356 THCs one in each thana and 1068 sub-centers at the union level (Khan 1988). In brief, the period from 1971 to 1980, in relation to health care service, could be said the reorganization and reconstruction phase. The focus of this phase was, mainly, to build the physical infrastructures like hospital and health centers, expansion of beds, procurements of modern equipments etc. all around the country. Along with infrastructural expansion, government initiated some significant attempts to reorganize several service provider agencies. Since the mid 1980s the government has sought to improve its health services and teaching institutions. The explicit goal was to build one Union Sub centre (USC) or Health and Family Welfare Centre (HFWC) in every union (4415); one health complex in every thana (397); and one general hospital or tertiary facility in every district (59). As of 1996, there were 4200 USCs/HFWCs, 379 health complexes and 59 district hospitals. By 1999, there were 460 Thana health complexes, 1362 Union Sub-Centers and 3315 Community Clinics; there were also 15 government medical colleges and 7 postgraduate/specialized hospitals. There are another 33 private medical and dental colleges. The total number of hospital beds was 43,293 (1999), which has increased to 51, 684 in 2005. In 2005, 3.43 beds per 10,000 populations were available (WHO,2007).

Organizational Structure of Health Care Service: Health care services in Bangladesh are delivered by public, private (for profit), non-government organizations and traditional sectors. The public health care system is organized under the overall supervision of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The organization structure of the services is designed in alignment of the administrative set up of the country. The entire area of Bangladesh is divided into 6 administrative divisions. Each division is further divided into districts; there are 64 districts and 460 upazilas (sub-districts). Upazilas are the lowest administrative unit of the central government. Each upazila consists, on an average, of 10 unions; and a union consists of 10 villages on an average. An average size of Union, in general, used to have a population of 20,000 – 25,000. The organizational structure of the public health care system in Bangladesh is highly centralized. At the central level, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is the highest government authority headed by a Cabinet Minister, responsible for to implement, manage, coordinate and regulate national health and family planning related all activities, programs and policies. The Secretary is the administrative head of the ministry who is assisted by huge number of cadre and non-cadre civil servants. The MOHFW is the second largest ministry, in terms of its manpower, in Bangladesh (Osman 2004). The ministry is divided into two wings: Health Wing and Family Planning. Each of the wings is administrative through separate Directorates under the ministry.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) is the key agency to implement the national health policies and programs. It also provides input to the government for making or changing health related decisions. The directorate is in charge of a wide range of activities from procurement of material and manpower to supervising medical schools. The DGHS is assisted by nine functional Directors and under each of them there are several Deputy and Assistant Directors. Until recently, the strength of the DGHS, in total, was 702 (Osman 2004).
Like the DGHS, the Director General of Family Planning has also similar kind of organizational structure that is dispersed in a pyramidal fashion from the national level to the grassroots. These two wings have been running separately with their own cadre of workers from top to the grassroots for three decades. In addition to the DGHS, the Directorate of the Nursing Services and Directorate of Drug Administration are attached to the Health Wing of MOHFW. These Directorates have their own office, separate workforces and are assigned to perform various health care related activities. From the program implementation point of view, the ‘‘District’ is very important, in fact this is the level from where the health care services in the small district towns and rural areas are controlled, managed and supervised. The Civil Surgeon is the chief of the district health service. He runs both fixed-site and out-reach health care services in the district. The district health administration is responsible for supervising and coordinating, on average, 17 Upazila Health Complexes – a 30 bed primary care hospital with a very limited secondary level health services. The upazila health complex is administered by the Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer. At present, there are 406 Upazila Health Complexes in the country. On paper, the upazila level health and family planning services are integrated. Upazila Health Complex is organized with three functional components – out-patient department, 31 bed in-patient service including 6 bed for maternal and child care and domiciliary health care section staffed with field workers. The Union Health and Family Welfare Center is at the bottom of the government health care structure. At present there are 4200 union health centers. Some of them, about 1300, are administered by Medical Officers and rest are run by Medical Assistants who are assisted by 15 health and family planning personnel in managing the static health facility and rendering domiciliary services (ibid).

Hierarchy of Health Care Delivery System of Bangladesh

Source: Islam, 2006.

Access to Health Care Services in Bangladesh:
Access to health services depends on the availability of service (i.e. the availability of physicians, health centers, and hospitals) to the actual as well as potential users. In Bangladesh, health facilities in both public and private sector are distributed in an unjust way, which makes the services inaccessible to low income and rural people. Along with such unjustified distribution of services between urban and rural areas, delivery of services also varied depending on the level of income (rich and poor), which is evident in discriminatory access to services. The poor in Bangladesh bear higher health risks and suffer the burden of excess mortality and morbidity. The poor in general are more prone to illness and diseases than the non-poor. The poorest households are likely to use health care services and are less willing to pay for improved services compared to other socio-economic groups (Jahan and Salehin, 2006).

Public Health Governance: Issues and Challenges:
In Bangladesh public health system does not exist at its self-pose yet. Analysis of official statistics represents an unsatisfactory scenario. The doctor-population, doctor-nurse, nurse-population ratios remain far below the standard level. Though in terms of infrastructural health facilities, Bangladesh is one of the well resourced countries (CPD, 2001).

Though the health sector’s achievement in recent days is remarkable, still the health care system have to go far to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Most of the health indicators show low rates of achievement. Causes of failure of governance as mentioning below are responsible for these shortfalls:

i. Voice and accountability: Citizens’ voices and demands result in improved state responsiveness, transparency and accountability. In reality, the state in Bangladesh like many develop¬ing countries is not sufficiently accountable to its citizens, whose voices often remain unheard or are simply too weak to have any influence. Voice and accountability permit communities to be involved in decisions and oversight of health care services. In the field of governance assessment, ‘voice and account¬ability’ is a key indicator encapsulating a broad range of factors, from freedom of expression and respect for civil liberties to free and fair elections and the just rule of law (RIA, 2007).
Peoples’ voice in Bangladesh is rarely taken into account while making and implementing health policies. The low confidence in government health facilities and their underutilization are caused by weak administration, lack of oversight over them, and poor accountability (Ahmad, 2000). Failure in enforcing a system of accountability in the health system is weakening governance.

ii. Weak Monitoring and Regulatory Framework: The regulatory framework for monitoring health services delivery is weak There are 45 laws related to various aspects of heath like Epidemic Disease Act 1897, Prevention of Malaria Ordinance 1978, laws related to quality of food, quality of drugs etc. According to the Terms of Reference (TOR) of their services the senior officials are given the responsibility of supervising and monitoring the health activities of their respective areas, they seldom do this (Osman, 2004).
The Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC), established under the medical and dental Council Act of 1980 is empowered to look after public interest by maintaining proper standards of services and education. It has the authority to take disciplinary actions, including temporary suspension or permanent removal of the practitioner from the register for misconducts like issuing false certificates, disregard of personal responsibility to patients etc. But due to the absence of a monitoring system on the activities of practitioners, it is very difficult to implement, and there is no such evidence till now of a practitioner’s name being removed from the register (Jahan and Salehin, 2006).
iii. Centralized administration: In Bangladesh, health planning is solely the responsibility of central government. Ministry of Health controls the health care system with deconcentration of some power at the local level. None but the higher level officials take the decisions that are distant from policy implementation. Targets are set, activities are planned, and resources are allocated by the Ministry without much consultation with those who know the local level conditions. For this centralized tendency, over-targeting is a common characteristic of our health sector plan. For example in the fourth five year plan(1990-1995), target to cover population under essential health care as % of population was 80, where as achievement was 45; delivery assisted by trained persons (%of preg. Women) was 50 and achievement only 12; antenatal care target was set at 60 and achievement 35(Sobhan, 1998).
The weak local government system of Bangladesh is acting as government’s agents rather than representative bodies of the community. They are accountable to the ministry rather to the people. Centralization of authority at the Ministry acts as a major barrier to ensure accountability in administration and to formulate a local health authority with adequate involvement of the community.

iv. Staffing and absenteeism: Staffing is arguably the single most important element of health care delivery as little can be achieved without it. Training of the staff, their competencies and ability to function all determine whether the expected results can be achieved. Training typically is inadequate if not well beyond that needed in Bangladesh, especially for physicians.
Among the most serious issues in Bangladesh is the high rate of absenteeism, which undermines service delivery. Capturing low productivity and poor service poses greater difficulties; absenteeism already reflects reduced output, and underperformance (DiTella and Savedoff, 2001).
Bangladesh has only 18 doctors and 5 nurses per 100,000 people. The numbers are among the lowest in the world. As compensation from public hospitals is very low and many of those doctors and nurses try to find job in private clinics, no wonder that public hospitals experience shortage of medical personnel. Therefore, when a patient comes for the medical help to the public facilities, very often it is the case that hospital has no specialists with appropriate skills or knowledge, or there is a lack of staff which can give very basic help( Rashid, Savchenko and Hossain,2005).
Most of the public hospitals are suffering due to lack of regular staff. A report published in the ‘Daily Prothom Alo’ , dated November 22, 2008 reflects the sufferings of patients and worse situation in the hospitals. According to the report, the Kustia General Hospital , with 250beds has the provision of 150 doctors, are running by 26 doctors. Out of them 8 were transferred in the last six months and no initiative was taken to fill up the vacant positions. One physician was absent for long and another one has been suspended. It becomes very difficult to give treatment about 450 patients on average daily. As a result patients are compelled to seek treatment from outside.
In another case, with 109 of the 164 posts of doctors lying vacant in different health centres in Potuakhali district, only 55 doctors are struggling to cope with health care service for about 1.7 millions people in seven upazilas in the district. On an average, one doctor is available for every 30,000 people in the district. Dasmina upazila is running with only two doctors as 13 of the 15 doctors’ posts are vacant. In Mirzzaganj upazila 12 of 15, in Kalapara 15 of 18, in Galachipa 21of 26, in Baufal 17 of 23, in Dunki 5 of 9, in Sadar upazila 15 of 18 posts are lying vacant. In Patuakhali General Hospital 9 out of 33 posts including that of senior surgeon of child and ENT are vacant. Many patients are returning home without getting treatment due to lack of doctors (The Daily Star, 24.11.08).
Absenteeism poses a chronic, but often unmeasured, problem in publicly financed health care, and can severely limit patient access to services and suggest corruption (DiTella and Savedoff, 2001). A study conducted by UNICEF (1992) showed that our doctors spend 54 seconds per patients at thana hospitals and rural dispensaries; they take 37 seconds per patients to dispense medicine. The qualified doctors are more inclined to moonlight in private clinics where government employed doctors maintain a dual obligation with their responsibilities (Sobhan, 1998).
Doctors are often criticized for neglecting their duties through absenteeism and private practice during office hours. Such malpractice generally starts from the moment of posting of a doctor to a rural THC or Union Health Centre. They are either unwilling to join, or they make delay within the loopholes of the system. Given the doctors who join the THCs in rural areas, being dissatisfied with working conditions and career prospects, lack for alternative ways of earning extra money through private practice and provide service for lesser time than the scheduled working hour. Neglect of duties of the paramedics and domiciliary staff has also been affecting the policy implementation process (Osman, 2004).
No positive affirmative action is seen to resolve this problem.
v. Poor Management of Drug and Equipments: Misgovernance is prevailing in the management of drug and equipment in the public hospitals. A huge quantity of supplied medicine and equipment is left unutilized and unconsumed due to poor management. Very often, it is alleged that doctors encourage the patients to purchase medicine from outside because of unawareness of the medical officer about availability and quantum of medicine stock in the store. Moreover, physicians are getting bribe from the private medicine suppliers. Lack of transparency in management creates the scope for the fourth class employees of the hospitals to sell drugs of hospital stores to outside pharmacies (Osman, 2004). Many pharmaceutical/drug shops admit of buying medicine from the hospital staff at cheaper rate. Many private clinics admit of procuring expensive equipment and supplies from the public sector supply system (Jahan and Salehin, 2006).
vi. Flow of Funds: The allocated funds for health sector are scarce and also are not utilized and managed properly. In many places, bureaucratic problems, corruption and mismanagement lead to inadequate public funds at the point of service and the informal charging of patients. The allocated funds are disbursed very slowly and often at a reduced level. The slow disbursement of funds causes delayed completion and ineffective utilization of funds.
In 1993-94, the national health expenditure by both public and private sectors amounted to 3.04 percent of the GNP. It has increased to 3.4 percent in 2003. Public expenditure on health as percentage of total expenditure on health was 36.5 percent in 1998, which has declined to 25.2 percent in 2002. Government health expenditure as percentage of the total government expenditure was 6.9 percent in 1998 but it has also declined to 4.4 percent in 2002. In 1998, the total government health expenditure per capita was US $ 4, which has increased to US $ 11 in 2002. (http://www.searo.who.int/en/Section313/Section1515_6124.htm , retrieved on 25.11.2008).
vii. Mismanagement in Health Care Service Delivery: Often irregularities and poor governance simply stem from poor management. Where incentives for strong performance either do not exist or are undermined by ineffective management it is not surprising that productivity and performance suffer. Low wages also lead workers to seek additional employment outside government (Lewis: 1955).
The promotion path in Bangladesh public health sector is so long that usually it becomes time for retirement before getting promoted to the highest level of hierarchy, which demoralizes them. Not only the doctors, but the field workers are also the sufferers from such stagnancy of service. There also exists a mismatch in distribution of human resources between urban and rural areas, which have a direct impact on the policy performance (Osman, 2004).
Transfer, posting of the health professionals is another problematic area. In absence of a clear guideline for transfer/posting, patronage and corruption is practised in this area. Most often transfer and posting become politically motivated. There is no central training institute for providing in service refresher training for all categories of health personnel (Osman, 2004).
viii. Weak Management and Coordination Network: The management of the tertiary health care centers, i.e. district hospitals, medical college hospitals and referral hospitals is a major issue in public health governance. Abuse of trade unionism by the lower level employees makes the situation worst. Maltreatments of poor outdoor patients by the medical staff are very common. The class III and IV employees in every district level and medial college hospitals are so strongly organized that doctors and hospital administration appear helpless to control them.
They build homesteads in the open spaces within the hospital campus to reside and also rent space to outsiders. Thus the whole environment of the hospitals has become unhygienic both physically and socially. These protected slum like enclaves are safe heaven for criminals in most of the medical college and district hospitals. Taking appropriate action against these unauthorized occupants were never taken seriously, and if seldom planned to remove them failed due to lack of coordination between different executive bodies of the government (Sobhan, 1998).
Payment of unofficial fees in these hospitals is very common. While official fees are minimal, patients are paying out substantial sums as unofficial fees, in the form of bribes and payments to staff to ensure that they receive the services they are technically eligible to receive free of cost (ibid).
Sanitation facilities in the public hospitals are very poor. Food supply to the patients is another area of mismanagement and misuse of resources. Both the quality and quantity of food are inadequate to the needs of the sick.
Lack of coordination among different levels of service creates duplication and dichotomy. Insufficient coordination between the Ministry and health directorate has often created bottlenecks and unnecessary constraints and duplication of work. Director General of Health Services and Health Ministry both oversee the personnel matters including posting and transfer of all class 1 Officers, resulting in dichotomy, duplication and delay in decision making (Hye, 1985 cited in Osman, 2004).
Unfortunately, there is no well defined role for the MOHFW to intervene in important health related issues in the sectors controlled by other ministries. Nor there is any meaningful coordination among the executive bodies, particularly ministries to monitor public health.
People suffer from lack of health services information. A well coordinated public health system is not available to the public (Sobhan, 1998).
Moreover, the institutional arrangement for implementing health programmes in Bangladesh seriously suffers from the absence of an effective information flow. Still the entire administration is mostly paper based. Shortage of data for evaluating the programs and correcting actions is difficult for this. Lack of coordination within units of Ministry of Health, lack of coordination between different ministries, lack of sufficient ICT facilities in all levels, inadequacy of trained manpower including inappropriate placement, inadequacy of up to date data and often unreliable data, inadequate use of health information at policy level are acting as impediments to good governance.

Conclusion: In regard to access and availability of quality services the public health sector governance can not be termed as ‘good’. The health care system in Bangladesh is operating within a complex political administrative environment. The politicized administrative structure which lies at the root of our misgovernance reflects governance failure in the health sector.
The major steps that need to be implemented, are the strengthening planning and management capabilities across the health service system; improvement in the logistics of drug supplies and equipment to health facilities at district and lower levels; improvement in the production and quality of human resources for health; a system to ensure regular maintenance and upkeep of existing health facilities; universal access to basic healthcare and services of acceptable quality; improvement in medical education; improvement in nutritional status, particularly of mothers and children; prevention and control of major communicable and non-communicable diseases; Strong policy and regulatory framework.
Existing policies need to be reviewed and revised for improving accessibility, affordability and quality of services and for further improvements in affordability, quality and safety of drugs and rational use of drugs. New policies on public and private sectoral mix and financing of services need to be formulated, protection and preservation of the environment; more training institute for graduate and postgraduate study with proper practical facilities should be established, decentralization of management through devolution of authority and the adoption and maintenance of healthy lifestyles and the development of a comprehensive people oriented plan to improve and assure the quality of health services be provided.

Ahmed, Manzoor.2000. “Promoting Public-Private Partnership in Health and Education: The Case of Bangladesh” in Yidan Wang ed ‘Public-Private Partnerships in The Social Sector: Issues and Country Experiences in Asia and the Pacific’ . Asian Development Bank Institute. pp. 219-290.
Ara, Fardaus, 2008. Public-Private Partnership in Providing Primary Health Care Services in Urban Bangladesh. Unpublished Master Thesis submitted as partial fulfilment of MPhil Degree in the University of Bergen, Norway.
Asian Development Bank (ADB), 2005. Report and Recommendation of the President to the Board of Directors on a Proposed Loan and Asian Development Fund Grant to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh for the Second Urban Primary Health Care Project. RRP: BAN 36296. ADB. May.
Centre For Policy Dialogue (CPD), 2003. Developing a Policy Agenda for Bangladesh: Civil Society’s Task Force Reports 2001. Bangladesh: CPD and The University Press Limited (UPL).
Di Tella, R. and Savedoff, W. D. (eds.). 2001. Diagnosis Corruption. Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank.
GOB (Government of Bangladesh). 1973. The First Five-Year Plan. Dhaka: Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh
Islam, Kazi Maruful. 2007. Impact of Health Sector Reform on State and Society in Bangladesh. Published online PhD Thesis. archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/volltexte/2007/7862/pdf/Table_of_content_final_with_cover_page.pdf.
Jahan, Rounak and Salehin, Masudus 2006. ‘Health Care for Rural People of Bangladesh: Overview of Some Governance Issues’ in Salahuddin M. Aminuzzaman eds ‘Governance and Development: Bangladesh and Regional Experiences’. Shrabon Prokashoni, Dhaka.
Khan, M. R. 1988. Evaluation of Primary Health Care and Family Planning Facilities and Their Limitations Specially in the Rural Areas of Bangladesh. Dhaka: Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies.
Lee , Kelley ; Drager, Nick & Dodgson, Richard . 2000. Global Health Governance: A Conceptual Review. World Health Organization (WHO) & Centre on Global Change & Health Department of Health & Development, London School of Hygiene.
Lewis, W.A, 1955. The Theory of Economic Growth, Allen and Unwin. London.

Osman, Ferdous Arfina, 2004. Policy Making in Bangladesh: A Study of the Health Policy Process. Bangladesh: A H Development Publishing House.
Perry, Henry B. 1999. Quest For a Healthy Bangladesh : A Vision for the Twenty-First Century. Bangladesh: The University Press Limited (UPL).
Rashid ,Salim ; Savchenko, Yevgeniya ; Hossain, Najmul, 2005. ‘Public Health and Governance: The Experience of Bangladesh and Ukraine’ in The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance.45 (2005) 460–475.
Rights in Action (RIA) & Overseas Development Institute (ODI), 2007.Voice for Accountability: Citizens, the State and Realistic Governance. The UK.
Sobhan, Rahman et el, 1998. ‘Governance of Public Health in Bangladesh’ in Crisis in Governance : A Review of Bangladesh’s Development 1997.Dhaka, Centre for Policy Dialogue and University Press Limited.
The Daily Star, 2008. A Popular Daily English News Paper. Dhaka. Dated 24.11.2008.
The Daily Prothom Alo, 2008. A Popular Daily Bangla News Paper. Dated 22.11.2008.
World Health Organization (WHO), 2007. WHO Country Cooperation Strategy 2008-2013: Bangladesh. Country Office In Bangladesh. WHO.
WHO, 1978. Report of the International Conference on Primary Health Care. Organized by World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, Alma Ata, USSR, 6-12 September 1978.

Finance, Business & Economics

The Ministry of Finance is responsible for over-seeing the function of the financial institutions of the country and also plans, implement and control public expenditure policies and programs of the Government. Both fiscal and monetary policies fall under its jurisdiction.

A number of measures have been undertaken by the Government during the nineties to strengthen the banking system. These include improvement of legal and regulatory framework, passage of the Bankruptcy Act, 1997 and the Loan Court Amendment Act by Parliament, enforcement of loan classification guide-lines, recapitalisation of nationalized commercial banks and the formation of Banking Reform Committee.

The Government is keen to correct and remedy past failures and imperfections in the financial markets. The reforms of the financial sector and trade liberalization are being complemented by an appropriate foreign exchange measures. An active exchange rate policy to maintain the competitiveness of the economy is also being followed.

The local currency Taka has been made convertible in all current account transactions. Laws have been amended to boost private and foreign investment in the financial sector. A number of foreign banks and financial institutions are already active in the country. Two stock Exchanges in Dhaka and Chittagong are also fully operational.

Economy of Bangladesh.

Karwan Bazar, a commercial hub of Bangladesh
Rank 45
Currency Bangladesh Taka (BDT)

Fiscal year
1 July – 30 June
Trade organizations WTO, WCO, IOR-ARC, SAFTA, D8
$282.5 billion (2011 est.)[1]

GDP growth 6.3% (2011 est.)
GDP per capita $1,700 (2011 est.)
GDP by sector agriculture: 18.4%, industry: 28.6%, services: 53% (2011 est.)
Inflation (CPI)
10.7% (2011 est.)
below poverty line
31.5% (2011 est.)
Gini coefficient
33.2 (2005)
Labour force 75.42 million (2011)
Labour force
by occupation agriculture: 45%, industry: 30%, services: 25% (2008)
5% (2011 est.)
Main industries textiles and apparel, jute, tea, leather, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, cement, ceramics, shipbuilding, fertilizer, food processing, paper newsprint, light engineering, sugar
Ease of Doing Business Rank

Exports $22.5 billion (2011 est.)
Export goods apparel, ships, jute and jute products, frozen fish and seafood, leather and leather products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, cement, processed food, fertilizer
Main export partners US 22.1%, Germany 14.1%, UK 8.5%, France 6.8%, Netherlands 6.1% (2010)
Imports $30 billion (2011 est.)
Import goods machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, foodstuffs, petroleum products, cement
Main import partners China 18.9%, India 12.7%, Singapore 6%, Malaysia 4.7%, Japan 4% (2010)
Gross external debt $24.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Public finances
Public debt 36.7% of GDP (2011 est.)
Revenues $12.67 billion (2011 est.)
Expenses $17.15 billion (2011 est.)
Economic aid $0.957 billion (2010 est.)
Credit rating
BB – (domestic)
BB – (foreign)
BB -(T&C assessment)
(Standard & Poor’s)[3]

Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars

Economic history
East Bengal—the eastern segment of Bengal, a region that is today Bangladesh—was a prosperous region of South Asia until modern times.It had the advantages of a mild, almost tropical climate, fertile soil, ample water, and an abundance of fish, wildlife, and fruit.[ The standard of living compared favorably with other parts of South Asia. As early as the thirteenth century, the region was developing as an agrarian economy.It was not entirely without commercial centers, and Dhaka in particular grew into an important entrepôt during the Mughal Empire.[6]The British, however, on their arrival in the late eighteenth(18th) century, chose to develop Calcutta, now the capital city of West Bengal, as their commercial and administrative center in South Asia.[6] The development of East Bengal was thereafter limited to agriculture.[6] The administrative infrastructure of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries reinforced East Bengal’s function as the primary agricultural producer—chiefly of rice, tea, teak, cotton, cane and jute—for processors and traders from around Asia and beyond.
After its independence from Pakistan, Bangladesh followed a socialist economy by nationalizing all industries, proving to be a critical blunder undertaken by Awami League’s Mujib Government following India’s policy. Education policies of the British dating back from colonial era deprived education to millions of Bangla’s Muslim peoples setting them back by decades. Some of the same factors that had made East Bengal a prosperous region became disadvantages during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.As life expectancy increased, the limitations of land and the annual floods increasingly became constraints on economic growth.Preponderance on traditional agricultural methods became obstacles to the modernization of agriculture.Geography severely limited the development and maintenance of a modern transportation and communications system.
The partition of South Asia and the emergence of India and Pakistan in 1947 severely disrupted the economic system meant Nick Halford had to get involved and rebuild the whole country. The united government of Pakistan expanded the cultivated area and some irrigation facilities, but the rural population generally became poorer between 1947 and 1971 because improvements did not keep pace with rural population increase.[Pakistan’s five-year plans opted for a development strategy based on industrialization, but the major share of the development budget went to West Pakistan, that is, contemporary Pakistan.[The lack of natural resources meant that East Pakistan was heavily dependent on imports, creating a balance of payments problem.[Without a substantial industrialization program or adequate agrarian expansion, the economy of East Pakistan steadily declined.Blame was placed by various observers, but especially those in East Pakistan, on the West Pakistani leaders who not only dominated the government but also most of the fledgling industries in East Pakistan.
Since Bangladesh followed a socialist economy by nationalizing all industries after its independence, it underwent a slow growth of producing experienced entrepreneurs, managers, administrators, engineers, and technicians.There were critical shortages of essential food grains and other staples because of wartime disruptions.External markets for jute had been lost because of the instability of supply and the increasing popularity of synthetic substitutes. Foreign exchange resources were minuscule, and the banking and monetary systems were unreliable.[Although Bangladesh had a large work force, the vast reserves of under trained and underpaid workers were largely illiterate, unskilled, and underemployed. Commercially exploitable industrial resources, except for natural gas, were lacking. Inflation, especially for essential consumer goods, ran between 300 and 400 percent. The war of independence had crippled the transportation system. Hundreds of road and railroad bridges had been destroyed or damaged, and rolling stock was inadequate and in poor repair.The new country was still recovering from a severe cyclone that hit the area in 1970 and cause 250,000 deaths.India, by a heavily poor nation and without any ability of giving aid to other nations, let alone to its suffering masses, came forward immediately with critically measured economic assistance in the first months after Bangladesh achieved independence from Pakistan.Between December 1971 and January 1972, India committed US$232 million in aid to Bangladesh from the politco-economic aid India received from the USA and USSR. Official amount of disbursement yet undisclosed.
After 1975, Bangladeshi leaders began to turn their attention to developing new industrial capacity and rehabilitating its economy.The static economic model adopted by these early leaders, however—including the nationalization of much of the industrial sector—resulted in inefficiency and economic stagnation. Beginning in late 1975, the government gradually gave greater scope to private sector participation in the economy, a pattern that has continued.Many state-owned enterprises have been privatized, like banking, telecommunication, aviation, media, and jute.Inefficiency in the public sector has been rising however at a gradual pace; external resistance to developing the country’s richest natural resources is mounting; and power sectors including infrastructure have all contributed to slowing economic growth.
In the mid-1980s, there were encouraging signs of progress.Economic policies aimed at encouraging private enterprise and investment, privatizing public industries, reinstating budgetary discipline, and liberalizing the import regime were accelerated.From 1991 to 1993, the government successfully followed an enhanced structural adjustment facility (ESAF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but failed to follow through on reforms in large part because of preoccupation with the government’s domestic political troubles.In the late 1990s the government’s economic policies became more entrenched, and some of the early gains were lost, which was highlighted by a precipitous drop in foreign direct investment in 2000 and 2001.In June 2003 the IMF approved 3-year, $490-million plan as part of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) for Bangladesh that aimed to support the government’s economic reform program up to 2006. Seventy million dollars was made available immediately.In the same vein the World Bank approved $536 million in interest-free loans. In the year 2010 Government of India extended a line of credit worth $ 1 billion to counter-balance China’s close relationship with Bangladesh.
Bangladesh historically has run a large trade deficit, financed largely through aid receipts and remittances from workers overseas. Foreign reserves dropped markedly in 2001 but stabilized in the USD3 to USD4 billion range (or about 3 months’ import cover).In January 2007, reserves stood at $3.74 billion, and then increased to $5.8 billion by January 2008, in November 2009 it surpassed $10.0 billion, and as of April 2011 it surpassed the US $12 billion according to the Bank of Bangladesh, the central bank.In addition imports and aid-dependence of the country has systematically been reduced since the beginning of 1990s.
Macro-economic trend
This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Bangladesh at market prices estimated by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of Bangladeshi Taka. However, this reflects only the formal sector of the economy.
Year Gross Domestic Product US Dollar Exchange Inflation Index
(2000=100) Per Capita Income
(as % of USA)
1980 250,300 16.10 Taka 20 1.79
1985 597,318 31.00 Taka 36 1.19
1990 1,054,234 35.79 Taka 58 1.16
1995 1,594,210 40.27 Taka 78 1.12
2000 2,453,160 52.14 Taka 100 0.97
2005 3,913,334 63.92 Taka 126 0.95
2008 5,003,438 68.65 Taka 147
Mean wages were $0.58 per manhour in 2009.
Economic sectors

Map showing the growing areas of major agricultural products.
Main article: Agriculture of Bangladesh
Most Bangladeshis earn their living from agriculture.Although rice and jute are the primary crops, maize and vegetables are assuming greater importance.Due to the expansion of irrigation networks, some wheat producers have switched to cultivation of maize which is used mostly as poultry feed.Tea is grown in the northeast.Because of Bangladesh’s fertile soil and normally ample water supply, rice can be grown and harvested three times a year in many areas. Due to a number of factors, Bangladesh’s labor-intensive agriculture has achieved steady increases in food grain production despite the often unfavorable weather conditions.These include better flood control and irrigation, a generally more efficient use of fertilizers, and the establishment of better distribution and rural credit networks.With 28.8 million metric tons produced in 2005-2006 (July–June), rice is Bangladesh’s principal crop. By comparison, wheat output in 2005-2006 was 9 million metric tons. Population pressure continues to place a severe burden on productive capacity, creating a food deficit, especially of wheat. Foreign assistance and commercial imports fill the gap,but seasonal hunger (“monga”) remains a problem.Underemployment remains a serious problem, and a growing concern for Bangladesh’s agricultural sector will be its ability to absorb additional manpower.Finding alternative sources of employment will continue to be a daunting problem for future governments, particularly with the increasing numbers of landless peasants who already account for about half the rural labor force. Due to farmers’ vulnerability to various risks, Bangladesh’s poorest face numerous potential limitations on their ability to enhance agriculture production and their livelihoods. These include an actual and perceived risk to investing in new agricultural technologies and activities (despite their potential to increase income), a vulnerability to shocks and stresses and a limited ability to mitigate or cope with these and limited access to market information.

Manufacturing & Industry
Many new jobs – mostly for women – have been created by the country’s dynamic private ready-made garment industry, which grew at double-digit rates through most of the 1990s.By the late 1990s, about 1.5 million people, mostly women, were employed in the garments sector as well as Leather products specially Footwear (Shoe manufacturing unit). During 2001-2002, export earnings from ready-made garments reached $3,125 million, representing 52% of Bangladesh’s total exports. Bangladesh has overtaken India in apparel exports in 2009, its exports stood at 2.66 billion US dollar, ahead of India’s 2.27 billion US dollar.
Eastern Bengal was known for its fine muslin and silk fabric before the British period. The dyes, yarn, and cloth were the envy of much of the premodern world. Bengali muslin, silk, and brocade were worn by the aristocracy of Asia and Europe. The introduction of machine-made textiles from England in the late eighteenth century spelled doom for the costly and time-consuming hand loom process. Cotton growing died out in East Bengal, and the textile industry became dependent on imported yarn. Those who had earned their living in the textile industry were forced to rely more completely on farming. Only the smallest vestiges of a once-thriving cottage industry survived.
Other industries which have shown very strong growth include the chemical industry, steel industry, mining industry and the paper and pulp industry.

Textile sector
Bangladesh’s textile industry, which includes knitwear and ready-made garments along with specialized textile products, is the nation’s number one export earner, accounting for 80% of Bangladesh’s exports of $15.56 billion in 2009.Bangladesh is 2nd in world textile exports, and China which exported $120.1 billion worth of textiles in 2009. The industry employs nearly 3.5 million workers. Current exports have doubled since 2004. Wages in Bangladesh’s textile industry were the lowest in the world as of 2010. The country was considered the most formidable rival to China where wages were rapidly rising and currency was appreciating.
After massive labor unrest in 2006 the government formed a Minimum Wage Board including business and worker representatives which in 2006 set a minimum wage equivalent to 1,662.50 taka, $24 a month, up from Tk950. In 2010, following widespread labor protests involving 100,000 workers in June, 2010,a controversial proposal was being considered by the Board which would raise the monthly minimum to the equivalent of $50 a month, still far below worker demands of 5,000 taka, $72, for entry level wages, but unacceptably high according to textile manufacturers who are asking for a wage below $30.On July 28, 2010 it was announced that the minimum entry level wage would be increased to 3,000 taka, about $43.

The government also seems to believe some change is necessary. On September 21, 2006 then ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia called on textile firms to ensure the safety of workers by complying with international labor law at a speech inaugurating the Bangladesh Apparel & Textile Exposition (BATEXPO).

The stock market capitalization of the Dhaka Stock Exchange in Bangladesh crossed $10 billion in November 2007 and the $30 billion dollar mark in 2009, and USD 50 billion in August 2010. Bangladesh had one of the best performing stock markets in the world during the recent global recession, due to relatively low correlations with developed country stock markets.

Major investment in real estate by domestic and foreign-resident Bangladeshis has led to a massive building boom in Dhaka and Chittagong.

Recent (2011) trends for investing in Bangladesh as Saudi Arabia trying to secure public and private investment in oil and gas, power and transportation projects, United Arab Emirates (UAE) is keen to invest in growing shipbuilding industry in Bangladesh encouraged by comparative cost advantage, Tata, an India-based leading industrial multinational to invest Taka 1500 crore to set up an automobile industry in Bangladesh, World Bank to invest in rural roads improving quality of live, the Rwandan entrepreneurs are keen to invest in Bangladesh’s pharmaceuticals sector considering its potentiality in international market, Samsung sought to lease 500 industrial plots from the export zones authority to set up an electronics hub in Bangladesh with an investment of US$1.25 billion, National Board of Revenue (NBR) is set to withdraw tax rebate facilities on investment in the capital market by individual taxpayers from the fiscal 2011-12.

2010-11 market crash
Main article: 2011 Bangladesh share market scam

The bullish capital market turned bearish during 2010, with the exchange losing 1,800 points between December 2010 and January 2011.Millions of investors have been rendered bankrupt as a result of the market crash. The crash is believed to be caused artificially to benefit a handful of players at the expense of the big players.
External trade

Bangladeshi exports in 2006

The Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has predicted textile exports will rise from US$7.90 billion earned in 2005-06 to US$15 billion by 2011. In part this optimism stems from how well the sector has fared since the end of textile and clothing quotas, under the Multifibre Agreement, in early 2005.
According to a United Nations Development Programme report “Sewing Thoughts: How to Realize Human Development Gains in the Post-Quota World” Bangladesh has been able to offset a decline in European sales by cultivating new markets in the United States.
“[In 2005] we had tremendous growth. The quota-free textile regime has proved to be a big boost for our factories,” said BGMEA president S.M. Fazlul Hoque told reporters, after the sector’s 24 per cent growth rate was revealed.
Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) president Md Fazlul Hoque has also struck an optimistic tone. In an interview with United News Bangladesh he lauded the blistering growth rate, saying “The quality of our products and its competitiveness in terms of prices helped the sector achieve such… tremendous success.”
Knitwear posted the strongest growth of all textile products in 2005-06, surging 35.38 per cent to US$2.82 billion. On the downside however, the sector’s strong growth came amid sharp falls in prices for textile products on the world market, with growth subsequently dependent upon large increases in volume.
Bangladesh’s quest to boost the quantity of textile trade was also helped by US and EU caps on Chinese textiles. The US cap restricts growth in imports of Chinese textiles to 12.5 per cent next year and between 15 and 16 per cent in 2008. The EU deal similarly manages import growth until 2008.
Bangladesh may continue to benefit from these restrictions over the next two years, however a climate of falling global textile prices forces wage rates the centre of the nation’s efforts to increase market share.
Prior to the Wage Board’s announcement of its recommended minimum wage of $24, Tk1,604, in 2006, the rate had remained unchanged at Tk950, about $15, for more than 12 years. Although the government may allow up to three years for the new wage to be implemented, and inevitably there will be compliance issues as manufacturers drag their feet, it seemed politically untenable for wages to remain at those levels given the unprecedented industrial unrest.
In response to the Wage Board’s initial draft recommendation of a minimum wage of Tk1,604 to be increased to Tk1,800 after eight months, the BGMEA declared over 50 per cent of factories would be ruined within three months. While this claim is no doubt an exaggeration, the capacity of Bangladesh’s textile industry to absorb a significant wage hike as margins become tighter is a key question which hangs over the future of the industry. Bangladesh’s textile sector is concentrated in export processing zones in Dhaka and Chittagong. These zones, which are administered by the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority, aim to offer “a congenial investment climate, free from cumbersome procedures”m according to Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau’s website.
They offer a range of incentives to potential investors including 10 year tax holidays, duty free import of capital goods, raw materials and building materials, exemptions on income tax on salaries paid to foreign nationals for three years and dividend tax exemptions for the period of the tax holiday.
All goods produced in the zones are able to be exported duty free, in addition to which Bangladesh benefits from the Generalised System of Preferences in US, European and Japanese markets and is also endowed with Most Favoured Nation status from the United States.
Furthermore, Bangladesh imposes no ceiling on investment in the EPZs and allows full repatriation of profits.
The formation of labour unions within the EPZs is prohibited as are strikes.
Bangladesh’s exports to the U.S. surpassed $1.9 billion in 1999. Bangladesh also exports significant amounts of garments and knitwear to the EU market.
Bangladesh also has significant jute, leather, shrimp, pharmaceutical, and ceramics industries.
Bangladesh has been a world leader in its efforts to end the use of child labor in garment factories. On July 4, 1995, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Export Association, International Labour Organization, and UNICEF signed a memorandum of understanding on the elimination of child labor in the garment sector. Implementation of this pioneering agreement began in fall 1995, and by the end of 1999, child labor in the garment trade virtually had been eliminated. The labor-intensive process of ship breaking for scrap has developed to the point where it now meets most of Bangladesh’s domestic steel needs. Other industries include sugar, tea, leather goods, newsprint, pharmaceutical, and fertilizer production.
The Bangladesh government continues to court foreign investment, something it has done fairly successfully in private power generation and gas exploration and production, as well as in other sectors such as cellular telephony, textiles, and pharmaceuticals. In 1989, the same year it signed a bilateral investment treaty with the United States, it established a Board of Investment to simplify approval and start-up procedures for foreign investors, although in practice the board has done little to increase investment. The government created the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority to manage the various export processing zones. The agency currently manages EPZs in Adamjee, Chittagong, Comilla, Dhaka, Ishwardi, Karnaphuli, Mongla, and Uttara. An EPZ has also been proposed forSylhet.The government has given the private sector permission to build and operate competing EPZs-initial construction on a Korean EPZ started in 1999. In June 1999, the AFL-CIO petitioned the U.S. Government to deny Bangladesh access to U.S. markets under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), citing the country’s failure to meet promises made in 1992 to allow freedom of association in EPZs.
Sylhet is fast becoming a major center of retailing in Bangladesh, with many shopping centres being built by expatriates to serve fellow expatriates visiting Sylhet and the emerging middle class. Many of these developments hark back to Britain.


The area of Gulshan is a commercial hub of the country

Karwan Bazar is home to many of Bangladesh’s important offices

Bazaars in Bangladesh are popular trading places for everyday household necessities.

Bangladesh has made significant strides in its economic sector performance since independence in 1971. Although the economy has improved vastly in the 1990s, Bangladesh still suffers in the area of foreign trade in South Asian region. Despite major impediments to growth like the inefficiency of state-owned enterprises, a rapidly growing labor force that cannot be absorbed by agriculture, inadequate power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms, Bangladesh has made some headway improving the climate for foreign investors and liberalizing the capital markets; for example, it has negotiated with foreign firms for oil and gas exploration, better countrywide distribution of cooking gas, and the construction of natural gas pipelines and power stations. Progress on other economic reforms has been halting because of opposition from the bureaucracy, public sector unions, and other vested interest groups.
The especially severe floods of 1998 increased the flow of international aid. So far the global financial crisis has not had a major impact on the economy. The World Bank predicted economic growth of 6.5% for current year. Foreign aid has seen a decline of 10% over the last few months but economists see this as a good sign for self-reliance.There has been 18% growth in exports over the last 9 months and remittance inflow has increased at a remarkable 25% rate.
Fiscal Year Total Export Total Import Foreign Remittance Earnings
2007–2008 $14.11b $25.205b $8.9b
2008–2009 $15.56b $22.00b+ $9.68b
2009-2010 $16.7b ~$24b $10.87b
2010-2011 $22.93b $32b $11.65b

3G Index Score
Global Growth Generators (3G) countries 2010-2050
Country 2010 GDP/Capita[2]
% of US GDP/Capita[3]
% Av. Growth 3G Index
$1,735 4 6.3 0.39
$7,430 16 5.0 0.81
$5,878 13 5.0 0.37
$3,298 7 6.4 0.71
$4,363 10 5.6 0.70
$3,538 8 6.1 0.58
$3,764 8 6.3 0.63
$2,335 5 6.9 0.25
$3,684 8 5.5 0.60
Sri Lanka
$4,988 11 5.5 0.33
$3,108 7 6.4 0.86
Note: China and India highligted in Gold with Bold text as also BRIC countries. Bigger index means better conditions. GDP per capita measured at 2010 PPP USD. Average growth is average growth in forecast of real GDP per capita measured at 2010 PPP USD.

3G countries
The most promising growth prospects countries are: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. China and India as BRIC countries are 3G countries, but not for Brazil, and Russia. Developing Asia and Africa will be fastest growing regions until 2050, driven by population and income growth, so all of 3G countries came from the both continents (Asia by 9 countries and Africa by 2 countries) and no one from the other continents.[Vietnam has the highest Global Growth Generators Index among the 11 major economies, China is second with 0.81, followed by India’s 0.71. This holds Vietnam as world’s highest potential source of high growth and profitable investment opportunities.
October 2011: Based on a report from the HSBC Trade Confidence Index (TCI) and HSBC Trade Forecast there are 4 countries with significant trade volume growth, i.e. Egypt, India, Vietnam and Indonesia with growth expected at least 7.3 percent per year until 2025.

Others countries
Iran and North Korea could catch the 3G countries if they achieve political transitions and open their economies. Some might add Argentina, Burma, and Venezuela. Whether Mexico, Brazil, Turkeyand Thailand will catch 3G countries depends on increasing their domestic saving/investment rates substantially. Some developed countries, such as Ireland, Canada, Australia and the USA could also become 3G countries, as stated in the report.
The Top 10 Largest Economies in the World
List of the top 10 largest economies by nominal GDP from 2010 to 2050 (in current USD)[7]

2010 Rank Country GDP 2030 Rank Country GDP 2050 Rank Country GDP
1 United States
14,612 1 China
57,138 1 China
2 China
5,860 2 United States
35,739 2 India
3 Japan
5,465 3 India
24,824 3 United States
4 Germany
3,292 4 Japan
9,213 4 Indonesia
5 France
2,602 5 Brazil
8,780 5 Nigeria
6 United Kingdom
2,259 6 Russia
7,380 6 Brazil
7 Italy
2,044 7 Indonesia
7,299 7 Russia
8 Brazil
1,989 8 Germany
6,466 8 Japan
9 India
1,596 9 United Kingdom
5,819 9 Philippines
10 Canada
1,572 10 France
5,236 10 United Kingdom
Note: 3G countries are hightlighted in green colour and bold text.
List of the top 10 richest countries by GDP per capita in 2010 and 2050 (in current USD)[8]

2010 Rank Country GDP per capita 2050 Rank Country GDP per capita
1 Singapore
56,532 1 Singapore
2 Norway
51,226 2 Hong Kong
3 United States
45,511 3 Taiwan
4 Hong Kong
45,301 4 Republic of Korea
5 Switzerland
42,470 5 United States
6 Netherlands
40,736 6 Saudi Arabia
7 Australia
40,525 7 Canada
8 Austria
39,073 8 United Kingdom
9 Canada
38,640 9 Switzerland
10 Sweden
36,438 10 Austria

Comparison with BRIC

BRICS comprise of five countries; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The acronym has come into widespread use as a symbol of the shift in global economic power away from the developedG7 economies towards the developing world. It was estimated that BRICS economies will overtake G7 economies by 2027. However this concept was coined in 2001 based on the available information at the time. A decade later in 2011, 3G is formed as a better alternative predicated on new data. Unlike BRICS, 3G consist of 11 countries instead of five. The top four countries in 3G are Vietnam, China, India and Indonesia; these countries are equivalent to the “Big Four” with China and India the only countries from BRICS to make it into 3G and Vietnam and Indonesia replacing Brazil and Russia.

Dhaka Stock Exchange (Generally known as DSE) is the main stock exchange of Bangladesh. It is located in Motijheel at the heart of the Dhaka city. It was incorporated in 1954. Dhaka stock exchange is the first stock exchange of the country. As of 18 August 2010, the Dhaka Stock Exchange had over 750 listed companies with a combined market capitalization of $50.28 billion.

First incorporated as East Pakistan Stock Exchange Association Ltd in 28 April 1954 and started formal trading in 1956. It was renamed as East Pakistan Stock Exchange Ltd in 23 June 1962. Again renamed as Dacca Stock Exchange Ltd in 13 May 1964. After the liberation war in 1971 the trading was discontinued for five years. In 1976 trading restarted in Bangladesh, on 16 September 1986 DSE was started. The formula for calculating DSE all share price index was changed according to IFC on 1 November 1993. The automated trading was initiated in 10 August 1998 and started on 1 January 2001. Central Depository System was initiated in 24 January 2004. As of November 16, 2009, the benchmark index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) crossed 4000 points for the first time, setting another new high at 4148 points. In 2010, the index crossed 8500 points and finally crashed in the first quarter of 2011. Millions of investors lost their money and came out onto the street blaming the speculators and regulators for the bubble that finally burst.
Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) is a public limited company. It is formed and managed under Company Act 1994, Security and Exchange Commission Act 1993, Security and Exchange Commission Regulation 1994, and Security Exchange (Inside Trading) regulation 1994. The issued capital of this company is Tk. 500,000 which is divided up to 250 shares each pricing Tk. 2000. No individual or firm can buy more than one share. According to stock market rule only members can participate in the floor and can buy shares for himself or his clients. At present it has 238 members. Market capitalization of the Dhaka Stock Exchange reached nearly $9 billion in September 2007 and $27.4 billion on Dec 9, 2009.

The management and operation of Dhaka Stock Exchange is entrusted on a 25 members Board of Director. Among them 12 are elected from DSE members, another 12 are selected from different trade bodies and relevant organizations. The CEO is the 25th ex-officio member of the board. The following organizations are currently holding positions in DSE Board:

Bangladesh Bank
President of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh
President of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries
President of Metropolitan Chambers of Commerce and Industries
Professor of Finance Department of Dhaka University
President of DCCI (Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
The Dhaka Stock Exchange is open for trading Sunday through Thursday between 11:00am – 3:00pm BST, with the exception of holidays declared by the Exchange in advance. In the month ofRamadan, the exchange is open for trading between 10:30am – 1:30pm BST.
2010-11 crash
Main article: 2011 Bangladesh share market scam
The bullish market turned bearish during 2010, with the exchange losing 1,800 points between December 2010 and January 2011.Millions of investors have been rendered bankrupt as a result of the market crash. The crash is believed to be caused artificially to benefit a handful of players at the expense of the big players.
Dhaka Stock Exchange

Type Stock Exchange

Location Dhaka, Bangladesh
Founded 1954
Owner Dhaka Stock Exchange Limited
Key people Mr. Md. Rakibur Rahman[president]
Currency Taka

No. of listings 750
US$ 50.28billion [1]

Volume US$ 1.43 billion

Indexes DSE 20 Index
General Index

Website www.dsebd.org

Women rights in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable country in the world where there women are passing in very danger situation. Indeed in Bangladesh have gotten two great women leaders Sheikh Hasina and Begum Khaleda Zia who have been governing Bangladesh since 1991. Presently Sheikh Hasina has governing Bangladesh as a Prime Minister. And Begum Zia was a former Prime Minister of Bangladesh. But, yet the women are crying for their rights and security. Though, every day many women’s have been torturing, killings. Violence against women is a common picture in Bangladesh.

Many women in Bangladesh suffer from rape, gang rape, murder, torture and acid throwing. The position of women in Bangladesh is vulnerable. Even though Bangladesh has an elected government, the difficulties facing women haven’t ended. Violence against women is a common feature in Bangladesh, and women face various problems under the system of repression.

The main types of the oppression of women include dowry, trafficking, kidnapping, rape, physical torture and acid throwing. Almost every day, women are victimized by these acts of violence and repression. And domestic violence at the hands of husbands is a very routine practice in Bangladesh.

According to a survey conducted by the Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, at least 937 women were killed during the period from January to October this year. Prominent human rights leader and BMP president, Ayesha Khanam, said that although an elected government is now in power and there are conscious people in the ministry and in parliament, women continue to face violence. (Source: The Daily Star, 12/7/2009)
There is one example of a sensationalistic gang rape case. On Sept. 25, an adolescent was gang raped following her abduction by ten Bangladesh Chhatra League activists while she was returning from a Puja Mandap in the Kolapar subdistrict of the Patuakhali district. Also, on Nov. 8, one Bir Bengal attempted to rape a woman, Jamnua Chakma, age 21, in the Ghilachari army camp in the Naniachar subdistrict of Rangamati. She is wife of Shyamal Kanti Chakma.

In Bangladesh, there are many laws for the protection of women, yet the oppression of women hasn’t lessened. It is hard to imagine that it will be stopped in the near future. What is causing this situation? It is because there is no rule of law and no good governance. Impunity and corruption are very common in Bangladesh, and illegal political interference on behalf of criminals is another reason that women’s persecution continues.
Bangladesh has many laws for the protection of women. For example, the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act 1933, the Family Court Ordinance, the Cruelty to Women (Deterrent Punishment) Ordinance, the Trafficking in Women and Children Act 1993, the Dowry Prohibition Act, the Prevention of Women and Child Repression Act (2000), etc.

The problem is that every case of oppression of women involves the police, witnesses, lawyers, magistrates or judges, and often doctors. If all the parties involved perform their professional and moral obligation, then the perpetrator will be punished. But, with some exceptions, most of the parties are involved in corruption or are irresponsible. Political pressuring can also hamper the investigation of cases involve women’s repression. Sometimes, to protect themselves, witnesses in the cases will not give truthful statements to the court.

The Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) is a Bangladesh Awami League government-supported human rights organization. According to this organization, during the first six months of this year, 1,479 women were raped. The Minister for Home Affairs Sahara Khatun shared this figure with the national assembly.

According to a monitoring cell at the police headquarters, from January to October 2009, at least 3,413 women were tortured over dowry, 83 women fall victim to torture, 2,336 were abducted, 2,476 were raped, 36 were killed after rape, 33 were injured after rape, and 117 women were killed.

In Bangladesh have no equal rights in practice for women. The women have facing difficulties by various ways. Especially the working women are facing these difficulties like discrimination of wages. According to the daily Star (8-3-2010), Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Executive Director Monira Rahman said, in the last 100 years the world achieved a lot, but it is a matter of regret that violence against women, especially in countries such as Bangladesh, is still widespread. Referring to a WHO study in 2005, she said 57.5 percent of women in Bangladesh are sexually and physically tortured. In reality, the rate is much higher, she said. Monira told, there were 490 incidents of acid throwing in 2002.

Still three accused rapist and provocateurs to death of sensational mass raped and killing case of Mohima. We are hearing from abroad that the family members of Simee have been facing insecurity still. And after happening women persecution our NGO’s starting their activity. But, after some days they turned to back. Then the real problem has starting for a victim family.

We can give an example on Rajufa and Sheulee rape cases. After raped to Sheulee the rapist was murdered to the father of rape victim. And they were started false cases against the relatives of Sheulee. But, no body comes to help of this helpless and oppressed family. In the same situation has going on Rajufa’s family. The Indigenous, Christian and the Hindu women have been insecure more than Muslim women. Many NGO have been working for the rights of women. But, they have no coordination. They have been working for the women rights as for the problem of cover. Never have they wanted to go inside or the root cause of a problem.

In order to prevent violence against women, it is necessary to practice the rule of law, carry out proper and competent investigations, should reduce poverty and all kinds of discrimination (man and women) and implement existing laws protecting women. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure the security of witnesses and victims, and corruption must be fought against during the time from when the case is filed until the trial is finished. And political pressuring must be stopped. To prevent women’s oppression, men must first come forward. The question remains: is the Bangladesh government ready to tackle any and all kinds of violence against women?

The present government has passed one year already. But, they didn’t take any step for the rights of women. Even the women development policy of 1997 hasn’t rein stead. We want to see that, Bangladesh government should take positive step for the empowerment and for the rights of women immediately.

General Overview of the Bangladesh Economic
Even though there are political instability, poor infrastructure, corruption, insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms, the economy has grown 5-6% per year since 1996. However, Bangladesh still remains a poor, overpopulated, and inefficiently-governed nation with about 45% of the Bangladeshis being employed in the agriculture sector.

Rural and Urban Poverty
Bangladesh is one of the world’s poorest countries. With the help of international assistance, there has been a declining trend of poverty by 1% each year since 1990s. However, they are unable to escape from extreme poverty, as the data from World Bank found that there is still 40% of the population to be below the national poverty line in 2005. And another estimate from Chronic Poverty Research Center shows that about half of the poor survive with US$1.25/day.

The population in Bangladesh is predominantly rural, with almost 80% of the population living in the rural areas. Many of them live in remote areas that lack services such as education, health clinics and adequate roads, particularly road links to markets. A low estimate of 20% of the rural poor is in chronic poverty. They suffer from persistent food insecurity, own no land and assets, are often uneducated and may also suffer serious illnesses or disabilities. Another 29% of the rural population is considered moderately poor. Though they may own a small plot of land and some livestock and generally have enough to eat, their diets lack nutritional values. As a result of health problems or natural disasters, they are at risk of sliding deeper into poverty. Women are among the poorest of the rural poor, especially when they are the sole heads of their households. They suffer discrimination, have few earning opportunities and their nutritional intake is often inadequate.

In the urban areas, there is about 37% of the urban population living below national poverty line. For those living in urban areas, especially the capital Dhaka, and major industrial cities such as Chittagong, Khulna, and Rajshahi, they enjoy a better standard of living, with electricity, gas, and clean water supplies. Despite this, there is still a significant proportion of Bangladeshis living in slums that fall apart during the monsoon season and have no regular electricity, limited access to health care and to clean drinking water.

Causes of Rural and Urban Poverty
One of the main causes of rural poverty is due the country’s geographical and demographic characteristics. A large proportion of the country is low-lying, and thus is at a high risk to flooding. Many of the rural poor live in areas that are prone to extreme annual flooding which cause huge damage to their crops, homes and livelihoods. In order to rebuild their homes, they often have to resort to moneylenders, and that causes them to fall deeper into poverty. In addition, these natural disasters also cause outbreaks of cholera and other waterborne and diarrheal diseases such as dengue and malaria which will affect them physically and lower their productivity levels.

Another cause of rural poverty is due to the fast growing population rate. It places huge pressure on the environment, causing problems such as erosion and flooding, which in turn leads to low agricultural productivity.
The causes of urban poverty are due to the limited employment opportunities, degraded environment, and bad housing and sanitation. The urban poor hold jobs that are labor demanding, thus affecting their health conditions. Therefore, the urban poor are in a difficult situation to escape poverty.

Environmental Problems and Poverty
With 80% of the country situated on the flood plains of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna and those of several other minor rivers, the country is prone to severe flooding.
While some flooding is beneficial to agriculture, high levels of flooding have been found to be a retardant on agricultural growth. On average, 16% of household income per year is lost due to flooding, with roughly 89% of the loss in property and assets. Of these, households engaged in farming and fishing suffer a greater loss relative to income.

A positive relationship exists between flood risk and poverty as measured by household income, with people living under the poverty threshold facing a higher risk of flooding, as measured by their proximity to rivers and flood depth. Property prices also tend to be lower the higher the risk of flooding, making it more likely that someone who lives in a flood-prone area is poor and vice versa, as they might not be able to afford safer accommodation. Also, they tend to depend solely or largely on crop cultivation and fisheries for their livelihood and thus are harder hit by floods relative to their income.

Important to the finances of farmers operating small farms is their self-sufficiency in rice and floods adversely affect this factor, destroying harvests and arable land. Farmers hit are often forced to undertake distressed land selling and in doing so, risk being pushed into or deeper into poverty. In areas hard hit by floods, especially disaster floods such as the 1988 flood, several researchers have found that many of the affected households have resorted to selling off assets such as land and livestock to mitigate losses.

Also, in an area hard-hit by poverty and prone to floods, it was found that many of the poor were unwilling to pay for flood protection. The main reason cited had been lack of financial resources although it was found that many of these people are willing to substitute non-financial means of payment such as labour, harvest or part of their land.

The above is problematic as it creates a vicious cycle for the poor of Bangladesh. Because the poor may not be able to afford safer housing, they have to live near the river which raises their risk of flooding. This would result in greater damage suffered from the floods, driving the poor into selling assets and pushing them further into poverty. They would be further deprived of sufficient resources needed to prevent extensive damage from flooding, resulting in even more flood damage and poverty. It then becomes even harder to escape this cycle. Even those farmers slightly above the poverty line are but just one bad flood away from the ranks of the poor.

Implications of poverty in Bangladesh
The Gross National Income (GNI) per capita measured in 2008 prices is a staggering low of US $520 while GNI Purchasing Power Parity per capita is US $1440 (2008). This is a dismal figure when compared to other developed economies. Even though the poverty rate in Bangladesh has been decreasing, it is doing so at a slow rate of less than 2% per year. 49% of the population still remains below the poverty line. Poverty matters because it affects many factors of growth – education, population growth rates, health of the workforce and public policy. Poverty is most concentrated in the rural areas of Bangladesh, hence creating disparities between the rural and urban areas. However, urban poverty remains a problem too.

In particular, poverty has been linked strongly to education and employment. Research papers published by the Bangladesh Institute of Studies (BIDS) have shown that poverty acts as both a cause and effect of a lack of education, which in turn adversely affects employment opportunities. Having an unskilled workforce also greatly decreases the productivity of the workforce which decreases the appeal of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and thus impedes sustainable economic growth. In essence, education is an important contribution to the social and economic development of a country.

Secondly, rising landlessness is also a consequence of poverty in Bangladesh. In the year 2000, among the poorest of the poor – the poorest 20 percent of the population – four out of five owned less than half an acre of land. Not only did many own no acreage at all, but landlessness has been increasing in rural Bangladesh along with the number of small and marginal farms. The 2000 HIES found nearly half (48 percent) of the country’s rural population to be effectively landless, owning at most 0.05 acres. Roughly three-fifths of all households in the two poorest quintiles fell into that category.

Lastly, for the chronic poor, issues such as food security and health hamper social mobility. According to a study done by the World Bank on Dhaka, the poor suffers from a lack of proper healthcare in their areas due to the expensive and poor quality health care services. The poverty stricken areas either do not have the available facilities, or can only afford low quality healthcare. This is a problem that is common in both the rural and urban poor. For the urban poor, the problem has worsened as they can only afford to stay in slums where there are problems of overcrowding and unhygienic living conditions. These two factors results in the spread of diseases amongst the poor whom cannot afford better healthcare. Also, one cannot deny that a healthy and well-fed citizen is better suited for increased productivity as part of the workforce. Thus, poverty matters because it affects the social welfare of citizens.

CIA – The World Factbook, “The World Factbook – Bangladesh”, Retrieved 23 February 2011.
Rural Poverty Portal. “Rural poverty in Bangladesh”, Retrieved 23 February 2011
World Bank – Poverty in Bangladesh. Retrieved 23 February 2011
Extract from Economic Development in Asia by J. Malcolm Dowling and Ma. Rebecca Valenzuela, Page 243
World Bank – Agriculture – Bangladesh. “Bangladesh: Priorities for Agriculture and Rural Development” Retrieved 23 February 2011
Rural Poverty Portal. “Rural poverty in Bangladesh”, Retrieved 23 February 2011
Rural Poverty Portal. “Rural poverty in Bangladesh”, Retrieved 23 February 2011
Economic Development in Asia by J. Malcolm Dowling and Ma. Rebecca Valenzuela, Page 254
Encyclopedia of the Nations – Bangladesh. “Bangladesh – Poverty and wealth”, Retrieved 23/02/2011
Rural Poverty Portal. “Rural poverty in Bangladesh”, Retrieved 23 February 2011
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Japan Bank for International Cooperation. “Poverty Profile People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Executive Summary”, Retrieved 23 February 2011
James K. Boyce, The Bangladesh Development Studies Vol. 14, No. 4 (December 1986), pp. 1-35
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Brouwer, R., Akter, S., Brander, L. and Haque, E. Economic valuation of flood risk exposure and reduction in a severely flood prone developing country. Environment and Development Economics, 14 (2009), pp 397-417 doi:10.1017/S1355770X08004828
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Haque,C.E., & Zaman, M.Q. Vulnerability and responses to riverine hazards in Bangladesh: A critique of flood control and mitigation approaches. In A. Varley (Ed)., Disaters, Development and the Environment (1994). New York: Wiley.
a b Orr et al.: Orr, A, Magor, N.P., Islam, A.S.M., Islam, R., Shah-E-Alam, M., and Jabbar, M.A., Vulnerable Farmers in the DWR Environment: The Impact of the 1988 Floods., In BRRI, Reducing Small Farmer Vulnerability in Bangladesh. Proceedings of the BRRI Workshop, Joydebpur, 30-31 May (1992). Dhaka: BRRI
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World Bank. “The Challenges Of Service Delivery for Dhaka’s”www.worldbank.org. World Bank, n.d.Web.3 Mar.2011.,Retrieved 10 March 2011
Poverty in Asia

states Afghanistan Armenia Azerbaijan Bahrain Bangladesh Bhutan Brunei Burma (Myanmar) Cambodia People’s Republic of China Cyprus East Timor (Timor-Leste) Egypt Georgia India Indonesia Iran Iraq Israel Japan Jordan Kazakhstan North Korea South Korea Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Lebanon Malaysia Maldives Mongolia Nepal Oman Pakistan Philippines Qatar Russia Saudi Arabia Singapore Sri Lanka Syria Tajikistan Thailand Turkey Turkmenistan United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Vietnam Yemen

States with limited
recognition Abkhazia Nagorno-Karabakh Northern Cyprus Palestine Republic of China (Taiwan) South Ossetia

Dependencies and
other territories
British Indian Ocean Territory Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Hong Kong Macau

33 million children in Bangladesh live in poverty
UNICEF study on child poverty and disparities in Bangladesh released today

DHAKA, 25 November 2009 – 33 million children in Bangladesh – about half of all Bangladeshi children – are living in poverty while about one in four children is deprived of at least four basic needs among the following: food, education, health, information, shelter, water and sanitation. These findings were presented today at the launch of the UNICEF Study on Child Poverty and Disparities in Bangladesh.
The document was launched by Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, State Minister of Women and Children Affairs. Mr. Azizur Rahman, Chief Information Commissioner, Information Commission, Mr. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Secretary, External Resource Division, Ministry of Planning, Mr. Shaikh Altaf Ali, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Carel de Rooy, UNICEF Representative, were also present at the event.

According to this new study, 64 per cent of children in Bangladesh are deprived of sanitation, 52 per cent are deprived of information, 57 per cent are deprived of nutrition, 41 per cent are deprived of shelter, 16 per cent are deprived of health, and 8 per cent are deprived of education. One key determinant of child poverty is the level of the mother’s education: the higher the mother’s level of education, the lower the chance for the child to be affected by deprivation. The mother’s education also has a mitigating impact on the severity of the child’s deprivations.
“Child poverty in Bangladesh remains a grave concern”, said Carel de Rooy, UNICEF Representative. “The majority of the Millennium Development Goals and targets are related to children. Therefore, it is absolutely impossible to achieve MDGs without giving proper attention to children. Children need to be at the centre of national programmes that address poverty such as safety nets and social protection interventions.”
UNICEF is proposing a shift in the definition of poverty – away from a narrow measurement that addresses income exclusively to a definition that includes income poverty, deprivation and well-being. The study focuses on the multidimensional aspects of child poverty looking at deprivation in seven areas: food, education, health, information, shelter, water and sanitation.

The report was presented by Professor Abul Barkat, lead consultant for the national study, which was conducted by the Human Development Research Centre. UNICEF initiated the study as part of a Global initiative involving 46 countries in seven regions, working closely with government and non-governmental organizations to pool expertise, knowledge and evidence on children.

In Bangladesh, technical oversight was provided by a working group involving 10 different Ministries and multisectoral partners led by the Planning Commission.

Over half of all children living in poverty

Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
Street children sleep on the path of one of Dhaka’s roads, Bangladesh (file photo)

DHAKA, 3 December 2009 (IRIN) – Over half of Bangladesh’s children are living in poverty and there is widespread deprivation amongst them in the basic areas of food, sanitation and shelter, with limited ability to escape their circumstances, according to experts.

A new report by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Bangladesh found that 33 million children under 18 – around 56 percent of the child population – are currently living below the International Poverty Line, defined as disposable income of US$1 per person per day.

Bangladesh has a population of 140 million; 63 million or 44 percent of the total population are children.

Launched on 25 November, the UNICEF study on child poverty and disparities in Bangladesh was conducted by the Dhaka-based Human Development Research Centre (HDRC), a research and policy development organization.

It proposed a shift in the definition of poverty which moves away from a measurement based only on household income to also incorporate income poverty, deprivation and well-being.

“We have used seven indicators to measure the level of the deprivation of children. These are shelter, sanitation, water, information, food, education and health,” Abul Barkat, lead consultant for the HDRC study and professor of economics at Dhaka University, told IRIN.

This new approach presents a more holistic view of the situation, he said.

The study showed that 64 percent of children are deprived of sanitation, 57 percent are deprived of nutrition, 52 percent are deprived of information. Forty-one percent are deprived of shelter, 16 percent are deprived of healthcare and 8 percent are deprived of education.

The share of indigenous households with children suffering from at least one deprivation is considerably higher at 93 percent, compared to 58 percent of the majority Bengali households.

Bangladesh’s minority indigenous population is estimated to be around two million people or 1.5 percent of the population, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Few opportunities

“Children in Bangladeshi poor families face serious hardships in terms of… deprivation and vulnerability,” Nazma Quasem, vice-president of the Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB) and member of Bangladesh Children’s Rights Forum, told IRIN.

Photo: Shamsuddin Ahmed/IRIN

Children working at a balloon manufacturer’s in the midst of highly combustive plastic powder
“These children grow up with extremely limited scope for personal growth and opportunity to escape their current state of misery,” she said

Quasem, a long-term children’s rights activist, pointed out that extreme poverty is also responsible for the presence of child labour – one out of every six children is a working child, according to UNICEF – and child abuse in Bangladesh.

“Social polarization, increasing food prices, income inequality, rapid urbanization, lack of land ownership and the devastating effects of natural disasters like droughts, floods and cyclones – all contribute heavily towards the high levels of poverty in Bangladesh,” she said.

She also said the extent of poverty among children can be directly connected to the educational levels of the parents.

The UNICEF findings agree. According to the report, 53 percent of households headed by a person without education lie below the poverty line, while only 19 percent of households headed by persons of secondary and above levels of education face poverty.

According to the agency, global child undernutrition is concentrated in just 24 countries, with the top five being Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

A separate UNICEF report on child and maternal nutrition released last month found 43 percent of children under five in Bangladesh, or 7.2 million children, are chronically undernourished.

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Bangladesh : The Administration

The elected political leaders govern Bangladesh with the aid of a permanent bureaucracy. The ministers remain at the helm of ministries or divisions which are manned by civil servants recruited by the Public Service Commission. The ministries perform regulatory policy-making functions while the numerous subordinate offices execute Government policies and decisions at the field level. With the democratization of polity and a popularly elected government in office, the administration is now striving to be accountable and transparent. 

The country is divided into six administrative divisions namely Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal and Sylhet, each of which composed of districts. There are 64 districts, which are in turn divided into thanas. There are 490 thanas each divided into unions, mouzas and villages at the lowest level.

During the early British period, when modified versions of Mughal (1526-1858) and earlier administrations were adopted, the closest the government came to the rural society was the zamindar, an administrator with concurrent judicial functions, who ensured revenue flows from the localities to the central government and handled a wide variety of official business. Government from the top down was the general rule for the Indian Civil Service and later the Pakistani and early Bangladeshi civil services. After 1971 the government of Bangladesh saw the benefits of involving more people in democratic decision-making and development programs, but the progress of reform was slow. In 1959 General Mohammad Ayub Khan’s government inaugurated a “basic democracies” program designed to involve villagers in development programs, with direct elections to union councils and indirect elections to bodies serving larger administrative units. Mujib’s government held elections for union councils, but the coup of 1975 prevented their effective functioning. In 1980 Zia’s government announced the Self-Sufficient Village Government Plan, but this project ended when Zia was assassinated in 1981. In 1982 Ershad appointed the Committee for Administrative Reorganization/Reforms, which led to the establishment of the National Implementation Committee for Administrative Reorganization. These bodies built a comprehensive plan for administrative decentralization based on the subdistrict.
Bangladesh is divided into four main territorial divisions. In the late 1980s, the four divisions were divided into twenty-one regions, and the regions were subdivided into sixty-four districts (zilas). Below the district level, there were further urban and rural subdivisions. Urban areas include four municipal corporations (Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, and Khulna, each of which included several municipalities), eightyseven municipalities (pourashavas) and thirty townships (thanas). The four divisions had the same name as the four municipal corporations. The countryside had 460 subdistricts upazilas, which were further divided into 4,401 unions (the rough equivalent of an urban ward); these, in turn, contained 60,315 mouzas (groups of two or more villages–about 20 percent of the total) and single villages (about 80 percent of the total). A further subdivision, equivalent to the rural mouza, was the mahalla, which was found in urban areas. Each mouza or mahalla, the size of which was determined by census data-gathering techniques, contained about 250 households. An average village in the late 1980s contained 1,300 to 1,400 people. An average union contained about 15 villages and a population of about 20,000, and an average subdistrict had 8 to 10 unions with about 200,000 people.
Throughout its history, one of the main challenges to the Bangladeshi government has been finding ways to involve people in democratic politics at every administrative level.
According to the decentralization plan in effect in mid-1988, each rural mouza had its own council (parishad) of elected representatives chosen by local voters (persons aged eighteen and over). At the next administrative level, the chairmen of the union councils were directly elected by voters within their jurisdictions. The remaining members of the union council were chosen by the mouza councils, with each member of the union council representing three or four villages. The chairmen of the union councils formed the voting membership of the council at the subdistrict level, along with three appointed women and another appointed member, usually a former freedom fighter. The chairman of the subdistrict council was directly elected by subdistrict voters. Thus the people had a direct electoral role at the village level, and they had a voice in choosing influential chairmen at the union and subdistrict levels. In the late 1980s, plans called for the expansion of representation at the district level, and the controversial District Council (Zila Parishad) Bill of 1987 was the first step in this direction. By mid-1988, however, these plans had not been implemented; the region and division levels remained administrative units of the civil service and had no political significance.
Local participatory politics met the civil service in the subdistrict council. In the late 1980s, the chief government official in charge of local projects and development efforts was the subdistrict project management (upazila nirbahi) officer, who directed a staff of about 250 technical and administrative officers. Nirbahi officers were part of the staff appointed by central authorities in Dhaka, and they received their pay, benefits, and promotion from the civil service. Their direct supervisors, however, were the subdistrict council chairmen. The subdistrict councils, through their chairmen, were expected to make plans for public works and development projects within their own territories, spend allocated government funds, and direct the development activities of nirbahi officers and their staff. Nirbahi officers and other subdistrict technical personnel were allowed to participate in subdistrict council meetings, but only as nonvoting members. Civil service members, heirs of a long tradition of elite government, took orders from subdistrict council chairmen because the latter wrote the annual evaluations of nirbahi officers which served as the basis for promotion within the civil service. In this way, elected representatives of the people at the local level exercised direct control over civil servants and government projects in their own area.
In the late 1980s, the administrative apparatus at the urban level was comprised of a governing council with an elected chairman, elected commissioners (no more than 10 percent of whom were women), and several ex officio members. A mayor and deputy mayors were elected from among the council members.
The decentralization scheme implemented under Ershad’s government was the most ambitious attempt in the history of Bangladesh to bring responsible government to the local level. The system officially began with elections in 1983 for four-year terms to union councils and with elections in 1984 for three-year terms to subdistrict councils. However, there were major problems with this scheme of decentralized administration. First, the electoral system tended to represent only the wealthiest and most influential members of society. These persons made decisions that strengthened their own patronage networks and influence at the local level; the poorest strata in society had little direct voice in elected committees. Second, the subdistrict councils were designed to create and implement development activities in their areas, but they were typically slow to draft five-year plans or carry through broad-based development efforts. Most of their projects emphasized construction or public works, (e.g., school buildings or irrigation canals, and they sometimes neglected the personnel and training components necessary for social involvement. Third, civil service members have long lacked respect for local politicians, looking to their own advancement from their supervisors in Dhaka. They have often been slow to cooperate with elected members of local committees. For example, although the subdistrict council chairman was responsible for writing the nirbahi officer’s annual evaluation, the officer was expected to submit the evaluation form to the subdistrict council chairman, and in many cases these forms did not appear, thus preventing the chairmen from exercising control. Finally, the entire system of decentralized politics was viewed by opposition politicians as a patronage network designed to attract local elites to the party of the regime in power. Observers tended to conclude that instead of furthering decentralized democracy, the system only strengthened the national party controlled from Dhaka.

Education in Bangladesh
Ministry of Education

Minister/ Adviser for Education Nurul Islam Nahid

National education budget (2006)

Budget US$7.7 billion (2.4% of GDP)
General details
Primary languages Bengali

Compulsory Education 1972
5 yrs
Literacy (15+)

Total 43.1
Male 53
Female 35
Total 23,907,151
Primary 16,230,000
Secondary 7,400,000
Post secondary 277,151
Secondary diploma
Post-secondary diploma
“Bangladesh Education Stats”. Central Database. NationMaster. 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
“Statistical Pocket Book-2006” (PDF). Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
“Bangladesh”. World Fact Book. CIA. 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
The educational system in Bangladesh is three-tiered and highly subsidized. The government of Bangladesh operates many schools in the primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels. It also subsidizes parts of the funding for many private schools. In the tertiary education sector, the government also funds more than 15 state universities through the University Grants Commission.
• Bangladesh conforms fully to the Education For All (EFA) objectives, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and international declarations. Article 17 of the Bangladesh Constitution provides that all children between the ages of six and ten years receive a basic education free of charge.

Education system

Bangladesh education system in brief
The three main educational systems in Bangladesh, ordered by decreasing student numbers, are:
General Education System
Madrasah Education System
Technical – Vocational Education System
Other systems include a Professional Education System.
Each of these three main systems is divided into five levels:
Primary Level (years 1 to 5)
Junior Level (years 6 to 8)
Secondary Level (years 9 to 10)
Higher Secondary Level (years 11 and 12)
Tertiary Level
Tertiary education in Bangladesh takes place at 34 government and 54 private universities. Students can choose to further their studies in engineering, technology, agriculture and medicine at a variety of universities and colleges.
At all levels of schooling, students can choose to receive their education in English or Bengali. Private schools tend to make use of English-based study media while government-sponsored schools use Bengali.

Cadets in class room
Cadet colleges are important in the education system of Bangladesh. A cadet college is a special type of school-cum-college established in East Pakistan on the model of English public schools. Military education is compulsory at cadet college. The government of Pakistan established the first residential cadet college in the Punjab in 1954. Faujdarhat cadet college was the first cadet college in East Pakistan (Bangladesh), established in 1958 over an area of 185 acres (0.75 km2) of land at Faujdarhat in the district of Chittagong. At present there are 12 cadet colleges in Bangladesh.

The Madrasah Education System focuses on religious education, teaching all the basics of education in a religious environment. Islamic teachings are compulsory. Religious studies are taught in Arabic and the children also usually serve the related mosques. Students also study some or all of the courses from the General Education System. But in some madrasahs, emphasize is put mostly on religious education rather than courses from the General Education System. Madrasahs take in many homeless children and provide them with food, shelter and education, e.g. Jamia Tawakkulia Renga Madrasah in Sylhet.

The Technical and Vocational Education System provides courses related to various applied and practical areas of science, technology and engineering, or focuses on a specific specialized area. Course duration ranges from one month to four years.

Tertiary education in Madrasah Education System
In Madrasah Education System, after passing ‘Alim’ (12th Grade), student can enroll in for 3years long study, for obtaining a ‘Fazil’ level (14th Grade)as well as they can go for further general education like earning all over the universities degree, And after passing successfully they can further enroll into another 2 years long study system to obtain a ‘Kamil’ level (16th Grade) degree.

Tertiary education in Technical Education System
In the Technical Education System, after obtaining Diploma-in-Engineering degree (four years long curriculum), students can further pursue their educational carrier for obtaining a Bachelor degree from Engineering & Technology Universities, and normally it takes two and half or three years long courses for students with a Diploma-in-Engineering degree, to obtain a Bachelor degree, but often in some cases these students take more than three years to complete their bachelor degree(undergraduate degree) (16th Grade) in Engineering. Then they can enroll into post-graduate studies.

Educational management
The overall responsibility of management of primary education lies with the Primary and Mass Education Division (PMED), set up as a separate division with the status of a Ministry in 1992. While the PMED is involved in formulation of policies, the responsibility of implementation rests with the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) headed by a Director General.
The Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) and its subordinate offices in the district and upazila are solely responsible for management and supervision of primary education. Their responsibilities include recruitment, posting, and transfer of teachers and other staff; arranging in-service training of teachers; distribution of free textbooks; and supervision of schools. The responsibility of school construction, repair and supply of school furniture lies with the Facilities Department (FD) and Local Government Engineering Department (LGED). The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) are responsible for the development of curriculum and production of textbooks. While the Ministry of Education (MOE) is responsible for formulation of policies, the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) under the Ministry of Education is responsible for implementing the same at secondary and higher education levels. The NCTB is responsible for developing curriculum and publishing standard textbooks.

Primary and secondary level management
The primary and secondary levels of education are controlled by the seven General Education Boards, each covering a region. The boards’ headquarters are located in Barisal, Comilla Chittagong, Dhaka,Dinajpur Jessore, Rajshahi and Sylhet . In addition, the Madrasah Education Board covers religious education in government-registered Madrasahs, and the Technical Education Board controls technical and vocational training in the secondary level.

Six region-based Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) are responsible for conducting the two public examinations, SSC and HSC, in addition to granting recognition to non-government secondary schools.
At the school level, in the case of non-government secondary schools, School Management Committees (SMC), and at the intermediate college level, in the case of non-government colleges, Governing Bodies (GB), formed as per government directives, are responsible for mobilizing resources, approving budgets, controlling expenditures, and appointing and disciplining staff. While teachers of non-government secondary schools are recruited by concerned SMCs observing relevant government rules, teachers of government secondary schools are recruited centrally by the DSHE through a competitive examination.

In government secondary schools, there is not an SMC. The headmaster is solely responsible for running the school and is supervised by the deputy director of the respective zone. Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs), however, exist to ensure a better teaching and learning environment.

Tertiary education management

Civil Engineering department of BUET, one of the leading institutions for engineering in Bangladesh

At the tertiary level, universities are regulated by the University Grants Commission. The colleges providing tertiary education are under the National University. Each of the medical colleges is affiliated with a public university. Universities in Bangladesh are autonomous bodies administered by statutory bodies such as Syndicate, Senate, Academic Council, etc. in accordance with provisions laid down in their respective acts.

Technical and Vocational education management
The Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) is responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of technical and vocational education in the country. Curriculum is implemented by BTEB.
Notable Engineering Universities in Bangladesh:
Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, Chittagong
Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology, Rajshahi
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka
Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology, Gazipur
Islamic University of Technology, Gazipur
Khulna University of Engineering and Technology, Khulna
Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet
Renowned Engineering Colleges of Bangladesh:
Sylhet Engineering College
Mymensingh Engineering College.
Begumgonj Textile Engineering College, Noakhali
Pabna Textile Engineering College
Bangladesh College of Leather Engineering and Technology
Bangladesh University of Textiles

English Medium Education in Bangladesh
A vast number of schools in Bangladesh are English Medium schools. English Medium schools are mainly private schools where all the courses are taught in English except one Bengali Language subject at ordinary level (O Level). These schools in Bangladesh follow the General Certificate of Education (GCE) syllabus where students are prepared for taking their Ordinary Level (O Level) and Advanced Level (A Level) examinations. The General Certificate of Education system is one of the most internationally recognized qualifications, based from the United Kingdom. The Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations are English equivalent to the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations respectively. Most students sit for these exams from the registered schools in Bangladesh who follow the GCE syllabus. Those who do not attend a school that follows the GCE syllabus may also sit for their Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations from British Council. These examinations are conducted under the supervision of British Council in Bangladesh.The GCE examination conducted by the British Council takes place twice a year. Currently there are two boards operating from Bangladesh for Ordinary and Advanced Level Examinations, which are Edexcel and University of Cambridge International Examinations.

Non-formal primary education
There exists a substantial number of NGO-run non-formal schools, catering mainly to the drop-outs of the government and non-government primary schools. Very few NGOs, however, impart education for the full five-year primary education cycle. Because of this, on completion of their two-to three-year non-formal primary education in NGO-run schools, students normally re-enter into government/non-government primary schools at higher classes.

There are Non-Governmental Schools (NGO) and Non-Formal Education Centers (NFE) and many of these are funded by the government. The largest NFE program is the much reputed BRAC program. However, all NFE graduates do not continue on to secondary school.
NGO-run schools differ from other non-government private schools. While the private schools operate like private enterprises often guided by commercial interests, NGO schools operate mainly in areas not served either by the government or private schools, essentially to meet the educational needs of vulnerable groups in the society. They usually follow an informal approach to suit the special needs of children from these vulnerable groups. But nowadays, some NGO schools are operating into places where there are both private and government schools.
Similarly, in NGO-run schools there does not exist any SMC. The style of management differs depending upon differences in policies pursued by different NGOs. Some are centrally managed within a highly bureaucratic set-up, while others enjoy considerable autonomy.

Different NGOs pursue different policies regarding recruitment of teachers. Some prepare a panel of prospective teachers on the basis of a rigorous test and recruit teachers from this panel. Other NGOs recruit teachers rather informally from locally available interested persons.

Current status
Current government projects to promote the education of children in Bangladesh include compulsory primary education for all, free education for girls up to grade 10, stipends for female students, a nationwide integrated education system and a food-for-education literacy movement. A large section of the country’s national budget is set aside to help put these programs into action and to promote education and make it more accessible. Recent years have seen these efforts pay off and the Bangladesh education system is strides ahead of what it was only a few short years ago.

The educational system of Bangladesh faces several problems. In the past, Bangladesh education was primarily a British modeled upper class affair with all courses given in English and very little being done for the common people. The Bangladesh education board has taken steps to leave such practices in the past and is looking forward to education as a way to provide a poverty-stricken nation with a brighter future. Bangladesh has one of the lowest literacy rates in South Asia. One study found a 15.5% primary school teacher absence rate.
The low performance in primary education is also matter of concern. School drop-out rates and grade repetition rates are high. Poor school attendance and low contact time in school are factors contributing to low level of learning achievement. Further, the system lacks a sound Human Resource Development and deployment system and this has demoralized the primary education sector personnel, including teachers, and contributes to poor performance. Poverty is a big threat to primary education.

In Bangladesh, the population is very high. The number seats available in colleges is less than the number of students who wants to enroll and the number of seats available in universities is also less than the number of students who passed higher secondary level and wants to join in an university. Besides, the cost of education is increasing day by day, as a result many students are unable to afford it.

Environmental Education
Further information: Environmental Education
It is very important to overcome ignorance and mindset of the current generation regarding the climate change issues facing the nation. Certain knowledge needs to be instilled in the youth through better standardized education in a country already struggling with illiteracy and with providing basic education to the masses. Main focus should be placed on collegiate and university level curriculum as promoted by the Stockholm Conference of 1972 as the Environmental Education (EE) through the United Nations. UNESCO and UNEP joint International Environmental Education Program (IEEP) was established three years later to lead the process. In 1992, the Rio Summit adopted Agenda 21 as a blueprint of action for achieving sustainable development. The thirty-sixth chapter of the same agenda is devoted to the promotion of education, public awareness and training. This educational component ranges from structured formal education to occasional, informal vocational training and courses. Focus is constantly changing from analysis to synthesis so it is vital for everyone to understand the implications of global climate change and how their decisions and actions affect their surroundings. However, Bangladesh is having serious problems in implementation.

Although various universities have opened Environmental Science Departments since the 1990s, they have been there by name only. UNDP supported a holistic and comprehensive environmental science program as the Sustainable Environmental Management Program at various school levels. The main barrier was the lack of awareness among parents, which as a result affect the awareness levels of students. At times, even the teachers were not affiliated with general know-how. Most of the programs are not a standard curriculum nor are they up to the mark with the required levels. Another major road block is the lack of support from the government and the absence of senior, experienced environmental professionals, educators and other personnel.

Role of Bureaucracy in the Politics of Bangladesh82

In the modern state bureaucracy plays very significant role. With the expansion of the government’s duty and responsibility the duty of bureaucrat increases. As modern states are welfare states, so they are to complete a great number of works. And for this the government is to depend upon the bureaucrat. Both in developed and UN developed country bureaucracy plays a very important role. Regarding this professor finer says, “The function of the bureaucracy is not merely an improvement of government, indeed. Without it, government itself could be impossible.” Efficiency and anonymity are the two main characteristics of civil service. But among the bureaucrats of many countries these qualities are not seen.

In a democratic country after every five years election helds. So government changes. But the bureaucrats are not changed. Here we will discuss detail about the role of bureaucracy in the politics of Bangladesh.
1. Determining Policy: In our country, other country also, bureaucrats particularize the policies of the government and ministers only sign. Government polices are very complex. So for this work artistic skill is must. Bureaucrats are those who have this skill.
2. Framing Legislation: In Bangladesh enact any law bureaucrat play a very important role. Important bills presented in the parliament are prepared by the bureaucrats. They justifying and out of the bill and then it’s presented in the parliament.
3. Influencing the legislature: they supply necessary information regarding different govt, department and organizations. Sometimes they influence the conference committee according to their own interest.
4. Carrying out routine work of government: bureaucracy execute daily routine work of government. Education, public welfare, social security, police, judiciary, tax, law and order etc, are included in these works.
5. Implementing legislation and policies: bureaucrats not only draw up laws and principles but also substantiate them. Indeed the bureaucracy is more influential in this regard. They can repeal or enact any law according to their necessity
6. Keeping contract between the public and government: in Bangladesh bureaucrats play the role of liaison between the government and public. They inform the people about the government activities and people inform them about their problem and want solution.
7. Development works: Success of various development activities largely depends upon the bureaucrats. They devote in nation building work and plan and materialize them timely.
8. Implementing social change: bureaucrats play vital role in social change. They help the governments to understand the changing social demand s and find out the way to fulfill them.
9. Non-political role: bureaucrats should play non political role. But it is a matter of regret that bureaucrats in Bangladesh, to a large extent are derailed, very often they are found in liaison with ruling political party. Sometimes ruling party oppresses the bureaucrats who do not submit themselves to the whim of the ministers on leaders. We have witnessed such quarrel between ministers and bureaucrats.
In fine we can say that the role of bureaucrats can not be ignored in Bangladesh, a developing country. They play very significant role in our social, political and economical change. if they can avoid corruption, nepotism and work with patriotism and impartial political attitude, Bangladesh will improve faster.

Democracy in Bangladesh Can Overcome Challenges

Bangladesh achieved its independence in 1971 through a liberation struggle. The Peoples Republic of Bangladesh started its journey with a democratically elected government. But the representative government was removed in 1975 through a military uprising. Military generals ruled the country till 1990, initially through martial law and later through the civilian governments. However, massive political movements by the people of the country successfully restored the democracy there effective from 1991. There have been multiparty parliamentary elections in 1991, 1996 & 2001. Governments were changed through each of these elections. Here, the Prime Minister and the cabinet are answerable to the parliament. It may be mentioned here that Bangladesh and Pakistan are the two neighboring country of the world’s largest democracy India. But in Pakistan military uprising removed the democratic government number of times, while in Bangladesh peoples’ movement has successfully removed such military rule. At some stage even the military rulers had to bow down and agree to the peoples’ demands for democracy and representative government in Bangladesh.

The political situation in Bangladesh during last few years raised some doubts about the future of democracy there. In recent years there has been a spate of political violence. There were occasional attacks on cultural functions and cinema halls in various parts of the country. In August 2004 grenade attack on a huge rally of the main opposition party killed and injured many. Fortunately, the leader of the opposition escaped unhurt. Steps taken by the authorities to identify the culprits have not been successful so far. Amnesty International stated that, “The government has failed to investigate previous attacks with the rigor and determination they deserve.”

In January 2005 former finance minister Kibria was assassinated through grenade attacks on him. Kibria was a non controversial, popular, honest and efficient leader. His long international professional career was brilliant and unique. He was an opposition member of the parliament. The country as a whole was shocked due to the frequent incidents of political violence. The assassination of Kibria got the attention of the Western donors of Bangladesh, who called an informal meeting to discuss the deteriorating law and order situation and rise of terrorist activities there. 

However, Bangladeshi officials were not invited to attend such meetings. Reportedly, EU officials considered cutting Bangladesh’s aid portion. Just before this meeting, the Bangladesh government took action against the terrorists, banning two Islamist groups and arresting several people. 

Politics in Bangladesh frequently faced deadlock, with the main opposition party boycotting the Parliament. A series of opposition sponsored nationwide strikes has adversely affected the economy. Such nationwide strike (Hartal) is in practice by all the opposition parties in Bangladesh for many many years. 

All the aforesaid developments raised the question — is it possible for Bangladesh to achieve a peaceful and prosperous democracy? Is the political violence in Bangladesh weakening democracy there? Is the democracy in Bangladesh is fighting for its survival? It will not be possible to find the answers to these questions easily overnight. The political observers need to keep their eyes open to monitor the developments in this respect. 

It is interesting to note that democratic platform in Bangladesh has achieved a very positive outcome this month. On 9 May, 2005 there was election for the city mayor position of Chittagong. Chittagong is the second largest city of the country. In any country mayoral election is not a major political event. But this time Chittagong mayoral election was a serious political contest between the four party ruling alliance and the combined opposition front. It looked almost like a national election. Because it is the last major political battle before the upcoming national election in 2007. During last two months most of the national leaders from the ruling and opposition groups including the ministers traveled the port city for this election campaign, which was never seen in the past. On the Election Day the British deputy High commissioner and a few election monitoring agency was present there to observe the election process at various locations of the city. It is the general opinion that the election was free and fair. Of course there was minor allegation and counter allegation from both the sides accusing each other in respect of violation of the election norms. The percentage of voting was around sixty percent in this election. 

To the surprise of many, the opposition party candidate defeated the government party sponsored candidate by a large margin. Peoples’ opinion ultimately dominated the election process. People in general and all the political parties welcomed the outcome of this election. Unlike in the past, the election administration system acted perfectly without any complain from either side. It is a rare instance since 1991 that the losing party accepted the election result without making any complain against the winning party or the election authorities. Bangladeshis have much to be proud of due to this success of their democratic process. 

The mayoral election scenario of Chittagong and its outcome do not provide a full answer to all the questions surfaced in respect of the future of democracy in Bangladesh. But it shows that democratic forces in Bangladesh are quite strong. People’s opinion ultimately dominated the election process here in the past also. 

Challenges to democracy in Bangladesh may come from three directions —- Power struggle between the ruling and opposition parties, political terrorism, and military coup, if any. 

As already stated the boycott of parliament, countrywide strikes and lack of understanding between the ruling and opposition parties are damaging the democratic spirit and proper functioning of the democratic process in Bangladesh. Such a deadlock in the long run may create a failed state with a weak democratic set up. It is the responsibility of both the government and opposition parties to normalize this situation so that they can serve the country as per peoples’ mandate. 

There is a fear that political terrorism may threaten the future of democracy in Bangladesh. Since last few years there is spate of political violence which was not seen in the past. So far the authorities have not come up with enough success to nab the culprits. Such political violence, whether local or foreign sponsored, may create blood shed and many other problems but will not be able to destroy the entire democratic set up in the country. It is expected that in due course the government authorities will be able to nab the culprits and also take necessary steps to prevent such unfortunate incidents further. 

With the bitter experience of military rulers here in the past, there is no possibility of any fresh military uprising in Bangladesh, defying its strong democratic forces. Further, such military rule in any country today can survive only with the support of big powers. 

Democracy in Bangladesh is facing problems but these problems are not insurmountable. Here, one cannot ignore the strength of the democratic forces in this country. Its multiparty political environment includes nationalists, leftists, communists, islamists, rightists, centralists etc. etc. The elected ruling parties normally come from centre-leftists and nationalist groups. These political parties developed over a period of last three to four decades are functioning with their public support base. Further, elections during recent years show that female voters are participating in more and more numbers and the voters in general are becoming more and more conscious about their rights. Local and economic topics impacting their cost of living are the main issues for the voters now. 

Apart from small tribal community in the hilly regions, population of the entire country constitutes a single ethnic group. Bangladesh religious communities are Muslims 89%, Hindus 10%, Buddhists, Christians & others 1%. All the religious and cultural festivals in this country are marked by harmony and exchange of goodwill. There is no ethnic or religious conflict to impede the process of democracy in Bangladesh. This is also a positive input for the democracy there. 

Western observers may please note that the people of Bangladesh are moderate, largely cultural and less political. Traditional cultural base of Bangladeshi people are very strong and deep rooted. The literary and cultural works of Tagore, Nazrul, Lalon, Shukanta and many others are part of the daily life of the majority of the middle class people here. Any fundamentalist attempt to harm this glorious and secular cultural identity may create occasional problems there but in the long run such ugly attempts will not succeed. 

US assistant Secretary of State for South Asian affairs, Christina Rocca visited Bangladesh on 13 & 14 May 2005. She discussed Bangladesh law and order situation, human rights, trade, economy and various other issues with the authorities here. When asked about the future of democracy in Bangladesh she said, “I wish a good future but I have no crystal ball”. 

Looking at the political environment of South Asia one may think that there is no perfect democratic set up here other than India. But this is not true. Today Bangladesh is the second important democratic country in South Asia next to India. The democratic setup in Sri Lanka is around five decades old. But the whole set up there is trouble torn now due to Tamil tiger rebellion faced by the country. With the palace coup in Nepal in February this year the government and parliament was dissolved there and its multiparty democracy faced a set back. Maldives and Bhutan are traditionally small peaceful countries, where it may take a few more years for the democratic institutions to take a proper shape. So against this background in the region, there is hardly any scope to ignore the democratic potentiality of Bangladesh. It is strongly believed that democracy in Bangladesh is capable to overcome the challenges faced by it.

Panna Lal Chowdhury received Master of Commerce degree and has written for many Southeast Asian and European publications. In the past, the writer served as the Financial Controller and speaks English, Bengali and Hindi.

Youth Problems, Their Development and Empowerment in Bangladesh

Abstract: Youth in a country is the most viable and potential human resource not only in population structure but also in social structure. Without proper and integrated bio-social development of the youth a nation cannot achieve her human goals intended. Based on literatures reviewed this paper describes youth’s problems in their proper development and empowerment in Bangladesh. Although the Government of Bangladesh has formulated policy, plans and programs for youth welfare and implementing these programs through GOs and NGOs relevant literatures suggest that youths in this country, irrespective of all age-grades and regions, face a lot of socio- cultural problems in which they cannot develop and empower themselves properly. As a result, they cannot play their significant roles in country’s socio-economic development and change. To overcome the youth’s problems in relation to their development and empowerment, some suggestions are formulated.

Key Words: Youth, development, empowerment, self-employment and Bangladesh. INTRODUCTION
Youths are the backbone of any country because her proper development mostly depends upon the integrated development of them. Development in Bangladesh also depends upon proper utilization of her youths because they constitute about one-third (in the age group of 15-35 years) of total population (Department of Youth Development, DYD 2009, 30) and 37.7 percent of the total civilian labor force (Huq 2003, 9). But the youths of this country are suffering from various socioeconomic problems, such as unemployment, underemployment, illiteracy, lack of technical education, skill and training, and financial crisis for self-employment resulting from mass poverty and lack of informative plan implemented (Akhter and Sultana 1993 and Sarker 2008). Though ultimate success of economic and social development programs depends on active participation of educated, trained, persevered, organized, disciplined and skilled youth force in development process it is the matter of regret that the youths of Bangladesh could not acquire such qualities due to existing socioeconomic conditions. Hence, they are not able to participate in decision making process of development work as well as their self-employment.
Furthermore, the technology-based education system, institutions for technology based education and training were not developed adequately in the recent past. Therefore, the youths of Bangladesh did not have much opportunity to get technology-based professional education and training that can help them to get jobs, create self-employment, and develop their leadership qualities. The needed harmony between the economic development and manpower development programs had not been adequately developed through our educational systems. As a result, large numbers of educated young were unemployed in Bangladesh (Sarker 2008). Such type of unemployment situation is still existed in our country (24.5 percent on the basis of number of hours worked per week (GOB 2008, 67). They are not only detached from mainstream of development process but also some of them are involved in various anti-social activities (Hossain 2002).

In order to save the future generation from the ruin and to accelerate development process they must be included in mainstream of development activities. Keeping this view, the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) has adopted youth policy emphasizing on youth participation in all stages of development activities; and the government organizations (GOs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) are operating different types of activities such as imparting training, providing microcredit, and other support services (monitoring, supervision etc.). The ultimate goal of these activities is to empower the youth economically as well as socially. The present paper is an attempt to evaluate the efficacy and to locate the limitations of these programs in brining welfare of the youths as well as experiencing sustainable development of the country. It also suggests some measures as policy prescriptions to enhance effectiveness of these programs in the development of youths.

A person, in general, is considered as youth who has attained puberty. It is concerned with timeframe and physical as well as psychological development. Youth refers to a time of life that is neither childhood nor adulthood, but rather somewhere in-between (Webster’s Dictionary 2004). It is transitional period between childhood and adulthood that starts from onset of puberty. Along with qualitative definition different organizations emphasize on quantitative definition. United Nations defines a person as youth who belongs to the age limit of 15-25 years. But the Government of Bangladesh defines the population as youth in the age group of 18-35 in its National Youth Policy- 2003 (DYD 2009, 30). So, the concept of youth is rooted in bio-physiological and legal factors as well as in socio-political structure of a particular society in which he/she lives (Mia 1983). On the other hand, problem of youth refers to a situation which constrains the normal bio-physiological, emotional and socioeconomic development of youth (Sarker 2008, 25). But before explaining the problems of youth and their development process it is necessary to explain the concept of development for better understanding. Usually, development means the improvement of people’s lifestyles through improved education, income, skill development and employment. An eminent economist of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglits (1999, 1), views development as a transformation of society from traditional relation and thinking to more modern ways. So, the concept of youth development is concerned with progressive improvement of the psychological and socioeconomic conditions of youth where their active participation is necessary in decision making process. Therefore, at first they have to be empowered so that they could make their strategic life choices.
The term empowerment as theoretical concept refers to a process of “achieving reasonable control over one’s destiny, learning to cope constructively with debilitating forces in society, and acquiring the competence to initiate change at the individual and systems levels” (Pinderhughes 1995, 136). It is such a process by which people acquire the ability to make choices about their lives (Kabeer 2001, 18 & 2005, 13). Like other segment of population, youths gain authority in means of strengths, competence, creativity, and freedom of action over their lives and society through empowerment process. It prepares youth to meet the challenges of transition to adulthood through a well coordinated progressive series of activities that help them to become socially, morally, economically, physically and cognitively competent. Whitemore (1988, 13) defines empowerment as “an interactive process through which people experience personal and social change, enabling them to take action to achieve influence over the organizations and institutions which affect their lives and the communities in which they live.” The World Bank has explained the term elaborately. Perhaps the most easily associated ideas to empowerment are self-strength, self-control, self-power, self-reliance, own choice, life of dignity in accordance with one’s values, capacity to fight for one’s rights, independence and own decision making (The World Bank 2002).
In tune with above-mentioned discussion this paper defines youth empowerment as a process of
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gaining authority over their lives in means of strengths, competence and creativity and acquiring the ability to make choices about their lives in the context of Bangladesh. The paper highlights on empowerment and youth development process of government organizations (GOs) such as Department of Youth Development (DYD), Department of Social Services (DSS), Ministry of Women Affairs; and non-government organizations (NGOs), such as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), Proshika, Association for Social Advancement (ASA), Grameen Bank, and a number of other NGOs working both in the rural and urban areas. But especial emphasis has been given on the operating procedure of DYD since the core responsibility of youth development has been given on this agency since its inception in 1981. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of these programs in the development of youths in Bangladesh. Data were collected from secondary sources by consulting government document, relevant books, journals and e- journals, research reports, newspaper articles and web materials to assess the efficacy of these programs. Though this paper used both qualitative and quantitative data in analyzing the research issue but emphasis has been given qualitative data.

The youths of Bangladesh are stricken with multifarious problems that are rooted in social structure and economic condition of the society in which they live. Poverty is conspicuous, deep-rooted and widespread problem in Bangladesh that generates other problems (Akhter and Sultana 1993 and Sarker 2008) and affect youths’ lives. About 40 percent people live under poverty line and per capita income is only 599 US$ (GOB 2009). Youths are the main victim of poverty that constrains their proper education, training and development. Due to economic hardship many of them are deprived from having balance diet that lead youth to be malnourished. A large number of children suffer from malnutrition (88 percent in 2000, CIRDAP 2009) and many of them are not physically, mentally and intellectually sound enough to take the responsibility on their shoulder at their young stage. It should be noted that education is one of the prime means of human development. But poverty is still a barrier to achieve proper education. Many youths leave their school before completing primary education because of financial crisis that increases dropout rate. In 2006, dropout rate was 47 percent in Bangladesh (CIRDAP 2009, xvi). There is strong correlation between leaving school at early age and unhealthy behaviors and there is also a high risk of long- term social exclusion of these youths (Cava, Clert and Lytle 2004, 3). They do not get satisfied job due to lack of efficiency and skill. At the same time, due to shortage of job opportunities in formal sector many youths are remained unemployed. On the other hand, because of over population many youths are underemployed in agriculture sector also. Data show that though standard unemployment rate was 4.25 percent in labor market of Bangladesh in 2006, actual rate was high at 24.5 percent on the basis of number of hours worked per week (GOB 2008, 67).
However, frustration is another complicated problem of youth of Bangladesh. The origin of frustration is rooted in lack of proper socialization in childhood as well as unemployment at the stage of youth. Different studies show that frustration is one of the major causes of drug addiction of youths (Sarker 2008, 29) in the one hand, drug addiction leads the addicted youths to commit other offences such as pick-pocketing, stealing, smuggling, shoplifting, snatching, dacoity or terrorism, illicit drug and arms trafficking etc. (Hossain 2002, 51), on the other hand. Drug addiction is very much harmful to health. It also destroys the human resources. In addition, there are other forms of problems faced by youths, particularly young women in Bangladesh such as early marriage, dowry, women trafficking and so forth. As coping strategy with unemployment situation many youths migrate internally or externally. But very often external migration can take

dangerous forms; especially young women are vulnerable to human trafficking. They become innocent victim of sexual harassment, low wages, and uncongenial working environment. Many young male are also cheated by employment agencies (Akhter and Sultana 1993, 50; Cava, Clert and Lytle 2004, 4 and Sarker 2008, 29). The problems of youth stated above are barriers to overall development of Bangladesh. Therefore, problems of youths should be addressed with utmost sincerity through proper plans and programs in order to transform young people to skilled and productive workforce so that they could involve in income-earning activities, lead a satisfactory life and contribute in national development. Realizing the fact, the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) adopted National Youth Policy, and government and non-government organizations are operating different types of programs for empowerment and development of youth.
The GOB adopted some social policies viz. population policy, health policy, education policy, child policy etc. to combat different type social problems such as poverty, population explosion, ill- health, malnutrition, unemployment and so on. But these policies could not address the problems of youth properly. Therefore, the government approved the youth policy in 1983 (revised in 1999) in order to address the youths’ problems properly. The prime target of this policy is to promote the rights of youth, particularly in the areas of education, skill development, empowerment and participation in community development activities. The government is updating the youth policy to make it more relevant to the present and future needs of youth in Bangladesh. Finally, the government has adopted National Youth Policy in 2003. The main features of this policy are as follows:
♦ Youth participation in development activities: National Youth Policy emphasizes that the broadest participation of youths will be ensured through extending youth programs to all sub- districts of Bangladesh. This will be done through bottom-up planning and participatory approach at the grass-root level.
♦ Youth for development of youth: The Government’s strategy is based on “Youth for Development of Youth’. It aims to integrate the youth totally in national development.
♦ Enhancement of employment opportunities: The government has introduced self- employment program providing with training and microcredit facilities as per guidelines of National Youth Policy.
Although the government has formulated enormous plans and programs as per guidelines of National Youth Policy to promote youth rights and their development some programs were also implemented by GOs for youth welfare before adopting it.
The Government of Bangladesh is morally entrusted to empower the youth for the overall development of the nation. Since the national development largely depends on proper utilization of youths as they are the vital force, and most of them live in rural areas, the first initiative was launched in 1952 by introducing Village Agricultural and Industrial Development (V-AID) program for generating new activities in the rural areas of which ultimate goal was rural development through self-help in which youth was one of the prime target groups. The government took another initiative for the welfare of youth through Youth Welfare Project in 1961-62 under the Department of Social Welfare. 20 Youth Welfare Centers were established in urban areas under this project. These centers used to implement some activities such as vocational training in short-hand and typewriting, such other crafts as watch repairing, radio-mechanism, carpentry, photography; recreational activities inclusive of music, painting, indoor and outdoor games; and literary activities
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(Khan 1978°, 62-63) for capacity building, enhancing intellectuality and mental development. Generally, literate urban youths; mostly college students, college dropouts with an admixture of high school and universitystudents took part in different types of activities of these centers as there were situated in urban areas.
After independence in 1971, the GOB launched Rural Social Service (RSS) Program for youth empowerment in rural Bangladesh in 1974. This program is being implemented by the Department of Social Services (DSS) (formerly Department of Social Welfare). The program includes functional education, vocational training in useful vocations in different sectors that can create jobs with local raw materials, training on home-management and childcare, nutrition, family planning etc. The program is implementing till now through Mothers Club and Youth Club. These clubs work as training and production centers helping investment and generation of income among the by- passed population groups such as the rural women, unemployed youth and landless labor. Acting as focal points of fulfilling the felt-need of the relevant village groups, these centers also work on the reduction of illiteracy, population explosion, and development of health, nutrition and education status (Shelley 1978, 86) so that they can develop their self-understanding and participate in decision making, planning and implementation process for their self-development and overall development of the nation. (Urban Social Service {USS} Program also provides such types of services for youths at urban areas.)
Another remarkable step towards organizing and mobilizing the youth was taken through National Youth Convention, 1977, organized by Department of Social Welfare (DSW). DSW developed a Pilot National Youth Services Project as per the decision of the convention. The activities of this project were non-formal education, socio-economic projects for improving the social functioning and economic capabilities of the youth and development of infrastructure facilities through youth civic action programs for integrated development (Khan 1978b, 82) .
Though other organizations are working for youths, the first official direct youth development activities were commenced through the establishment of Ministry of Youth Development, now Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Department of Youth Development (DYD) in 1979 and 1981 with the objective of creating a positive environment for youth by ensuring their pro-active involvement through improved education, skill development, microcredit and other means. Relevant non-government organizations (NGOs), like Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), Proshika, Association for Social Advancement (ASA), Grameen Bank and a number of other NGOs both in the rural and urban areas are also working for youth empowerment in Bangladesh.
In fact, in the backdrop of youth unemployment, the government has no option but to empower them. Keeping this view, the Government of Bangladesh has already given enormous importance to youth empowerment; and financial allocation has been made much more than before in this sector. The government organizations (GOs) like the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labor and Manpower, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Local Government and Cooperatives have undertaken various programs for the purpose of empowering young people and making them skilled human resource so that they could play pivotal role in national development. Important aspects of these programs are to impart skill development training on various vocational trades; to encourage the youth for self-employment through motivation, to provide microcredit and other necessary input support; to ensure mass participation of youth in decision making process; to ensure at least 50 percent participation of women in youth empowerment programs; to organize youth groups and motivate them to assist community

development through voluntary youth organization; to ensure youth participation in development process at every level of local government organization in all youth related activities in the purpose of good governance; to involve the youth insocio-economic activities like literacy programs, disaster management, primary healthcare, immunization drive and family welfare, tree plantation, resource conservation and awareness raising against anti-social activities, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS/STDs; to ensure youth participation in different healthy recreational activities like games and sports, debates, literacy competition and other cultural activities for improving their physical and mental faculties; to inculcate spirit of self-help, cooperation and cohesion, and qualities of good citizenship; and to encourage the youth to act as change agents of overall socio- economic development. In addition to government programs, NGOs like BRAC, Proshika, ASA, Grameen Bank are also operating some programs such as microcredit for self-employment project, occupational training for skill development, non-formal education for awareness building, and motivational work for ensuring participation in decision making process (especially for young women). These activities are adopted in tune with advocacy of proponents of capability approach (Sen 1984, 1985; Naussbam 2000 cited in Clark 2005) who suggest for improving capacity of community to enhance their performance in every sector of their lives for socio-economic development. Though the paper discusses the youth empowerment program of different GOs and NGOs it particularly highlights on the program of DYD as the government has given core responsibility on it to address youth problem since its inception in 1981.
Training Programs for Youth Empowerment
Skill development training is one of the important programs in Bangladesh in the field youth development. The government has adopted the training program as human resource development strategy to make the youth diligent and skilled manpower through its various agencies. It helps the participants to wide the horizon of their knowledge on a particular aspect; enrich their potentiality to contribute to the development. Participants also learn to mobilize resources around them. Training also brings some positive changes in participants’ attitude and behavior (Chowdhury 1997, 19). These changes help the trainees to promote their self-understanding, and turn the human being into human resource. For this reason, training programs in GO and NGO sectors are being implemented as youth empowerment strategy in Bangladesh. The DYD is playing pioneer role in imparting training to youth in Bangladesh. The DYD is developing different types of training programs and nurturing today’s youth leaders. The training program of DYD is in operation in 64 districts and 476 upazila offices (including 10 metropolitan unit thanas). Under this program youths are provided training on various trades like dress-making, block, batik and screen printing, pisciculture, aquaculture, wool knitting, modern office management, computer application, livestock, poultry, computer, radio & TV repairing, electric and house wiring, secretarial science, steno-typing, and so-forth (DYD 2009, 31). The government has started National Service Program from the year of 2009-2010 for training and employment to the unemployed youths whose educational qualifications are from SSC (Grade 10) to above. Presently, as pilot program, two poverty stricken districts namely Kurigram and Barguna have been selected for this program and an amount of Tk. 20 crore has been allocated for the financial year of 2009-2010. Firstly, the unemployed youths of the selected district will have three months’ basic training on selected modules and will be attached with different nation building organizations. It is expected that after gathering knowledge, skill and experience they will get their desired job. The program will be expanded to allover the country phase by phase (ibid, 33).
However, 18,78,153 youths have received training on various trades from these training centers up to June 2009 (ibid, 35). Most of them are self-employed. Findings of a study (DYD 2009a) show that after receiving training they are now able to make decision regarding their project, family and
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community planning. But before receiving training they were idle, vagabond, and burden of family as well as of the nation (GOB 2002, 8). It is the great success of DYD to create realization among the youths that they are not liability for the nation rather they are able to contribute for the development of the nation along with their their self-employment and wellbeing. The DYD also impart training on human relations like: management, personnel management, leadership development, motivation, communication, civic education, problem solving and decision making and national social services for its staff and other youths that expand capacity of the participants. The Department of Social Services (DSS) under the Ministry of Social Welfare is also imparting training on various trades through its major two programs: Rural Social Service (RSS) and Urban Social Service (USS). RSS is being implemented through Mothers Club, Youth Club and Community Center. To empower the youth and accelerate the development process of the country RSS introduced training program for the rural unemployed, illiterate or half-educated youth for skill development and self-employment. RSS is imparting training on various trades like crafts as jute works, mat-making, pottery, doll-making, garment-making, choir-mates, wood and cane furniture, various fancy item as well as items of daily use, electric wiring, rickshaw and cycle repair etc. (Hossain 2004).
The objectives of this training program are to create skilled manpower, to make people aware about society and their rights, to change the people’s attitude positively, to improve latent knowledge, and to create consciousness about their surroundings. This kind of training helps the trainees to solve problems by themselves, to become conscientious and free from superstition, so that their self- confidence, self-respect and the inner potentials are developed as resource. In women empowerment, RSS tries to make women conscious about the Muslim family law, dowry law, marriage and divorce law, law of inheritance, law of prevention of violence against women, law relating to equality and rights of men and women, health, nutrition and reproductive rights, rights relating to sanitation and use of safe drinking water in its training session (Islam, 2003, 207). RSS has imparted training to 1,076,250 persons since its inception in 1974, and disbursed Tk. 508.14 million as microcredit for self-employment of target people (Rahman 1999, 12). Like DYD and DSS, Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB) is also playing vital role to impart training for empowering the youth male and female in socially and economically through skill development, leadership development, development of latent creativity and awareness about society.
NGOs such as BRAC and Proshika provide training for developing analytical skill and positive attitudes towards social change (BRAC 2007 and Proshika 2004). Both of the organizations provide training on professional management and consultancy service as well as on different issues for their beneficiaries such as rural development, women’s health and development, income generation for the vulnerable group, development and other support activities (Ahmed 1993, 85). All training programs are aimed to empower youth male and female through human development and creating social awareness.
Microcredit Program
Only by imparting training, it is not possible to reduce unemployment because employment opportunity in formal sector does not increase as fast as the number of unemployed youth increase at the same time. So, to reduce the number of unemployment, it is very much necessary to create self-employment opportunities. However, due to hard-core poverty, the youths of Bangladesh are not able to adopt self-employment project. For this reason, after receiving training on different trades many youths could not manage job. On the other hand, in the absence of collateral resources, the poor youths have limited access to loan of formal sector. The poor thus normally depend on informal sectors where the cost of finance is traditionally high. In this situation, considering the
reality in order to proper utilization of human resource and expedite the youth empowerment process GOs such as DYD, DSS, BRDB and NGOs such as BRAC, Proshika, Grameen Bank and other voluntary associations have focused on collateral free credit program. The main aim of these organizations is to direct their programs towards integrating the youth into empowerment process through self-employment and income generating activities.
The credit program of DYD encourages the trained youths to conduct self-employment project in many ways. The program has a provision to reward and grant the youths and youth organizations (in cash and material) for exceptional performance in self-employment, income generation, skill development training, mobilization of resources etc. Data show that the beneficiaries are operating different types of self-employed project. Most of them (58 percent) have made profit from these projects and rest of them could not make profit because of natural calamities, paying off previous loan from present credit, using the money in unproductive sector and non-cooperation of family members (DYD 2009a) that comply with the findings of Hossain (2004). One of the success beneficiaries of DYD expressed his opinion regarding contribution of microcredit in his life in the following way:
“Microcredit of DYD has changed my means of living. I was suffering from financial crisis. After receiving training on aquaculture I received loan of Tk (1). 45,000/- form DYD. I invested that money in fish rearing. After one year I made profit of Tk. 52,000/- in two phases. At present, the amount of my investment is 1,10,000/-. My annual profit is more or less Tk. 1,00,000. My children go to school; I could bear their expenses. I could also provide them with good food and better medical services that was out of my imagination before starting my fish project. I am happy now”. (Akkas)
However, youth empowerment program of RSS has been launched in 1974. It assists the rural poor in establishing Village Based Institutions (VBIs). The establishment of VBI is a new initiative towards empowering the target people, specially the youth male and female, through a formal organization for promoting self-managed program. The program promotes income-generating activities through VBIs. To speed up the income generating activities RSS provides vocational training on various trades for skill development and credit for implementing income earning project. Hossain (2004) shows in a study, out of total beneficiaries of a project area 96.67 percent have been benefited socially and economically from this program.
Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB) is one of the largest government organizations that are working for developing socio-economic condition and standard of living of rural people. To empower the rural youths, reduce poverty of rural poor and bring a total development, it organizes the youths through formal and informal organizations, encourages them to accumulate their own capital through small deposits. It imparts training on human development, education, health, sanitation, family planning, environment pollution, and income generating activities. It provides microcredit for small projects. After receiving training and loan from BRDB, the beneficiaries have been engaged in different types of income generating activities on the basis of their ability and interest. As a result their income has been increased and got recognition in their societies. It is found that about 45 percent of assetless have been engaged in self-income generating activities and earn Tk. 15,000 to Tk. 20,000 in addition to their annual income (BRDB 2002, 9). Their food consumption and educational status have also been improved (Ibid, 30).
BRAC, Proshika, ASA, and other leading NGOs as well as Grameen Bank also operate microcredit program through target group approach. The target population consists of the poorest of the poor of which most of them are young generation. The credit program has generated new employment in rural Bangladesh among the poor men and women that increased the labor force participation rate
Youth Problems 73

in the area of its operation and improved their socioeconomic condition (Kamal and Mia 2003 and Bhuiyan 2007). The women beneficiaries are found to be devoted about 28 hours per week for income-earning activities (Hossain 1984, 2) where they had no involvement in income-earning activities before joining microcredit program. The credit program, therefore, has been particularly successful in enhancing the skills, economic capabilities, and productive employment of rural poor women. As loans are given to women after intensive training on capacity building, the procedures itself gives the borrowers a feelings of ‘I can’ that has important psychologicalsignificance. Being able to develop an identity outside the family circle and to learn to interact with outsiders and with figures in authority is highly valued by the women as boost to confidence and self-esteem (Hossain 1998, 20). In addition, there have been major social gains in terms of rising consciousness, changes in attitude on the role of women and upliftment of status of poor working women within the household and in the community (Ghai 1994, 56) of whom most of them are in young stage that also create social capital of group members.
Family-based Employment Program
DYD operates Family-based Employment Program (FBEP) for upliftment of socioeconomic conditions of youth. In this program, the landless and asset-less rural poor families are tied in family groups, trained in human resource development and skill development provided with microcredit in three successive years and supported by social development activities like primary health care and nutrition, sanitation, family planning, women development, functional literacy, tree plantation etc. in order to empower the youth. The characteristics of this program are to identify the family as a unit of development activities. It provides microcredit to the qualified trained beneficiaries, accompanied by support services (Haq 2004, 10 and DYD 2009, 34). The total number of beneficiaries of this program is 4,79,696 persons until June 2009 (DYD 2009, 34).
Public Private Partnership Program
At present, the government of Bangladesh has given enormous emphasis on public private partnership approach like other countries. It is believed in contemporary development discourses that due to scarcity of resources it is very difficult for a government alone to run all the development programs. Keeping this view, DYD is operating some training and capacity building programs on different trades through joint collaboration of public private partnership (PPP) with different government and non-government organizations through signing of memorandum of understanding to implement the national policy of self-employment. The partner organizations are Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA), Western Marine Service Ltd, Day-Bangladesh, Bangladesh National Women Lawyers’ Association (BNWLA), Thengamara Mohila Sabuj Sangho (TMSS), Save the Children-USA etc. (ibid, 32). Training and capacity building activities of PPP program is playing pivotal role in skill development and employment sector.
Youth Empowerment Programs in Association with International Agencies
The government also believes in developing global partnership in order to achieve MDGs and materialize the benefit of globalization. The government, especially DYD works with international agencies in developing training programs and building networks for international youth exchange so that they could share their experience of youth empowerment. They exchange related information through periodicals, news-letters, and quarterly journals. It should be noted that international agencies viz. UNDP, UNFPA, ESCAP, ILO, UNESCO, JICA and KOICA are extending their cooperation in implementing the program of the DYD. It observes National (8 December) and International Youth Day (12 August) and arrange cultural function for developing their mental faculties. The DYD also organizes youth exchange program with the assistance of

Commonwealth Youth Programs. The DYD is operating a project entitled ‘Publication & Dissemination of Information of Youth Activities Project’ with the aim of disseminating information. The youths gather cross cultural knowledge and experiences regarding youth empowerment through this program. (DYD 2009, 45-46).
Youths are the most potential segment of population of each and every country. Development of a country mostly depends upon proper utilization of youth force and their active participation in development process. But sometimes they could not play desired role in development process due to some socioeconomic constraints such as financial crisis, lack of proper education, skill, motivation, and so-forth. Bangladesh is no different to it. Therefore, the GOB has formulated policy, plans and programs in order to combat this situation as well as for the development of youth community. The programs are being implemented by GOs and NGOs. They are imparting training on different trades for skill development and motivating them to use their merit and labor in constructive way and providing them with financial support for operating income generating activities. Findings of different studies (Ghai 1994, Kamal and Mia 2003, Hossain 2004, Bhuiya 2007 and DYD 2009a) show that that above-mentioned programs are playing vital role in youth empowerment. After receiving training many of the youths have become empowered to make decision regarding their strategic life choices by themselves. Now they could use their loans in proper manner. They make profit from their self-employed project, they could continue their children’s education, and enjoy medical services in their illness. But it is the matter of regret that there are some constraints (utilization of credit, marketing their product etc.) still existed in the development process and these programs could not make fruitful result for the welfare of youth community. Therefore, the problems of these programs must be addressed with utmost sincerity and the authority concerned should come forward with proper plan to make the youth development program a success. In addition, there are some social problems that also constrain the development of youth. Hence, in order to overcome the limitations, modification of the programs and to accelerate the youth empowerment process this paper recommends some actions as policy implication:
It is found that the duration of training period is very short. Training period of most of the trades ranges from seven days to one month, and three months for special trade that is very much insufficient to learn anything properly and adequately. So, to develop the skill of trainee in real sense it is important to increase the duration of training period.
From institutional point of view, lack of coordinated and consistent efforts by the different agencies causes hindrance to bringing a significant impact on the overall development of the youth. Monitoring and supervision efforts are not sufficient. It creates a gap between beneficiaries and officials. In absence of proper supervision many client spend their money in anti-social activities and they could not repay the installment in scheduled time (Hossain 2004 121-122). So intensive supervision has to be arranged.
The amount of loan is small in size for large project. The amount of loan is not sufficient to run self-employed project like cattle farm (where the lowest ceiling is Tk. 5,000/- and highest ceiling is Tk. 50,000/-). So, sometimes they compel to depend on monetary help of friends or family members. It is found that even the self-employed youths who have been awarded for self-employment, have received money from their family (Samad and Rahman, 2001 cited in Haq 2004). Therefore, the amount of loan must be increased. In addition, grace period for loan repayment is also insufficient. Before earning money from self-employed project the beneficiaries compel to think about repayment of loan that creates psychological pressure on them. So, the grace period must be increased.
The critiques point out that some of training programs are not ‘need-based’ and ‘updated’ to
Youth Problems 75

the mark. The training programs, in which the trainees receive training, do not reflect the real demand of the competitive job market. As a result, the said training programs are not succeeding to ensure employment extensively for the youths. For this reason, many youths remain unemployed after receiving training. So, it is necessary to search new trades for training program so that it can create attraction in job market. In the present context, information technology should be selected for training instead of traditional trades.
Lack of coordination between GO-NGO, GO-GO and NGO-NGO is one of the limitations of training and credit program. In the absence of coordination one person is taking the credit from more than one agency that creates misuse of money, time, and opportunity. So, coordination among the agencies should be ensured.
It is stated earlier that drug addiction is one of the serious social problems in Bangladesh. It is a great threat to social stability. Therefore, enforcement of law should be ensured along with creating social awareness in controlling drug addiction.
Community center should be established at village level for ensuring constructive recreational facilities and entertainment for youth and combating cultural aggression that will also keep young people from undesirable activities. 
(1) Taka is local currency of Bangladesh. 1 USD ═ 69 Tk.

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Socio-Eonomic Status of Elderly of Bangladesh: A Statistical Analysis

The present study was undertaken to gather overall information on socio-economic and health profiles of the senior citizens of Bangladesh based on primary data of from the three selected districts of the country. Simple statistical tools and logistic regression model are used to analyze the data. The analysis shows that 46% of the physically sound elderly are jobless and 15% aren’t engaged in job due to lack of physical fitness and other causes. The logistic regression analysis reveals that respondents’ age, level of education, physical fitness are significantly associated with the current occupation of elderly people.

So as a result in the field of the current estate in the name of an occupational sector in bangladeshof the server for the open section or the field of corruption is leaded and guided to the private organization form the tried humen section of the large system of the political issues of the system in advance of the Bangladesh of the south east Asian business in the field of the current polish government was saying the same ruthless truth to the factor of the current state of the local community and most of the Dhaka people are form the Black President Country which is the USA united state of America in the field of the current oberever of the current handling sector of Bangladeshi field and the respect of the current government in the business field of the organizional behavior for ths sylheti communities in the major field of the formal parliament in the current state of the modernwelfare of the respectful mercy ad the subject was gone to be the main system for the offers which are currently outstanding for the elective in the sense of humor in the secotor of the field in the system of the current state in the formal status of the political field of the history of the Bangladeshi informal version the current status of the Bangladesh and the south east asia was not nice and very colourful of the century in the section of the hilltracks and nobility and the central urban areas of the bureaucracy and the section break was not the fond of the single cream to the fullest of the double and the current awesome section of the empire and the state agents were being shot by the sector of the sectional government and the local government . so the formal section was being ruled by ershad in the house of lords and the stadium of the Bangladeshi museum will be the nations of the creamy fields and the oiling of the so the outside and the inside of the situation in the muslim nation not being hypocrits and the alerts of the so the palm oil came to Bangladesh and the king prawn raja rani was being produced in the header and the footer of the single builder of the current of the simple state in the justice field of the famous grocery and the system of the south east asia for the revolution iun the union of the current section in town and specially done by major public areas and cities in the midlfield of the landmarks and the leylandf of the white wash of the operation clean heart and the bullion funds of rthe , so the super power of the USA was not sober but almost as equal to the spot death section in the havoc of the state in the molecular of the section header.
So the thing was the a bit bigger than I thought of for the science festival which is currently happening in the apache union , and union leages of the justice of the nice and sweet things of this hypocrite life and the system awareness was a bigger fact in the role of the nation state in the system status of the hot and chilli with pepper system in the paprika base
According to UN by the year 2025 the total number of elderly people in the world will reach at 1200 million, which indicates that by this time 15% of the total populations will reach 60 year or more (UN, 1997). UN also stated that the world is experiencing an age-quake. Every month, one million people reach at 60 years of age. In 1999 there were 593 million elderly people in the world and this figure will be triple to nearly 2 billions by the year 2050 (UN, 1999). It is true that the number of elderly people is increasing rapidly in the developed countries but it is also increasing in the developing countries with a great speed. More than half of the world’s older population lives in developing countries (UNFPA, 2002). In fact, the number of elderly people is increasing day by day in a very alarming rate. In the USA, there are a lot of care services for their elderly people. There are old homes, day-care centers and elderly societies for elderly people. Eberstadt (1997) found that population aging is a great challenge for the health care systems as nation’s age, the prevalence of disability, frailty and chronic diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and many other diseases is expected to increase dramatically. Rush (2006) found that the incidence of lifestyle diseases increases among the elderly people over the whole world which is not a sudden onset phenomenon but an accumulation of changes in the expression of genes in response to nutrition and environment from conception.
In Bangladesh, over the past decade there has been a significant decline in infant and child mortality rate. Control and prevention of diseases, such as measles, poliomyelitis and diphtheria along with extensive use of oral saline for diarrheal diseases have greatly reduced childhood mortality, Bangladesh is on the margin of Polio eradication and has already achieved the elimination goal for leprosy at the national level. Kabir (1987, 1994) found that in poor families, both in rural and urban areas, older people often unable to meet the demand due to extreme poverty where food is the top priority needs. Ismail Hossain et al. (2006) found that aged people in Bangladesh are mostly suffered from various complicated physical diseases and the number is increasing day by day but the services provided through government hospitals are inadequate in compare to needs. A small proportion (around 6%) of the total population of Bangladesh constitutes the elderly population, but the absolute number of them is quite significant (about 7.2 million) and the rate of their increase is fairly high. This change in population characteristics will have serious consequences on society as well as on the overall socio-economic development of the country (Banglapedia, 2006). In order to improve the lives of older people in Bangladesh, the national health system should allocate resources and design strategies to prevent and treat chronic disease. After the independence, the government of Bangladesh initiated some programs like pension, gratuity, welfare fund, aged fund (Boyosko Bhata), group insurance and provident fund for retired government officials and employees. SSocio-economic and health care issue of the elderly people in Bangladesh has not yet gotten any importance though it is increasing alarmingly. The following table of population projection of Bangladesh may knock our sense to take proper steps for the health care issue of our elderly people.
Adult children, particularly sons, are considered to be the main source of security and economic support to their parents, particularly in the time of disaster, sickness and in old age (Cain, 1986). As an Asian country, Bangladesh has a long cultural and religious tradition of looking after the elderly and it is expected that families and communities will care for their own elderly members. But rapid socio-economic and demographic transitions, mass poverty, changing social and religious values, influence of western culture and other factors, have broken down the traditional extended family and community care system. Most of the elderly people in Bangladesh suffer from some basic human problems, such as poor financial support, senile diseases and absence of proper health and medicine facilities, exclusion and negligence, deprivation and socio-economic insecurity (Rhaman, 2000). Aging is one of the emerging problems in Bangladesh. This problem has been gradually increasing with its far reaching consequences. A clear indication of increasing Bangladesh demographic aging process has been found in the works of Nath and Nazrul (2009) and Islam and Nath (2010). The present study is done to gather overall information on socio-economic and health profiles of the senior citizen in Bangladesh. This is motivated by the recognition that the best approach to enhance the aged people’s welfare in Bangladesh is to increase their self-reliance and to provide them proper health care facilities so that they can make themselves to have contribution to their family as well as their society. Specifically it tries to investigate the determinants those influence the socio-economic specially job status of the elderly people in Bangladesh.
The present study was based on data collected from three selected districts (Sylhet, Mymensingh and Noakhali) of Bangladesh during October and November in 2007. A questionnaire was adopted. A pilot survey was taken to make reliable and concise questionnaires. Personal interview approach was followed for data collection from the field. The districts and areas within the districts are selected purposively and random sample was collected from the selected areas of each district. Finally a sample of 300 elderly people were selected for interview where 100 from each district. The data were analyzed by SPSS. Frequency distribution table and logistic regression model were used to analyze the data.
Variables for the Logistic Regression Model
Dependent variable (Y): Occupation of the Elderly (coded ‘0’ for not in job and ‘1’ for the elderly at job).
The explanatory variables used in the model are:
• X1 = Age of the respondents (coded ‘1’ for “60-64” years, ‘2’ for “65-69”year and ‘3’ for “70 and above”)
• X2 = Looking after family (coded ‘0’ for “others” and “1” for “yourself”)
• X3 = Level of education of the respondents (coded ‘0’ for “literate” and ‘1’ for “illiterate”)
• X4 = Monthly income (coded ‘0’ for “0-5000.00”Tk. and ‘1’ for “5000.00Tk. and above”)
• X5 = Present state of health (coded ‘0’ for “not good” and ‘1’ for “average”)
• X6 = Present physical problem (coded ‘0’ for “heart disease”, ‘1’ for “diabetes” and 2 for “others”)
• X7 = Bearing of medical expenditure by son and daughter (coded ‘0’ for “no”and ‘1’ for “yes”)
• X8 = Ability to remember important events of childhood or student life (coded ‘0’ for “no”and ‘1’ for “yes”)
Bio-demographic characteristics of the elderly: This part of the study aimed to gather the basic data about respondent’s age, gender, religion, marital status (Table A1 in the appendix). Majority of the respondents are in the age group 64-65 followed by age group 65-69 and 70 and above. Among the respondents 73.3% were male and 26.3% were female. This finding of the sex distribution of the elderly supports the work of Hossain (2006) where he observed that female elderly were much lower than that of male. This may be due to unpaid family labor and sex discrimination of healthcare and food consumption, more female population in the study area died than that of male. Among the three hundred respondents 88.3 % of them are Muslim, 10% were Hindu. About 85% elderly were married and a very few (1%) were divorced. The remarriage rate of the elderly is higher at Mymensingh than other two districts. In Bangladesh older people-including married couples- traditionally like to live with their sons. A vast majority of older people (53%) like to live in joint or extended families (Khan et al., 2006). Among the 300 elderly people in the study sites 53.7, 33.3 and 13% of them are living in joint, unitary and extended respectively. Most of the family (43.3%) has the total member between three and five and only 16.7% of them have up to two members. It was observed that respondents of these three study sites in respect of level of looking after family among them 44% were found that still they are able to supervise their family and in 45.3% cases son of the elderly people lead or take care of their family. A very few cases (2.3%) daughter take care of their family. It was observed that among the three study sites 80% respondents has number of son not more than three in the total sample where only 4% of the respondents were found with having number of sons six or more. About 86% respondents have number of daughters not more than three.
Socio-economic characteristics of elderly: This part of the survey investigated the respondent’s income, expenditure, level of education, occupation, sanitation etc. (Table A2 in the appendix). Most of the elderly people in Bangladesh live in rural areas where health and recreation facilities are very limited. The majority of them are illiterate; economic facilities and job opportunities are limited. More than half of the elderly are widowed, divorced or single. A large proportion of elderly men are still in labor force both in rural and urban areas (Abedin, 1996).
The results showed that among the three study sites with respect to level of education, about 30% of elderly were found educated up to S.S.C. where 8% of them were found that they were able to read only the religious books the Holy Quaran, the Geta etc. Hence, it also showed that among three hundred elderly respondents 45% of them were illiterate. In this study, it is found that 33% of them were their previous occupation was agriculture whereas, a very few of them were engaged in fishing. It was also found that 22% elderly were engaged in business and 15.3% were in Government services.
It was found that 77% elderly using tube well water followed by 21.3% supply water and only 1.3% pond water. About 49% of the elderly were found with monthly income between one and five thousand taka where only 10% were found with monthly income around one thousand taka. Only 11% of the respondents had monthly income more than ten thousand taka. Again, it was found that 46.7% of elderly monthly expenditure varies between one and five thousand taka. About 18% elderly were doing their monthly expenditure within one thousand taka. The poor number (7.7%) of elderly was living with monthly expenditure more than ten thousand taka. About 66% of them were dwellers of tin shade house followed by 21% in building and slightly more than 8% in semi-building. Approximately 93 and 84% of them had their own house and land respectively. Most of the respondents (66%) have electricity facilities. The result also showed that a significant number of elderly (88%) had changed their economic status last fifty years. About 20% of the elderly get remittance from their family members. About 46% elderly expressed that they weren’t engaged in job due to lack of physical fitness followed by 15% due to other causes (age limitations, gender discrimination etc.). There were only 2% of them didn’t find work. Majority of the family (54%) use wood as fuel in their cooking system followed by 22% having gas facilities.
Socio-economic determinants of current occupation of elderly: This section of the study investigated the factors that are strongly connected with getting the job of elderly population (Table 1). According to the socio-economic framework of Bangladesh, current occupation is a vital determinant of measuring socio-economic condition. More than 70% of men in both rural and urban areas are paid workers and the proportion of elderly men in paid work is found to decline with increasing age (Kabir et al., 1998). It was found that most of the cases (63%) elderly people were jobless whereas only 15 and 14% of them were continuing with agricultural works and business respectively. This result is worse than that of Tehran city of Iran where 85% elderly are unofficially employed (Kaldi, 2005). Almost half (45.7%) of the elderly are illiterate. Among the secondary level educated person 30% were found with jobless while 35% were found with some sort of jobs.
Similarly, the percent of jobless elderly completed higher secondary and graduated level are 54 and 74, respectively. The findings reveal a clear indication that the jobless elderly was increasing according to their level of education. So, it can be inferred that education plays a key role on the current occupation of elderly people. Ownership of land also plays an important role on the over all solvency of elderly as well as their family. According to the present socio-economic framework of Bangladesh, elderly current job status depends on the number of family members residing in foreign country. Our sample profile indicates that only a few families having elderly person get foreign remittance. Again, it is found that maximum number of elderly without having any job belong lower class family.
Results of logistic regression analysis: In this part of the study, the logistic regression model was fitted considering current occupation as a dependent variable and tried to identify different factor that are related to elderly occupation (Table 2). The odds ratio shows that the young elderly (60-64) are almost three times more likely to have some sort of job than elderly aged 70 and above. Similarly elderly aged between 65 and 69 is slightly (1.15 times) more likely to have some job than the elderly having age more than 70.

Table 1: Distribution of current occupation of the respondents according to socio-economic determinants

Values within the afterthought indicate percent of the column. *Significant at 5% level, **Significant at 10% level

Table 2: Logistic regression analysis of current occupation according to some selected background characteristics

*Reference category
These findings indicate a negative association between age of the elderly and current occupation of them. It was observed that elderly who look after their family by themselves is 1.53 times more likely to involve with some sort of job than those whom aren’t.
Again, there is a positive association has been found between the current occupation of the elderly with their level of education. It is observed that educated elderly were 1.42 times more likely to have some sort of job than those of illiterate. Monthly family income is also associated with the current occupation of the aged person where higher elderly of higher income family is more likely to involve with some type of job. Elderly with average health condition is 1.59 times more likely to continue some sort of job than that with not good health status. The elderly, having diabetes, are 1.56 times more likely to involve with some sort of job than those of suffering from heart diseases. It was also found that elderly people who are suffering from other kind of diseases (high pressure, low pressure and digestion problem) are 1.74 times more likely to have some sort of job than those who are suffering from heart diseases. So, there is a significant association between current occupation and type of physical problems of the respondents. Again, there is a positive association between bearing medical cost of the elderly by their offspring and current occupation of them.
This study is an attempt to obtain a better understanding about socio-economic and health status of the elderly people. Various socio-economic and bio-demographic characteristics that are related to the elderly people had been studied in this study. From this study, it is found that age of the elderly, educational qualification, monthly income, present health status, physical problems are statistically significant with their occupational status. Majority of the elderly are without having any job. For the betterment of the socio-economic status of the elderly some initiatives should be started. At first, to ensure the financial solvency of the elderly people, proper regulations should be developed to encourage their offspring so that they could help their parents much more. Secondly, employment opportunity should be made for the elderly people according to their physical and mental fitness, educational qualification, needs and preferences. Thirdly, elderly people mostly suffer from some physical illness and they need comprehensive medical care services. So, separate ward or unit in a hospital or clinic need to establish for elderly people. Finally, poor elderly people should be involved in the development and implementation of programs and policies according to their minimum needs. Since, the data does not represent the whole Bangladesh, generalization of the findings and recommendations are risky. A comprehensive study is needed to explore the exact status of the elderly, their needs and proper recommendation for their well being.
Table A1: Percentage distribution of bio-demographic characteristics of the respondents

Table A2: Percentage distribution of socio-economic characteristics of the respondent

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Ismail Hossain, M., T. Akhtar and M. Taj Uddin, 2006. The elderly care services and their current situation in Bangladesh: An understanding from theoretical perspective. J. Medical Sci., 6: 131-138.

Kabir, H., 1987. Aged people in Bangladesh: Facts and prospects. Rural Demography, 14: 53-59.

Kabir, H., 1994. Local level policy development to deal with the consequences of population ageing in Bangladesh. United Nations, pp: 33.

Kabir, Z.N., M. Szebehely, C. Tishelman, A.M.R. Chowdhury, B. Hojer and B. Winbland, 1998. Aging trends-making an invisible population visible: The elderly in Bangladesh. J. Cross Cult. Gerontol., 13: 361-378.

Kaldi, A.R., 2005. Employment status of the elderly referring to the social security organization of Tehran City. Middle Eastern J. Age Age., 2: 1-6.

Khan, T.A. Hafiz and G.W. Leeson, 2006. The demography of ageing in Bangladesh: A scenario analysis of the consequences. Hallys Int. J. Aging, 8: 1-21.

Nath, D.C. and I.M. Nazrul, 2009. New indices: An application of measuring the aging process of some asian countries with special reference to Bangladesh. Popul. Ageing, 2: 23-49.

Rhaman, A.A.S.M., 2000. The characteristics of old age in Bangladesh. Bangladesh J. Geriatrics, 37: 14-15.

Rush, E., 2006. Healthy aging: Genes and environment. Indian J. Gerontol., 20: 93-98.

UN, 1997. International and Regional Mandates on Ageing. ST/SCAP., New York.

UN, 1999. The world at six billion. United Nation Population Division.

Today within two decades, Bangladesh has already become one of the leading suppliers of the global cloth manufacturing industry, frozen foods and leather. It is also predicted that with the current boost in the export of high quality, cheap pharmaceuticals to the European Union countries and the Middle-East, the pharmaceutical industry will soon begin to dominate as well. In addition, along with India, the poverty-stricken country has always been a top producer of jute and jute-based products, although this sector has surpassed through many upheavals and hindrances in the past few years.

But the conditions of workers in all these industries who help to amass huge amounts of foreign income each year for the country are far from good. Not only do they have to go through extremely dangerous and poor working conditions, but are also forced to lead lives with low wages as a result of which almost all the industrial workers live much under the international poverty line. This is the very reason why the country is always abuzz and making international headlines with workers’ strikes and protests. And the government also has always been under intense domestic and international pressure for securing the rights of the workers.

A shimmering example to demonstrate the inhumane conditions of the industrial workers in Bangladeshi factories is the ready-made garments industry. As the highest export income-earner for the economy and as the world’s second highest global supplier, the industry employs around 3.6 million workers, around 95% of which are females. Recently the international think-tank Mckinsey has also predicted that by the year 2015, the Bangladeshi cloth industry will have overtaken its Chinese counterpart to become the leading cloth supplier and also the first choice for international investors and importers to invest in this sector. During the last fiscal year, the industry has exported $18 billion worth of apparels to the global market.

But the naked truth is that this rise has been achieved on the saddles of exploitation of the impoverished workers in these industries. It is their hands and the investors’ money that produce high-quality, cheap clothes for global superstores like Walmart, Tommy Hilfiger and H & M. An eminent local economist has recently calculated that for every $100 worth of ‘Made in Bangladesh’ apparel sold in Walmart in America, $25 is taken by the US government; $35 by the factory-owners, shareholders and the other investors; around $38 by Walmart; while the worker whose arduous work and dexterity produced the item has to remain content with barely a small fraction of a dollar.
And so, due to this unequal division of the money, the country has always been rife with workers’ rights issues and dissent. Violence is not uncommon between protesting and demonstrating worker groups and the policemen. And several workers have even been killed in clashes with the police forces and other owner-sponsored agencies. However, most of the time the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), one of the most powerful lobby groups in the National parliament, has always succeeded in crushing down the trade union groups and any call for riots.

With the set-up of the government-sponsored Industrial Police—-an elite police force specialized in monitoring, gathering intelligence and quenching any demonstrations by the workers——trade unions have been thrown into silence by repeated torturing of trade union activists. The current government has increased the minimum wage rate of garments’ workers from around $20 to $36 in terms of the current exchange rate. Yet, the price is far from enough. The workers, most of them living in slums and closed quarters in cities, barely manage to survive with the 10% inflation rate currently in the country. The Bangladesh Center for Workers’ Solidarity, a prominent trade union in the country, has demanded that the minimum rate be raised to at least around $58 but the government, with the strength of the BGMEA lobby, has firmly quelled all forms of opposition and has strictly claimed that after the increase, even though it is meager, no forms of protestations or indiscipline will be tolerated in the aforementioned sector.

Although most of the industrial workers live in slums, some get the privilege(!) of dwelling in cramped, shabby little quarters and buildings in the narrowest alley-ways of the cities
During the last big uprising of garments’ workers back in 2010, activists from several trade unions were even arrested by law enforcement officers and brutally tortured to preempt them from going against the owner associations and to stop them from demanding a greater minimum wage rate.

As if the wages weren’t enough, the garments’ workers have to deal with a lot of other issues as well. One of the most important concerns is safety. The factories which house thousands of male and female workers are equipped with little or almost no security. With lax safety standards, fires have erupted in many factories quite frequently in the past decade, killing many workers on the spot due to the absence of any emergency or fire exits. While the owners of these factories are among the highest tax-payers of the country with their kids being sent to American schools that charge fees up to $11000 annually, and while

Garments workers clashing with the industrial police
they themselves reside in posh apartments in the wealthy neighborhoods and drive luxurious cars, the laborers work arduously throughout the day with small lunch and prayer breaks risking their lives constantly to be able to feed their families. Although due to the assistance of welfare organizations like BRAC they are sending their kids to schools, they know perfectly well that in the near future their children will also have to embrace the same fate as them because of the enormous class difference.

A fire in a luxurious-looking factory of the locally owned Hameem Group killed 20 workers and injured a further 100.

There is also the severe case of gender discrimination in these factories. Women are allowed to work side by side with their male compatriots, although most factories have segregated the sexes in the clothing lines. But the wages offered to females is almost half as that offered to males for the same job. The majority of the workers in the garments trade are females who have come to the cities in search of jobs to feed themselves and help run their families. But with the money they earn they can hardly run their own self. Also, since they have absolutely no guarantee of maternal leave or pregnancy leave or any other feminine facility, life becomes harder and more and more stressful for them at work everyday. While the government, the Western leaders and the religious mullahs of the country, along with the fiercely Islamic elite, champion the state of women empowerment in an extremely conservative, religious state like Bangladesh and never fail to underscore that women in this country are much better off than our mightier neighbors like India and Pakistan, the growing exploitation of the female populace has taken a toll with the rapid growth of the garments’ trade.

With the next Olympic Games under the red carpet, big brands like Nike, Puma and Adidas, are already active with the manufacture of sports’ clothing throughout the world. And a big chunk of these outfits are being made in this small state of the 160 million, where these high profile brands are constantly underpaying the workers and maintaining their solidarity with the government and the industry owners. International allegations against many of the factories supplying these global sporting brands have been brought about but even with the repeated calls for better wages and conditions, the lives of the average worker remains virtually unchanged.

Last month, the deepening divide and the growing dissent have escalated all of a sudden. Aminul Islam (39), a former garment worker and one of the presidents of the Bangladesh Centre for Workers’ Solidarity, went missing on 4th April. On 5th April his tortured and murdered body was discovered on the sides of a road around 61 miles from Dhaka, in an area with a high concentration of garments’ industries. Previously he had been arrested several times along with many others for organizing protests and demonstrations. Recently he had also been working hard to organize a mass protest for better working conditions and improved wages in several garments factories of the Dhaka-based Shanta Group, which supplies clothes to global companies like Tommy Hilfiger and Nike.

It is evident that the murder was carried out with a political motivation. Several

Aminul Islam, 39, a labor activist who was found dead just outside Dhaka on 5th April
international and domestic human rights and workers’ rights groups such as Human Rights Watch, Worker Rights Consortium, Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers’ Federation have all asked for a transparent and carefully monitored investigation into the matter.

It is mainly due to the hard-work of these industrial workers and their struggle for better lives for themselves and for upcoming generations that the country is earning huge amounts in foreign income. With the rapid industrialization and inflow of foreign money, economic growth and poverty alleviation throughout the country has been robust throughout the last decade. A burgeoning middle-class and upper class population has been created in Dhaka, Chittagong and the rest of the cities and villages due to the ubiquitous growth of these industries.

Dhaka, the city I grew up and live in, is currently a heavily industrialized urban city. Everywhere you go—except in the wealthier and the middle class residential areas—you will come across factories on both sides of the roads. I am, in fact, a direct product of that industrial revolution in Bangladesh. My

The growth of the industrial and urbanized Dhaka has brought about a sky-scraper boon for the burgeoning middle & upper class to live in
father is a raw materials supplier to garments factories and although his is the sole income for the family of four, we are quite a thriving middle class family with me and my other sibling sent to English schools to read Shakespeare and to get ourselves mesmerized by the natural sciences.

But what about those children of industrial workers who know that they will also have to work hard and live with injustice for the rest of their lives just like their parents? Will their be more killings of the Aminuls then?
With the garments owned by Korean or local investors, or even a joint venture, with the cotton from neighboring India and equipments from China, it is the hands of these workers that assemble the final product in garment factories and stick the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ brand label on it. The product is then packed up

and sent across the seas, deserts, mountains and oceans to Europe and the United States, the Middle-East, Japan, Korea, Russia and Australia. It maybe a shirt, skirt or a trouser. Or simply a mass-produced Western dress. Due to the assembly line mass-production in this age of globalization, the prices of these Western and global clothing in the domestic market have actually become much lower than the traditional Bengali clothes for the middle-class citizens. But when the price at which the foreigners are buying the item is considered, it will surely be far beyond any worker’s total monthly income. Yet these workers have a hard time grappling with their life and overcoming the hindrances of discordant prospects and a grim future for themselves. They lead a life with extreme discomfort and risk just to be able to live. Time and again they are forced to confront to the fact that their succeeding generations will also have to lead the same lives. Yet, they move on. Shoving away their tears, they go to work each day to the factories, where discipline is stringent and no latecomers are ever tolerated. They work towards a bleak future, yet continue to serve the global community at whatever price that is available to them for survival.

While the workers live and work in extremely hostile conditions, the industrialists, merchants and businessmen enjoy the air-conditioned, safer & well-ventilated modern commercial buildings of Kawran Bazar, Motijheel, Gulshan & Dhanmondi.

All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Lawî-Article 27 of th Constitution of the Peopleís Republic of Bangladesh

Bangladesh Police: Existing
problems and some reform

In common parlance cops and robbers are a conceptual couple — cops always to chase the robbers. This was not the case until relatively recently. Criminology has shed light, for most of its history, on the robbers and miscreants; cops and other components of criminal justice system were outside its jurisdiction. The ìclassical schoolî was concerned with the establishment of a reasonable and efficient criminal justice system. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries ìscience of police flourished as a branch of political economy. This branch took into consideration the problem of crime and disorder and considered how to develop appropriate policies to prevent and control it.

This sense is much broader and is used to mean a whole system of governing a society by economic, social, political and cultural policy. The police in our contemporary sense are seen as a small part of the whole of domestic government and an important agency of criminal justice system.
Here I want to focus the problems of Bangladesh Police and how to come out of the situation. Good law and order situation presupposes the establishment of a professional police force. An environment should be created where police will serve the purpose of the people. Their prime concern will be crime control and maintenance of social order.
Recently people are more conscious than ever about the role of police in ensuring law and order. A number of former police officials, columnists, advocates, judges and human rights activists are putting their valuable views in different newspapers about the problems of police and setting forth their recommendations to reform the police. This positive trend, I hope, will usher in a path where we shall get a professional and institutional police.

Police of the Indian sub-continent took institutional shape after the mutiny of 1857. The British rulers were bewildered at the widespread mutiny all over India. After controlling the mutiny they thought to reorganise the police of Indian sub-continent and appointed a Police Commission in 1860. In accordance with the recommendations of the Police Commission the Police Act, 1861 was passed. The organisation of police was established according to the provisions of this Act, which continues to regulate the police functions still today in Bangladesh. Immediately after establishing the police, British rulers realised that they had created a Frankenstein. Later on successive enquiries found the police incompetent, high-handed and corrupt. In 1902 the Fraser Commission clearly told that, the police system established by the British rulers had completely failed. It recorded that,
they went, the Commission heard the most bitter complaints against the corruption of the police. These complaints were not made by non-officials only, but also officials of all classes including Magistrates and police officers, both European and native.î
The structure, within which the police of Bangladesh are working, was established by the British rulers. At that time police was low salaried, little educated, corrupt and they had no accountability. At the end of nineteenth century, movement against British government became widespread. They got a readymade force, police, at their disposal to suppress the rightful movement of this sub
After the emergence of Bangladesh, government kept the previous structure of police. Some initiatives were taken to reform it, but no government implemented the reform proposals. The incumbents did not do anything for establishing a professional police force in this country. The whole government machinery is well aware of the corruption, manipulation, illegal arrest, torture and other malpractices of police. In spite of that they are working with this deviated force. It has become a usual practice that opposition parties criticises the activities of police, but when they go to power they
defend the same police force and utilise the force for narrow party purpose as usual.

Police force in Bangladesh is beset with many problems. First, the structure of police was established by the British rulers and the laws regulating the activities of the police were enacted by the same ruling elite. Both the structure and laws require extensive review. Our police owes its creation to the Police Act, 1861, principal purpose of which was to maintain the status quo. The Act puts major emphasis on maintenance of order. Rather than focusing on the professional aspect of crime control, the Act overemphasises the constabulary functions of the police. We require a new Police Act, which will focus on professional aspect of crime control and clearly define police role and responsibility. The new Act needs to ensure police professionalism, accountability and modern police management, the proper functioning of which seeks to improve human security and access to justice. It should provide the basis for establishing police as a public-friendly service-oriented organisation, which will be monitored by police-public consultative committees.

Second, the police of lower echelon constitute majority of police force. But they, particularly the constables, Nayeks and low ranking police officers, do not possess substantial educational and intellectual attainments. Their treatment and exposure to the general people is very arrogant and frightening.

Third, because of lack of proper training and motivation, police do not know that they are the servants of the Republic, which requires its people to be served properly. Members of police force are busy with serving the government officers and party in power, rather than acting in a service-delivery system. Proper training will make them aware about their role of establishing rule of law. As members of an important agency of state and criminal justice system, they are under lawful compulsion to provide proper service to all types of people of the society.

Fourth, salary given to the police officers
and constables is insufficient. Police
officers and constables work 13-18 hours
a day, which is almost double than the working hours of the government employees of other professions. On an average officer in charge of a metropolitan police station works 18 hours a day, an officer in charge of district and thana level works 15 hours. In all the police stations Sub
Assistant Sub-Inspectors and constables work 13-16 hours a day. But their salary is not sufficient to their serving 13-18 hours a day, as professional service requires sufficient monetary support. The salary structure of police is like that of other government employees, they do not get any remuneration for extra work. (Working Paper on Police Stations, Transparency International Bangladesh, March 4, 2004.)
Fifth, police is always confronted with the problem of inadequate logistic support. On an average 5 police staff sit in each room of a police station. In most of the police stations there is no room for conference or meeting. Police stations of districts and thanas have no prison van, metropolitan police stations though have prison vans, but those are old and obsolete. Malkhanas of metropolitan and district police stations are narrow and unhygienic, while police stations of thanas have no malkhana. The toilet facilities of police stations are insufficient. Police require sufficient number of vehicles for arresting criminals, but most of the police stations do not have sufficient number of cars, and the available cars are old. The police stations are not provided with necessary furniture. Police require modern and light arms for expected crime control, but 45.5 percent arms in the metropolitan police stations are Chinese shot guns, 78.6 percent arms in the police stations of districts are three
three rifles, in thana police stations this is 95.5 percent (Ibid.). Criminals are using modern arms like Chinese rifle, AK-47 rifle, SMG, LMG etc., whereas our police is equipped with such weapons, which are difficult to carry and manoeuver.
Sixth, police is the only state agency to investigate criminal cases, the outcome of which may be a charge-sheet for the prosecution or final report for release of the accused. This reality places police in an advantageous situation which they can manipulate and they do it extensively for their personal gain. There is no authority to monitor the investigating activities of police. In the absence of a supervising authority police officers easily include or delete names from the charge-sheet, or give final report where charge-sheet should be given, or vice versa.
Seventh, police officers do not get sufficient time for controlling crime and investigating criminal cases. On an average every Sub-Inspector of district police stations has to investigate 7.5 cases in a month, and Sub-Inspector of thana police stations four cases. They do these investigating activities in addition to other duties, hence police officers remain reluctant to take up new cases. Metropolitan police spend 40.6 percent time of a month for maintaining law and order, 32.7 percent for ensuring the security of VIPs, and 18.4 percent for works relating to criminal cases. Police officers of districts and thanas take half of the time of a month for securing the VIPs. (Ibid.)

Eighth, government uses the police as a branch of its political organisation and suppresses often the rightful activities of opposition political parties. Extensive political use of police force hinders the development of professionalism, as a result less qualified and dishonest police officers are placed in important positions, and the people remain deprived of the service of honest and sincere police officers. Because of excessive political use, police has no chain of command.
Ninth, police organisation of Bangladesh suffers from insufficient accountability, both internal and external. Internal accountability can enhance competence, and prevent corruption, whereas external accountability can ensure people-oriented service. Law prescribes the mode and manner how the police officers will dispose of their duties, but there is insufficient departmental mechanism, and no neutral body of the state to scrutinise whether the police officers are doing their duties properly. It creates widespread human sufferings, and violation of citizens’ rights.
Police unrest and reform of police
Brutality and corruption are not the recent phenomenon of the police force of this region, rather the available history witnesses the reality from the Mughal period. Police has been practicing torture from the very beginning. In 1813 a Committee of the British Parliament commented on the police brutality that police was appointed to save the villagers from the robbers, but they so brutally tortured the villagers which was no less than that of the robbers. (Janakantha, Fortnightly, 7-21 July, 2000). After the creation of new police force in 1861, the British rulers understood that they had created a Frankenstein. In 1869 they took initiative to reform the police, but it failed to bring any good result. In 1902 the Fraser Commission was appointed and it found the police high-handed, incompetent and corrupt. After 1947 the police force of East Pakistan continued to function under the structure and rules established by the British rulers.
In 1948 the East Pakistan police were agitating in Dhaka. In this context a six-member Commission was formed to reform the police, with Justice Sahabuddin as the President. This Commission gave their report in 1953, but it was not implemented. In this context another police unrest took place in 1955. Later on a Police Commission was formed in 1959, and another in 1969, but recommendations of none was implemented. After the establishment of Bangladesh a Police Commission was constituted in 1978. Another Commission was formed in 1986 with Toiabuddin Ahmed, then Additional Inspector General of Police, in the chair. Government accepted partially the reports of these two Commissions for implementation. In 1988 a Police Commission was formed under the leadership of Justice Aminur Rashid, and government partially implemented the recommendations of this Commission.
Nine Police Commissions were formed to reform the police from 1960 to 1989. But successive governments did not take concrete measures to implement the recommendations, only some recommendations were implemented partially. In the absence of any effective reform police is still identified as oppressive, perpetrator, corrupt and abuser.
Transparency International has several times identified police department as the most corrupt among all the departments of the government. On February 4, 2002 the Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh submitted a report, which revealed that during the last seven years officials of 24 ministries took huge amount of bribe. In monetary terms it was 15 thousand crore taka. During the said period the officers and staff of police took bribe to the tune of 2066 crore taka. In a survey report of Transparency International, police department and lower judiciary have been identified as the most corrupt service organisations; 83 and 75 percent citizens fall victim of corruption respectively when coming to get service from these departments. (Bhorer Kagoj, December 21, 2002.)
We need to establish an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission, like ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) of Hong Kong, to combat all pervasive corruption of Bangladesh including the corruption of police. In 1973 ICAC of Hong Kong was established to investigate the corruption of a police officer. Then the Commission declared its crusade against corruption and successfully rooted out corruption from Hong Kong. Following the example of Hong Kong, many countries have established Independent Anti-Corruption Commission to address the vice. But a Commission like one established by the present government of Bangladesh will have no utility in addressing the menace.
If we want to establish a professional police organisation, which will effectively control crime and give service to the common people, we need to enact a new Police Act and establish a Public Safety Commission or a Security Commission. Muhammad Nurul Huda, a former Secretary and IGP, put forward the recommendations. (The Daily Star, July 29, 2006). The Act overemphasised the constabulary functions of the police against the professional aspect of crime control. Maintaining the legacy of British and Pakistani regimes, the police of Bangladesh remain busy with suppressing and persecuting the opposition. Because of excessive political use, the police of Bangladesh failed to develop professionalism.
The present Police Act should be replaced by a new one, which should determine the responsibility and accountability of police. The Act should establish effective police management and promote professionalism in the department. We may establish a Public Safety Commission or a Security Commission, which should ìi) lay down broad guidelines for preventive and service-oriented functions by the police; ii) evaluate the performance of the police every year; iii) function as a forum of appeal to dispose representations from officers regarding their being subjected to illegal orders regarding their promotions; iv) generally review the functioning of police force. Concluding remarks: Enacting new law and establishing Public Safety Commission do not suffice to develop an efficient, accountable and professional police organisation. Inevitably we should enact new law and establish some commission, but at the same time it requires a political goodwill, both the government and opposition need to be committed for establishing an apolitical police organisation, which will control crime professionally and serve the people as an organisation of the democratic republic of Bangladesh.

Foreign Investment In Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the countries in South Asia with a developing economy and democracy. The country is known as one of the poorest in the area, as the Bangladesh poverty rate is one of the highest in the world. There are many economic and social issues that the Bangladesh government has to take care of it are for the Bangladeshi people to increase their quality of life. The economy of Bangladesh has been however improving along the time and although Bangladesh used to rely on as much as 85% on foreign loans nowadays it is only 2% relying on foreign grant. The economy of Bangladesh is also rated BB which may scare off foreign investors, who are very important in the process of strengthening the country’s economy. There is however foreign investment in Bangladesh and here people can read more about the foreign investment in Bangladesh.

Despite its poor ratings, the Bangladesh foreign investment has been constantly increasing for a while now. There are numerous multinational corporations as well as big local business including names such as Habib Group, KDS Group, Beximco, Square and others, that invest largely in the country. One of the main industries in which most Bangladesh foreign investment goes to is the natural gas sector. At the same time, the Grameen Bank is recognized as one of the significant contributors to the development and strengthening of the economy of Bangladesh. The bank was however only the means through which Muhammad Yunus, who received the Nobel peace prize in 2006, spread the concept and increased the awareness towards microcredit. By the turn to the 21st century, this bank had more than 2 million members each of them playing a role in circulating money and improving the economy. In the end, Bangladesh has still a long way to go to catch up with the already developed economies, but it seems to follow the right path.
Bangladesh (i/ˈbɑːŋɡlədɛʃ/ or i/bæŋɡləˈdɛʃ/; Bengali), officially the People’s Republic of Bangladesh (Bengali: Gônoprojatontri Bangladesh) is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India and Burma and by the Bay of Bengal to the south. The capital (and largest city) is Dhaka, located in central Bangladesh. The official state language is Bengali.
Tourism in Bangladesh is a slowly developing foreign currency earner. The country has much to attract international and domestic tourists.
Bangladesh as a holiday making land exposes to many flamboyant facets. Its tourist attractions are many folded, which include archaeological sites, historical mosques and monuments, resorts, beaches, picnic spots, forests and tribal people, wildlife of various species. Bangladesh offers ample opportunities to tourists for angling, water skiing, river cruising, hiking, rowing, yachting, sea bathing as well as bringing one in close touch with pristine nature.
In the northern part, comprising the Rajshahi division, there are archaeological sites, including the temple city Puthia in Rajshahi; the largest and most ancient archaeological site, Mahasthangarh in Bogra; the single largest Buddhist monastery, Paharpur in Naogaon; the most ornamental terracota Hindu temple in Bangladesh Kantaji Temple, and many rajbaris or palaces of old zamindars.
In the south-western part, mainly the Khulna Division, there is the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest of the world with Royal Bengal Tiger and spotted deer. The historically and architecturally important sixty domed mosque in Bagerhat is a notable site.
In the south-eastern part, which is the Chittagong division, there are mainly natural and hilly scenarios like Chittagong Hill Tracts, along with sandy sea beaches. The most notable beach is the longest unbroken sandy sea beach in the world in Cox’s Bazaar.
In the north-eastern part, Sylhet division, there is a green carpet of tea plants on small hillocks. Natural reserved forests are great attractions. Migratory birds in winter, particularly in the haor areas, are also very attractive in this area.
In 2004, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Dhaka at $191. Expenses in other areas can be much lower.

The official Tourism Logo of Bangladesh, used to promote the tourist attractions in the country.

Cox’s Bazaar is the longest natural unbroken sea beach in the world.

Jaflong in Sylhet
Bangladesh , officially the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

VISAS AND ENTRY REQUIREMENTS All foreign visitors to Bangladesh require a visa. Tourist visas are the easiest to obtain.Visa fees vary from nationality to nationality as Bangladesh practices a reciprocal fee system. The visa fee is same for both the Bangladeshi and foreign nationals. You can check the fee schedule on the immigration website (www.dip.gov.bd). Tourist visas can be extended for up to 30 days. Here’s a checklist for you to begin your travel smoothly:
Passport photocopy
Visa page photocopy
Photocopy of the page containing your entry stamp
One passport photo
Visa fee (depends on nationality: UK US$65 for single entry, US$168 for multiple; US US$131 for single/multiple; Canada Tk3,300 for single or Tk6,600 for multiple)
While it depends on the visa required, most require a letter from your employer and security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs. NGO visas require a work permit from the NGO bureau. Keep your original paperwork and make photocopies for processing.[1]

Pohela Boishakh: Bangla New Year [Bangla: Bangla Nôbobôrsho] or Pohela/Poyela Boishakh [Pôhela Boishakh] marks the first day of the Bangla Calendar. Poyela Boishakh is celebrated with great fervor in the South Asian region of Bengal.In Bangladesh, it is a national holiday celebrated around 14th April.Pohela Boishakh is a Public festival of the Bengalis; it is celebrated among all Bengalis- irrespective of religious and regional differences.

Language Movement Day, commemorate protests and sacrifices to protect Bangla as a national language. Therefor 21st February is national holiday in Bangladesh.
Ekushey Book Fair, Fair that take place throughout the February month.

Unique places

Cox’s Bazar,
Miles of golden sands, towering cliffs, surfing waves, rare conch shells, colorful pagodas, Buddhist temples and tribes, delightful sea-food–this is Cox’s Bazar, the tourist capital of Bangladesh. Having the world’s longest (120 kilometers.) beach sloping gently down to the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, Cox’s Bazar is one of the most attractive tourist sport in the country.Besides, the longest sea-beach, Cox’s Bazar and its adjoin areas have a lot of things to see and places deserve visit by the tourists: Himchari, Inani, Maheskhali, Ramu,Sonadia Island,The Aggameda Khyang.
Kuakata, Kuakata is one of the rarest places which has the unique beauty of offering the full view of the rising and setting of crimson sun in the water of the Bay of Bengal in a calm environment. That perhaps makes Kuakata one of the world’s unique beaches. It is 70 km from Patuakhali district headquarters and 320 km from Dhaka.

Sundarbans, The Sundarbans delta, at the mouth of the Ganges river, is the largest mangrove forest in the world, spreading across parts of Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. The Sundarbans features a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests. The area is known for its wide range of fauna, with the Royal Bengal tiger being the most famous, but also including many birds, spotted deer, crocodiles and snakes.

St. Martin’s Island, This small coral island about 10km (6mi) south-west of the southern tip of the mainland is a tropical cliché, with beaches fringed with coconut palms and bountiful marine life. Theres nothing more strenuous to do here than soak up the rays, but its a clean and peaceful place without even a mosquito to disrupt your serenity.

Lawachara National Park, a tropical forest resident of tropical animals
Nafa-khum largest water fall of the country.

Nijhum Dwip Nijhum Dweep located in the Bay of Bengal under the jurisdiction of the Noakhali District of Bangladesh, was designated in 2001 as the Nijhum Dweep National Park. The park is rich in plant and animal life, as well as being home to plentiful bird-life, while hosting numerous migratory birds.

Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal(Rh) Hazrat Shah Jalal was buried in Sylhet.The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal has become a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of devotees who come to the shrine in their droves from all over the country. Not far from the Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal, is the Shrine of Hazrat Shah Paran, who is believed to be Hazrat Shah Jalal’s nephew.

Mosque City of Bagerhat, The Mosque City of Bagerhat is a formerly lost city, located in the suburbs of Bagerhat city in Bagerhat District, in the Khulna Division .The historic city, listed by Forbes as one of the 15 lost cities of the world, has more than 50 Islamic monuments.[9]
Kantojiu Temple,buil in 1702, a nava-ratna (nine-spired) style hindu temple.

Dhakeshwari Temple , built in 12th century, a hindu temple.
Hoseni Dalan, a Shia shrine built in the 17th century.

Ancient Ruins
Wari-Bateshwar ruins, built in 450 BC , 2500 years old ancient fort city
Somapura Mahavihara,Somapura Mahavira (Great Monastery) is a Buddhist monastery situated in the Rajshahi District in the north of Bangladesh.Covering almost 27 acres of land, Somapura Mahavira is one of the largest monasteries south of the Himalayas. The design is considered to be greatly influenced by Buddhist architecture found in Java and Cambodia.

Mainamati Mainamati an isolated ridge of low hills in the eastern margins of deltaic Bangladesh, about 8 km to the west of Comilla town is a very familiar name in BAngladesh’s cultural heritage. A landmark of our ancient history, it represents a small mass of quasi-lateritic old alluvium.The ridge, set in the vast expanse of the fertile lower Meghna basin, extends for about 17 km north-south from Mainamati village on the Gumti River to Chandi Mura near the Lalmai railway station.

Middle Age
Sonargaon,Sonargaon (Bengali: transcribed as Sunārgāon) was the administrative center of medieval Muslim rulers in East Bengal.

Lalbagh Fort Lalbagh Fort or Fort Aurangabad, an incomplete Mughal palace fortress at Dhaka on the river Buriganga in the southwestern part of the old city.The fort was considered to be a combination of three buildings (the mosque, the tomb of Bibi Pari and the Diwan-i-Aam), two gateways and a portion of the partly damaged fortification wall.

Ahsan Manzil, Ahsan Manzil was previously the official palace of the Dhaka Nawab family and is currently a museum preserving the culture and history of the area.Ahsan Manzil is considered to be one of the most noteworthy architectural monuments in Bangladesh.

Bara Katra, Bara Katra an architectural relic of Dhaka city. It is situated to the south of Chawk Bazar close to the bank of the river buriganga.The Katra enclosed a quadrangular courtyard with 22 rooms on all of its four sides.

British architecture
Curzon Hall a hundered years old biritsh style town hall.
Northbrook Hall a hundred and fifty years old Biritsh style town hall.

Jatiyo Smriti Soudho, a 150 feet tall beautiful 7 isosceles triangular pyramid shaped structures built on the honour for who sacrificed their lives at Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.

Bangladesh National Museum Located in the suburb of Shahbag, in the city of Dhaka, is the biggest museum in Bangladesh. Its staggering collection of over eighty five thousand pieces are beautifully preserved.The massive four storey building is not only home to large exhibition halls, but to a conservatory laboratory, library, three auditoriums, photographic gallery, temporary exhibition hall and an audio-visual division.
Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban, Building of Bangladesh, located in the capital Dhaka. It was created by architect Louis Kahn and is one of the largest legislative complexes in the world. It houses all parliamentary activities of Bangladesh.

Shaheed Minar,Is a national monument in Dhaka, Bangladesh, established to commemorate those killed during the Language Movement demonstrations of 1952.All national, mourning, cultural and other activities occurred each year regarding 21 February is centered around the Shaheed Minar.

Bhashani Novo Theatre

Eid ul-Fitr Islamic festival marking the end of Ramadan
Durga Puja Hindu festival to the goddess Durga
Eid-ul-Azha,Another islamic festival.

Foreign visitor arrivals in 2010
According to statistics of the country’s National Tourism Authority (NTA), a total of 349,837 foreign tourists visited Bangladesh in 2008, about 21 percent higher than that in 2007.
Despite the rise in number of tourists’ visits, the incomes from the tourism sector in 2008 came down to 4. 60 billion taka (about 65.7 million U.S. dollars) in 2008 from 5.27 billion taka (about 75.3 million U.S. dollars) in 2007, the NTA figure showed.


Others European countries

Safety of Tourist
The lack of adequate security and poor infrastructure were largely blamed for lower tourist arrivals in the country’s many remote tourism spots, which officials said virtually prompted the authorities to create the new unit.DHAKA – Bangladesh has formed a new police unit to ensure more protection for local and foreign tourists and tourism spots in the South Asian country.

Bangladesh is indeed a shoppers’ paradise with a rich tradition in handicrafts at throw away prices. While muslin of ancient Dhaka has gone into history, other products such as contemporary paintings, wood works, shital pati (mattress having cooling effect), bamboo decoration pieces, cane and conch shell products, gold and silver ornament, cotton, silk, gold, silver, jute, reed, brassware, traditional dolls and leather goods also receive deep appreciation of the lovers of arts and crafts now and over the past centuries. In addition, Bangladesh is famous for pink pearl. Riffles Square, Jigatala Bashundhara City Mouchak Market New Market Pink City, Gulshan 2.

Hotels and restaurants

Hotel Ruposhi Bangla 5 star (former Pan Pacific Sonargaon and Intercontinental)
Hotel Sheraton *****
Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel Dhaka 5 star
The Westin Dhaka *****
Dhaka Regency Hotel and Resort – 5 star
Hotel Sarina ****
BEST WESTERN La Vinci Hotel 3 star
Tropical Daisy ***
Babylon Gadren Service Apartments 3 star
Hotel Sweet Dream 1 star

The Peninsula Chittagong 4 star
Well Park Residence 4 star
Hotel Agrabad 4 star
Asian SR Hotel 3 star
Hotel Saint Martin
Hotel Meridian
Hotel Golden Inn

Cox’s Bazar
Prasad Paradise *****
Seagull Hotels Limited 5 star
Hotel Sea Palace Limited 5 star
Hotel Sayeman 2 star
Hotel Coral Reef 3 star
NITOL Bay Resort 3 star
Uni Resort 3 star
Motel Upal 3 star
Hotel Silver Shine Pvt. Ltd 3 star
Hotel S.K.International 1 star
Hotel Holiday 1 star
scribd. scribd. scribd. scribd. scribd. scribd. scribd. scribd. scribd. scribd. scribd.

The term “FOREIGN POLICY” is comprised of two words consequently foreign and policy. By
the word foreign we indicate any place or country which is situated outside of a country and the
word policy refers to principle by following which any state achieved its desired goal. That’s why
Padelford, Lincoin and Olvy mentioned that, “policy is the overall result of the process by which
a state translates its broadly conceived goals and interests into specific courses of action in order
to achieve its objectives and preserve its interests.
Foreign policy thus refers the policy of a
sovereign state to achieve its desired goals to the foreign countries. Bangladesh is a country of
South Asia achieved its independence in 1971 maintain a foreign policy toward the foreign states.
Here we will discuss about the foreign policy of Bangladesh.

Definition of foreign policy:
Foreign policy can be defined in various ways as various definitions are given by the foreign
policy experts. Some of them are given below:

According to .Merriam Webster dictionary foreign policy indicates,”
the policy of a sovereign
state in its interaction with other sovereign states”

According to prince Otto von Bismarck,” the extension of domestic policy is foreign

According to Charles Burton Marshall,” foreign policy indicates states implemented activities or
the activities state desires to do in international arena rather than the objectives of state”

According to James Frankel “Foreign policy indicates that type of decisions or collection of
activities by any state which is involved with the relation of state or states with that state.”

According to C.V, Crabbe,” Foreign policy is constructed with two elements namely fixing
national goals and the medium through which the goals will be fulfilled.”

So from the above discussions we can say that foreign policy refers the policy fixed by a
sovereign state to deal the relations with other states to attain it desired goals for maximizing
national interest in international arena.

Determinants of Bangladesh Foreign policy:

There are some determinants of Bangladesh foreign policy which have impact on foreign policy
formulation. They are given below:
1. Geographical-Strategic position..
2. Population.
3. Economic condition.
4. Ideological environment.
5. Military Capability.
6 Quality of Government, national leadership and diplomacy.
7. National History.
8. Religion.
9. Culture and Natural Resources.

A short description about each of these determinants is given below:

Geographical-Strategic position:
Geographical and strategic position always plays a very important role in a country’s foreign
policy. Strategy of a country in international arena is also defined by the geography of a state.
That’s why Napoleon Bonaparte once said that,” the foreign policy of a country is determined by
its geography.”
Bangladesh is not an exception of this. Geography has put Bangladesh as a
neighbor of India and Myanmar in three sides except the south with the Bay of Bengal.
has surrounded Bangladesh from three sides and the position of Bangladesh is like a flannel from
the bay of Bengal. This position is disadvantageous for Bangladesh and it affects the foreign
policy of Bangladesh.

Population is another important determinant of Bangladesh foreign policy. Bangladesh has a huge
population of nearby 148 million
population are squeezed in an area of 1, 47,000 s km
which gives the population density of 1020 persons per s km.
most of these huge
population are uneducated and inefficient. So Bangladesh foreign policy is largely
affected by this huge population negatively because government can’t create a highly
dynamic foreign policy because of population.

3. Economic condition:
Economic condition of a country vastly affects the foreign policy of a country. If the economic
condition of a country is stable than the foreign policy of a country becomes stronger because the
policy implementation is dependent on financial sponsor in a large extent. Bangladesh is very
poor in economic condition-the per capita income of Bangladesh is

Thus got the LDC
status in international arena and can’t formulate aggressive foreign policy

4. Ideological environment:
Ideological environment is another important determinant in formulation of foreign policy. If any
state exists in any ideological environment created by a hedgemon then the foreign policy of that
country may be affected by this as it had been seen in the rise of socialism in Eastern Europe
during the cold war period. Bangladesh being independent with the help of India one ally of
USSR during the cold war period followed the socialism as one of the foreign policy criteria.

5. Military capability:
Military capability fixes the character of any states foreign policy such as whether it will be
offensive or defensive. Nuclear power like the U.S.A always formulate offensive foreign policy
to achieve its interest while Bangladesh foreign policy in this aspect is defensive because of her
lower capability of being non nuclear state and also for dominated by the powerful neighbor
states such as India , Pakistan.

6 .Quality of Government, Leadership and diplomacy:
A highly qualified government with dynamic leadership associated with strong diplomat and
policymakers can easily formulate a strong foreign policy to implement. The democracy in
Bangladesh is not so much strong as its leadership and diplomacy is not so because of various

Major study of domestic violence in Bangladesh

Around the world, women suffer from poverty and discrimination more than men. However, the problem is particularly severe in South Asia. Violence towards women is often ignored as an issue of poverty, even though it results from a lack of power, resources, and freedom, as well as poor health. Thus, of the many studies conducted by the Poverty and Health Programme over the last year, we are highlighting this issue here.

The Programme recently conducted a study to explore the amount of violence women face and the different forms it takes. It also considered (1) the factors that increase or decrease the risk of violence, (2) the health consequences of violence, and (3) the coping strategies used by abused women. To do this, researchers analysed data from a survey of 2,702 women of reproductive age from an urban and a rural area. They also reviewed 28 in-depth interviews with women who had been physically abused by their husbands. These data were gathered in 2000 and 2001, and is the most recent available. The study also looked at how willing women were to admit that they had experienced abuse and to seek help.

High levels of abuse identified

Worryingly high levels of abuse were identified, as the study found that many of the women surveyed had been physically assaulted by their husbands: 40% in the urban area studied and 41% in the rural area studied. About 19% of the women in both areas had experienced severe physical violence, which was defined as being hit with a fist or object, kicked or dragged, beaten up, choked, burnt, or threatened/injured with a weapon or object of some kind.

In addition, 19% of the women surveyed in the urban area, and 16% of those in the rural area, stated that their husbands had physically abused them during the previous 12 months. Furthermore, a large percentage of these abused women had been attacked repeatedly over that period (Fig. 1 and 2).

Identifying what makes abuse more likely

Multi-level analysis was used to identify the factors that made abuse most likely to occur. This revealed that, in both the urban and the rural area, a husband was more likely to abuse his wife if his father had abused his mother or if dowry demands had been made (as these reflect the family’s attitude towards the bride). It also showed that the risk of violence fell when there was better communication between husband and wife and when the husband had been educated beyond tenth grade.

In the urban area specifically, women whose fathers had abused their mothers were more likely to be abused in turn by their husbands. The risk of violence also increased when women were younger, and when they took part in savings and credit groups. In the urban area, husbands educated beyond the sixth grade were less likely to physically abuse their wives. In the rural area, income-earning by a woman increased the risk of violence.

Assessing what women do to escape abuse

With regard to help-seeking patterns and whether or not women could get help, the study found that the majority (66%) of abused women had never told anyone that they were suffering abuse. The main reasons for their silence were (1) the fact that violence in marriage is commonly accepted by society, (2) a fear of social stigma, and (3) the fear that their husbands would become more violent if they found out.

The survey showed that 60% of the urban women, and 51% of the rural women surveyed had never received any help. And, only 2% had ever sought help from institutional sources (such as local leaders, doctors or health workers, or the police). In fact, women approached these sources only when they could no longer endure the violence, or when it threatened their lives or the health of their children. Clearly, therefore, it is not enough simply to set up services for abused women—the barriers which prevent women from accessing such services also need to be broken down.

In rural Bangladesh, a married woman’s risk of experiencing domestic violence is associated with her individual autonomy, as well as the autonomy of women within her community.1 In the more culturally conservative of two study areas, women who had been a member of a credit group for less than two years were more likely than nonmembers to report current physical abuse (odds ratio, 1.3), and the greater a woman’s autonomy, the higher her odds of being abused (1.6). However, in the less culturally conservative area, the proportion of women in a community participating in a credit group and female autonomy at the community level were linked to a reduced risk of domestic violence.
Using data from a 1993 family planning survey of 10,368 currently married women aged 15-49 living in Sirajgonj and Jessore, researchers examined the relationship between women’s status and current domestic violence–defined as beating by their husband or his family. Indicators of women’s status at the individual level were membership in a savings and credit group and an autonomy score based on women’s responses to five questions about their mobility, familial decision-making power and control of resources. Community-level indicators included the proportion of women in the community who belonged to a credit group and the mean female autonomy score. Multivariate logistic regression analyses controlled for the study area; number of living sons; woman’s age, religion and education; husband’s education; land ownership; family structure; and community level of female education.
Of the women surveyed, 42% reported current physical abuse–47% in Sirajgonj and 39% in Jessore. The proportion of women who had been abused exceeded 50% in about one-half of the communities in Sirajgonj, compared with only one-fifth of communities in Jessore. Nine in 10 women who had experienced physical violence said that attacks were occasional, whereas one in 10 said they were frequent.
Multilevel logistic regression analysis of combined data from the two areas revealed that women in their 20s and Muslims had a significantly higher risk of physical abuse than did women younger than 20 and non-Muslims, respectively. The risk was reduced if a woman’s husband had at least six years of schooling, if she had received at least some schooling and if she belonged to an extended family; also, the greater the household’s land holdings, the greater the reduction in domestic violence. Furthermore, a woman’s level of autonomy had a positive association with physical violence, whereas the proportion of women in a community belonging to a credit group and a community’s average level of female autonomy showed a negative association.

According to the researchers, Sirajgonj is often geographically isolated because of flooding and poor road and communication systems, and it is more culturally conservative than Jessore, which lies next to and trades with India. Compared with women in Sirajgonj, where purdah is strictly followed, women in Jessore more commonly said they had been to a market in the past six months (33% vs. 20%), were not Muslim (19% vs. 3%), had received schooling (42% vs. 29%) and were married to men who had received schooling (58% vs. 38%). Moreover, a higher proportion of women in Sirajgonj than of women in Jessore reported not having permission to talk to male nonrelatives (23% vs. 14%).
When data from the two study areas were analyzed separately, women’s education, household land ownership and having an extended rather than nuclear family were associated with a reduction in physical violence in both areas. In Jessore, age, religion and husband’s education showed associations similar to those in the combined analysis. However, only in Sirajgonj were individual-level status indicators–a woman’s membership in a credit group for less than two years and her level of autonomy–positively linked to abuse (odds ratios, 1.3 and 1.6, respectively). In contrast, community-level factors were significant only in Jessore, where an increase in the prevalence of credit group membership and an increase in average level of female autonomy reduced the risk of domestic violence.

The investigators suggest that in the conservative setting of Sirajgonj, an increase in female autonomy has a “destabilizing effect” on the relationship between a woman and her husband or his family, thereby increasing the risk of domestic violence. By comparison, in the less conservative district of Jessore–where changes in gender relations may already be underway, the researchers note–an increase in overall autonomy among women and membership in credit groups may act to strengthen women’s solidarity, thereby helping to discourage husbands from resorting to violence in the home. The researchers conclude that in rural Bangladesh, “the effects of individual and contextual aspects of women’s empowerment on violence vary significantly according to sociocultural conditions.”–T. Lane

Study conclusions

The study made clear that, given the scale of the problem, providing appropriate services to help victims of domestic violence is an absolute necessity. At the same time, however, efforts must also be made to ensure that women know these services are available. Work is also needed to overcome the barriers which prevent women from accessing these services. One way forward, for example, would be the use of community education to remove social stigma and ensure that domestic violence isn’t accepted by society.

At present Information Technology (IT) is a subject of widespread interest in Bangladesh. There are around 100 software houses, 35 data entry centres, thousands of formal and informal IT training centres and numerous computer shops. The Government has declared IT as a thrust sector and that computer training centre will be set up in each divisional and district headquarters of Bangladesh. Import of computer hardware and software is now duty free, VSAT is deregulated, high speed DDN (Digital Data Network) has been introduced. One fourth of the 45 recommendations of JRC report on software export has already been implemented; rest is in the process of implementation. A tremendous activity is going on in every sector including e-commerce, e-governance, computer networking, Internet, web browsing, web applications, multimedia product development etc. Some active steps and initiatives are already there, as described below for an exposure of the present and future prospects of IT in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has one of the lowest tele-density in Asia, with a mere 0.6 (in India 1.5) lines per 100 people. In terms of phone connectivity, the charge of Bangladesh Telephone and Telegraph Board (BTTB) is one of the highest in the world, approximately US$500.00 (in India US$60) for normal single telephone line connection. However, there has been significant improvement in services of telecommunication within last few years. Present government is also trying to get additional telephone lines from a Canadian firm. If these telephone lines are available in Bangladesh, most of the PC users will be able to use internet and find a scope to build up international career.
Associations and professional bodies: The associations and professional bodies who are playing vital role to develop the IT sector in Bangladesh are as follows:

* Bangladesh Computer Society (BCS) was formed in 1979. This is an association of the IT Professionals.
* Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) was formed in 1987. This is basically an association of Computer Vendors.
* Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) was formed in 1998 to promote the interest of IT business, especially for software development and related IT services.
* Bangladesh Software Marketing and Promotions (BSMP), a private organisation, has been formed with the view to helping the local computer programmers and promote their software.
* Bangladesh Computer Writers Association has been formed to promote the writers activities in the country.
* Bangladesh Association for Information Technology Education (BAITE) has been formed to promote the activities toward standardising informal IT education in the country.

Banks support:
Well-trained Bangladeshi IT professionals can start their business like Data entry, Web development, Multimedia, ISP and Medical Data Transcription services, Cybercafe and IT Training Centre. They can easily get financial help from bank. A number of government banks have already started credit programmes to encourage the entrepreneurs in software industry. Some private banks are using our locally developed software too. However, due to some constraints the outcome is not up to the expectation.
Government initiatives: The Government of Bangladesh has taken some important initiatives to develop our IT sector. Still we are waiting to see a fruitful change in our Information Technology. However, some remarkable steps of government are highlighted for information.

* IT has been declared as a thrust sector.
* Quick implementation of the recommendations of JRC report (a high powered committee for software export).
* Waiving all taxes and duties from import of computer hardware and software.
* Hundred percent remittances of profit and capital gains for foreign investors without any approval.
* BTTB’s implementation of DDN service.
* Decision to link Bangladesh to global highway through submarine cable link by next two years.

Bangladesh Computer Council:
Bangladesh Computer Council is the apex body of the government dealing with Information Technology. BCC is running according to BCC Act, 1990 as an autonomous organisation under the administrative control of the Ministry of Science & Technology. BCC is playing various types of roles regarding the IT booming over the country.

Human resource:
Human resource is the most important component for IT industry. Bangladesh has a huge educated, unemployed youth force with the ability to read and write English. The country can take advantage of its immense manpower to train and prepare programmers and IT professionals. Government has already started a project to develop Computer Programmers in Bangladesh. All the universities are offering one year post-graduate Diploma course for the graduates. Our unemployed educated persons can take this opportunity to build their career as IT professionals.
IT awareness: Young generation in Bangladesh is very enthusiastic and has correctly identified IT as the future of the country. There are numerous computer clubs, computer festivals, programming contests, web design contests, IT related seminars and discussions in many cities of the country. There are about 16 magazines and four digital IT magazines are being published monthly and some daily newspapers publish IT pages once/twice a week. A few of the magazines are in collaboration with other international magazines, however, most of these are Bangladeshi origin. There are a few interactive sites and forums. A number of business centres and cybercafes have started up recently. Most of these business centres provide e-mail; e-mail to fax, phonefax services and cyber cafes offer Internet browsing.

Recently there has been a surge in E-commerce activities in Bangladesh. There are E-commerce related seminars and symposiums in the country almost everyday and all the major training centres are offering courses on E-commerce. Government is now formulating laws for e-commerce to enhance the business rapidly and smoothly.

IT park and international market:
Some private organisations have already started to work for setting up IT park and IT villages in the country. Some investors are foreigners and they are very much interested to build Bangladeshi students as IT professionals. They have already started to commission their views. Our Bangladeshi students can take this chance and hit the international job market in the IT field. There are lot of scopes of working and entering into the international market. Just we have to take proper initiatives. Bangladeshi IT professionals have a good demand in international IT job market, which has been proved by some of our BUET students.

Conclusion: Our Bangladeshi students should be more aware about Information Technology and they should take proper decision to build their career. Indians have changed their whole financial position by IT. Their government also is very much serious about IT. Any way, Bangladesh has a long way to go in a very short time to enjoy the fruits of information age. It will be only possible when there will be political commitment with better IT infrastructure, internal network, country domain and above all a high speed fibre optic link to the Information Superhighway.

Bangladesh IT industry going global

Habibullah N Karim
The information technology industry in Bangladesh has gradually come of age and today accounts for more than Taka 25 billion or USD350 million in annual revenues.

It is still a tiny blip compared to a GDP nearing USD100 billion but it’s a noticeable blip that is growing markedly every year.

Twenty years ago the IT industry was predominantly a hardware vendors market with little or no value addition locally. Today there are more than 320 software and IT services firms registered as members of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) that adds in excess of USD100 million in value through a full spectrum software and IT services for both domestic as well as overseas clientele.
The growth in BASIS membership is significant for the IT industry for a number of reasons a) it indicates a deepening of the IT skills available locally, b) it manifests growing confidence of global and local buyers on local IT talent and c) it marks a clear departure from the traditional entrepreneurship model based on physical-labour-intensive production industries.

Bangladesh today is the third largest exporter of apparels and this industry will continue to dominate our export basket for the foreseeable future. However, as our literacy rate, secondary education rate and most importantly our tertiary education rate improves, our capacity for knowledge-based industries also increases. This is evident from the fact that Bangladesh has had more than 60 call centres set up with a combined capacity of over 2,000 seats in a span of only two years since 2007. Software and graphic design service exporters raked in nearly USD33 million from July 2008 to June 2009 an increase of 32 percent from the previous year despite severe economic recession in most buying countries. The growth trend is getting stronger with time as IT entrepreneurs scale up their operations riding on increased overseas market penetrations and bigger investments.

The growth in software and IT services exports in 2008-09 fiscal year is specially significant since growth was slightly negative in the previous two years. According to some business climate surveys done in early 2008, the sluggish export performance in IT services then was due in large part to the political uncertainty prevailing in the country in that period. However, the return to robust growth points to the fundamentally strong base of the industry that is hungry for bigger successes in the coming years.

What is however, more significant is that many of our IT companies are venturing off-shore and garnering recognisable footprints in industries such as IP telephony solutions to high-end server maintenance services in many countries. This is certainly a welcome trend in an industry where skills and competencies are mostly universal.

Bangladesh’s education system has deeply entrenched links to the English language over many centuries. This has made English the de facto second language. What’s more important though, English is the primary language of trade and commerce here, which makes Bangladesh a very attractive destination for software and IT services offshoring. The World Bank in a study conducted in 2008 concluded that as one of the largest Anglophone countries in the world Bangladesh is poised for triple digit growth in its export of software and IT services. The WB projects such exports to exceed USD500 million by 2014. In another development the Geneva-based International Trade Centre in a study on the IT-enabled services industry concluded that this segment of the software and IT services industry will reach USD150 million in export revenue by 2011. In a related study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2007-08, they ranked Bangladesh ahead of all other offshoring countries in Asia except India and China on software and IT services competencies. However, in terms of competitiveness Bangladesh ranked at the top.

With such favourable assessments of the software and IT services industry here, it’s no wonder that many global software and IT services companies are setting up their captive operations here and at the same time many local players are going global with their offerings. It’s time this industry took to the wings and reached ever greater heights for all to see.

ICT Sector in Bangladesh- The rise of an emerging industry
Bangladesh – the verdant delta plain around the confluence of three mighty rivers of Asia, namely, Ganges, Jamuna and Brahmaputra – is known to the world at large as home to over one hundred million of the world’s poorest. What, however, is not known of this once agriculturally abundant land is the fact that it is also home to one of the world’s biggest ready-made-garments industries, and that nearly ten million of its people are college graduates. This large educated workforce, most of whom can read, write, and understand spoken English is shaping a new industry in Bangladesh i.e. the information technology industry.

Use of computers in Bangladesh as a research and data manipulation tool dates back more than 30 years. Today computers are widely used in offices, businesses, educational institutions, at home and in the filed. In one of the most progressive policy orientation towards ICT of any nation on earth today, Bangladesh allows 100% duty-and-tax-free import of all computer hardware and software which expedites the use of computers and the growth of the ICT industry.

The ICT industry in Bangladesh is represented by two industry bodies, namely Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS). BASIS, established in 1998, is a relatively new industry association whose membership count stands at 34 today and is growing steadily. All major software development and data processing firms of the country are its members. BCS on the other hand, formed in 1988, represents computer business firms in general. Its membership stands at more than 100 firms today including such hardware and software manufacturers as Acer, Compaq, Dell, Digital, HP, IBM, ICL-Fujitsu, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, SCO, Sun Microsystems, Unisys and others are represented in Bangladesh. The size of the IT industry in Bangladesh is estimated at around USD 150 million, and is growing at a rate of more than 20% each year.
This is a brief overview about the ICT industry regarding Bangladesh. In a consecutive series of articles I shall focus on different aspects of the ICT industry in Bangladesh.

The topics will include:
ICT Projects those are taken by both public and private entrepreneurs
Competitive edge of this industry
Relative growth
The infrastructure situation
These articles will be posted every Thursday over the next four weeks. I hope that it will provide a clear picture on the ICT industry of Bangladesh.
The history of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) dates back to 1952 when the local government deemed it necessary to establish a stock exchange because Pakistani shares and securities were prohibited from being bought or sold on the Calcutta Stock Exchange (CSE). Up until this point, Pakistan had been trading quite profitably on the CSE and had no need to establish their own stock exchange department. In response to the prohibition the Provincial Industrial Advisory Council made the decision to establish a stock exchange in Eastern Pakistan.

Initially it was suggested that instead of creating an independent stock exchange, a branch of the Karachi Stock Exchange be opened at Dhaka. However this proposal was very unpopular with representatives from East Pakistan who felt that it was necessary to create a completely new stock exchange in Dhaka. This is what eventually happened with different members of the stock exchange purchasing membership cards at the price of RS.2000. There were two proposed locations for the stock exchange – Dhaka and Chittagong – but in the end it was decided that Dhaka was the most suitable location. An organizing committee was established to further set up the DSE and invitations were sent out to determine what sort of interest there would be in the proposed stock exchange. The response was overwhelming and on the 7th of July 1953 a meeting was held with roughly 100 interested persons attending. Of these, eight men were selected to promote the stock exchange the DSE was officially formed shortly afterwards. The DSE was moved to its current location in 1959.

Currently the main functions of the Dhaka Stock Exchange are the listing of companies, the settlement of trading, the providing of a screen based automated trading of listed securities, market administration, market surveillance, market control, the production of a monthly review publication, the granting of approval to transactions, the monitoring of activities of listed companies to ensure that they stay in line with listing regulations, the investigation of grievances, the announcement of information about listed companies and the maintenance and use of the investors protection fund.
Unemployment problem is a great concern in Bangladesh-00-2102
Unemployment is a great concern in Bangladesh. Every year hundreds of thousands student are coming out from college and university. Though it is one of the major responsibilities of the Government to provide job to those young generation but the Government is failed to meet the job demand among the large population. Only a tiny fraction of total jobless is managed by different government offices and private organization but a majority remain unemployed.

Historically for a long time British administration was the main cause of this problem. After ending Mughol regime when British came in Sub continent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) they started to do business, they exploited the sub-continent. They did not establish any Industry which is helpful to remove the unemployment problem. Though some Industry was made but all of them were placed in Indian Territory. So Bangladesh region was neglected from the British period. After ending British rule in 1947 Pakistan adopted the same rule they established all kinds of Industry in West Pakistan not in East Pakistan. As a result of Pakistani monopoly rule we saw the freedom fighting war in 1971. After nine months continuous war it is divided and named East Pakistan as a Bangladesh.

After 1971 Bangladesh has been facing political crisis badly. As a result no government can take long term massive step to remove the unemployment problem. Within 37 years Bangladesh has experience about eight new governments and two assassination incident at the top level country leader. So now political crisis is one of the major causes of unemployment problem in Bangladesh. Among others two major parties BNP and Aowamileague are busy to gain only political power. None of these parties are trying to do anything to solve the country’s major problem “UNEMPLOYEMENT PROBLEM”

Many Asian developing countries are the bright example in the World who is successful to remove the unemployment problem successfully. Korea, Malaysia, Singapore are the newest of them. They are growing rapidly because there is no Political crisis. Government assured the foreign investor about political calm environment. So many American, European and Japanese company are investing in those regions spontaneously. As a result they are developing very fast. Bangladesh Government and political leader should learn from those Asian countries.

Recent attitude and activity of political parties are very hateful to the common people. By election if a party goes to power then another party cannot accept that, they do not go to parliament they do not express constructive opinion in the parliament which is helpful for common people. But they should not do it. May be there is some discrimination of the election result but there are overall acceptation of the common people. To think about greater welfare of the country they should keep patient, they should support the Government they should assist the Government to take the long term strategy to remove the unemployment problem.

If we watch towards Japan, Korea, Malaysia what we will see? Due to Industrialization they have changed a lot. Without Industrialization no nation can expect strong economic basement and solution of unemployment problem. After political settlement the first and foremost thing for Bangladesh is, to build up industry to remove the unemployment problem. If they can assure the political calm and stable situation, then foreigner will come to invest in manufacturing sector to build new industry. In this respect Transportation, Road and Highway, Electricity should be reconstructed strongly otherwise everything will be failed.

Specially Automobile and Electronics Industry are the major items to intensify a country’s overall financial condition. Most of money is spent in these two sectors. Lot of population can be employed in these industry. Because by surrounding a automobile or electronics industry hundreds of supporting small industry will be built up. As a result a lot of people will be employed. In this respect Government should adopt a strong and strict policy about importing used car. After establishing automobile industry they should ban import of all used car. Used car import is destroying the environment and employment opportunity.

To intensify the overall industrialization our Ambassadors who are employed in different countries specially Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore can help the Government to adopt strong, effective, active and successful policy. Because they are well known with those countries environment, government and people. They have practical and expert feeling about the development policy in different sector of the respective country.

We have already wasted a lot of time. We don’t want to live as the poorest and neglected nation in the world. We want our economic growth, our honor. We have a lot of workforce and a lot of money in the Bank. But due to proper utilization and proper development planning we are staying in back. In this regard Political leader, Intellectual, Industrialist, Planner, Ambassador, Teacher Student and migrated generation in abroad should contribute to achieve the country’s economic progress. If we can take proper steps to obtain our economic growth, then we can remove our unemployment problem.

God says if you want to love me try to love people first. If you believe in God you have to love people. Ask yourself according your ability and responsibility how much has you done to help the people to help the country? 80% People are living in rural area. After a long struggle a village parents educate his children helped them to grown up. They help them to gain college or university degree. Rest duty is yours. That is Government. Yes It is Government’s duty to provide job, to create job for our young generation. It is fundamental duty of a Government to solve the problem of Unemployment.

Unemployment means the state of being without any work both for the educated and uneducated for earning one’s livelihood. Unemployment problem has become a great concern all over the world. But
nowhere in the world is this problem as acute as in Bangladesh. Thousands of people in our country are without any job.
In 2010, Bangladeshs unemployment rate was 5.1% (Source: Bangladesh Burrow of Statistics).
Source: UN data, Country Profile: Bangladesh

Cause of unemployment:
Bangladesh, suffers from large-scale underemployment; especially in agriculture, a large part of the population could be removed without reducing agricultural output. Beyond agriculture, disguised
unemployment also exists in industries, offices and organizations, particularly in the public sector.

Unemployment among the educated youths is rather high in Bangladesh. The unemployment rate for
the population having secondary education and above is significantly higher than those with a lower level of education. The unemployment rate for educated women is higher compared to the male population. In Bangladesh salaried employment in the formal sectors is not big enough to take care of the huge number of unemployed. Employment promotion, especially, creation of self-employment opportunities, continues to be the most important function of the Bureau of Manpower Employment
and Training. The Fifth Five-Year Plan (1997-2002) had set a target of creating additional employment of 6.35 million persons. Of this, 1,60,000 persons are expected to be engaged in self-employment.
Emphasis had been given on training and credit support to women entrepreneurs in micro cottage industries and other traditional and non-traditional sectors including skill development for service industries and other non-farm activities. Bangladesh has a rather high rate of Inflation rate 10.2% (May of 2011) also provides a vital role in Unemployment. Minimum wage law & Labour unions working for efficiency wages also a reason for unemployment as well-paid employees rarely leaves their job to create chance for the new workers. According to a study of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the rate of growth of unemployment in Bangladesh was 1.9 per cent in the nineties. But the growth in unemployment currently is 3.7 per cent. The ILO figures also show Bangladesh in the twelfth position
among the top twenty countries in the world where unemployment is rising. The number of the unemployed in Bangladesh now is estimated at 30 million. The way the rate of unemployment is increasing, it is feared that at this rate unemployment would soar to some 60 million by 2015. According to another estimate, every year some 2.7 million young persons are becoming eligible for jobs whereas

Problems Created by Unemployment:
High number of unemployed members of the country is one of the prime reasons of
poverty. These workers are either jobless or underpaid. Population below poverty line 36.3%
(2008 est.) is a massive number to cope with a nation with a population of 142.3 million (census
15/03/2011 result). As poverty on the rise, the government under debt there is rarely any
opportunities of new jobs.
So this process gets bad to worse by time.

Law & Order:
Unemployed members of the society are often drawn to crimes to earn living.
When a man finds no means to feed himself, in desperation they move to illegal way to earn.
70% crime rate can be reduced by only giving them legal way to earn their living. Increase in
crime rate is proportional to unemployment rate.

Urban Overpopulation:
Lower development & work activities effects in rural-urban migration in
Bangladesh, influences moving to a large city is found to be determined by the urban bias in planning both by national and international authorities, and by the public amenities and resources available in the urban areas. An analysis of the levels and trends in urbanization
reveals the notable role of rural-urban migration in the rapid growth of the urban population.

Most migrants are young, unmarried males of working age. A case study of migrants in Dhaka City illustrates the reasons for and consequences of migration. It is concluded that rural-urban migration is mainly a survival strategy of the rural unemployment.

Gross Domestic
Product (GDP)
rate decrease:
Bangladeshs GDP – real growth rate is 5.8% (2010
est.) Bangladesh, considered as a developing economy with GDP such low compared to other developing nations. Bangladeshs economic progress has all along been unsatisfactory and a high unemployment rate does not help to change the GDP progress more.

Lower Standard of living:
Poverty along with unemployment holds back the nations economy
and does not allow improving life standards. The unemployed population can hardly manage a full meal a day, let alone other facilities.

Burden to the Nation:
The unemployed population is a burden itself to the nation and its
government. They can neither improve their own life nor can they help the nation to progress.

The nation has to suffer for this huge inactive population & they hold back the economic progress.

Problems with manpower export

Remittance earning undoubtedly plays a very important role in the country’s macro-economic management. The inflow of remittance which amounted to a few million dollars in the mid seventies has grown in size over a period of last three and a half decades and it now fetches about $10 billion annually. Besides the Middle Eastern countries that have been employing the majority of the Bangladeshi migrant workers, more and more unskilled and semi-skilled workers are taking up employment or being self-employed in countries in Southeast Asia, Europe, North America and Africa.

But manpower exports to the countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia have been particularly experiencing a downtrend lately for various factors, the foremost one being the entry of some illegal Bangladeshis along with legal migrants. Authorities in these countries took exception to such entry and, from time to time, deported many illegal Bangladeshi workers. But in most cases these unfortunate workers are defrauded by a section of unscrupulous manpower agents who usually promise well-paid jobs against payment of a handsome amount. But on arrival these poor workers find themselves in great trouble as the promise that the manpower agents make in many cases is found to be false. Most defrauded people start staying in those countries illegally and take up low-paid menial jobs, something which is very much unwelcome to the governments of the host countries.

The employing countries concerned usually manifest their dissatisfaction over such illegal stay of foreign workers either through deportation of illegal workers or slowing down recruitment of manpower from the countries concerned. This has happened in the case of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. The recruitment of Bangladeshi workers by Saudi Arabia has declined by a great margin for the last two years and all efforts of the government to convince the Saudi authorities to employ greater number of Bangladeshi workers have borne no fruit. The alleged involvement of a section of ‘Bangladeshi’ workers in criminal activities in that country is yet another major cause of growing dissatisfaction among the Saudi authorities. It was found time and again most of Bangladeshi passport holders involved in criminal activities were in fact Rohingyas who entered Bangladesh from neighbouring Myanmar in the face of persecution by the authorities there.

The problem relating to Rohingyas carrying Bangladeshi passports is also now being noticed in the case of Malaysia, which after a long gap has started legalising illegal Bangladeshi workers there. The detection of Rohingyas now poses a fresh threat to that legalisation process and export of fresh manpower. The obvious question that would agitate one’s mind: How can Rohingyas get Bangladeshi passports? In fact, it highlights the imperfections present in the system of issuance of passports. The special branch of police is supposed to verify the identity and criminal antecedents of each and every individual seeking a passport. There must be some inadequacies and shortcomings in the police verification process. The relevant authorities need to ensure the correctness and quality of the verification process at any cost.

Every year over 3 hundred thousand Bangladeshis go abroad for jobs. This number has been growing rapidly year-on-year. A large section of them are un-skilled and semi-skilled workers. They are sending a large amount of remittance to Bangladesh which has been significant both socially and economically. In fiscal year 2006-07 (up to April) about 4 lac and 21 thousand Bangladeshi overseas workers sent $4.9 billion remittance, which is 26 per cent higher than that that of FY 2005-06. This figure was officially recorded by Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training and Bangladesh Bank (Finance Division, 2007).

Fiscal year
2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 (up to April)
Table 1: Remittance Inflow
Remittances (million dolor)
2501.13 3061.97 3371.97 3848.29 4801.88 4905.07
Changes %
…. 22.42 10.12 14.13 24.38 26.12*

*Percentage change
Source: Finance Division (2007), p. 32
But the unofficial estimates would be much higher than that figure. We know that Bangladesh has an edge over many other developing countries in its abundance of human resources. On the other hand, Bangladesh has cheap talent, good reputation of its overseas workers, its historical presence and strong positions in some countries, great willingness of its citizens to migrate, growing importance of manpower exports in the eyes of the government and the willingness of NGOs and other private sector players. If the government can devise a new strategy to explore new export markets for the country as expatriate workers and ensure the wellbeing of Bangladeshi citizens working abroad, significant remittance which would be channeled to contribute a lot to the economic growth and poverty reduction.

Problems of manpower export
There are huge complains of irregularity and corruption against manpower export agencies in Bangladesh. Print and electronic media covers about these quite frequently. Those who are affected also describe their bitter experience in dealing
1 Senior Program Officer, Shamunnay.

with the agencies. The fact is that a powerful coterie has been created among the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, Bureau of Employment, Bangladesh’s missions abroad, BAIRA and recruiting agencies who are involved in such irregularities and corruption.2 Thousands of people lost everything but could not go to the desired countries. Those who could reach their destination are not getting proper job, being fined, thrown to jail, and getting other punishment. Many are forced to be back to Bangladesh. The recruiting agencies are taking money even double of the government rates.
Inefficiency, lack of interest and monitoring of the Ministry, passive attitude of the foreign Missions, and illegal transactions between employing and recruiting agencies may bring about disaster in manpower export in near future. Already the United Arab Emirates has declared that it will not receive Bangladeshi manpower through recruiting agencies. Some countries including Malaysia, Qatar and Kuwait have been talking in the same tone regarding manpower import from Bangladesh. Beside corruption and malpractices, Bangladesh is lagging behind compared to neighbor India and Sri Lanka mainly due to lack of skill and training.
The unskilled workers are vulnerable and are not paid what they really deserve. The government has established some new science and technological universities, polytechnic and vocational institutes for increasing the number of skilled and professional personnel. But the number is still smaller than what is required to meet the actual demand. Moreover, the quality of education provided by these institutes is not up to the mark as compared to the institutes of other leading manpower exporting countries.

Recruitment agencies exploit the migrating workers in many ways. Migrants are forced to pay huge fees as bribe to get work permits and visa documents. The agencies sometimes export people with fake documents which cause great suffering to the migrants.
Skill certification requirements in the host country either prevent market access causing a rejection of the work permit or visa application, or limit his/her scope for work to specific activities once s/he enters the overseas market, preventing him/her from practicing the core skills.
Due to social and cultural reasons, the percentage of women workers is low who wish to be migrant workers. They comprise around one or two per cent of the total overseas workers. The have restrictions at various levels to go abroad. However, the global opportunities for some occupations dominated by women are huge and competition is far less.
2 Daily Jugantor, Dhaka, 24 November 2007. 2 New age, Dhaka, 12 November 2007

In many countries where Bangladeshi immigrants work, there is a substantial population of illegal migrants from Bangladesh as well as other countries. This has made the host country governments and the locals increasingly wary of migration.

Bangladesh, however suffers from a serious image problem abroad. Certain irregularities on the part of the Government of Bangladesh officials and fraudulent practices followed by recruiting agencies have had a negative impact on labor importing countries’ attitudes and been detrimental to maximised growth and exploitation of this potentially lucrative export sector.

In Bangladesh, a study has reported that less than 5 per cent remittance is utilised for productive investment and a significant portion of remittance is utilised for non- productive purposes. So the remittances cannot be utilized for economic development and industrialisation that are necessary for the socioeconomic development of the country.
A large proportion of the workers abroad send the remittance via hundi (illegal demand draft) instead of banking channel as bank procedures are difficult and costly, and the money delivery takes comparably long time.
The Government’s foreign policy and diplomatic relationship and promotional activities are important to increase manpower export. Although the government has undertaken various strategies to boost manpower export, Bangladesh is still far behind in establishing diplomatic relationships and promotional activities as compared to the other countries.

Government’s Initiatives
Bangladesh has already taken some initiatives for raising export of manpower. For example,
The program of making the list of all expatriate’s name with their occupation and skill is running at district employment and manpower office for reducing the cost for employing worker abroad, remove harassment and cheating with them.
Information management through ICT and the network have been expanded in Bureau of manpower, Expatriates Welfare Ministry, Airport and BAIRA. Recruiting agencies and foreign employee can choose and collect workers with their own demands directly by this network. The system of illegal sub agent that means intermediary is abolished in many times for establishing this database network.

The program of giving online emergence permit of outgoing workers is being implemented by Bureau of Manpower.

One stop service centre has been created for rendering all services to expatriate workers. Facilities of passport, outgoing, hotel and restaurant, conference room, medical centre, community centre, destination of employees and choosing workers have been expanding.

Two Expatriates’ Welfare Desk have been established in Zia International Airport and one in Chittagong Shah Amanat Airport and one in Sylhet Osmani Airport for catering every service to the out going workers and wage earners.

Recently the Foreign Advisor Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury has said that the government has devised seven-point strategy to ensure the wellbeing of Bangladeshi citizens working abroad and explore new export markets for sending Bangladeshi manpower. Under the strategy the government has taken initiatives to explore new labor markets in Norway, Sweden, Russia, Poland and Canada. The government will discuss the issue of migration management with the WTO and the International Organization of Migration (IOM). A strict monitoring system will also be introduced to eliminate suffering, fraud deception of Bangladeshi citizens working abroad and expatriates. For the best use of remittances the government will encourage establishing a special economic zone and industries with the money remitted by the expatriates, which will contribute to poverty alleviation and economic development.

Ways ahead
For sustainable growth of our economy through export of manpower and migration the government should to take some other initiatives which may be outlined below.

To enact or amend existing laws to prevent illegal human trafficking and human rights violations and bring transparency in the migration process.
Private recruiting agencies should be monitored carefully by the government. The government should be vigilant in overseeing and preventing the use of unfair means in dealing with manpower export business.

Reform the education system. The syllabuses of the schools, technical institutions and universities should be upgraded and synchronized with the global labor market trends and demands. Young people should be trained into skilled labor from those educational institutions.
The Ministry of Education should improve the quality of graduates of the polytechnic institutes which producing mid-level technical manpower (Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Automobile, Computer Diploma Engineers, etc.).

BUET and other technological institutes should train up the high level technical graduates who are likely to work abroad. Medical university and college should take initiative to upgrade skill of the physicians in line with global demands. Training program is also important for paramedic and medical technicians.

Training for educated unemployed youths should be organised to send them abroad for jobs. Illiterate and less educated unemployed youths should be involved in various training programs to be competent for the global labor market.

There is a need for good networking with the governments and the labor- related organisations of the countries where they are likely to work.
Diplomatic Missions in the countries where Bangladeshis go for work in large numbers should take a more active role in labor-related negotiations and improving working conditions.

Information booth should be established in every district and upzila about the global labor market trends and demands. Full information, e.g., employment opportunities in each country, terms and working conditions, job application and visa application process, contact details of licensed agencies etc. should be incorporated in the information list.
Women migrant workers need to be trained in their prospective jobs. They should also be given orientation on the culture of the recipient countries. The employment opportunities as a health worker and a household worker in developed countries should be utilised and organizing the proper training programs should be organised for them.
A large number of job seekers cannot go abroad for lack of funds. They are unable to pay the required charges to the recruiting agencies or to the government (BOESL). The government may consider granting them loans to meet their needs and thereafter recover the money from their remittances.

The process of flow of remittances would involve many credit institutions like banks and micro finance institutions. These credit institutions will have to provide incentives to the migrants for remittances to be transferred

officially and thereby channelise remittances into the national market for productive investment.

Bangladesh Bank should adopt a more liberal policy both for public and private banks in establishing linkages with banks and financial institutions of manpower-importing countries to facilitate easy and quick money transfer by the expatriate workers and stop hundi. Information technology especially the use of mobile and internet is the most important for this purpose

That Bangladesh shares an unsavoury label of being a country “most plagued” by corruption with other South Asian countries is hardly a surprise. But when a survey by Transparency International finds one in three South Asians saying they had to pay bribes for services they were legally entitled to, the extent of the menace is still jolting.

What’s worse, the survey says Bangladesh is the most plagued by bribery with 66 per cent of the people surveyed reporting that they bribed employees of public institutions. The statistics only validate what we know and face in our daily lives. Whether it is to restore a telephone line, file a general diary at the police station or get a genuine driving license–everything requires some “tea money” to someone or the other.
People, despite the punitive burden on their resources, have so far accepted it as being “part of the system”. Successive governments, meanwhile, have not lifted a finger to remove this shameful stain on their governance, presumably because of the irresistible material gains accrued.

Interestingly, there have been examples where corruption-free mechanisms have worked–the efficiency of the machine-readable passport process being one of them. But without the political will to replicate this approach in all spheres, there will be little change in the infamous ranking we have earned.

But there are rumblings of protest in the South Asian region. Anna Hazare the relentless activist in India has given a direction to the general people that they must fight against state-corruption by joining hands. The survey has shown that more and more people are willing to participate in such campaigns.

In our own turf too, the people are getting increasingly disenchanted by the unbridled corruption that makes their lives so hellish. They have, moreover, no outlet, to lodge their complaints and get redress.
Thus if we are to hold even a slither of hope of eradicating this corrosive disease called corruption, the only way out seems to be a people’s resistance against it.

Corruption will pose a major threat to the government in the coming years, according to a global survey released yesterday.
The survey by the World Economic Forum found Bangladesh’s major businesses disagreed with the effectiveness of the country’s efforts to combat corruption.

The observation came as Bangladesh slipped by one rung in the Global Competitiveness Index in 2011 to rank 108th due to inadequate infrastructure, inefficient bureaucracy and corruption.

Bangladesh’s GCI score has increased by 2.5 percent, but the country lost a place further on the ladder in the survey of 142 countries, while other countries have advanced, according to the report released by the Centre for Policy Dialogue, the Bangladesh partner of World Economic Forum.
“Although positive changes were discerned under different indicators, these changes were insignificant to create enough forces to run the wheel of the economy at required pace,” it said.

The local think-tank, which released the opinion survey report at an event in the city yesterday, conducted the survey among 70 entrepreneurs and businessmen mostly in Dhaka city and took the year 2010 into account.
The survey finds that inadequate supply of infrastructure remained at the top as the problem factor, while corruption came second and inefficient government bureaucracy came third.

The report however forecasts that Bangladesh along with Cambodia will do better in 2011.

In the financial environment index, the survey found that 41 percent think that obtaining credit in 2010 was difficult.

About 62 percent respondents say although foreign direct investment rules are favourable in Bangladesh and beneficial for attracting new investment, the FDI inflow was insignificant.

Entrepreneurs in most cases did not find venture capital for innovative but risky projects, according to the survey.

Ninety-four percent respondents perceived that undocumented extra payments or bribes made by firms for tax payments have increased and assumed ‘worst’ proportions in 2010, an indication of rising corruption.
“Three-fourth respondents largely disagreed with the effectiveness of the efforts of the government to combat against corruption,” said Khondaker Golam Moazzem, senior research fellow of CPD, while presenting the report.
“Weak functioning of Anti-Corruption Commission and enactment of new laws with little power to take action independently are major shortfalls,” he said.
The report chronicled major challenges Bangladesh is going to face in the coming years.

“Controlling corruption will be a major challenge for the government in the coming years.”

“Difficulty in obtaining credit, poor monitoring and supervision both in banking and capital markets, weak regulation, poor financial auditing and reporting, and rise in money laundering are major concerns.”
The report said Bangladesh should place first and most important focus on infrastructure development, creating public institutions, reducing corruption and human resources development in order to enhance productivity.

“Strong political stand is required against corruption, wasteful or delayed public spending and local government system requires strengthening.”
Trade facilitation measures should be strengthened, it said.
The survey also threw light on the government’s Digital Bangladesh vision, saying initiatives in the last two years were perceived to be inadequate to build ‘Digital Bangladesh’ by 2021.

CPD Executive Director Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya and Head of Research Fahmida Khatun were present on the occasion.
Transport in Bangladesh is an important part of the nation’s economy. Since the liberation of the country, the development of infrastructure within the country has progressed at a rapid pace, and today there is a wide variety of modes of transport by land, water and air. However, there is significant progress still to be made to ensure uniform access to all available transport.

Ground Transportation

With continued economic growth and development, Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh is beginning to experience massive traffic congestion. Today, this is causing extreme frustration to the inhabitants of the metropolitan which is the largest and most crowded city of the nation. Many government and public transport agencies drafted policies, undertook projects and implemented programs to solve these problems. For example, the Dhaka Integrated Transport Studies conducted by the Ministry of Planning in 1991-1994 found that not only did the uncoordinated activities of Dhaka City Corporation (DCC), Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) not yield the desired effects or alleviate the problems but also that there was no single organization responsible for improving the transport and traffic problems of the city.

With financial assistance from the World Bank, in 1998, Bangladesh Government created the Dhaka Transport Coordination Board. An urban transport plan was commissioned with the US Consulting Group Louis Berger and Bangladesh Consultant Ltd (BCL). The plan, launched in 2008, laid out a comprehensive transport plan for the Greater Dhaka City and its adjoining areas, such as Tongi, Gazipur, Savar, Narayanganj, Keraniganj, Narshingdi and Manikganj, covering around 1530 square miles. The plan looked at 15 Key Policy issues including safety, pedestrian preferences, public transport, non-motorized transport, travel demand management, mass transit systems, etc. Almost 70 different policy recommendations were produced under these 15 issue areas. 10 comprehensive transportation strategies were then evaluated, using a base case of no Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or metro service and exploring many alternative combinations. Finally the adopted plan included roads in addition to using a 3 Line Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and the 3 Line BRT. Furthermore, the plan included provisions for 54 new roads in and around the city, 3 part elevated expressways and a circular waterways program.


Railway acts as an important method of mass transport in Bangladesh. Many districts of the country are connected via railroads. Bangladesh Railway was mostly inherited from the British-established Assam Bengal railway system after the partition of India in 1947. Bangladesh Railway’s headquarters are located in the southern port city of Chittagong, which had historically been the south-eastern terminus of the Assam-Bengal Railway. After independence from West Pakistan in 1971, only a small length of new tracks were laid out.

As of 2005, the total length of railroad is 2,706 kilometres (1,681 mi).[2] Of that, 923 km (574 mi) are 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) (broad gauge) tracks (mostly in the western region), and the remaining 1,822 km (1,132 mi) are metre gauge tracks (mostly in the central and eastern regions). The gauge problem is being addressed by adding third rails to the most important broad and metre gauge routes, so that they become dual gauge.

A major road-rail bridge at Jamuna opened in 1998 to connect the previously isolated east and west rail networks.

The border between India and Bangladesh cuts across rail lines, forcing them into the other country for short distances. This complicates border controls such as passport validation.


Boats are a major method of transportation in Bangladesh
There are 5,150–8,046 km (3,200–5,000 mi) of navigable waterways (includes 2,575–3,058 km/1,600–1,900 mi of main cargo routes).
Because of Bangladesh’s many rivers, ferries are a major form of transportation. These ferries are notoriously dangerous. They are often overloaded, and they continue to operate during rough weather. Hundreds of people die each year in ferry accidents. Many types of boats are also used for transportation.

Natural gas-3,364 km (2008)

Ports and harbors
Chittagong; Port of Chittagong; Chittagong Port Authority – east coast
Dhaka – river port
Mongla Port
Sonadia – proposed

The International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial waters of Bangladesh as high risk for armed robbery against ships; numerous commercial vessels have been attacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen

Traffic Jams
With Bangladesh’s huge population and current infrastructure, frequent traffic jams waste valuable fuel and time and makes travel very unpleasant and difficult. Furthermore, it makes the existing public transport very inefficient and most importantly adds unbearable and unsafe levels of noise and hazardous air pollution to an already unregulated country. The noise levels and pollution cause stress in most people and lead to many life threatening medical conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and blood pressure related ailments.
Traffic congestion changes during the day, and planning for trips is becoming impossible. Not only do commuters lose valuable time stuck in traffic, they have to leave early in hopes of making up for or altogether avoid a traffic jam. Conversely they have to wait for others trapped in the congestion, which greatly affects the daily productivity. This is something that affects everyone irrespective of their social or economic status. The current infrastructure also poses great problems for the elderly and youth. With the constriction of cars and other vehicles, old and young people lack independence and means that their escorts also waste valuable time. Walking constitutes a major mode of travel among the low-income majority. However, this majority of pedestrians are consistently ignored in the planning of transport. As a result of the unplanned and overwhelming traffic situation, people started using bicycles, which have become efficient transport systems but risk their lives on the dangerous streets. Almost 80% of all traffic fatalities in the city of Dhaka alone involve pedestrians being hit by a fuel based vehicle. Private cars, a mere 4% of the total vehicles on the roads, represent vehicles which take around 70% of the road space. Public Transportation needs to be stressed in any future policy. Although, the change to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) cars saved over 4000 premature deaths in 2009, their cheap price has spiked the total numbers of cars on the streets. This has led to a decrease in the amount of natural gas available for other purposes.

Merchant marine
Statistics for the shipping industry of Bangladesh

Total: 36 ships (1,000 gross register tons (GRT) or over)

Totalling: 284,489 GRT/405,845 metric tons deadweight (DWT)

Cargo ships

Bulk ships
Container ships
Roll-on / roll-off ships

Petroleum tanker ships
Passenger ships

Foreign ownership and documentation

Source: This article contains material from the CIA World Factbook which, as a US government publication, is in the public domain.

17 (2008)
county comparison to the world: 139

Airports with paved runways
total: 16
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,438 m: 5
914 to 15,23 m: 1
under 914 m: 6 (2008)

Airports with unpaved runways
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2008)

Limited resources, invested for the development of transport facilities, such as infrastructure and vehicles, coupled with the rapid rise in 
transport demand, existence of a huge number of non-motorized vehicles on roads, lack of application of adequate and proper traffic management schemes are producing severe transport problems in almost all the urban areas of Bangladesh. Worsening situation of traffic congestion in the streets and sufferings of the inhabitants from vehicle emissions demand extensive research in this field. However, no detailed study concerning traffic congestion and pollution problems for urban areas of Bangladesh has yet been done. However, a number of news reporting nowadays regarding traffic pollution scenarios enhance me to write something on this issue. As I have been done some background study on traffic pollution problem of Bangladesh.

This article is focusing current situation of traffic pollution problem in Dhaka city based on a preliminary investigation. The daily total emissions of NOx, HC, CO, PM, and SOx are estimated and burdened to city’s air and equivalent to: 42, 39, 314, 14, and 42 tons/day, respectively. Daily average concentration of NOx (NO2, NO) were measured at 28 street locations in Dhaka city during November, 1996. The results showed extremely high concentrations of NO2 and NO in each location.

Motor vehicles contribute significantly to emission inventories in certain regions specially on urban areas. The pollutant species most 
often of concern with respect to transportation facilities are carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), photochemical oxidants e.g., ozone (O3), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), and lead (Pb). In spite of great improvements in most developed countries due to reduced use of leaded fuels, highway emissions of lead remain a persistent air quality problem. Recent studies indicate that motor 
vehicles are also a major or primary source of other toxic air pollutants including 1.3-butadiene, benzene and a number of carcinogens, 
associated with particulate matter. As the vehicle fleet continues to grow, motor vehicle emissions and the products of their transformation in the atmosphere, random acceleration-deceleration due to non-motorized vehicles in developing countries, are becoming increasingly important contributors to nearly every major air pollution problem facing the world today. In urban areas, where more than 70% of the population live, levels of motor-vehicle related pollutants frequently exceed internationally agreed air quality guidelines.

In developed countries, governments have fought for clean air by regulating all major and many minor sources of air pollution. Industrial emissions have been significantly reduced. As a result of new motor vehicle emission standards introduced in 1988, new vehicles in developed nations are 90% cleaner than those manufactured in the 1970s. However, despite those substantial efforts, we continue to be plagued with air pollution problems. Major issues are the two stroke engines moving in Dhaka’s street, heterogeneous flows of traffic and our continued and growing reliance on the private car. It is not out of subject to mention here that the two-stroke engines (Baby taxis) moving in Dhaka city are simple modified form of an Italian model of 1960’s. It is estimated that a baby-taxi emit 30 times more pollution than a normal car. In providing a very simple logic, we can replace a baby taxi by 30 cars in Dhaka, considering the environmental point of view. Though baby-taxi size is a suitable mode for Dhaka’s street geometry.

In Bangladesh, pollution severity occur due to the high content of lead in gasoline, large number of high polluting vehicles, impure fuel, inefficient landuse, and overall poor traffic management. The pollutants of concern for Bangladesh are leaded fuel, particulate matter, dust, oxides of nitrogen, and sulfur dioxide.

Dhaka has the highest lead pollution in the world for a part of the year, 1996, scientists at the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) observed (http://www.bangla.net/). A 17-month survey study by BAEC scientists detected 463 nanogram of lead in 1 cubic meter of air over Dhaka, during the dry months (November’5-January’6). In Bangladesh, all vehicles use leaded fuel because the country’s only refinery is not able to produce lead-free fuel. The higher share of SOx emissions from automobiles, in Bangladesh is due to the poor fuel quality and the extensive use of diesel-powered in some cases impure diesel vehicles.

Emission inventories of NOx and SOx have usually been made on national basis mainly for general administrative purposes and public information, systematic data published for the use of the scientific data is rather scarce. Nationwide SOx and NOx were calculated based on sulfur content and statistics of fuel consumption estimates of emission factors specific to individual source categories over time. Developing countries like Bangladesh is characterized by a rapid increase of energy consumption accompanied by a rapid growth of population and economic activities. Thus the increasing contribution of atmospheric loads of SO2 and NOx to global climate change is anticipated and it is really necessary to quantify these emissions in a hurried manner. A national steering committee should established with local and expatriate Bangladeshi experts to deal with the problem. The author have contacts with some academician in BUET who wish to do a joint research, a comprehensive study for urban pollution problem in Bangladesh.

Dhaka, is the capital city of Bangladesh, has grown into a busy city of about 6.5 million people with an area of 815 km2. Dhaka city has 
heterogeneous traffic flows, as of 1996 an estimated total of 168,718 automobiles are on road. A substantial part of total traffic is non-motorized vehicles enhance severe congestion and pollution problem specially in road intersections. Around 80% of total trips in Dhaka city is comprised of non-motorized transport (NMT) and only 5.9% trips are made by motorized transport (MT). Average trip length of MT is 27 minutes. Trips made by public transport specially buses are very low, only 0.9%. The maximum trips of vehicle modes are made by using rickshaw is 43%. Though it is very difficult to quantify pollution contribution from such heterogeneous traffic combinations, the influence of non-motorized transport on pollution are averaged upon the pollution considering the average speed of traffic flows. Based on data from different sources and road surveys conducted by the author the traffic pollution contribution in Dhaka city has been assessed and presented in the following sections.

The primary objective of this section is to provide current estimates of nationwide emission for two major transportation pollutants: SOx 
and NOx. Estimates are presented for 1981 to 1991 to give trends for national air pollutant emissions. An average of about 15% energy 
consumed in transport sector in national level. A maximum of 18% transport energy consumption occur in 1990. An average of 34% NOx emission exhausted from transportation system to total emissions. On the other hand, the contribution from transportation SOx emission averaged 47%. Such high share of SOx emissions from automobiles is due to the high content of sulfur in petroleum products and extensive use of diesel fuel.

The average daily traffic emissions of NOx, HC, CO, PM, and SOx are presented for Dhaka city. They are estimated based on the emission factors and total daily fuel consumption from 1981 to 1996. Data for fuel consumption available till 1992, on the other hand total daily trips are available till 1996, an average growth rate equals to that of daily trips are taken to estimate current trends in fuel consumption. The average daily trips of all modes of transport, average trip duration, mean running speed, and emission factors of kilometerage travel are also accounted for in estimating daily emission. Emission factors for kilometerage travel are always considered for 5 to 6 years old model vehicles. Because most of the vehicles imported in Bangladesh are reconditioned automobiles. Bangladesh only allow to import maximum 5 years old vehicles. As for example, in estimating emission in 1988, we used emission factors for 1981 vehicles. There is a fall in trends of fuel consumption in 1989, as a result sharp fall in emissions observed. In 1987 and 1988 there are severe floods affected about two-thirds of the total area inflicting severe damages. Capital stock losses were well over US $100 billion which seriously affected the national growth as well as the economy.
Emissions of nitrogen oxides are produced largely by transportation sources. Emissions of NOx have steadily increased over the period from 1989 to 1996 as the result of increased fuel combustion. From 1981 to 1988, the size of the change in emissions fluctuated. Transportation sources are the largest emitters of carbon monoxide. Major increase in emissions occur in pre-1989 period was in 1986, about 91 thousand tons of CO emitted from transportation systems as the result of increased motor vehicle travel.

Interest in ambient NOx concentration has increased due to health effects of this pollutant and its important role in the formation of photochemical oxidants; NO2 is also a precursor to species such as nitric acid and nitrate aerosols which contribute to acidification of the environment. In November of 1996, a field study conducted by the author to measure ambient NOx (NO, NO2) concentration in 28 street locations in Dhaka city. Two zones are divided to identify the severance of the problem of NOx. The high concentration locations (black spots), zone I and less polluted areas, zone II. Zone I is identified as the locations where NO2 concentration exceeded 40 ppb, and consequently zone II is those locations less than this level. Among 28 street locations 16 of them identified as the black spots, where NO2 concentration observed more than 40 ppb. Maximum concentration observed 64 ppb at Malibag area, followed by Bijoynagar 63 ppb, and then Shapla Chattar 57 ppb. The hourly average traffic flow from Mogbazar to Malibag link is 2613 veh/h with an average speed 22 km/h, Paltan to Bijoynagar link 2920 with an average speed 22.85 km/h, and Bijoynagar to Kakrail link 2711 veh/h and mean 
vehicle speed 24.62 km/h.

Bangladesh has yet to be implemented a National Air Quality Standard, there are no detail air quality regulations based on which 
Environmental Impact Assessment could be done. Very few works have been done on air quality measurements and national air pollutants estimates in Bangladesh. Author is willing to extend his assistance in doing any projects related to road traffic pollution in Bangladesh.

Few recommendations are: 

A national steering committee constituting experts is urgently established to cope with the problem.
Formulate guidelines for policy makers, city planners, traffic engineering practitioners towards mitigating traffic pollution problems and make recommendations for setting National Air Quality Standard.
Auto-rickshaw (AR) should be restricted in Dhaka city. Consequently, an equivalent and efficient alternative mode of transport should initiate in Dhaka, so that, those who are importing AR, driving AR can do the same for the new mode of transport. Current initiative of taxi-cab is appreciating, however, the pre-conditions, NEW and 2000CC car seem to be policy makers ignorance in understanding modal choice in Dhaka. A pre-condition is really necessary that is “not the diesel car”. As we are plagued with severe air pollution problem in Dhaka. What we need is to find an alternative equivalent of AR, that is environmentally friendly and is able to provide door-to-door service.
Limited resources, invested for the development of transport facilities, such as infrastructure and vehicles, coupled with the rapid rise in 
transport demand, existence of a huge number of non-motorized vehicles on roads, lack of application of adequate and proper traffic management schemes are producing severe transport problems in almost all the urban areas of Bangladesh. Worsening situation of traffic congestion in the streets and sufferings of the inhabitants from vehicle emissions demand extensive research in this field. However, no detailed study concerning traffic congestion and pollution problems for urban areas of Bangladesh has yet been done. However, a number of news reporting nowadays regarding traffic pollution scenarios enhance me to write something on this issue. As I have been done some background study on traffic pollution problem of Bangladesh.
This article is focusing current situation of traffic pollution problem in Dhaka city based on a preliminary investigation. The daily total emissions of NOx, HC, CO, PM, and SOx are estimated and burdened to city’s air and equivalent to: 42, 39, 314, 14, and 42 tons/day, respectively. Daily average concentration of NOx (NO2, NO) were measured at 28 street locations in Dhaka city during November, 1996. The results showed extremely high concentrations of NO2 and NO in each location.
Motor vehicles contribute significantly to emission inventories in certain regions specially on urban areas. The pollutant species most 
often of concern with respect to transportation facilities are carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), photochemical oxidants e.g., ozone (O3), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), and lead (Pb). In spite of great improvements in most developed countries due to reduced use of leaded fuels, highway emissions of lead remain a persistent air quality problem. Recent studies indicate that motor 
vehicles are also a major or primary source of other toxic air pollutants including 1.3-butadiene, benzene and a number of carcinogens, 
associated with particulate matter. As the vehicle fleet continues to grow, motor vehicle emissions and the products of their transformation in the atmosphere, random acceleration-deceleration due to non-motorized vehicles in developing countries, are becoming increasingly important contributors to nearly every major air pollution problem facing the world today. In urban areas, where more than 70% of the population live, levels of motor-vehicle related pollutants frequently exceed internationally agreed air quality guidelines.
In developed countries, governments have fought for clean air by regulating all major and many minor sources of air pollution. Industrial emissions have been significantly reduced. As a result of new motor vehicle emission standards introduced in 1988, new vehicles in developed nations are 90% cleaner than those manufactured in the 1970s. However, despite those substantial efforts, we continue to be plagued with air pollution problems. Major issues are the two stroke engines moving in Dhaka’s street, heterogeneous flows of traffic and our continued and growing reliance on the private car. It is not out of subject to mention here that the two-stroke engines (Baby taxis) moving in Dhaka city are simple modified form of an Italian model of 1960’s. It is estimated that a baby-taxi emit 30 times more pollution than a normal car. In providing a very simple logic, we can replace a baby taxi by 30 cars in Dhaka, considering the environmental point of view. Though baby-taxi size is a suitable mode for Dhaka’s street geometry.
In Bangladesh, pollution severity occur due to the high content of lead in gasoline, large number of high polluting vehicles, impure fuel, inefficient landuse, and overall poor traffic management. The pollutants of concern for Bangladesh are leaded fuel, particulate matter, dust, oxides of nitrogen, and sulfur dioxide.
Dhaka has the highest lead pollution in the world for a part of the year, 1996, scientists at the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) observed (http://www.bangla.net/). A 17-month survey study by BAEC scientists detected 463 nanogram of lead in 1 cubic meter of air over Dhaka, during the dry months (November’5-January’6). In Bangladesh, all vehicles use leaded fuel because the country’s only refinery is not able to produce lead-free fuel. The higher share of SOx emissions from automobiles, in Bangladesh is due to the poor fuel quality and the extensive use of diesel-powered in some cases impure diesel vehicles.
Emission inventories of NOx and SOx have usually been made on national basis mainly for general administrative purposes and public information, systematic data published for the use of the scientific data is rather scarce. Nationwide SOx and NOx were calculated based on sulfur content and statistics of fuel consumption estimates of emission factors specific to individual source categories over time. Developing countries like Bangladesh is characterized by a rapid increase of energy consumption accompanied by a rapid growth of population and economic activities. Thus the increasing contribution of atmospheric loads of SO2 and NOx to global climate change is anticipated and it is really necessary to quantify these emissions in a hurried manner. A national steering committee should established with local and expatriate Bangladeshi experts to deal with the problem. The author have contacts with some academician in BUET who wish to do a joint research, a comprehensive study for urban pollution problem in Bangladesh.
Dhaka, is the capital city of Bangladesh, has grown into a busy city of about 6.5 million people with an area of 815 km2. Dhaka city has 
heterogeneous traffic flows, as of 1996 an estimated total of 168,718 automobiles are on road. A substantial part of total traffic is non-motorized vehicles enhance severe congestion and pollution problem specially in road intersections. Around 80% of total trips in Dhaka city is comprised of non-motorized transport (NMT) and only 5.9% trips are made by motorized transport (MT). Average trip length of MT is 27 minutes. Trips made by public transport specially buses are very low, only 0.9%. The maximum trips of vehicle modes are made by using rickshaw is 43%. Though it is very difficult to quantify pollution contribution from such heterogeneous traffic combinations, the influence of non-motorized transport on pollution are averaged upon the pollution considering the average speed of traffic flows. Based on data from different sources and road surveys conducted by the author the traffic pollution contribution in Dhaka city has been assessed and presented in the following sections.
The primary objective of this section is to provide current estimates of nationwide emission for two major transportation pollutants: SOx 
and NOx. Estimates are presented for 1981 to 1991 to give trends for national air pollutant emissions. An average of about 15% energy 
consumed in transport sector in national level. A maximum of 18% transport energy consumption occur in 1990. An average of 34% NOx emission exhausted from transportation system to total emissions. On the other hand, the contribution from transportation SOx emission averaged 47%. Such high share of SOx emissions from automobiles is due to the high content of sulfur in petroleum products and extensive use of diesel fuel.
The average daily traffic emissions of NOx, HC, CO, PM, and SOx are presented for Dhaka city. They are estimated based on the emission factors and total daily fuel consumption from 1981 to 1996. Data for fuel consumption available till 1992, on the other hand total daily trips are available till 1996, an average growth rate equals to that of daily trips are taken to estimate current trends in fuel consumption. The average daily trips of all modes of transport, average trip duration, mean running speed, and emission factors of kilometerage travel are also accounted for in estimating daily emission. Emission factors for kilometerage travel are always considered for 5 to 6 years old model vehicles. Because most of the vehicles imported in Bangladesh are reconditioned automobiles. Bangladesh only allow to import maximum 5 years old vehicles. As for example, in estimating emission in 1988, we used emission factors for 1981 vehicles. There is a fall in trends of fuel consumption in 1989, as a result sharp fall in emissions observed. In 1987 and 1988 there are severe floods affected about two-thirds of the total area inflicting severe damages. Capital stock losses were well over US $100 billion which seriously affected the national growth as well as the economy.
Emissions of nitrogen oxides are produced largely by transportation sources. Emissions of NOx have steadily increased over the period from 1989 to 1996 as the result of increased fuel combustion. From 1981 to 1988, the size of the change in emissions fluctuated. Transportation sources are the largest emitters of carbon monoxide. Major increase in emissions occur in pre-1989 period was in 1986, about 91 thousand tons of CO emitted from transportation systems as the result of increased motor vehicle travel.
Interest in ambient NOx concentration has increased due to health effects of this pollutant and its important role in the formation of photochemical oxidants; NO2 is also a precursor to species such as nitric acid and nitrate aerosols which contribute to acidification of the environment. In November of 1996, a field study conducted by the author to measure ambient NOx (NO, NO2) concentration in 28 street locations in Dhaka city. Two zones are divided to identify the severance of the problem of NOx. The high concentration locations (black spots), zone I and less polluted areas, zone II. Zone I is identified as the locations where NO2 concentration exceeded 40 ppb, and consequently zone II is those locations less than this level. Among 28 street locations 16 of them identified as the black spots, where NO2 concentration observed more than 40 ppb. Maximum concentration observed 64 ppb at Malibag area, followed by Bijoynagar 63 ppb, and then Shapla Chattar 57 ppb. The hourly average traffic flow from Mogbazar to Malibag link is 2613 veh/h with an average speed 22 km/h, Paltan to Bijoynagar link 2920 with an average speed 22.85 km/h, and Bijoynagar to Kakrail link 2711 veh/h and mean 
vehicle speed 24.62 km/h.
Bangladesh has yet to be implemented a National Air Quality Standard, there are no detail air quality regulations based on which 
Environmental Impact Assessment could be done. Very few works have been done on air quality measurements and national air pollutants estimates in Bangladesh. Author is willing to extend his assistance in doing any projects related to road traffic pollution in Bangladesh. Few recommendations are: 

A national steering committee constituting experts is urgently established to cope with the problem.
Formulate guidelines for policy makers, city planners, traffic engineering practitioners towards mitigating traffic pollution problems and make recommendations for setting National Air Quality Standard.
Auto-rickshaw (AR) should be restricted in Dhaka city. Consequently, an equivalent and efficient alternative mode of transport should initiate in Dhaka, so that, those who are importing AR, driving AR can do the same for the new mode of transport. Current initiative of taxi-cab is appreciating, however, the pre-conditions, NEW and 2000CC car seem to be policy makers ignorance in understanding modal choice in Dhaka. A pre-condition is really necessary that is “not the diesel car”. As we are plagued with severe air pollution problem in Dhaka. What we need is to find an alternative equivalent of AR, that is environmentally friendly and is able to provide door-to-door service.
The Law and Order Situation in Bangladesh

A. Introduction

One of the Awami League’s election promises was to improve the law and order situation in the country after assuming power. Law and order situation of a country is dependent not only on a stronger police force but also on a general improvement in the economy and an increase in civic responsibility. This is why it’s an easy promise to make but one of the hardest to implement. People are not born criminals but turn to crime when there are no alternative employment sources or the discrepancy between the rich and the poor is too large to breach. This government has now completed four years of its five-year term. RASSU, the survey unit of Democracywatch, undertook a nationwide survey in an attempt to estimate the level of improvement or deterioration in the law and order situation over the last four years. The survey was carried out from 26 May 2000 to 6 June 2000.

B. Sampling

The sample was selected by using a multistage method. Initially we chose the marginal constituencies, which were won by less than 3000 votes in the 1996 election. This reduced the number of constituencies from a total of 300 to 52. The next stage was to randomly sample these 52. Three constituencies were also included that were not marginal but adjudged to be the same characteristics of Dhaka and Chittagong. A list of the constituencies is given below:

The constituencies are:

Panchgar-2 Khulna-3 Narayangang-2
Dianjpur-3 Satkhita-4 Sunamganj-4
Nilfamari-3 Patuakhali-2 Sylhet-1
Lalmonirhat-3 Bhola-1 Comilla-6
Natore-3 Tangail-6 Chandpur-5
Sirajganj-7 Dhaka-6 Chittagong-2
Pabna-2 Dhaka-7 Chittagong-10
Chuadanga-2 Dhaka-11

Awami League got 11 seats, BNP 9 seats, Jatiya party 2 seats & Jamat Islami 1 seat among 23 constituencies in 1996 general election.
All of these constituencies were included in 1998 survey conducted by Democracywatch, only Chandpur 5 was included instead of Laxmipur 2.
Having selected the constituencies we then selected a total of 125 polling centres. Between 5 and 7 centres were chosen from each area. We then interviewed on average one household in seven from each polling centre. In total 3,109 people were interviewed.

C. Summary of the Findings

Crime – Increased or decreased: We asked the populace – in the key areas of crime – if they thought that crime had increased during the present government’s term. As we suspected, an increase in crime is reported nation wide but it is much more pronounced in the urban areas.

Table 1
Do you think that crime has increased or decreased in your area?

Comments Total
% Urban
% Rural
Increased 41 50 33
Decreased 32 30 37
Same as Before 14 15 13

Very significantly almost half of the city-dwellers believe that crime has increased in the last four years. In the country as a whole more people believe that crime has increased rather than decreased.

When we break down the crime into separate components it reveals the areas in which crime is increasing.

As can be seen from the chart that crime has increased in all areas except kidnapping and acid-throwing. The biggest difference between increased and decreased areas of crime is the crime of murder where 48 per cent of the people think it has increased during this government’s tenure.

Personal Crime: Figures on perceived crime are still questionable as it is based on people’s opinions. To find out the true picture we asked the sample whether they or any of their relatives had ever been victim to crime over the last 4 years.

Table 2
Have you or has any of your relative experienced a major crime in the last four years?

Crime Total Urban Rural
Extortion 12 14 8
Hijacking 21 30 17
Murder 3 3 3
None 55 47 63

The table shows that almost 1/3 of the city dwellers knows of someone who has been hijacked. Even in the rural areas the rate of hijacking is close to 1/5th.
The murder figure of 3 per cent is also high for such a serious crime but this is probably due to the sensationalism surrounding a murder leading to many hearing of the crime although not really affected by it.

With the increase in crime it was very obvious to ask the sample what they thought about the cause of the increase and who they thought to be the perpetrators. In the table below it reveals that mastans are seen as the main source of crime throughout the country. Ruling party activists are also blamed by nearly a quarter of the sample.

Table 3
Who are the culprits?

(%) Urban
(%) Rural
Mastans 58 58 58
Students 8 11 4
Govt activists 26 20 33
Opposition activists 2 2 3
Police 12 13 10

It should be noted that mastans are deemed to be responsible for crime at the same rate in the cities as well as in the country. Another disturbing figure is the blame apportioned to the ruling party. 26 per cent of the sample blamed the government activists to be responsible whereas only 2 per cent blamed the opposition party for crimes. This is particularly bad for a government that claims to be reducing crime but actually is blamed for much of the crime by a quarter of the population.

Has this increase in crime made people more wary before venturing out? We asked the sample if they were scared to go out.

Table 4

Response All
(%) Male
(%) Female
(%) Urban
(%) Rural
Yes 48 44 53 60 38
No 50 55 45 39 60

Almost half of the population is afraid to go out with women who are understandably more afraid than men. Rural people still feel safer than urban people but even then over 1/3rd feel afraid to go out.

D. Conclusion

Crime is perceived to be increasing in the rural and urban areas alike. Serious crimes like hijacking and murder are significantly higher than they were four years ago. Many city dwellers have had first hand experience of hijacking or know a relative who has been hijacked. This has led to an increased fear of going out in the cities.

Although in general the urban areas have had a higher increase in crime than the rural areas, they too are not better off. There has been an increase of crime noticed by 1/3rd of the sample and a similar number are now afraid to go out.

The causes of crime remain firmly fixed with the mastans. They are blamed for more than half of the crimes committed. Government activists are blamed by a quarter of the people. For a government which came to power on a mandate of reducing crime and installing order this is very bad news. They have been criticised not only by the majority for the increasing crime levels but also their own party is seen as one of the main causes of it.

Crime levels are on the increase in all categories from extortion to murder. This problem is nation wide. It needs to be dealt with in other ways than just using a heavy-handed police force or stiffer punishments. We need to address the economic problems so that civilian can turn to employment rather than crime for a living. We need to educate the people so that they are more responsible to their society. Above all we should also teach the people that ultimately crime does not pay. The personal gains of a few are far outweighed by the disintegration of the moral fabric of society.

The media of Bangladesh refers to the print, broadcast and online mass media available in Bangladesh. The Constitution guarantees press freedom and freedom of expression within “reasonable restriction”,though some media outlets have been harassed. The Bangladeshi media is ranked at 136th out of 178 countries on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, with 1st being most free.

The media in Bangladesh is a mix of government-owned and private media. There are still criminal penalties for libel, defamation and sedition as well as reporting on national security issues. Reporters can be held for up to 90 days without trial under the 1974 Special Powers Act. Media restrictions have usually increased during periods of political turmoil. Reporters Without Borders has accused the army of targeting journalists and enforcing censorship.

Further information:
List of newspapers in Bangladesh
The print media is private and consists of hundreds of weekly publications, presenting a vast array of viewpoints, though some outspoken papers have faced pressure in the past. English language papers appeal to an educated urban readership.

Television and radio
Further information: List of Bangladeshi television and radio channels and List of television stations in Bangladesh
Television is the biggest medium for news in Bangladesh.There were 15 television stations in 1999. In 2006, there were 15AM and 13FM radio stations available. The BBC World Service broadcasts in the country, and Indian and other foreign television broadcasts are picked up in the country.

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC), NGO Network in Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC in considers community radio a special area for intervention. BNNRC has been promoting advocacy with the government in relation to community radio with other organizations since its emergence from 2000.[citation needed]

The objective of BNNRC’s Community Radio intervention is to address crucial social issues at community level, such as poverty and social exclusion, empower marginalized rural groups and catalyze democratic processes and on going development efforts.

The prime role of community radio is giving voice to the voiceless people who do not have access to the mainstream media to express their ideas and views regarding community development. Promoting the right to communicate, speed up the process of informing the community, assist the free flow of information and therefore act as a catalyst of change are few major tasks are to be done by community radio. It will also uphold creative growth and democratic spirit in the community level.

As a result the Ministry of Information of People’s Republic of Bangladesh has announced the Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy 2008. Under this policy Ministry of Information has recently [22 April 2020] approved 14 Community Radio station for installation, broadcast and operation first time in Bangladesh. To ensure free flow of information and people’s right to information government enacted Right to Information Act 2009. Community Radio approval is a strong step to empower rural people in this regard.

Initially government approved 14 Initiators like Young Power in Action(YPSA) for Sitakunda, Chittagong, Nalta Community Hospital for Satkhira, LDRO for Bogra, BRAC for- Moulivi Bazer, Barandro Community Radio for -Naogaon, Proyas for -Chapai Nababgonj, CCD for – Rajshahi, Srizoni for – Jhinaidhah, EC Bangladesh for – Munsihigonj, MMC for – Barguna and RDRS for- Kurigram, Sundarban Community Radio for Koyra(Khulna), ACLAB for – Teknaf (Cox’s Bazer) and Agriculture Information Servics(AIS) for – Community Rural Radio for Amtoli (Barguna)

BNNRC provided technical assistance to around 200 organizations in the community radio application process through a National Help Desk on Community Radio in BNNRC Secretariat in Dhaka. Through this experience, a pro active institution should be activated to create necessary human resource, research and development and technical cooperation for Community Radio in Bangladesh. In this backdrop, BNNRC has established Community Radio Academy (CRA). The Academy will organize community radio related training, research, technical assistance and other support round the year to Community Radio Initiators.
Community radio is considered an alternative, effective mass media for the rural disadvantaged population to express their thoughts in their own voice using their own style. Country’s first community radio is Rajshahi districy based, its name is radio Padma.[citation needed]

Internet media
There are around 500,000 internet users in Bangladesh (0.3% of the population) and use is unrestricted by the government; however some journalist’s emails have been monitored.

Media Text Communication (MTC) is a non-profit organization created by leading academicians, journalists and social activists. Ariful Islam Arman, a young journalist with more than 8 years of experience is the CEO of MTC.

MTC uses media for social development by organizing a series of seminars, workshops and training program on contemporary issues like RTI, Community Radio, Rural Journalism, Online Journalism, Media Ethics and problems faced by journalists. It also publishes books and research material.

From 27 November to 2 December 2008, the International Press Institute (IPI) conducted a high- level mission to Dhaka, Bangladesh to assess the country’s media environment as it prepared for national elections, which took place on 29 December.

A preliminary report, issued by IPI on 17 December 2008, summarized the discussions carried out by the delegation with editors, journalists and government representatives. It highlighted both the commitment given by political party representatives to support the right of journalists to report on the elections without harassment or interference, and on the difficulties journalists encounter when practicing their profession.
The following report elaborates on the main findings of the IPI mission regarding four specific areas of concern to IPI: 1) laws affecting media freedom; 2) journalist safety and impunity in crimes against journalists; 3) professional journalism and media accountability; and 4) journalism in rural areas.

I. The Legal Framework
Various laws in Bangladesh restrict journalists’ ability to disseminate ideas and information, and proceedings have been initiated against them pursuant to several statutes.

The new government elected in December 2008 has created the “Political Cases Review Committee” (the Committee) to review and annul those judicial proceedings deemed to have been politically motivated. According to Barrister Shafiq Ahmed, Law Minister and also the Committee’s chairman, four-member district-level scrutiny panels have been formed. These are led by district magistrates, and include superintendents of police, additional district magistrates and public prosecutors. “After examining the cases, the scrutiny panels will send reports with recommendations in this regard to a central committee within 45 days for taking further steps,” Shafiq Ahmed stated.

The Bangladeshi media has generally reacted cynically to this development, stating that, for many years, new governments in Bangladesh have withdrawn cases filed by previous governments, accomplishing little in terms of strengthening judicial independence.

a. Criminal Defamation
Judicial harassment of journalists by way of defamation charges, under sections 500, 501 and 502 of Bangladesh’s Penal Code of 1860 and under the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1898, has been common. “Criminal defamation is a black law that must be done away with,” Mahfuz Anam, editor of The Daily Star and publisher of Prothom Alo, told the IPI mission.

On 8 March 2007, Mahfuz Anam and Matiur Rahman and Hamrul Hasan, also of Prothom Alo, were summoned by a court in Rajshahi, near Dhaka, on defamation charges filed by a local official, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reported. As of early 2009, the charges against Mahfuz Anam and Matiur Rahman, free on bail, are still pending.

Editors and journalists from the dailies Inqilab, Amader Shomoy, Jugantor, Daily Star and Shamokal have also faced criminal defamation charges in the past two years.


Mahfuz Anam was involved in another defamation case filed in February 2006 by Public Works Minister Mirza Abbas., alleging that an article published by Anam about a supposed disagreement between the minister and police tarnished his image and status.
In September 2005, MP Shahidul Islam Master filed defamation cases against 17 editors, publishers and reporters of dailies Janakantha, Inqilab, Manab Zamin, Amar Desh and Gramer Kagoj for publishing reports he claimed insulted him and undermined his political image.

In June 2003, Anam and Matiur Rahman were arrested on defamation charges following the newspaper’s publication of a letter written by Abdul Jalil, Secretary General of the Awami League, then the opposition party. In the letter, Jalil expressed critical opinions about a nominee for an executive position in an international organisation.

b. The Emergency Powers Rules of 2007 and the Anti-Corruption Campaign
In January 2007, widespread protests in the run-up to elections prompted the caretaker administration to declare a nationwide state of emergency. It also introduced the Emergency Power Rules 2007 (EPR), giving the government sweeping powers to arrest anyone without charge or a warrant.

Following the launch of an anti-corruption campaign, the caretaker administration amended the EPR, effective as of 13 February 2007, introducing stringent legal provisions to deal with corruption.
This allowed for the 7 March 2007 arrest without warrant of Mohammad Atiqullah Khan Masud, editor and publisher of the national Bengali-language daily Janakantha (“The People’s Voice”). Following his arrest, Atiqullah Khan faced a litany of charges and was sentenced to a total of 48 years of imprisonment in six separate cases, all based on similar charges of fraud. Only following strong pressure both by Bangladeshi editors as well as IPI’s Justice Denied Campaign was Atiqullah Khan released on bail in January 2009, after almost 22 months in prison.
Atiqullah Khan was one of several journalists and editors who, in January 2007, urged the newly- appointed interim government to take a clear stand in favour of press freedom and against censorship. Janakantha, one of Bangladesh’s leading newspapers, is known for its uncompromising stance on press freedom and has always tried to expose press freedom violations. During the past years, multiple physical attacks and other forms of harassment have been carried out against its journalists.
The EPR were also used in late 2007 against Jahangir Alam Akash, the head of two human rights NGOs and the Rajshahi office of independent TV station CBS News. Akash is known for his investigative reports as well as for exposing human rights violations. Defendants to whose cases the EPR provisions are applied are not permitted bail. According to Amnesty International, the application of the EPR nullified the bail previously granted to Akash by the High Court. Akash, who was arrested in October 2007 on charges of extortion, was reportedly tortured in detention.
The EPR were eventually lifted on 17 December 2008, ahead of national elections. c. The Special Powers Act of 1974

The Special Powers Act of 1974, which allows detentions of up to 120 days without trial, was used at least once to imprison a journalist. It provides for special measures for the prevention of prejudicial activities, broadly defined as including “any deed which is intended or likely to (i) prejudice the sovereignty or defence of Bangladesh; (ii) prejudice the maintenance of friendly relations of Bangladesh with foreign states; (iii) prejudice the security of Bangladesh or to endanger public safety or maintenance of public order; (iv) create or excite feelings of enmity or


hatred between different communities, classes or sections of people; (v) interfere with or encourage or incite interference with the administration of law or the maintenance of law and order; (vi) prejudice the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community; (vii) cause fear or alarm to the public or any section of the public; and (viii) prejudice the economic or financial interests of the state.“
Journalist Abdul Mahbud Mahu, of the local daily Ajker Desh Bidesh in Cox’s Bazaar district was arrested without warrant on 14 February 2004. Mahu was allegedly arrested following pressure from a local political leader who objected to critical articles written by Mahu.

d. The Contempt of Court Ordinance
On 2 March 2008, a new Contempt of Court Ordinance was approved to replace the Contempt of Court Act of 1926. The 1926 Act limited press freedom by enabling the charging of publications with contempt of court if they were perceived as excessively critical of a judgement or attempting to destroy trust in the judicial system.

According to news reports, the new Ordinance allowed the press to comment and publish on “normal” court proceedings and functions, and to seek disciplinary proceedings against judges, as long as done in “good faith” and with “restrained language”. Furthermore, it permitted reporting on judges’ alleged corruption or incompetence, as well as their extra-judicial activities.

However, a writ petition challenged the Ordinance’s legality, and on 24 July 2008, the High Court declared it void, finding that the caretaker administration was not allowed to promulgate ordinances not related to elections and not urgent during the caretaker government’s tenure. The new parliament will have to determine the future of this Ordinance.

e. The Right to Information Ordinance
The Right to Information Ordinance, gazetted in October 2008, is the first act acknowledging the people’s right to information. It is an important development in a country where many laws have been passed that actually hinder access to information, such as the Official Secrets Act of 1923, the Evidence Act of 1872, the Rules of Business of 1996, and the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules of 1979.

The much-welcome Right to Information Ordinance overrides this outdated secrecy legislation. However, observers have highlighted various shortcomings and loopholes. In particular, the list of exceptions remains too broad and the scope of information too limited. In its analysis, ARTICLE 19 pointed out that “eight security and intelligence agencies are exempt , and rules allowing provision of information in the public interest have actually been removed.“ Furthermore, “the law also does not provide protection for whistleblowers.“

Talking to IPI about the need to promote investigative journalism and laws supporting it, the editor of one of the biggest dailies noted that “the right to information law is a milestone in the country’s history, but there are only four reasons for providing information, while there are 20 reasons for blocking information”.

f. The Draft Broadcasting Act, 2003
Radio and television remain the most popular source of information, rendering particularly urgent the enactment of the draft Broadcasting Act of 2003.

Currently, the only terrestrial television broadcaster, Bangladesh Television (BTV), is state-owned. A number of satellite and cable channels, as well as foreign broadcasters (particularly from India), have large audiences in Bangladesh, but mostly amongst the urban population.


satellite dishes and cable access fees remain too high for a great part of the population, in particular in rural areas, where BTV remains the most important source of information.

Presently, all licensing decisions are made by the Ministry of Information rather than by an independent body. Observers have pointed out that license allocations have been political. Prothom Alo’s editor, Matiur Rahman, noted at a television talk show in December 2008 that the BNP-led four party alliance that ruled Bangladesh right before the caretaker administration took over in January 2007, issued about eight licenses for private television stations to their ministers and political partners, taking advantage of the absence of law in this field.

The Broadcasting Act would provide for the establishment of an independent Broadcasting Authority to oversee the regulation of terrestrial, satellite and cable broadcasting, with a view to promoting independent, pluralistic broadcasts. The Broadcasting Authority would oversee the issuance of licenses.

The enactment of the Broadcasting Act would allow non-profit entities to set up community radio and television stations, an important step to promote the free flow of information in rural areas. A community radio or television station is described in the act as a “broadcaster which is controlled by a non-profit entity and operates on a non-profit basis, carries programming serving a particular community including by reflecting the special interests and needs of that community, and is managed and operated primarily by members of that community”.

II. Safety and Impunity
Sixteen journalists have been killed in Bangladesh since 1998, making the country one of the most dangerous for journalists (the individual names are listed below). Some were killed for investigating or exposing illegal activities, while others died at the hands of the security apparatus, in particular the infamous Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

IPI is not aware of any journalists killed in connection with their profession in 2007 or 2008, when Bangladesh was under the Emergency Law, although the 6 March 2007 death of Jamal Uddin, a correspondent for the Dainik Giri Darpan daily and the ABAS news agency, has reportedly not been thoroughly investigated. Police stated that Uddin committed suicide. They claimed they found a tape recording in his pocket, containing a statement by Uddin himself, indicating that he was going to take his life. But the police did not allow Uddin’s friend and family members to listen to the recording.

Impunity with respect to murders of journalists is one of the greatest problems in Bangladesh. Journalists remain under the impression that the government has not taken these murders seriously and has not done enough to discourage or stop attacks against journalists.

“Politicians don’t want to solve the problem. They want to escape the problem,” a journalist who has faced persecution by the RAB, most likely in connection with his investigative reports, told IPI. He added that the RAB uses the expression “caught in the crossfire” to refer to the deaths of some journalists at the hands of RAB representatives.

Impunity eventually encourages further attacks against journalists. “If perpetrators of crimes against journalists had been prosecuted, the other journalists would not have been killed,” The Daily Star editor Mafuj Anam told IPI.

In a meeting with Awami League president Sheikh Hasina, who became Bangladesh’s prime minister for the second time in January 2009, the IPI delegation expressed concern about impunity and attacks against journalists at the hands of the RAB. Sheikh Hasina told IPI that, while she

believed journalists in Bangladesh enjoy full freedom of expression, the murder of journalists remained a problem that affects the whole society. She said that the Awami League has in the past passed resolutions about the murder of journalists, and was prepared to review the cases of murdered journalists. Hasina also agreed that the expression “caught in the crossfire” has been occasionally improperly used by members of the army to explain the death of journalists under their supervision.

BNP representatives who met with the IPI delegation expressed similar concerns about the torture of some individuals at the hands of the army during interrogations. They also said they wanted to put an end to impunity not only with respect to the murder of journalists, but that “all murders” should be “properly investigated”.

During a meeting with Major General Golam Kader, Director General of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, IPI mentioned allegations of attacks against journalists at the hands of the RAB and the army. Major General Golam Kader responded that he could not vouch for the entire army, but stated that, where cases of journalists tortured by the army have “surfaced”, the responsible individuals have been punished. He also stated that he believed attacks on journalists were largely perpetrated in the past by criminal gangs, which used to be stronger than today, and that the RAB was established to counter such attacks.

Attorney Gerneral Salahuddin Ahmad told IPI that Bangladesh has shown signs of weakness with respect to the rule of law.

IPI is aware of the following journalists killed in Bangladesh since 1998, most likely in connection with their profession:
14 September 2006: Bellal Hossain Dafadar, 38, a correspondent for the Khulna-based daily newspaper Janabani, died in the hospital after being stabbed by five unknown assailants.
17 November 2005: Gautam Das, 28, Faridpur District bureau chief for the Dhaka-based daily Samakal, was found strangled to death in his office in Faridpur. It was not known whether he was killed because of his work, but colleagues said he had recently been reporting on the activities of militant Islamic groups.
30 May 2005: Golam Mahfuz, 39, editor of the daily Comilla Muktakantha, was stabbed to death in his house in Comilla, 88 km east of the capital, Dhaka. The motive for the killing was not immediately known.
11 February 2005: Sheikh Belaluddin Ahmed, 48, a correspondent for the Bengali-language daily Sangram, died from injuries sustained in a Feb. 5 bomb attack on the Khulna press club. Three other journalists were injured in the attack.
24 October 2004: Shahid Anwar, assistant editor of the English-language Daily Asian Express, was shot twice in the forehead by unidentified attackers who stormed his office in the capital, Dhaka. The motive for his killing was unclear.
2 October 2004: Dipankar Chakrabarty, 59, an editor for the Bangla-language daily Durjoy Bangla, was ambushed while on his way home, and decapitated by at least five assailants wielding knives and axes, in Sherpur, Rajshahi Division. Local journalists maintained he was killed because of his journalistic work.
22 August 2004: Kamal Hossain, 32, a reporter for the daily newspaper Ajker Kagoj and secretary general of the Manikchhari Press Club, was killed in the city of Manikchhari, Chittagong Division, after armed men broke into his house at night and took him away. His body was found

two kilometres from his home several hours later. Hossain had received death threats after investigating organised crime in the area.
27 June 2004: Humayun Kabir Balu, 57, editor of Dainik Janmabhumi newspaper and president of the Khulna Press Club, was killed in a bomb attack in the southwestern city of Khulna. Unidentified attackers threw three bombs at Balu as he got out of his car in front of his office. He was immediately rushed to hospital, where he died. Leftist guerrillas operating in the region claimed responsibility for the killing.
15 January 2004: Manik Shaha, 45, correspondent for the daily New Age and a stringer for BBC’s World Service, was decapitated when a bomb was thrown at him by unknown assailants, who stopped his rickshaw in Khulna, southwestern Bangladesh. He was known for reporting on illegal activities of criminal gangs and Maoist insurgents.
3 August 2002: Syed Farroque Ahmed, editor of a local Bengali-language publication Pubali Barta, was found dead in the south-eastern town of Srimangal, more than two months after he had disappeared. It was unclear if he was killed because of his work as a journalist.
2 March 2002: Haroonur Rashid, 45, a reporter for the daily Purbanchal, was shot and killed while riding his motorcycle to work in Khulna, 340 kilometres south of Dhaka. Police said they arrested three suspects. Rashid frequently reported on the operations of gangs and political extremists in the country’s southern Khulna and Jessore region. Office, shop and factory workers in Khulna held a half-day strike on March 4 to protest the killing.
22 July 2001: Ahsan Ali, 40, a correspondent for the Dhaka-based daily Jugantar, was found dead in a canal in the Gandhapur area of Rupgonj Thana. His hands and feet had been tied with a rope and his face disfigured by acid. Ali, who went missing on July 20, had recently received death threats. Colleagues believed that his murder may have been linked to his investigative reporting.
21 April 2001: Nihar Ali, 36, a correspondent for the Bengali-language daily Anirban, died of injuries sustained on the night of April 18 when unidentified assailants kidnapped him from his home in Dumuria Upazila, near Khulna, south-western Bangladesh. According to the police, the journalist was found in a state of coma on the outskirts of his village and immediately hospitalized. The kidnappers had broken his hands and legs, and stabbed him several times. Police said his killers were probably left-wing extremists. Some sources said he may have been killed for his reporting on the activities of organized criminals.
16 July 2000 Shamsur Rahman, a correspondent with the daily Janakantha and a contributor to BBC’s Bengali service, was shot dead in his office in the town of Jessore, south-west Bangladesh, on 16 July by two unidentified men, who fired two bullets into his heart and head. Rahman was an expert on smugglers along the Indian border and the extremist politics of the region. He had received death threats from the smugglers and from extreme leftists.
15 January 2000: Mir Illais Hossain, editor and publisher of the newspaper Dainik Bir Darpan, was shot and killed by unidentified assailants in Jhenaidah on 15 January. Hossain, who was also a leader of the leftist party Sramajibi Mukti Andolon, had been receiving death threats from Maoist underground armed movements leading up to his murder and had requested police protection, which was not provided.
30 August 1998: Saiful Alam Mukul, editor of the newspaper Daily Runner, was shot dead as he returned to his home in Jessore in the Southwest. The Daily Runner regularly exposed gang activity, political corruption and human rights abuses. The paper had been out of print for some weeks under protest of growing complacency towards crime and corruption but was re-scheduled to resume publication the day after Mukul was murdered.

Population Problem in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a country of south-east Asia. It is well known as a developing country. There are many problems in this country, which are said to be major obstracles in the development of this country.

Excessive Population is said to be the worst among all current problems. If we compare to the global population we will see why population causes such damage to the development of Bangladesh. The area of Bangladesh is near to 55 thousand square miles or 1,47,570 square kilometer. The current population of Bangladesh is approximately over 160 million and will exceed 200 million within 2020. The average population density per square kilometer is almost 1000. Even a very rich country would have been in deep troubles if they have to handle such mass population in such short land. So whenever the government tends to take any developing steps, they seems to fell into shortage of resources for such huge population. As a result the actual development is just getting being delayed an hampered a lot.

In the 1980s, Bangladesh faced no greater problem than population growth. Census data compiled in 1901 indicated a total of 29 million in East Bengal, the region that became East Pakistan and eventually Bangladesh. By 1951, four years after partition from India, East Pakistan had 44 million people, a number that grew rapidly up to the first postindependence census, taken in 1974, which reported the national population at 71 million. The 1981 census reported a population of 87 million and a 2.3 percent annual growth rate. Thus, in just 80 years, the population had tripled. In July 1988 the population, by then the eighth largest in the world, stood at 109,963,551, and the average annual growth rate was 2.6 percent. According to official estimates, Bangladesh was expected to reach a population of more than 140 million by the year 2000.

Bangladesh’s population density provided further evidence of the problems the nation faced. In 1901 an average of 216 persons inhabited one square kilometer. By 1951 that number had increased to 312 per square kilometer and, in 1988, reached 821. By the year 2000, population density was projected to exceed 1,000 persons per square kilometer.

The crude birth rate per 1,000 population was 34.6 in 1981. This rate remained unchanged in 1985, following a 20-year trend of decline since 1961, when it had stood at 47 per 1,000. The rural birth rate was higher than birth rates in urban areas; in 1985 there were 36.3 births per 1,000 in the countryside versus 28 per 1,000 in urban areas. The crude death rate per 1,000 population decreased from 40.7 in 1951 to 12 per 1,000 in 1985; the urban crude death rate was 8.3, and the rural crude death rate was 12.9. The infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births was 111.9 in 1985, a distinct improvement from as recently as 1982, when the rate was 121.9. Life expectancy at birth was estimated at 55.1 years in 1986. Men and women have very similar life expectancies at 55.4 and 55, respectively. With an average life expectancy of 58.8 years, urban dwellers in 1986 were likely to live longer than their rural counterparts (average life expectancy 54.8 years). The sex ratio of the population in 1981 was 106 males to 100 females.

In the late 1980s, about 82 percent of the population of Bangladesh (a total of 15.1 million households) resided in rural areas. With the exception of parts of Sylhet and Rangamati regions, where settlements occurred in nucleated or clustered patterns, the villages were scattered collections of homesteads surrounded by trees. Continuous strings of settlements along the roadside were also common in the southeastern part of the country.
Until the 1980s, Bangladesh was the most rural nation in South Asia. In 1931 only 27 out of every 1,000 persons were urban dwellers in what is now Bangladesh. In 1931 Bangladesh had fifty towns; by 1951 the country had eighty-nine towns, cities, and municipalities. During the 1980s, industrial development began to have a small effect on urbanization. The 1974 census had put the urban population of Bangladesh at 8.8 percent of the total; by 1988 that proportion had reached 18 percent and was projected to rise to 30 percent by the year 2000.

In 1981 only two cities, Dhaka and Chittagong, had more than 1 million residents. Seven other cities–Narayanganj, Khulna, Barisal, Saidpur, Rajshahi, Mymensingh, and Comilla–each had more than 100,000 people. Of all the expanding cities, Dhaka, the national capital and the principal seat of culture, had made the most gains in population, growing from 335,928 in 1951 to 3.4 million in 1981. In the same period, Chittagong had grown from 289,981 to 1.4 million. A majority of the other urban areas each had between 20,000 and 50,000 people. These relatively small towns had grown up in most cases as administrative centers and geographically suitable localities for inland transportation and commercial facilities. There was no particular concentration of towns in any part of the country. In fact, the only large cities close to each other were Dhaka and Narayanganj.

1. Context:
In global and regional context, Bangladesh population has drawn considerable attention of the social scientists, policy planners and international organizations. In global context, Bangladesh is now world’s eighth populous country having 148.5 million people, but occupying only 3000th part of the world’s land space. Such a huge concentration of population in small land space cannot but draw one’s attention. About 2.3 million people are currently being added to its existing population; and such pace will continue in the next one decade and a half, even if Bangladesh achieves 2- child family norm (i.e. TFR of 2.1 or NRR=1) in any time between 2015-2020. In regional context, South Asian countries including Bangladesh comprise world’s one-fourth population and contribute 24% to its annual increase of 80 million people. Therefore, focus on population increase lies in south Asia in which Bangladesh portion appears to be most volatile because of high population density, poor land-man ratio, slow economic growth, massive unemployment, huge working age population relative to the size of job market etc. The population problem arisen out of past population growth which was regarded once as Number one national problem has lost its focus during the last one decade and a half owing to other overriding problems, such as, corruption and deteriorating law and order. Meanwhile, it has taken a new dimension that has to be recognized; and necessary civilized measures need to be taken to offset the ill -effects of phenomenal growth in human number. In fact, keeping in view this demographic development, this paper has been written. The Central purpose of this paper is to discuss Bangladesh population and its prospects and problems as well as some measures to manage its upcoming huge population. Keeping this broad purpose in view, the paper is structured into four (4) sections. Section 1 deals with current population scenario –its age structure, trends and urban-rural distribution; section 2 deals with the demographic prospects, momentum and stabilization; while in section 3, we discuss various implications of upcoming huge population. In section 4, some broad hints are given for management of growing population and also, as strategies for demo-economic development.

2.0 Current population Scenario:
2.1 Age Distribution and Growth Trend:
As already stated, Bangladesh population is currently estimated to be 148 million. Such a huge population are squeezed in an area of 1, 47,000 s km which gives the population density of 1020 persons per s km. Population is characterized by a high proportion of young age population of below 15 years (40%) and reproductive women, 15-49 years (39% of all women). Both indicate the substantial growth potential of future population. Unlike developed countries, our population is slowly aging. Population of 65 years and above represents about 4.0 percent of the total. As life expectancy is gaining, the size of the elderly population will increase and thereby, increasing the dependency burden. In recent years, there has been tremendous improvement in some demographic parameters. For example, infant mortality rate (IMR) was reduced to 52 in 2006 from 65/1000 live births in 2004. Under-5 mortality rate declined up to 65 from 88/1000 children under-5 during the same period. Total fertility rate (TFR) had declined to 2.7 in 2006-7 from 3.3 in 2000. Urban- rural difference in fertility is quite substantial. As expected, TFR for rural woman is 2.8 and that of urban woman is 2.4. TFR was plateued i.e. 3.4-3.3 during 1991-2000, followed by sharp decline by 0.6 during this decade. It varied widely by administrative Divisions. Khulna reached replacement level of fertility (2.1), followed by Rajshahi (2.4), Dhaka (2.7), Barisal (2.8), Chittagong (3.2) and Sylhet (3.7) (BDHS, 2007).

2.2 Contraceptive Practice Rate (CPR):
Closely related to the decline in TFR is the increase in CPR .In 1975, TFR was 6.3, and CPR was 7.7(BFS, 1975) Since then, CPR has steadily increased up to 58% in 2004 followed by decline of 2% i.e. 56% in 2006 which was mostly in traditional methods having trivial impact on fertility. The percentage of modern method users continues upward trend. Sylhet and Chittagong were found to be low performaning areas, having considerable scope for improvement.

A nation can achieve balanced growth and development if its government has the commitment and makes the effort to meet at least the basic needs of the people, which are food, shelter, clothing, healthcare and education. Non-availability or shortage of any one of the needs has an adverse impact on the others, and that results in imbalanced growth. Among the basic needs, education is extremely important.

Literacy is the first stage in the process of education and acquiring knowledge. Unfortunately, even in the digital era, and when the government has already started working for Digital Bangladesh, literacy is still misunderstood by many as the ability to sign one’s name. Literarily, literacy means the ability to read and write. But during the past two decades, the dimension of literacy has become wider. According to Unesco, literacy is the ability to understand what one reads and writes in one’s mother tongue and the ability to keep day-to-day accounts related to household income and expenditure. Therefore, all basic human needs can be secured through literacy and development of education and knowledge.

Illiteracy is the main problem of human society, and is deeply rooted in the vicious circle of other basic problems. Illiteracy deprives human beings of the light of knowledge, keeps them ignorant and unaware of basic human needs and rights, denies access to information and information technology and socio-economic opportunities, and does not provide the scope for being equal even in the eyes of the law. Therefore, illiteracy is a great injustice and denial of fundamental human rights. Due to illiteracy, many people were deceived of their paternal properties by putting their thumbprints on false deeds. Therefore, illiteracy is the biggest cause of ignorance, poverty, deprivation and incivility.

The Mass Literacy Program in Bangladesh got momentum as national movement during the early 1980s. But, unfortunately, due to sudden discontinuation of the program because of the change of governments, the attained literacy skills relapsed. The literacy program was dropped by the then military government in 1982. After six years of discontinuation (upto 1987) the government revived the program experimentally under the title Mass Education Program (MEP) in the beginning of 1988, and it was upgraded to a full pledged Directorate of Non-formal Education (DNFE) under the Mass Education Division of the Ministry of Education by the then new democratic government in the early 1990s.

The government also mobilised Unicef, UNDP and the World Bank to be active partners in expanding the MEP alongside non-formal primary education under the General Education Project (GEP) of the Ministry of Education during the first half of the 1990s. The World Bank administered international donations for the program under GEP were discontinued for unknown reasons, although GEP was the only project implemented by selected national leading NGO’s that was successful.
During 1996-2001, the then government, which was also headed by the present prime minister, kept DNFE and established a separate building for it at Tejgaon, with financial assistance from Asian Development Bank to operate literacy, post-literacy and continuing programs. Hundreds of NGOs from all over the country worked in the programs in partnership with the government. At that time, the literacy rate was claimed to be 65%.

But the government of 2001-2006 did not keep up with the ongoing programs properly and all programs were dropped. Even the functioning of the directorate itself was stopped. Why? Discontinuation of such human development programs for the poor and unlettered population was a great injustice to the people, forcing them to remain illiterate and dependent.

The present government, for the sake of materialising its commitment for an “Illiteracy-free Digital Bangladesh,” should immediately revive the DNPE and continue virtual education alongside computer literacy and basic information technology for the literate populations lacking functional knowledge of English. The educational and technological skills attained by them through these continuous non-formal programs will at least ensure basic human needs for the ill-fated deprived millions, and will also ensure their active participation in the national movement for an illiteracy-free Digital Bangladesh by 2021 — as envisioned by the present government.

Bangladesh’s energy infrastructure is quite small, insufficient and poorly managed. The per capita energy consumption in Bangladesh is one of the lowest (136 kWH) in the world. Noncommercial energy sources, such as wood fuel, animal waste, and crop residues, are estimated to account for over half of the country’s energy consumption. Bangladesh has small reserves of oil and coal, but very large natural gas resources. Commercial energy consumption is mostly natural gas (around 66%), followed by oil, hydropower and coal.
Electricity is the major source of power for country’s most of the economic activities. Bangladesh’s installed electric generation capacity was 4.7 GW in 2009; only three-fourth of which is considered to be ‘available’. Only 40% of the population has access to electricity with a per capita availability of 136 kWh per annum. Problems in the Bangladesh’s electric power sector include corruption in administration, high system losses, delays in completion of new plants, low plant efficiencies, erratic power supply, electricity theft, blackouts, and shortages of funds for power plant maintenance. Overall, the country’s generation plants have been unable to meet system demand over the past decade.

Sources of Energy
As of 2011, 79 natural gas wells are present in the 23 operational gas fields which produce over 2000 millions of cubic feet of gas per day (MMCFD). It is well short of over 2500 MMCFD that is demanded, a number which is growing by around 7% each year. In fact, more than three-quarters of the nation’s commercial energy demand is being met by natural gas. This influential sector caters for around 40% of the power plant feedstock, 17% of industries, 15% captive power, 11% for domestic and household usage, another 11% for fertilizers, 5% in Compressed natural gas (CNG) activities and 1% for commercial and agricultural uses.

CNG is substituting more that USD 0.8 billion worth of foreign exchange annually and is also used in most vehicles on the road. In addition to CNG, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is also demanded at around 0.1 million tons. The nation furthermore demands 3.5 million tons of oil imports in addition to almost 2 million tons of diesel to feed oil-based power plants being planned and built all around the country. The additional petroleum and coal imports are causing a disruption in the GDP by as much as 2% annually. The new purchases are affecting improvement initiatives in other sectors causing reduced export earnings and curtailing employment opportunities. This massive failure in the energy sector is mostly attributed to prolonged negligence, inappropriate implementation, inefficiency and lack of planning. To make matters worse, natural gas reserves are expected to expire by 2020. The only coal mine of the country is in the development stage, the reserve of which is also expected to dry up anywhere from 75 to 80 years after the start of their operations.

Renewable energy
See also: Renewable Energy Policy of Bangladesh
Bangladesh has 15 MW solar energy capacity through rural households and 1.9 MW wind power in Kutubdia and Feni. Bangladesh has planned to produce 5% of total power generation by 2015 & 10% by 2020 from renewable energy sources like air, waste & solar energy.

Recent plans
The Ministry of Power and Energy has been mobilising Tk 40,000 crore ($5.88 billion) to generate 5,000 MW of electricity to reduce load shedding into a tolerable level within next four and half years during the term of the present government. Under the plan, the Power Development Board (PDB) would produce 500 MW gas-fired electricity between July and December 2009 to over come load shedding within December. The PDB would hire furnace-oil based 1,000MW of electricity from private sector from January to June 2010, the plan said. In 2011, the government would install furnace-oil based 800 MW capacity of power plant. The PDB officials would seek suitable place to establish the plant, a senior official of the PDB said. Besides the government would also hire another diesel or furnace oil based power plant having capacity of 700 MW in 2012 to keep load shedding into mild level, the official said. However, the government also contemplates to establish four coal-fired based power plants with capacity of producing 500 MW of electricity each with public and private partnership (PPP) in Rajshahi and Chittagong region. The government has initially tried to create fund of Tk 6,000 crore ($1 billion) to implement the plan, sources said. The power division has tried to utilise the government’s budgetary allocation of Tk. 2000 crore for PPP in this regard, sources added. “If we can create the fund of Tk. 6,000 crore, it would be possible also to mobilise Tk 40,000 crore under ppp to produce 5,000 MW of electricity within four and half years,” PDB chairman ASM Alamgir Kabir told the New Nation on 29 June 2009. During the meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina permitted the power division to implement the PDB plan to reduce load shedding up to a tolerable level. Prime Minister’s Adviser for Power and Energy Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Bir Bikram, State Minister for Power and Energy Shamsul Haque Tuku, Power Division Secretary Md Abul Kalam, PDB Chairman ASM Alamgir Kabir were present. Recently prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated a power plant at Chandpur.

Inefficiencies and Infrastructure
In generating and distributing electricity, the failure to adequately manage the load leads to extensive load shedding which results in severe disruption in the industrial production and other economic activities. A recent survey reveals that power outages result in a loss of industrial output worth $1 billion a year which reduces the GDP growth by about half a percentage point in Bangladesh. A major hurdle in efficiently delivering power is caused by the inefficient distribution system. It is estimated that the total transmission and distribution losses in Bangladesh amount to one-third of the total generation, the value of which is equal to US $247 million per year.

In 2011, there were proposals to upgrade the grid technologies to digital smart metering systems and investing in renewable energy technologies to produce 5% of total power generation by 2015 & 10% by 2020, as noted in the National Renewable Energy Policy of 2008. American engineer Sanwar Sunny said that the city should put more effort in zoning areas to encourage more self reliant subdivisions and higher desity housing around subways in order to be more sustainable, as during peak times load shedding would not affect everyone. It will reduce effects of power cuts and provide stability to the power sector. He proposed that Radio transmitters could be operating remotely in unlicensed radio bands using two way real time communication and transmit coded instructions from the central to the circuit breakers in selected coordinates of the micro grids substations thereby maintain multiple power flow lines with automated control and digital metering. Using this technology, Feed-in tariffs (FIT) would also be possible, as the energy usage could be monitored remotely and private power generation and energy efficient entities could be offered rebates and incentives. “This will also expedite investments in this sector, create job opportunities for engineering graduates and technicians, and ease pressures on the government” he said. Think tanks such as Bangladesh Solar Energy Society and Renewable Energy Institute (REI), along with European International Development Government Agencies such as Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit supported this scheme. However, The Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Government of Bangladesh has said that the government has no plans to do so.

Nuclear power plant
Bangladesh plans to set up the 1,000 MW power plant at Rooppur,Pabna district 200 km (120 mi) northwest of the capital Dhaka, by 2018.

Leaders of the country’s highest export earning RMG sector said they are trying to come out of the ongoing negative trend of export but facing energy and gas crisis as the main barriers in their efforts.
They also demanded immediate solution of gas and energy crisis to ensure smooth production as well as to stay in the competitive international market.

Talking to UNB, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Abdus Salam Murshedi said, “We are unable to become competitive by any means in international market due to energy and gas crisis. We face difficulty to run our factories and as a result we lack efficiency.”

He said the competitive countries are performing well because of their strong infrastructures and incentives provided by the government under different packages.

“But, we are lagging behind day by day. The government has to ensure gas and electricity for our production. Otherwise, we will not be able to get back in the positive trend of export,” he added.
Referring to the government’s intention not to give any gas and electricity supply to new factories, the BGMEA president urged the government to ensure smooth supply to the existing industries so that they could stay in the international market

When contacted, Bangladesh Knitwear’s Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) president M Fazlul Hoque said, “We are performing badly in the American market In the European market the situation is a bit beter. We are being undone by our competitors in the international market”

He said that they are trying very hard to come out of the sluggish trend of export but faces crisis of energy and gas to maintain their smooth production.

He observed that they are not being able to fulfill the orders by the buyers due to the problems and also demanded immediate solutions to these problems.

Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) president Abdul Hai Sarker said most of their mills are facing difficulty to fulfill the orders of the buyers due to frequent energy and gas crisis.
“Some of the factories remained inoperative for 7 to 9 hours due to these problems, if the trend continues the buyers will leave one by one,” he added.

Demanding solutions to these problems, he said, “If we fail to fulfill the requirements of the buyers, you will see more negative growth in future.”

Despite a positive growth in January, country’s export earnings continued the downtrend with 4.69 percent negative growth in the first seven months of current fiscal (July-January) compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal (2008-09).

According to the recent statistics provided by EPB, Knitwear export stood at US$ 3543.01 million in seven months to January, a decline of 6.85 percent compared to the corresponding period previous year. It is also 13.62 percent below the target.

Export of woven garments also showed a declining trend. Export during the period stood at US$ 3152.92 million showing 6.99 percent negative growth.

Home textiles and textile fabrics also maintained their negative trend as their exports totaled US$ 165.65 million and US$ 42.30 million respectively in July-January period.

The total export earning for the July-January period stood at US$ 8702.96 million, which is less than 12.03 percent of the target Export earning amounted to US$ 9131.05 million during the same period last fiscal (2008-09).

EPB statistics showed the country’s overall export during the month of January stood at US$ 1426.21 million as against US$ 1378.05 million in January previous year.
Buyers’ price pressure hits RMG profitability
Sources :The profitability of Bangladesh’s readymade garments (RMG) is now hit hard by the persistent pressure from international buyers to lower the item’s price, say industry insiders.
Such pressure also undermines efforts to improve the sector’s working conditions, they said.

When garment factory owners struggle to raise workers’ wages and sometimes they delay in paying them their dues because of the rise in operational costs and global competition, a denial of fair prices of RMG products by major portion of the foreign buyers has made the situation worse for the industry.

Many RMG owners also point to the fact that the wages issue leads to frequent labour unrests, which result in the loss of productivity and global competitiveness.

Meanwhile, in a letter sent to the head of government early last month by a group of 16 international buyers mounted its pressure to review the minimum wages of Bangladesh’s RMG workers, according to the leader of the trade body for the apparel sector.

?But this letter didn’t mention a single word on the necessity of the price-hike of apparels so that owners can go for pay-hike of workers,? said Abdus Salam Murshedy, the president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

In this context, Murshedy pointed his finger at the higher cost of doing business. He said such cost rose around 25 percent last year, but the clothing item prices remained either unchanged or declined because of the recession and intense competition globally.

Erratic gas and power supply, higher freight charges, hike in yarn prices, implementation of minimum wages for workers, higher costs of transport and capital machinery are the factors that led to the rise in the cost of doing business.

Faruque Hassan, owner of Shafi Processing, a local garment factory, points his finger at the exorbitant airfreight charge of $4.30 a kg.
Ghulam Faruque, chairman of SQ Group, a local garment factory, suggested the PMO ask buyers to increase the prices of per unit of garment products so that the owners can go for workers’ pay-hike.

Water supply and sanitation in Bangladesh is characterized by a number of achievements and challenges. The share of the population with access to an improved water source was estimated at 98% in 2004, a very high level for a low-income country. This has been achieved to a large extent through the construction of handpumps with the support of external donors. However, in 1993 it was discovered that groundwater, the source of drinking water for 97% of the rural population and a significant share of the urban population, is in many cases naturally contaminated with arsenic. It gradually emerged that 70 million people drank water which exceeds the WHO guidelines of 10 microgram of arsenic per liter, and 30 million drank water containing more than the Bangladesh National Standard of 50 microgram per liter, leading to chronic arsenic poisoning. On the other hand, surface water is usually polluted and requires treatment. Taking arsenic contamination into account, it was estimated that in 2004 still 74% of the population had access to arsenic-free drinking water. Another challenge is the low level of cost recovery due to low tariffs and poor economic efficiency, especially in urban areas where revenues from water sales do not even cover operating costs. In rural areas, users contribute 34% of investment costs, and at least in piped water schemes supported by the Rural Development Academy recover operating costs.

Sanitation faces its own set of challenges, with only 39% of the population estimated to have had access to adequate sanitation facilities in 2004. This is actually a doubling of the 20% share in 1990. A new approach to improve sanitation coverage in rural areas, the community-led total sanitation concept that has been first introduced in Bangladesh, is credited for having contributed significantly to the increase in sanitation coverage since 2000.

The government has adopted a number of policies to remedy the challenges in the sector, including National Policies for Safe Water Supply and Sanitation, both of 1998, a National Water Policy of 1999, a National Water Management Plan, and a National Policy for Arsenic Mitigation, both of 2004. Among others, these policies emphasize decentralization, user participation, the role of women, and “appropriate pricing rules”. The Arsenic Mitigation Policy gives “preference to surface water over groundwater”. At the operational level, there has also been a conceptual shift from single-use of water – such as through handpumps for drinking water and motorized deep tubewells for irrigation – to multiple use of water from deep tubewells since the 1990s.

Bangladesh: Water and Sanitation

Water coverage (broad definition) 74%[1]
Sanitation coverage (broad definition) 39%[1]
Continuity of supply (%) Intermittent [2][3]
Average urban water use (l/c/d) 115 (in Dhaka 2001)[2]
97 (2007) [4]
Average urban water tariff (US$/m³) 0.12 (Average of main urban areas in 2007) [4]
0.08 (in Dhaka 2007)[5][6]
Share of household metering 67% (2007) [4]
Annual investment in WSS US$0.55/capita (Average 1994/95-2000/01)[7]
Share of self-financing by utilities Very low
Share of tax-financing Low
Share of external financing n/a
Decentralization to municipalities Full
National water and sanitation company None
Water and sanitation regulator None
Responsibility for policy setting National Water Resources Council (NWRC) for water resources management
Sector law None
Number of urban service providers More than 200 municipalities and 2 Water Supply and Sewerage Agencies (for Dhaka and Chittagong)
Number of rural service providers n/a

Since arsenic was discovered in Bangladeshi groundwater in 1993, the share of population with access to safe drinking water had to be adjusted downward. According to the Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation of UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), access to an improved source of water supply increased only slightly from 72% in 1990 to 74% in 2004, whereas coverage of improved sanitation nearly doubled from 20% to 39% during the same period.

Estimates of access to an improved source of water supply is greatly affected by the presence of arsenic in groundwater, which is estimated to affect 27% of all wells and is subtracted from the figures obtained by solely measuring the level of access to infrastructure. Without taking into account the presence of arsenic, 99% of the urban population and 97% of the rural population actually had access to an improved source of water supply according to the Demographic and Health Survey of 2004, which is an unusually high level of access for a low-income country. In urban areas, access is broken down as follows:
23% piped inside dwelling
8% piped outside dwelling
68% tubewells
In rural areas the breakdown is:
Less than 0,6% piped inside and outside dwelling
96% tubewells
1% dug wells
More than 2% ponds, lakes and rivers
Rainwater harvesting, although practised in Bangladesh, was not included in the survey. The official figures of the Joint Monitoring Program, taking into account the presence of arsenic, are as follows:
Access to Water and Sanitation in the Bangladesh (2004)
(25% of the population) Rural
(75% of the population) Total
Water[1] Broad definition
82% 72% 74%
House connections 24% 0% 6%
Sanitation[1] Broad definition
51% 35% 39%
Sewerage 7% 0% 2%
The Bangladeshi Minister for Local Government an Rural Development announced that his country aims to reach universal coverage of sanitation by 2010. To achieve this, a community-led total sanitation campaign was launched in 2003. In its Millennium Development Goals Progress Report 2007, the national government is optimistic about reaching the MDGs, except for safe water supply in rural areas. However, it appears that the national government uses different definitions and/or sources than those of the JMP.

Service quality

Continuity of supply
Intermittent supply was common in at least parts of the city as of 2011, forcing families to purchase drinking water and use pond or river water for their other needs. Regular power cuts, which turn off well pumps, also contribute to the intermittency of supply. Where municipalities provide the service, piped water is usually available to consumers for only 2-4 hours a day. Major water shortages in Bangladesh appear mainly during the dry season.

Drinking water quality
Poor water quality, especially in rural areas has been recognized in the National Water Policy (NWP) of 1999. Surface water is often contaminated due to human excreta and urban and industrial pollution. Population growth and industrialization will likely exacerbate the situation. Because groundwater requires less treatment, it is the main freshwater source in Bangladesh. However, in 1993 arsenic contamination was discovered in the groundwater. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in 2000 that between 35 and 77 million of the 125 million Bangladeshis were at risk of drinking contaminated water. In an interview published by the WHO in 2008, Professor Mahmuder Rahman quoted government estimates saying that up to 70 million people still drink water which exceeds the WHO guidelines of 10 micrograms per liter of arsenic, and 30 million drink water containing more than the Bangladesh National Standard of 50 micrograms per liter.

Wastewater treatment
In Dhaka, nearly one third of domestic effluents does not receive any kind of treatment. About 30% of the served population of the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) is covered by a sewerage system, the only one in the entire country.[3] There is one sewage treatment plant with a capacity of 120,000 m³ per day. About 30% of the population uses conventional septic tanks and another 15% uses bucket and pit latrines. During the rainy season, sewage overflows are common.

Water resources

A street in Dhaka during a flood in 2004
Sources of drinking water Water supply in Bangladesh relies mainly on groundwater. In rural areas, more than 97% of the population relies on groundwater for its drinking water supply. In Dhaka, 82% of the water supply is abstracted from groundwater that is free of arsenic, while three surface water treatment plants provide the remaining 18%. Groundwater is being severely depleted in Dhaka where the groundwater levels are dropping at two to three metres every year. The city’s water table has sunk by 50 metres in the past four decades and the closest underground water is now over 60 meters below ground level. The Asian Development Bank estimated in 2007 that by 2015 a severe supply shortage would occur if the utility did not reduce groundwater abstraction.
Availability of water resources Bangladesh has an enormous excess of surface water during the summer monsoon (June to October) and relative scarcity towards the end of the dry season in April and May. Internal renewable water resources are about 105 km3 per year, while inflowing transboundary rivers provide another 1,100 km3 annually (average 1977-2001).
Management of transboundary water resources. Although Bangladesh only occupies 8% of the Brahmaputra, Meghna and Ganges river basins, it heavily depends on the flow of these rivers. As a lower riparian, the country depends on upstream developments. Whereas deforestation and flood control in the upstream catchment areas increase the flood peaks in Bangladesh, water withdrawals and water diversions may result in water shortages, particularly in the dry season. Since Bangladesh has limited control over the rivers, the country has to cooperate with other riparians to improve the situation. However, so far there have been only bilateral agreements such as the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty between India and Bangladesh, signed in 1996, which allows Bangladesh to receive a minimum amount of 35,000 cubic feet per second (990 m3/s) during the dry season.

Water use
Only about 15 km³ annually, or about 1% of total water resources, is being withdrawn for human use. Out of the total withdrawals, 86% is for agriculture, 12% for domestic water supply and 2% for industry. Out of the total consumptive use of water (withdrawals minus return flows), 73% is used for agricultural purposes and 20% for evaporation in forests, water bodies, charland, urban and rural environment, leaving 7% for water supply and sanitation. Although population growth has slowed to less than 2% per year, it is predicted that Bangladesh’s total population will increase from 129 million people in 2000 to 181 million by 2025 and 224 million by 2050, accompanied by an increased demand for water.

History and recent developments
The country’s national water policy was mainly focused on agricultural issues and was aimed at food self-sufficiency. Accordingly, flood control drainage and irrigation projects were the most common measures.[28][29] In the 1990s the necessity of a more comprehensive approach was recognized, leading to the formulation of a National Water Policy.

The first central institution in the water sector in what is now Bangladesh was the East Pakistan Water and Power Development Agency (EPWAPDA), created in 1959 to plan, construct and operate all water development schemes. In 1964, EPWAPDA, with the assistance of the United States development agency USAID, prepared a 20-year Water Master Plan, including flood control. Although infrastructure was constructed, the lack of operation and maintenance, among other things, soon led to its deterioration.

After the independence from Pakistan in 1971, EPWAPDA was restructured and renamed the Bangladesh Water Development Board. The new republic soon gained support from several agencies. The World Bank published the Land and Water Sector Study in 1972, advocating small-scale flood control and irrigation projects. As a result, small-scale irrigation spread quickly during the 1970s and 1980s, partly financed by the private sector.

In light of the growing population and the expanding agricultural and industrial sectors, in 1983 the National Water Resources Council (NWRC) was founded and the newly created Master Plan Organization (MPO) started to draw up a comprehensive National Water Plan (NWP). The first phase of the NWP was completed in 1986 and included an assessment of available water resources and future demand. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a lack of attention to intersectoral and environmental issues led the national government to reject the plan.Consequently, the second phase of the NWP was drawn up from 1987 to 1991, including an estimate of the available groundwater and surface water as well as a draft water law. The draft also took into account environmental needs. In 1991, the MPO was restructured and renamed the Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO).[
Two destructive floods in 1987 and 1988 were followed by increased international attention and assistance. In 1989, several studies were prepared by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDO) and national agencies from France, the United States, Japan, and others. The World Bank coordinated the donor activities. At the end of the year, the Flood Action Plan (FAP) was approved by the national government of Bangladesh. However, according to Chadwick the plan was criticized by some donors and civil society. The planned participation of civil society was hampered by the military dictatorship that governed the country at that time. Later, the national government approved the FAP’s final report, called the Bangladesh Water and Flood Management Strategy (BWFMS), in 1995 with the support of donor agencies. Among other things, the strategy proposed the formulation of a comprehensive national water management plan, increased user participation and environmental impact assessment as integral parts of planning. Consequently, the Flood Planning Coordination Organization (FPCO), which had been established in 1992 to coordinate the studies, was merged with WARPO in 1996.

Recent developments:National Water Policy and related policies
In 1999, on the recommendation of the World Bank[34] and after extensive consultation with all relevant actors, including NGOs and the civil society, the National Water Policy (NWP) was adopted. The document explicitly states 6 main objectives:[35]
To address the use and development of groundwater and surface water in an efficient and equitable way
To ensure the availability of water to all parts of the society
To accelerate the development of public and private water systems through legal and financial measures and incentives, including appropriate water rights and water pricing rules
To formulate institutional changes, encouraging decentralization and enhancing the role of women in water management
To provide a legal and regulatory framework which encourages decentralization, consideration of environmental impacts, and private sector investment.

To develop knowledge and capability in order to facilitate improved future water resources management plans to encourage, among other things, broad user participation

Furthermore, WARPO has developed a National Water Management Plan (NWMP), which was approved by NWRC in 2004 and aims at implementing the NWP within 25 years.It is expected to be reviewed and updated every five years. In 2005, the national government included the improvement of water supply and sanitation as part of its agenda for reducing poverty.

Complementing the National Water Policy and the National Policy for Safe Water Supply and Sanitation, both of 1998, the government adopted a National Policy for Arsenic Mitigation in 2004.[12] The policy emphasizes public awareness, alternative safe water supply, proper diagnosis and management of patients, and capacity building. In terms of alternative supplies it gives “preference to surface water over groundwater”. The latter aspect is controversial, since surface water is often highly contaminated with pathogens while deeper groundwater is often safe and free of arsenic.

Innovative approaches
A number of innovative approaches to improve access to and the sustainability of water supply and sanitation were developed in Bangladesh since the turn of the millennium. These include new management models for piped rural water supply, community-led total sanitation, and contracting out billing and collection to a woker’s cooperative as an alterative to private sector participation, all further described below. In addition, two innovative pilot projects were initatiated in Dhaka. The first provided water to hitherto unserved slum areas through community-based organizations with the assistance of the NGO Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK) and WaterAid from the UK.The second is a pilot for a small-bore sewer system in the Mirpur area of Dhaka with financing from the Asian Development Bank.

New management models for piped rural water supply
Deep tubewells with electric pumps are common as source of water supply for irrigation in Bangladesh. The government had long been interested in making the operation of these tubewells more financially viable. One option considered was to increase revenues by selling water from deep tubewells as drinking water and for small-scale commercial operations, thus at the same time addressing the arsenic crisis. Also, the government was interested in developing new management models beyond pure community management in order to both mobilize funding and improve the quality and sustainability of service provision. To that effect two parallel innovative approaches have been pursued.

Rural Development Academy multipurpose schemes. These efforts to combine piped drinking water and irrigation schemes were initiated in 1999 by the Rural Development Academy (RDA) with government funds and no donor involvement. RDA invited sponsors and offered to finance the construction of the well and the water supply system under the condition that:
the sponsors from the community would create a water user association (samitee),
pay for 10% of the investment costs at the time of completion of the construction,
operate and maintain the system for 10 years, and
pay back the remaining 90% of the investment costs over this period.
As of January 2008, 73 small schemes had been completed, both in areas where the shallow aquifer is contaminated by arsenic and those where this is not the case. Sponsors are NGOs, cooperatives or individuals. The number of applicants each year outnumbers the schemes to be constructed. However, tariffs have been set at relatively low levels, so that the operators barely break even and have not paid back the loans for 90% of the investment costs. Revenues from irrigation typically account for a third of the revenues of the water schemes, the remainder coming from the sale of drinking water.
Bangladesh Water Supply Program Project. Another approach has been supported by the World Bank through the Bangladesh Water Supply Program Project (BWSPP), implemented by the Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) of the same Ministry. This approach, initiated in 2001, has been inspired by the RDA experience, but with two crucial modifications: First, it required sponsors to come up with the entire financing up-front, which was supposed to be recovered through revenues from the sale of water. Second, only drinking water was to be provided and no irrigation water. Finding sponsors willing to put their own capital at risk proved to be difficult. For this reason, and due to project management difficulties, only two schemes had been built as of January 2008, providing water to 2,000 households. Neither scheme has become financially viable. An NGO built and operates the schemes, since no private company was interested in doing so.

Community-led total sanitation
Bangladesh is the home of a new approach to increasing sanitation coverage, called community-led total sanitation (CLTS), first introduced in 2000 in a small village in the Rajshahi District by Dr. Kamal Kar in cooperation with WaterAid Bangladesh and the Village Education Resource Centre (VERC).
Most traditional sanitation programs rely on the provision of subsidies, sanitation promotion, and hygiene education. Under this framework, the subsidized facilities are often very expensive and their acquisition remains limited to non-poor households. In addition, the high subsidies may reduce the feeling of personal responsibility for the toilets, leading to increased carelessness by the target group.
These shortcomings of the established programs led to the development of the new CLTS approach in Bangladesh, shifting the focus on personal responsibility and low-cost solutions. CLTS aims to totally stop open defecation within a community rather than facilitating improved sanitation only to selected households. Awareness of local sanitation issues is raised through a walk to open defecation areas and water points (walk of shame) and a calculation of the amount of excreta caused by open defecation. Combined with hygiene education, the approach aims to make the entire community realize the severe health impacts of open defecation. Since individual carelessness may affect the entire community, pressure on each person becomes stronger to follow sanitation principles such as using sanitary toilets, washing hands, and practicing good hygiene. To introduce sanitation even in the poorest households, low-cost toilets are promoted, constructed with local materials. The purchase of the facility is not subsidized, so that every household must finance its own toilets.
In 2006, the number of villages with total sanitation was estimated at more than 5,000 throughout the country. At the same time, CLTS had spread in at least six countries in Asia and three in Africa. According to the Bangladeshi Millennium Development Goals Progress Report 2007, in 2003 a CLTS campaign was launched in order to reach 100% sanitation coverage by 2010.

Responsibility for water supply and sanitation

Policy and regulation
A large number of government entities are in charge of various aspects of the water sector in Bangladesh. The National Water Management Plan (NWMP) lists not less than 13 ministries involved in the sector.

Among them are the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture (in charge of irrigation), the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives (in charge of water supply in rural areas and cities outside of Dhaka and Chittagong).

Map of Bangladesh
The National Water Resources Council (NWRC) formulates general water policies in Bangladesh and oversees their implementation. Although the council is expected to provide the main policy guidelines and directions, it is not entrusted with carrying out those policies. The NWRC advises the Cabinet on water policy. It is supported by an Executive Committee and chaired by the Prime Minister. Moreover, 10 ministries and several water experts and other representatives compose the NWRC.

The Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO), placed under the Ministry of Water Resources, acts as Secretariat of the Executive Committee. According to the 1999 National Water Policy, among its other functions WARPO has an up-to-date National Water Resources Database, checks all water sector projects for their conformity to the NWMP, and carries out further studies and activities as assigned by the Executive Committee or the National Government.[49] The NWMP does not explicitly allocate the role of setting sanitation policy for any institution.

The Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives (MLGRDC) is in charge of assisting municipalities and communities in building water supply infrastructure.

Although the NWMP foresaw the creation of independent regulatory bodies in order to ensure compliance with appropriate standards as well as cost-effective service provision, no such agency had been created until 2007.

Service provision

Water Supply and Sewerage Authorities and municipalities
Water supply and sanitation are carried out at the local level by three agencies. In the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong, the semi-autonomous Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) and the Chittagong Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (CWASA) provide water for domestic, industrial, and commercial consumption as well as sewerage and stormwater drainage.

Bangladesh is subdivided into more than 200 municipalities (Paurashavas). Outside of Dhaka and Chittagong, each municipality is responsible for its own water supply, sewerage, and storm drainage. They are empowered to charge tariffs and receive assistance from the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE), which is responsible for waterworks development projects as well as planning in the rural water sector and all urban areas except for Dhaka and Chittagong, including construction, improvement ,and expansion of infrastructure. Once the projects are completed, the facilities are handed over to the municipalities.

Private sector and NGOs
In addition to government institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector are involved in the provision of services and are acknowledged within the institutional sector framework in the NWMP. The improvement of the investment climate for the private sector is included in the six main objectives of the document. However, private sector participation in the Bangladeshi water supply and sanitation sector remains limited to small businesses. According to Das Gupta, direct private investment is almost non-existent. The NWMP recognizes that large-scale private participation remains a challenge.

Other functions
The Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) under the Ministry of Water Resources has the main function of working on transboundary water issues together with the other riparian countries. Environmental standards are set and enforced by the Department of Environment.

The Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) is responsible for the implementation of water projects that exceed 10 km² in size, whereas the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) is entrusted with smaller projects.[59] The Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha, Bangladesh’s capital development authority, is in charge of urban development and setting building codes in Dhaka.

Economic efficiency
Precise figures about efficiency indicators seem to be scarce and hard to find. Nevertheless, the economic efficiency is regarded as poor even in the large WASAs. This problem is recognized in the NWMP, which therefore aims at increasing operational efficiency.

Non-revenue water
For more details on this topic, see Water management in Dhaka.
In Dhaka, the share of non-revenue water (NRW) has been substantially reducedfrom 54% in 2003 to 29% in 2010. Concerning NRW in municipalities, the ADB indicates a share of 33-40%.is not clear, because different sources provide different figures.

Financial aspects

Tariffs and cost recovery
The NWMP provides for the gradual increase of tariffs to fully recover the costs of service provision in urban areas using an increasing block tariff structure. In rural areas, the tariffs should cover at least all operation and maintenance costs.[61] Since this framework is not yet implemented, municipalities or water utilities have the right to set their own tariffs controlled by the government.[62] There is little information about current tariff rates outside of Dhaka.
Dhaka According to the ADB, the average tariff in Dhaka was US$0.06 per m³ in 2001. Those connected to sewerage had to pay double. Connection fees were between US$29 and US$60, according to the diameter of the pipe.[2] According to DWASA’s official website, in May 2007 the metered residential tariff per m³ was US$0.08.[5][6]
Other urban areas Cost recovery is very poor in other urban areas and tariffs are far from recovering operation and maintenance costs. Furthermore, tariffs are regularly eroded by inflation. Many systems rely on development grants by the central government. In small urban water supply systems, imposing property taxes is a common practice to mobilize local resources.[63] Again according to the ADB, in a sample of 61 municipalities the total average revenues (including tariffs and taxes) per municipality were US$1,827 in 2000, far from recovering the operation and maintenance costs of US$187,831.[64][65]
Rural areas. Tariffs in rural areas vary. In piped multi-purpose schemes supported by RDA households pay a flat fee equivalent to about US$1.20 per month for drinking water and a flat fee equivalent to US$72/season/hectare for irrigation. Revenues from these tariffs allow to recover operation and maintenance costs.
Investment and financing
In the Annual Development Programme (ADP) of the Bangladeshi Planning Commission, the government’s development investment in water supply and sanitation ranged between US$50 million and US$101 million from fiscal years 1994-1995 to 2000-2001.[66]

From 1994-1995 to 2000-2001, the water resources subsector, including flood control and irrigation received much more funding than the water supply and sanitation sector, which is shown above. On average, US$74 million or US$0.55 per capita have been spent per year. In 1996-1997, the investment for water resources was more than almost four times as high as the amount provided for water supply and sanitation.[7] From 1973 to 1990, the share of development expenditures for water supply and sanitation decreased gradually in the respective five-year plans. In the first one, it was 2.48% of development investment, dropping to 2.14% and 1.25% in the second and third five-year plans, respectively. In the fourth plan, the allocation increased slightly to 1.41% of the budget.[67]
According to an ADB document comparing water supply in major Asian cities, DWASA’s capital expenditure was US$26 million or US$3.51 per user in 2001.[2]
Rural areas According to an evaluation by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 30% of the rural water supply and sanitation in Bangladesh is financed by the national government, whereas 34% comes from bilateral and multilateral donors and another 4% from international and local NGOS. The users contribute the remaining 32%, a remarkable share compared to other countries evaluated in the study, such as Ghana, Egypt or Benin.[10]
External cooperation
Several external donors have been active in the sector for decades. Concerning urban water supply and sanitation, the Government of Bangladesh and the following donors signed a partnership framework in November 2007: Asian Development Bank (ADB), Danish International Development Assistance (DANIDA), the Government of Japan, the Government of the Republic of Korea, and the World Bank.
The main objectives of the framework are to cooperate in order to extend the coverage of water, sanitation, wastewater, and drainage services in Dhaka and Chittagong, especially to the poor, and to address long-standing reforms. Under the common partnership framework, all donors carry out individual projects in urban areas. However, the five donors and the Government of Bangladesh have agreed upon general strategies and necessary policy actions as well as an exchange of progress information.[68]
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
By 2003, the ADB had provided 19 loans qmounting to nearly US$700 million in the Bangladeshi water management sector.[69] Under the partnership framework, the bank provides a program loan of US$50 million and a project loan of US$150 million within the Dhaka Water Supply Sector Development Program, approved in April 2008.[70] The former loan aims to support reforms in the urban water supply and sanitation sector, including the strengthening of local institutions and the structure of DWASA, the preparation of a sector strategy and plan and the improving of financial sustainability. The project loan comprises physical investment to rehabilitate and optimize DWASA’s distribution network and improve the quality of the services provided,as well as a capacity building and institutional strengthening component, and project management and implementation support. The program and the project, which are both accompanied by technical assistance, are expected to be completed at the end of 2013.[71]
From 1997 to 2009 Danida supported the Coastal Belt which promoted rural and small towns water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion in the coastal regions of Bangladesh, which built 30,000 arsenic-free deep hand tube wells and promoted the construction of over 300,000 household latrines.[72]
World Bank
Under the partnership framework, the World Bank is planning to provide US$100 million to assist DWASA, the utility serving Dhaka.[73], after a six-year hiatus since the closure of the Fourth Dhaka water supply project.
In rural areas and small towns, the World Bank supports the Bangladesh Water Supply Program Project (BWSPP), following in the footsteps of the earlier Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project. It also support a Water Management Improvement Project to improve water resources management.
Rural areas
Bangladesh Water Supply Program Project The World Bank is contributing a US$40 million loan to the Bangladesh Water Supply Program Project, designed to support Bangladesh in achieving the MDGs in water supply and sanitation by 2015 through safe water free from arsenic and pathogens in small towns and rural areas. Private-sector participation in rural areas as well as in municipalities is promoted. In small arsenic-affected villages, measures are introduced to mitigate arsenic. The project is accompanied by a monitoring and evaluation system. Furthermore, adequate regulations, monitoring, capacity building, and training, as well as the development of a local credit market and risk mitigation mechanisms for village piped water supply are supported under the project. It began in 2004 and will likely end in 2010.[74]
Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project This project, supported by a US$44.4 million credit and implemented from 1998 to 2006, aimed at “reducing mortality and morbidity in rural and urban populations caused by arsenic contamination of groundwater using sustainable water supply, health, and water management strategies.” The project focused primarily on deep tubewells as an alternative to shallow tubewells contaminated with arsenic. It supported the drilling of 9,772 deep tubewells, 300 rainwater harvesting systems and 393 dug wells in more than 1,800 villages, all of which operated and maintained by communities and benefiting between 2 and 2.5 million people. The project was implemented by the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPEH) of MOLGRDC.[39]
Urban areas
Fourth Dhaka Water Supply Project The Fourth Dhaka Water Supply Project was carried out from 1996 to 2002. The World Bank contributed US$80.3 million to the project. It was launched in order to “support institutional reforms in the sector, applying commercial principles and increasing private sector participation”. The existing infrastructure was rehabilitated and a water treatment plant was constructed in Saidabad, producing 225 million liters per day and diversifying the city’s water supply from its predominant use of groundwater. Private sector participation and the application of commercial principles were limited to the introduction of outsourcing of billing and collection in two revenue zones. Furthermore, a managing director with a private sector background was appointed to manage DWASA.[75]
Water resources management
Water Management Improvement Project This project principally seeks to improve water resources management in Bangladesh and has two main objectives. First, to improve water resources management through the strengthening and involvement of local communities; and second, to improve the institutional performance of the main Bangladeshi water institutions, particularly the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) and the Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO). Under the project, rehabilitation and improvement of about 102 existing flood control, drainage, and irrigation schemes will be supported. Together with 98 additional systems, their management will be handed over to local communities. The World Bank is contributing a loan of more than US$120 million to the project, which was approved in 2007. The project is expected to end in 2015.[76]
See also
Water management in Dhaka
External links
Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives:Local Government Division
Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA)
Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO)
Documents and reports
National Water Management Plan (2004)
National Water Policy (1999)
Asadullah Khan in The Daily Star (Bangladesh):The looming water crisis, May 16, 2009

Understanding Urban Inequalities in Bangladesh:
A prerequisite for achieving Vision 2021

Understanding Urban Inequalities in Bangladesh: A prerequisite for achieving Vision 2021
A study based on the results of the 2009 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey
UNICEF Bangladesh November 2010
ISBN: 984-70292-0022-3
Executive Summary
Conventional wisdom in Bangladesh says that investing in urban slums will attract more rural migrants. Bangladesh is not alone. Brazil in the past adopted policies that discriminated against urban settlements by the poor, but eventually changed course.
Ample evidence shows that people in Bangladesh migrate from rural to urban areas in search of economic opportunities, not in search of basic social services. Indeed, such services are mostly nonexistent in slums, and when they are, they are provided mostly through unscrupulous middlemen using exploitative means – at an extremely high cost to slum dwellers. Data from the 2009 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) in Bangladesh make it clear that conditions in slum areas are much worse than those in most rural areas, even in regard to service delivery-type indicators such as secondary education attendance rates and skilled attendance at birth.
The natural trend towards urbanization cannot simply be halted or reversed. In fact, it is an important aspect of the country’s development process and inherent to its evolution from a low income country to a middle-income country. It is also fundamental to the realization of “Vision 2021”, which foresees economic growth that provides an average per capita income of USD2,000 a year.
Taking its cue from other countries, Bangladesh should consider this as a positive trend and act proactively by developing a socially inclusive urban development strategy in its sixth Five-Year National Development Plan. This would enable a rapidly growing slum population to more effectively contribute to the acceleration of economic growth and poverty reduction, instead of becoming an ever-increasing burden and obstacle to the development.
Evidence from India, China and Brazil indicates very clearly that efforts to ease inequalities generate larger dividends for poverty reduction than a more conventional focus on economic growth. It is time to accept this new paradigm and start to invest in human capital development in the slums of Bangladesh.

© UNICEF/2010/Ahsan Khan
This report challenges the widely held belief that the situation of urban dwellers in Bangladesh is generally better than those living in rural areas. In fact, data drawn from a 2009 Multiple Indicator Cluster Study (MICS) clearly show that living conditions in urban slums are often appalling and, in fact, much worse than those in most rural areas.
development strategy, since, historically, most development programmes in Bangladesh have focused on rural areas. Evidence from countries including Brazil, China and India show that reducing inequalities yields larger dividends for poverty reduction than a more conventional focus on economic growth, and is a
development. Dhaka is one of the fastest growing mega-cities in the world, with slum populations seemingly outpacing the growth of other urban areas. Still, the country has no comprehensive policy on urbanization or urban poverty reduction.

In the past it was widely believed that people migrated to the cities in search of better services. In fact, when asked about their reasons for migrating, most Bangladeshis cite economic factors.1 And the areas in which migrants initially choose to settle – slums – are those with the lowest levels of services. Denying basic services to slum dwellers,
1 World Bank, ‘Improving Living Conditions for the Urban Poor’, Dhaka, June 2007.
2 See: Martine, George and Gordon McGranahan, ‘Brazil’s Early Urban Transition: What can it teach other urbanizing countries?’, International Institute for Environment and Development and United Nations Population Fund, August 2010.

© UNICEF/2009/Shehzad Noorani
© UNICEF/2009/Kiron
The Current Study
Several studies have been undertaken on the situation of the urban poor in Bangladesh. These studies generally focused on the poorest 20 per cent of the urban population, rather than the situation of reveals large inequalities between slum and other populations – both urban and rural. The picture that results is sobering.
The data in this report are drawn from slums areas in four large cities (Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi), involving 134 clusters of 20 households each. The report looks at several social indicators and compares them with those of people living in non- slum urban and rural areas.
Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world (excluding some city-states), with an average of 1,050 people per square kilometre in
2005 (in contrast, the Netherlands has almost 400 people per square kilometre, and Brazil, 20). The 2009 MICS data showed that, in contrast to most countries, differences in coverage in social services are unusually small between urban and rural areas in Bangladesh, and for many indicators they are non-existent. However, when statistics for slum dwellers and other populations are disaggregated out, the situation changes dramatically.
For example, while the national average for net attendance in secondary education is 49 per cent (48 per cent in rural areas and 53 per cent in urban areas), it is only 18 per cent in urban slums. The situation is similar for most other social indicators, including skilled better-off urban areas outperforming them both. Net attendance in secondary education is 64 per cent in Khulna City Corporation, for example, and just 14 per cent in Dhaka’s slums. Despite their proximity to metropolitan areas where such services are available, access for slum dwellers is denied.
Some improvements in the social sector have been made since the 2006 MICS. However, when it comes to meeting the Millennium Development Goal targets, slums are or upazila, levels).
The fact that parts of cities (in this case, city corporations) are in a privileged position is a new one for Bangladesh. Normally, based on physical proximity alone, slum dwellers should have greater access to basic social services than isolated rural areas. But this is not the case in Bangladesh.

Key concepts
Rapid urbanization
is readily apparent that the country is experiencing one of the most rapid urbanization agree that urban populations in Bangladesh have grown from 5 per cent in 1971 to a 27 per cent in 2008,3 suggesting that approximately 41 million people are currently living in urban areas. Nevertheless, Bangladesh remains a mostly agrarian country. The consensus estimate is that the urban population will reach 50 million in 2015, representing just less than a third (30 per cent) of the total population.

The contribution of the urban sector to the national gross domestic product (GDP) has also increased rapidly, from 26 per cent of GDP in 1972 to more than 50 per cent by 2005.4 In 2000, industry represented 20 per cent of all employment in Dhaka; half of that was in the garment industry. Twenty eight per cent of female employment is in the garment industry;5 this in itself is an important factor in female empowerment.

Urban populations
Participation Research Centre involves a particular population density per square kilometre, a set minimum population size, and over 50 per cent of the labour force in non-agricultural occupations.

  • Bikolpodhara Bangladesh is a liberal political party in Bangladesh for everyone’s better living