Hasina rolls out AL's charter for change
Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday unveiled her party's election manifesto titled 'Charter for Change' highlighting five promises: lowering of commodity prices and avoiding an economic depression, curbing of corruption, raising production of power and energy, eradication of poverty and inequity, and establishment of good governance.
The AL chief declared that the party formed a vision for the country's development by the year 2021, which is titled Vision-2021 in the manifesto and is dedicated to the young generation of voters who got registered for the first time this year.
The year 2021 will the golden jubilee of the country's independence.
The former prime minister also rolled out the party's broader election pledges of 23 points amid a rapturous applause from an audience of a cross-section of people in a hotel in the capital.
"We want to utilise the immense potential of the new generation of voters to prepare them to face the challenges of globalisation in the 21st century," Hasina said while reading out the key points of the manifesto containing two parts -- Programmatic Commitment for the next five years, and the Vision 2021.
"We believe successful implementation of this work programme and Vision-2021 depends on our young generations' active participation and involvement in the process," said the AL president adding, "We've formulated our election manifesto and the work programme for them."
She pledged to present a bright and successful future to the new generation by implementing through collective efforts of the entire nation the work programme and vision expressed in the manifesto.
Hasina also called upon the new generation of voters to participate in the 'great endeavour for national reconstruction'.
CALL TO THE PEOPLE
Calling upon the people of the country to forget past differences and disputes, the former prime minister urged all to join hands in 'the fight for change with the spirit of glorious struggle for freedom'.
"Let us put a permanent end to persecution, deprivation, inequity, and misgovernance. Let us construct a just and democratic society and build a happy, prosperous, golden Bengal," she said adding, "We'll bring back peace and trust in your life by reducing prices of daily essentials, if Awami League is voted to rule the country."
With a vision for turning Bangladesh into a prosperous nation free from hunger, poverty and illiteracy, Hasina presented the main elements of the manifesto with 68 bullet points.
According to the pledges, AL would break the syndicates that keep the prices of essentials high.
It would form a task force along with a centre for collection and analysis of data to help cope with the global economic downturn, and would take steps to ensure self-reliance in food production.
The Anti-corruption Commission would be further strengthened.
War criminals would be tried and religious terrorism would be suppressed with an iron hand.
Independence of the judiciary would be ensured in 'true sense', good governance would be ensured through establishment of fundamental human rights, and the rule of law.
The verdict in Bangabandhu murder case would be implemented and killers of four national leaders would be tried again, perpetrators of the grenade attack on an AL rally on August 21, 2004 would be tried as well as the perpetrators of other deadly grenade attacks.
Power generation of 5,000 megawatt by 2011 and 7,000 megawatt by 2013 would be ensured for bringing electricity to all.
Poverty ratio would be reduced from the current 45 percent to 25 percent within the next five years.
Agriculture and rural development would be given the highest priority as policy instrument for eradicating poverty, and food security would be ensured for the ultra-poor.
A comprehensive employment policy would be adopted, subsidy would be given for purchasing fertilisers, seeds, pesticides and other agricultural inputs, while fair prices of agricultural products would also be ensured.
The parliament would be made effective, the government administration would be free from political and partisan influence.
Recruitment, appointment and promotion of government employees would be considered based on merit, competence, efficiency and seniority.
Economic growth would be accelerated to 8 percent per annum by 2013 and to 10 percent by 2017.
A permanent pay commission would be set up for government officials and employees, while a permanent wage commission would be set up for workers.
Minimum wages and trade union rights would be ensured for workers, while a separate service commission would be established for teachers by 2014.
Enrolment at the primary level of education would be raised to 100 percent by 2010, and education up to the level of bachelor's degree would be made free in phases, while healthcare for all would be ensured by 2013.
33 percent of parliamentary seats for direct election would be reserved for women, child labour would be prohibited.
Employment guarantee schemes would be introduced, which by 2011 would provide employment to one able-bodied young person per family.
A scheme would also be adopted to employ higher secondary certificate holders in 'national service'.
Opportunities would be created for investment by local and foreign entrepreneurs as well as for non-resident Bangladeshi (NRB) investors.
Steps would be taken to materialise the commitments of the liberation war, rehabilitation of freedom fighters' dignity, and restoration of the 'true history' of the liberation war.
The manifesto also pledges to implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord in full.
Steps would be taken to deal with global warming effectively, and to ensure freedom of the mass media, according to the manifesto.
The armed forces would be kept above all controversies, and a taskforce would be set up to combat terrorism and militancy in the South Asian region.
According to AL's vision, a 'Digital Bangladesh' would be built, and unemployment would be cut down to 15 percent from the current 40 percent while employment would be increased from 4.2 crore to 9 crore by 2021.
The party also pledges to build a bridge over the river Padma, a tunnel under the river Karnaphuli or a bridge over it if voted to power, while pledging to modernise the railways.
It promises to build a deep seaport and modernise Chittagong and Mongla seaports along with all land ports, while connecting the country with the Asian Highway and Asian Railway.
Hasina also said her party wants not only a mere change in the halls of power. "We're determined to salvage the country from its present critical state and to transform it into a land of real democracy with the rule of law, food security, rapid development, and peaceful existence," she asserted.
Leaders of different political parties, senior journalists and editors of different newspapers, foreign diplomats, teachers, media personalities, and cultural activists were present at the publication ceremony among others.