In her address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day, the prime minister urges all to ensure that no one can jeopardize Bangladesh's progress
Mentioning numerous statistics demonstrating Bangladesh’s development, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday attributed the country’s accomplishments to the hard work of the masses.
She was addressing the nation on the eve of the Independence Day, marking the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence. The speech, which began at 7:30pm, was broadcast on Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar, as well as private TV channels and radio stations.
The farmers, labourers, professionals and entrepreneurs of the country, along with the expatriates, had made the impossible task of poverty alleviation possible with their hard work, ability and innovative spirit, the prime minister said.
“My government has just created a supportive environment with its policies. You have proved that the people of Bangladesh can make anything possible if they are given a favourable environment,” she added.
‘Do not let anyone hinder Bangladesh’s progress’
Sheikh Hasina also urged people to take a vow afresh not to allow anyone to hinder Bangladesh’s democratic and development progress by playing ducks and drakes with their fate.
She called upon the people to work for building Bangladesh as a developed, prosperous and non-communal Sonar Bangla [Golden Bengal] as dreamt by the Father of the Nation.
“Let us build Bangladesh as a developed, prosperous and non-communal Sonar Bangla by forgetting all the differences and being imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War,” she said.
Noting that the celebration of the golden jubilee of independence should not just be a formality, she said: “On the occasion of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation and the golden jubilee of independence, we have to take a vow afresh to take our country to a new height.”
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has achieved an unimaginable success in the socio-economic index as a result of her government’s tireless work over the past 12 years.
Last month, she said, Bangladesh received the final recommendation to graduate from the least developed country (LDC) group.
“Bangladesh has not only surpassed its neighbours in various indexes like life expectancy, gender equality, universal primary education, women education, women's political rights, women and child mortality, sanitation and food availability, but also exceeded many developed countries in many cases,” she said.
But the path of this development has not been smooth at all as the anti-liberation forces inside and outside the country carried out various ill-motivated activities to hinder the progress of Bangladesh. “This process still continues. So we all will have to resist all anti-state attempts by playing the role of vigilant watchdogs.”
Sheikh Hasina said passing half a century of independence is a significant milestone for the life of a nation.
“For us, this golden jubilee celebration has become more colourful as the Bangladesh Awami League, forming the government, started running the government with the ideology of the Liberation War. Today Bangladesh stands raising its head in the world as a proud country proving all the negative and pessimistic predictions against Bangladesh wrong,” she said.
Even a decade ago, Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh was presented as an example of poverty. “But today development experts are presenting Bangladesh as a role model for poverty alleviation and development.”
Presenting the current picture of several socio-economic indicators compared to the 2005-06 fiscal year, she said the per capita income has increased to $2,064 now from just $543, while the poverty rate dropped to 20.5% from 41.5%, the GDP size rose to Tk28,00,000 crore from only Tk4,82,337 crore and the foreign currency reserve to $44 billion from only $0.744 billion during the period.
She said the budget size has increased to Tk5,68,000 crore in the current fiscal year from only Tk61,000 crore in 2005-06 fiscal year, while the average life expectancy to 72.6 years in the 2019-20 fiscal from 59 years in the 2005-06 fiscal, the infant mortality rate has come down to 28 from 84 per thousand, the maternal mortality rate to 165 from 370 per 100,000 and the power generation capacity has increased to 24,421 megawatt from 4,900 megawatt. “Today's achievement is, in fact, the achievement of the common people of the country.”
She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had declared the Independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of March 26, 1971 just before he was arrested by the Pakistani army. His announcement spread across the country through the wireless of the then EPR, she said.
The independence of Bangladesh had come as the result of the 24-year continuous political struggle, and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had led from the front in this struggle from the beginning to the end, said Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu.
“Today, we are proud citizens of an independent and sovereign Bangladesh thanks to the birth of that great man named Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib. Today, we are proud of our own country, language and culture because he was born,” said the prime minister added.
Sheikh Mujib is the creator of a country and a state. “So, we are celebrating his birth centenary and the golden jubilee of independence simultaneously,” she said.
On the eve of the Independence Day, the prime minister extended her sincere greetings to all citizens of Bangladesh living at home and abroad.
Sheikh Hasina thanked the people of Bangladesh for keeping the Bangladesh Awami League, the political party that led the Liberation War, in power while celebrating the two important milestones.