Inequality, absence of freedom risk social unrest: seminar

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:51, Sep 01,2019


Workers Party of Bangladesh organises a seminar on ‘Development, Deprivation and Inequality’ in the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday.  — New Age photo

Economists and politicians at seminar on Saturday said the eight per cent growth amid dangerous inequality, absence of political freedom as well as good governance were making the country’s economy ‘unsustainable’ and increasing the risks of ‘social unrest’.

Criticising the government’s current policy of ‘development without democracy’, they observed that proliferation of crony capitalism was continuing since one of the top bank defaulters has already been made an adviser to the prime minister while the growth of ‘ultra-rich’ in Bangladesh superseded that of China.

They noted that there was no reform on agriculture and land for the last 48 years as only 10 per cent population were benefitting from the so-called high economic growth.

The Workers Party of Bangladesh organised the seminar on ‘Development, Deprivation and Inequality’ at the Institution of Engineers Bangladesh in the city.

Former Chittagong University economics professor Mainul Islam said everybody knew that Beximco Group’s Salman F Rahman was the top loan defaulter. But he has been appointed as the private sector adviser to the prime minister, he lamented as he was presiding over the seminar. 

Selim Jahan, former director of UNDP’s Human Development, delivered the keynote speech while Workers Party president Rashed Khan Menon and general secretary Fazle Hossain Badsha and economist MM Akash also took part in the discussion.

Inequality as per Gini coefficient was now hovering around all time high at 0.48, only 0.02 away of danger level of 0.50 despite 8.3 per cent growth in gross domestic product, said Selim Jahan.

Rashed Khan Menon said development without democracy was not viable and participation of working class in parliament only could curb deprivation.

Giving example of South Korea and Taiwan, MM Akash said both the countries proved that development without hampering democracy was possible.       

He observed that Bangladesh was not at all making any progress from the viewpoint of ‘human development’ because of the rigged national elections in December 2018 and widespread killing and rapes.

Fazle Hossain Badsha said the quality of education hit the bottom as he expressed serious doubt about knowledge of the ruling party politicians towards general people.

Workers Party took part in the last general election with Awami League but it has been sidelined from the government.  At a similar seminar organised in July, the party began criticism of the ruling party publicly.

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