Human development in Bangladesh
Good news has always a cheery ring to it. There are all the moments when the state of the country's politics has a disquieting effect on us all and for the right reasons. Even so, for all the confrontational nature of politics, for all our feeling that we may have been caught up in a morass, we do get to be encouraged when we are given a glimpse of the inner strength of our people which reports of a global nature sometimes hold up for us. The UNDP's Human Development Report 2010 is one of those instances that should be acting as a spur to our goals, to a fulfillment of them, for the future. In a wide-ranging survey of countries, the report places Bangladesh in third position among 95 countries in terms of an improvement in the quality of life. For good measure, the report shows that the Human Development Index in Bangladesh has gone up by as much as 81 per cent since 1981. Of course, one does not really require a report to know of the various areas where the country has made advances. In terms of the economy, such fields as garments have performed remarkably. In similar manner, the remittances that have made their way into the country from abroad, owing to the presence of a large body of Bangladeshi manpower in various countries, have brought about qualitative changes in life, particularly at the rural levels.
The UNDP's Human Development Report 2010 makes note of a remarkable improvement in life expectancy in Bangladesh. In the last forty years, life expectancy has surged by 23 years, which is again a good indication of the possibilities before the country. The need now is focus. We cannot afford to lose more time in trying to catch up with the rest of the world. Let us be under no illusion that as a nation we have emerged from the trap of poverty. We have not and all signs indicate that poverty alleviation will require a maximum of effort in the years ahead given that the projections about population increase are rather uncomfortable. Unless we are able to prioritise policies and policy implementation effectively at present and in the immediate future, we will be facing a population figure of 220 million by the year 2050. The negative impact of such a phenomenal rise on development can only be imagined. Which is why the UNDP report should act as a guideline, broadly speaking, in how we can handle conditions from here on.
Given all the difficulties, political and social and those caused by nature, we are usually confronted with, our position in the report can be looked at as a mark of the resilience that can help us turn conditions around. Overall, our rank is 129 among a total of 169 nations. Of course, there is no reason to feel complacent about such a placing. With all the necessary steps that need to and must be taken in the varied region of national development, we can surely look forward to a better position on the global development index in the future. The prerequisite here is a focused assessment of the ground realities and a subsequent carving out of a path toward making things better than what we have achieved so far.