May 17 is the 42nd Homecoming Day of Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. On this day in 1981, after six years in exile, she returned to the country. After the brutal assassination of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members on 15 August 1975, they could not return to the country for six long years even after losing all their family members due to conspiracy and insecurity of the assassins.
Amid adversity, the leaders and workers of the Awami League, who were scattered all over the country, at one time became strong; they became strong in the belief in building a new country. Then in the absence of Sheikh Hasina, the leaders and workers elected her president of the Bangladesh Awami League through the council. In 1996, under her leadership, the Awami League came to power after winning the parliamentary elections. Sheikh Hasina took charge as the Prime Minister for the first time. She became the second Prime Minister in 2008, the third in 2014 and the fourth in 2018. Sheikh Hasina has led the Awami League as a symbol of party unity in the most difficult times.
She has always fought in the struggle for democracy. She has repeatedly returned from the gates of death. She brought the Awami League to power as a popular party after 21 years in 1996 and has been working tirelessly to institutionalize democracy in Bangladesh. The impossible task that Sheikh Hasina made possible by forming the government in 1996 was to bring the assassins of Bangabandhu to justice and later in 2010 to bring the war criminals to justice. The opportunity came to carry forward the ideology of the Bengali nation.
After the assassination of Bangabandhu at the hands of an anti-independence domestic and foreign clique, black darkness engulfed the country, she set alight the torch of first light to drive away that darkness. She started to light the torch, the initial crisis - after the limitations, the turn from the darkness release began. Just as a Bengali is united to get rid of all the garbage, she is enriched with promise, so the wind of a good promise is seen in the book from the day she returns to her country.
Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina started working as a pioneer for the overall welfare, development and liberation of the people of Bangladesh. She has proved that she has no alternative for the development of democracy in Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina's honesty, devotion, rational mentality, strong morale, wisdom and extraordinary leadership have established Bangladesh at a different height in the world arena and she is known as a world-famous leader. The Awami League has always played and continues to play a politically vocal, defensive role against all forms of exploitation, deprivation, injustice and oppression. Since its inception, it has worked for the economic, social, political and cultural emancipation of the people. If this party is in power, the fate of the people will improve. The 73-year history from the founding of this group testifies to that fact.
The Awami League has been in power for 14 years now under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the brave daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu and she has been working dedicatedly for the welfare of the people. The world is amazed by Sheikh Hasina's indomitable strength, courage, morale and strong leadership. By 2030, Bangladesh will be the 29th largest economy in the world and by 2040, it will be the 23rd largest economy. Bangladesh has already been declared a 'middle-income country' with effect from 2026 and will emerge as a 'developed country' in 2041. The big proof that Bangladesh is moving forward is that the per-capita income of the people of the country has increased in the last few years. The current per-capita income is 2,554. Bangladesh today is one of the few countries in the world in terms of economic progress.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given 4 milestones. The first is Digital Bangladesh which has already reached a stage, the second is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030, the third is to build a developed Bangladesh in 2041 and the fourth is to implement the Delta Plan of 2100. The architect of Digital Bangladesh, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, ICT Advisor to the Prime Minister, has been making an outstanding contribution to the implementation of this plan.
She has been serving as the President of the Awami League for forty years. This is a unique achievement. In these 40 years, not only has she been the President of the Awami League, her popularity is unquestionable and not a single leader or activist of the party thinks that Sheikh Hasina has any alternative. This is a remarkable achievement of a political leader. And that is why they think that Sheikh Hasina is the only alternative to Sheikh Hasina.
A big aspect of the success of the Awami League president is economic development. She has transformed Bangladesh into a least developed country. Bangladesh's per capita income, starting from the average life expectancy, Bangladesh has created surprises in the world. Bangladesh is considered a role model of development, it has been possible under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. Self-esteem and Padma bridge with own money. Sheikh Hasina has not only established Bangladesh as a state of advanced and irresistible progress, it has taken Bangladesh to a status of self-respect. When the World Bank raised objections and allegations of corruption in the Padma Bridge in Bangladesh, the Prime Minister rejected the allegation and announced the construction of the Padma Bridge at her own expense, awaiting the inauguration of the Padma Bridge. Not only Padma Bridge, but also various visible developments including Metrorail and Karnafuli Tunnel have now taken Bangladesh to a unique place of self-respect which has been made possible due to the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.
When the crisis in Bangladesh is intense when everything revolves around uncertainty, black clouds are gathering in the sky of Bengal, then Sheikh Hasina is our last hope. We can take a look at our economy and overall development. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2008-09 was only 103.5 billion. In 2019-20, it has increased to 330.2 billion US dollars. Export earnings were 15.56 billion in 2008-09 and increased to. 40.54 billion in 2018-19. Foreign exchange reserves increased from 8.46 billion in FY 2008-09 to. 44.03 billion today. In 2001, the poverty rate in the country was 47.9 percent and the extreme poverty rate was 34.3 percent. In 2020, the poverty rate has come down to 20.5 percent and the extreme poverty rate to 10.5 percent.
Various development partners especially the World Bank, IMF, ADB, JICA, Goldman Sachs, Wall Street Journal, HSBC, Citibank NA and PWC are calling Bangladesh by different names including Diamond, and Emerging Tiger. Due to this consistently high GDP growth, poverty alleviation, education, infrastructural development, reserves, remittances or expatriate income, exports, per-capita income, income, social security and other major indicators of the economy are ahead of many countries in the world including neighboring countries. Bangladesh is now a surprise to development partners. According to the data, the size of the post-independence annual development program or ADP of only Tk. 501 crore has reached Tk. 2.25 trillion in the current financial year. At that time the per-capita income of 129 taka has now exceeded 2554 dollars. Expatriate income, which was nominal 50 years ago, has reached 25 billion a year. Export and remittance revenue exceeded 48 billion foreign exchange reserves.
Bangladesh is the third largest producer of rice in the world and is self-sufficient in fish, meat, eggs and vegetables. Bangladesh ranks second among the countries in terms of the growth rate of inland freshwater fish production and ranks first among 11 Hilsa-producing countries. Today the benefits of 'Digital Bangladesh' have spread from cities to villages.
Eighth Five Year Plan has been adopted. Several mega projects including Metrorail, Elevated Expressway, Karnafuli Tunnel, Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and Maheshkhali-Matarbari integrated development project are being implemented. 100 special economic zones, 39 high-tech parks and IT villages are being built.
To make a wonderful combination of agriculture, industry, trade and commerce and modern technology, we have to come up with new plans and ideas. Bangladesh is undergoing a radical change. This country has set a shining example of sustainable development. Bangladesh's economy has gone from a weak, underdeveloped, shaky state to a strong one. Every day new facets of modern transformation of conventional infrastructure are unfolding. A renaissance has taken place in the sectors or businesses which were previously neglected. The handful of immense possibilities is inspiring and making the people of this country interested. Due to neglect, those potential sectors that have been cherished for a long time are gradually waking up.
Relevant government departments, departments and ministries are performing more important responsibilities from time to time. As a result, new sectors of potential are developing. Prospective new sectors are playing a very strong role in achieving prosperity and irresistible progress in Bangladesh. The people of Bangladesh are not incompetent, weak or incompetent in any way. They can work hard. Men and women of different classes and professions who used to be trapped in unemployment, poverty and helplessness, are now setting new examples of possibilities by utilizing their talents, intelligence, strength, courage and hard work. The bright splendor of possibility is spreading across the country. Economists say Bangladesh's achievements in 50 years are incredible. Bangladesh is currently ranked 41st in the world economy.
Improving education, communication infrastructure, women's education, healthcare, free book distribution to students, providing social safety net support for socially disadvantaged, helpless, elderly, widows, persons with disabilities, support for divorced women and autism Played a major role. Her government contributed to the status of freedom fighters as national heroes, through shelter projects, one house one farm projects, women empowerment and overall development of different sectors. We have to build a modern Bangladesh in the spirit of a secular, democratic and liberation war. This is the expectation of the present new generation. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is our last expectation and destination.
Hiren Pandit is a researcher