According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in 2016, 84.96 percent of the total population lives in rural areas of 1,46,570 sq km in developing countries like Bangladesh. Of these, 7.6 percent migrate to the city in various ways every year. Since there are more administrative, economic, cultural, and other organs in the city than in the village, consequently there are more opportunities.
This additional population of the city needs millions of tons of food, clothing, shelter, education, and medical care every year. In this context, the 'My village, My city' of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina government and the 'Cooperative Village' of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are inextricably linked.
Article 16 of the second part of the constitution states that the state will take effective measures to bring about the radical transformation in the rural areas through the development of the agrarian revolution, the provision of rural electrification, the development of cottage and other industries, and the improvement of education, communications and public health, in those areas, so as progressively to remove the disparity in the standards of living between the urban and the rural areas.
In this context, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made a proposal on village issues at a public meeting at Suhrawardy Udyan on the occasion of Independence Day on March 26, 1975, saying: 'I am announcing that in the five-year plan, every village ... Compulsory (badhdhotamulok) - there will be cooperatives. There will be 65,000 villages in Bangladesh - co-operatives. Every person - who can work - must be a member of this co-operative. There will be multi-purpose co-operatives in villages.'
The transformation is gaining special importance in the 7th five-year plan as per the promise of 'My village, My city' in the Election Manifesto of the Government. In other words, the rural economy will be diversified through access to urban facilities. These issues have been raised in the concept paper of this plan for implementation from 2021 to 2025.
With the success of the Millennium Development Goals of 8, the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Department under the delta plan has been formulating rural development policies and implementing them through the Rural Development and Cooperatives Department and the Local Government Department.The national institute for rural development, Palli Unnayan Academy (RDA), Bogra conducted a village-based study on 'My village, My city' and prepared 17 research reports on 17 topics for rural society in Bangladesh, which is divided into public welfare sectors.
In the light of the five-year plan, vision-2021, and the Election Manifesto, public expectations and plans have been included in the rural development. And the theme of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is 'no one left behind. In light of this, 11 out of 17 goals have been mentioned to build inclusive, safe, disaster-resistant, and sustainable cities and settlements.
Therefore each ministry, department, and organization has undertaken various public welfare activities throughout the year, including planting one crore trees across the country and ensuring housing for all under the Asrayan-2 project for the homeless. Under the Asrayan-2 project, 1,53,777 homeless families have been provided houses in their own places.
The government is providing semi-finished houses to 66,189 landless and homeless families across the country. Besides, 743 barracks have been constructed in 36 Upazilas and 3,715 more families have been rehabilitated. In all, the government is giving houses with land to 69,904 landless and homeless families in Mujib's year.
Bangabandhu's dream was a prosperous Bangladesh, free from poverty and hunger, free from corruption and exploitation. Based on this philosophy of 'liberation of the people of Bengal', Bangabandhu formulated the outline of the modern state, which was reflected in the country's first five-year plan (1973-197). Following the path shown by him, under the strong and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has risen to the status of a low-middle income country by achieving most of the MDG targets in 2015. In 2017, for the first time, Bangladesh has fulfilled all the conditions to pass from a least developed country to a developing country.
In celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Independence and the Birth Centenary of Mujib, Bangladesh received the final recommendation of the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP) on 26 February (2021) to move from the list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to a developing country. Today, Bangladesh is the fastest-growing country in Asia. The per capita income of the people of the country has increased rapidly and stood at two thousand and sixty-four US dollars. Foreign Exchange reserves are now above 41 billion dollars.
When the country became independent, our average life expectancy was 47, now it is over 72 years. The number of students going to primary school is about one hundred percent. The literacy rate has increased to 74.6 percent. Infant and maternal mortality rates have now dropped dramatically. 560 model mosques have been built across the country during the present government.
The dreamy Padma Bridge has added a new dimension to the place of Bangladesh in the courtyard of the world. On-going construction work of Metro Rail, work of Payra Sea Port is in progress. The first tunnel under construction of bahulen tunnel under the Karnafuli River in Chittagong has been completed. The rail communication system is being expanded all over Bangladesh.
After the construction of a deep seaport, Bangabandhu Satellite, Nuclear Power Plant at Matarbari, Bangladesh has entered the era of international standard express highway from Jatrabari in Dhaka to Bhanga in Faridpur.To curb the epidemic and keep Bangladesh's economy afloat, the Government has announced an incentive package of tk 1.21 lakh crore, which is 3.7 percent of GDP. Where six packages are related to job creation and revival of the rural economy.
To enhance the development of villages, on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Department of Cooperatives has already prepared a proposal for the 'Bangabandhu Model Village' Project while maintaining the characteristics of the village in the concept of My Village, My City. A total of 50,000 people in ten villages of ten Upazilas of ten districts in the country will benefit from the project.
Whereas, Bangabandhu, Father of the Nation, Best Bengali for thousands of years, called for a green revolution after independence with the aim of building the Golden Bengal. Addressing the agriculturists, he said, "those of you who are being educated in agriculture should go to your village and join the farmers, pay attention to their needs and actions, only then will they be brave, interested and improve.''
In the first chapter of the book 'Ora Tokai Ken' written by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, ' Sritir Dokhin Duyar', she said, modern villages need to be built by overhauling the traditional way of life and accustomed to the backward way of life which has been lying in darkness for ages. I want overall village development, not any subsidized or promising development. For this, if necessary, a nationwide movement has to be formed, and an educated and conscious young society has to be put to work. '
To a great extent in a public meeting on June 30, 1975, Bangabandhu said, 'every person in my country will get food, shelter, education, a better life - this is my dream. In this context, the people-oriented cooperative movement has to play a very important role. Because, the path of cooperatives is the path of socialism, the path of democracy. The center of realizing this dream was the development of the village. In other words, two generations chose the village as the center of development.
To this end, enlargement roads and highways, drinkable water, modern healthcare, education, improved sewerage, and waste management, increased supply of electricity and fuel, internet facilities have been provided to each and every village. In a word, every village is being given all the facilities of a modern city. Here is an intensive and strong success of 'My village, my city' as well as 'Cooperative Village' on the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Afroza Nice Rima, Senior Information Officer, Press Information Department, Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka.
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