AL sketches out a ‘Smart Bangladesh’
The Awami League envisions a "Smart Bangladesh" by 2041, seeking to build a country that would be cost-effective, sustainable, innovative and knowledge-based.
It believes "Digital Bangladesh", one of its promises before the 2014 national election, is now a reality.
And to take the country to newer heights, the ruling party said, it would make society, citizens, economy and the government smart, transforming activities in education, agriculture and financial sectors into a smart system.
To realise this goal, the AL wants to implement 40 mega projects by 2041 with a specific timeframe of completing the projects in three phases -- 2025, 2031 and 2041.
These goals were set in the party's declaration, which was adopted at its 22nd triennial council held on December 24. The Daily Star has recently obtained a copy of the declaration.
Political parties usually prepare election manifestoes based on such declarations. The AL will do so and it will implement these pledges if voted to power in the 12th national election slated for January 2024.
Talking to the Daily Star, AL Presidium Member Abdur Razzaque said the party's next manifesto would focus mainly on the major goals set in the newly adopted declaration.
"But we will incorporate some updates [in the manifesto] considering the situation and realities of the time," he added.
In its declaration, the AL placed emphasis on the country's recovery from the economic slowdown brought on by the Covid pandemic, and set a target to ensure 20 percent contribution to the national economy from the ICT sector by 2041.
In its 2008 manifesto titled "Dinbodoler Sanad" or "A Charter for Change," the AL unveiled "Vision 2021". Its manifesto in 2014 titled "Bangladesh Marching Forward" pledged to make Bangladesh digital by 2021.
The AL in its 2018 manifesto, titled "Bangladesh on March towards Prosperity", pledged to make Bangladesh developed and prosperous and bring the poverty rate down to zero by 2041.
In its new declaration, it set a target to make Bangladesh smart as it claimed that the party-led government has already implemented its pledge of a "Digital Bangladesh".
The party termed its goal as the "golden masterplan to make Bangladesh smart".
The party wants to build a skilled and transparent government management system to make it modern.
In the 2018 manifesto, AL pledged to produce 28,000 MW electricity by 2023, and in the declaration adopted on December 24, 2022, it set a new goal to produce 40,000MW electricity by 2030 and 60,000MW electricity by 2041.
The declaration also targeted producing 40 percent of the total domestic demand for electricity from renewable sources.
In its "declaration and programme" chapter, the ruling party said the main goal would be to make Bangladesh a higher-middle income country by 2031 and a developed country by 2041.
It also promised that ensuring equal rights, secular politics and social justice would be its ultimate target. The party also vowed to ensure a tolerant and multi-party democratic system that will be against any sort of extremism, terrorism or militancy.
In the immediate-past declaration adopted at the party's council in 2019, AL outlined its programmes with "Vision 2021" in mind, but this time the declaration was made keeping "Vision-2041" in mind.
In the chapter titled "elimination of poverty", the party pledged to bring poverty below 15.6 percent by 2025 and to fully eliminate begging.
The ruling party vowed to invest more in the energy sector and pledged to construct more nuclear power plants, ensure natural gas transmission to the country's north and west, and place greater importance on renewable energy.
It also vowed to increase the capacity of the country's only state-owned fuel refinery, Eastern Refinery Limited, from refining 15 lakh tonnes to 45 lakh tonnes.
The ruling party pledged high-speed train networks between the capital and Sylhet, Rajshahi, Dinajpur, Patuakhali and Khulna. It will also consider expanding the service to Kolkata and constructing a new airport.
In the declaration's "effective action against corruption" chapter, it promised to "continue its efforts to make society corruption-free, and ensure punishment of the corrupt through trial, including forfeiture of illegally amassed money and property".
It also pledged to take proper initiatives to ensure the rule of law and that the appointment, promotion, and posting of law enforcers be made above political considerations. It would also strive to ensure independence of the judiciary and the human rights commission.
The declaration said the AL was committed to giving fair elections and democratic system an institutional shape, and that it would "continue its efforts to bring reforms to the Election Commission and election system for the sake of free and credible polls". It will also ensure transparency and accountability of the government.