Published:  12:11 AM, 10 February 2020

'We have the capability to fulfill promises'

'We have the capability to fulfill promises'

PM Sheikh Hasina has completed a year of her government. Addressing the nation of first anniversary she said, we have not made empty promises. We have the capability to fulfill them. By this time two by elections of Jatiya Sangsad and Dhaka City Corporation also have been completed.

She congratulated the city people for electing AL candidates. Sheikh Hasina described in her speech the achievement in different sectors and gave assurances to fulfill promises.

In her speech, she called upon the people to take a fresh vow to establish a non-communal "Sonar Bangladesh" free from hunger, poverty and illiteracy in the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

She said the government wanted to establish a peaceful society where there would be no hatred and conflict and the people of all religions, castes, and creeds would live in peace. The PM's address also touched on issues ranging from militancy and drugs to foreign relations, particularly with neighbors, the Rohingya crisis, BNP-Jamaat politics, poverty and social safety net, and campus situation.

Sheikh Hasina said the hard-working common people of the country are always satisfied with little and the Father of the Nation sought throughout his life to establish their rights and bring a smile to their faces. "Being his daughter, my only aim is to bring a smile to their face . . . keep faith in me and I want to be one of you."

She said that one year has been passed after the formation of her government following the 11th parliamentary election and the government tried its best to give the people the highest services. "We don't claim cent percent success in all the sectors. But we can firmly say that there were no lapses in our endeavors. We will step forward learning from the previous mistakes and experiences."

She said her government was entrusted with the task of running the country for consecutive terms since 2009 and they were running the government with a specific target. "The target is to ensure economic emancipation for the people and establish the basic rights of all alongside improving their living standards." The premier said some "undesirable incidents" took place in one or two educational institutions last year. "But we want to say firmly that we didn't spare anyone involved in the activities.

Administrative and legal actions were taken against those involved in the incidents." She said some quarters, however, tried to gain benefit by creating anarchy and spreading rumors, but the government had taken prompt remedial measures against the misdeeds. The PM urged all to always remain alert to such rumors.

She said, "Some valuable lives were lost in the disease despite all kinds of measures. I express deep sympathy to the bereaved families." The premier ordered the authorities concerned to take all-out measures to check spread of the aide's mosquitoes beforehand to prevent recurrence of the disease.

She also highlighted her government's successes in different sectors, including agriculture, health, education, communication, aviation, ICT, women empowerment, tourism, power, sanitation, and sports. Mentioning that Bangladesh's economy was now on a strong foundation, she said small shocks could not be a barrier to the way of progress. Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has become one of the five countries in the world in the economic advancement index.

It may be mentionable that growth indices of different sectors show that Bangladesh has done remarkable progress in different sectors of economy. That is evident from GDP growth rate of 8.15% in 2019, and that was 5.04% in 2006. International organizations also indicate growth rate has more than 7%. There is progress in education, health and also remarkable development is in agriculture and industries.

The literacy rate is now 73% which was 44% in 2006. Recently published report of WEF on social index of different countries shows Bangladesh is ahead of Pakistan and other developing countries. 14 thousands community clinics have been established to give health service to the common people. Average life time has been increased to 73 years 4 months. Electricity which is the prime mover of progress is available to 95% of the people that was 47% in 2006.

Addressing the nation on first anniversary of her government, she also says no destructive activities to be tolerated. Pledging to keep up the ongoing anti-graft campaign, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the Anti-Corruption Commission to intensify its drives to bring all those involved in acquiring illegal wealth to justice.

"The ongoing drive against the corrupt elements will continue… I would like to warn everybody again that the corrupt, whoever they may be and however powerful they are, will not be spared," she said. She said the anti-graft campaign was required so that none could snatch the people's rights. She asked the corrupt to rectify themselves immediately for their own good.

"I work for the people and I won't hesitate to take any step to protect their interests." The premier said that her government was spearheading a motivational campaign against corruption as people's participation was a must to check graft. She said the social menace would automatically be reduced if people could be sensitized.

She said harsh drives were simultaneously underway to bring the corrupt to book. Initiatives have also been taken to widen the use of ICT to stamp out corruption in various sectors, she added. Sheikh Hasina said the ongoing drives against militancy, terrorism, and narcotics would continue, and the police and other law enforcement agencies achieved significant success in containing militancy.

We know police and others law enforcement agencies have taken strong action against militancy, terrorism, commensalism and narcotics, that's why there is a significant success. But these forces are active in different areas, so continuation of these actions will ensure peace and security. There are corruptions and irregularities in administration as well as in society. PM already has taken significant steps against corrupt elements. We hope concerned commission and department will continue effective measures, social movement is also necessary in this regards.  

 "Religious leaders, along with the imams of mosques, have been imparted with training so that none can derail the youth through misinterpretation of the holy Islam," she said. Sheikh Hasina said 650 model mosques were being built across the country under government initiative. She said being a democratic political party; Awami League is always respectful to the constitution.

It is mentionable that the steps have been taken for construction, reconstruction and renovation of mosques, temples and other places of warship. Education and training are going on based on places of warship. Religious festivals of different religions are being observed based on region for individual and festival for all.

"We believe in the rule of law and we also believe that the people's mandate is the only way to bring about any change in state power," the PM said, adding that her government always welcomed any peaceful democratic movement. She, however, said the government would not tolerate destructive activities over illogical demands and warned that recurrence of burning people to death and arson attacks carried out in the past by the BNP-Jamaat would never be allowed again on the soil of Bangladesh.

"We have taken every measure necessary to make parliament effective and the participation of the lawmakers from both the treasury and opposition benches makes the Jatiya Sangsad vibrant." The premier said the government activities were centered on the interests of the common people. She said she had full confidence in them.

She said the government has formulated a 100-year "Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100" to attain the desired goal of facing the adverse impact of climate change. The 7th five-year plan is being implemented incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into it, while the work on formulating the 8th five-year plan has also started, the PM added. She said there is a huge difference between today's Bangladesh and its position 10 years back.

"The living standards of the people have improved significantly and their purchasing capacity has increased to a great extent." On the relations with neighboring countries, the PM said Bangladesh believes in moving ahead by maintaining good relations with its neighboring countries and the world. Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh wants to resolve bilateral disputes through dialogues. "This is not our weakness, rather a strategy.

It may be remembered that our PM Sheikh Hasina visited Delhi in October and several MoUs had been signed to accelerate cooperation. She also went to Kolkata to see Bangladesh-India cricket game. Indian PM has accepted the invitation to attend the inaugural session Mujib Borsho. Relation with other strategic and development partners are being strengthened.  

For that reason, we didn't step into the trap despite the provocation from the Myanmar side." She said a case has been lodged with the International Court of Justice. "We hope that we will get a formula for permanently resolving the [Rohingya] issue". Referring to the celebration of the birth centenary of Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the PM said the grand opening of the year-long program would be held on March 17.

"We have already declared 2020-2021 as the 'Mujib Borsho'. The programs of the golden jubilee of the independence and birth centenary of the Father of the Nation will continue simultaneously." She said the celebration was not only a formality, its target was to infuse new strength into the national life and advance another step forward on the way to materialize the dream of the Father of the Nation.

Free and fair elections have been held in Dhaka city corporation election and in two by election of JS by EVM, voters turn out is around 25%. We have to strengthen our political system untidily including all stockholders. We hope democratic process will be strengthening, so that not only free fair but also participation will be ensured. For this all political parties should work based on values of liberation war that is our nation state principles. The peace and democracy will ensure sustainable development.

The writer is an academic, former ambassador, leader-student action committee 71 and freedom fighter

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