President M Abdul Hamid on Thursday requested all, irrespective of political affiliations, religion, caste, and creed to accelerate the on-going democratic process and socio-economic development of the country forgetting the political-ideological-organisational differences.
‘I urge all to forge unity forgetting all sorts of political-ideological-organisational differences … Accelerate country’s on-going democratic process and socio-economic development,’ the president said while addressing the first session of 2020 which was also the sixth one of the 11th parliament.
Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury chaired the first session, and also the winter session of the Jatiya Sangsad. Leader of the House prime minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Rowshan Ershad and lawmakers of both treasury and opposition benches were also present during the president’s speech.
The head of the state said the Bengali nation needed to forge unwavering unity to build exploitation free ‘Sonar Bangla’ earlier envisioned by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by uprooting corruption, terrorism, drug abuse and extremism from the society.
‘We have never-ending debts to the martyrs of 1971 … Let us redeem our debts to the millions of martyrs by expediting country’s democratic process and socio-economic development,’ he said.
Terming the Jatiya Sangsad as the centre-point of people’s hopes and aspirations, the president said no peace and progress could ever get a permanent shape without forging national unity.
President Hamid called upon the treasury and opposition benches to jointly play due role in the parliament to fulfil the expectations of mass people.
‘The treasury bench and simultaneously opposition will have to play constructive role to ensure transparency, accountability, tolerance, human rights and rule of law, and to materialise the dream and aspiration of the nation,’ he added.
Abdul Hamid categorically said political parties and people irrespective of caste and professions must reach a consensus to ensure regular practice of democracy, rules of law and continuous socio-economic advancement of Bangladesh.
‘Despite obstacles, impediments and hostilities, the government is making utmost efforts to ensure the participation of the people from the grassroots level to the centre in consolidation of good governance, practice of democracy and development activities,’ he added.
In his 194-page speech, the president highlighted Sheikh Hasina government’s activities and successes in different areas, including economy, trade and commerce, agriculture, power, foreign relations, tourism, education, health, good governance, women and children development, information and communication technology, sports and youth development, rural development, expatriates’ welfare, development of foreign relations, science and technology and public administration.
Referring to formation of new government of the 11th parliament amid a free, fair and neutral election on 30 December, 2018 with the participation of all political parties, the president said the government led by prime minister Sheikh Hasina was formed for the fourth term winning the absolute majority in the election riding on the land-slide mandate given by the people.
In continuity of the previous alliance government, the present government under the firm leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, had been working tirelessly to develop Bangladesh into a mid-income country by 2021 and a developed and prosperous country by 2041, he added.
‘This ceaseless endeavour on the part of the government has paid huge dividend and Bangladesh has already fulfilled all criteria for her graduation to a developing country. Bangladesh is now internationally recognised as the ‘Role Model of development’,’ the president mentioned.
He hoped that the multidimensional initiatives undertaken by the government in various areas would be further strengthened and expedited in days to come,
President Hamid said the government had been pursuing its all-out efforts to consolidate and uphold the rule of law in the country as the Anti-corruption Commission had been strengthened further to establish good governance while the Sheikh Mujib murder case verdicts delivered and the persons involved in the war-crimes and crimes against humanity were executed.
‘The ‘zero tolerance’ policy exercised by the government against corruption, gambling, narcotics, extremism and communalism has achieved massive successes which has been acclaimed globally, for which congenial atmosphere is prevailing in the public life,’ he mentioned.
The head of the state said Bangladesh was now known to the world as a state of emerging economy owing to efficient management of the government.
Giving a salient features of the current economic situation, he said, Bangladesh was now the highest growth achiever in Asia. After attaining GDP growth at an impressive above 7 per cent over the last three consecutive fiscal years, the economy has witnessed the growth at 8.15 per cent in FY 2018-19.
Abdul Hamid told the House that the GDP growth had been projected at 8.2 per cent in the current FY 2019-20 while the per capita income of the people of the country had increased rapidly.
‘In the last fiscal, per capita income rose to $1,909 posting threefold increase within one decade. Poverty has also declined sharply. Poverty rate came down to 20.5 per cent in 2019 which was 40 per cent in 2005. Extreme poverty rate dropped to 10.5 per cent,’ the president pointed out.
President Hamid said Bangladesh had achieved implausible progress in different indicators of social sector including education, health care, human capital development and women empowerment.
Noting the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 of World Economic Forum, he said Bangladesh secured 95th position out of 141 nations in macroeconomic stability index. In World Bank’s Human Capital Index, 2018, Bangladesh was ranked 106th out of 157 countries surpassing India and Pakistan.
About export earning, the president said despite on-going tension in global trade, export earnings of Bangladesh had witnessed significant growth. Export earnings had reached at $40.5 billion registering growth of 10.6 per cent during FY 2018-19.
He noted that the prime minister had achieved different prestigious and international awards for her uncompromising and charismatic leadership for ensuring peace and security for development, democratic practice, good governance, eliminating terrorism, empowering women, developing and expanding education, health including immunisation for children, and ICT sectors and mitigating challenges caused by environmental changes.
The president congratulated the head of the government as these international acclaims had elevated the image of Bangladesh to a new height across the globe.
On foreign relations, the president said Bangladesh had been successful in improving bilateral relations with neighbouring countries and in international diplomacy.
The present said the government was firmly pledge-bound to maintain communal harmony with the spontaneous celebrations of all religious festivals and flourishing the religious culture in continuation of the steps taken by the previous government of grand alliance.
Saying that Bangladesh was a country of communal harmony, he said the government was working for nourishing religious culture, concerns and spirit to scale up the values of people as well as the socio-cultural condition.
At the very outset of his address, the president paid tribute to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, all freedom fighters and other patriotic souls who had to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the country and nation in different time.
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