Staff Correspondent: Planning Minister MA Mannan yesterday said that the government under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been earnestly trying to alleviate poverty and eradicate hunger from the country through its various welfare-oriented initiatives.
“Ours government is not a flawed government, rather a welfare government. We’re earnestly trying to alleviate poverty further and eliminate hunger from the country as it is the philosophy of our Prime Minister,” he said.
The planning minister said this while addressing the inaugural session of the three-day “ABCD Annual BIDS Conference-2023 on Development” as chief guest held at a city hotel.
Former Economic Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Mashiur Rahman spoke as special guest where Prof SR Osmani, Professor of Development Economics, University of Ulster, UK, made the key-note presentation on “Development, Justice and Freedom”. Director General of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Dr Binayak Sen gave the opening remarks.
Mentioning that the government of Sheikh Hasina has done a lot for changing the facelift of the country and its people, Mannan said despite this, disparity is there.
But, the government has been able to put a positive impact on the livelihood of the country’s people through relieving them from the pain of poverty, improving the healthcare, education systems as well as facilitating water and sanitation facilities, he added.
He said that the Prime Minister has given due importance and emphasis on the rural areas and its people, on the landless and low-income people as well as on the women, children and elderly people.
Noting that democracy, voting rights, good governance are very important in a civilized society, the Planning Minister said that the present government also believes in these. But, there are some differences of opinion on these issues between the common people especially living in the rural areas and the civil society members.
Other than these issues, the common people and the rural people usually want improved communication system like roads, bridges and culverts alongside improved access to health, education and electricity.
Mannan said due to the firm determination of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, some 8,00,000 houses have so far been built for some 50,00,000 homeless people under the ‘epoch making’ Ashrayan Project while every landless and homeless people would gradually get homes and lands.
Referring to the continuity of office by long-term ruler of Malaysia Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, the planning minister said they were able to unleash massive development in their countries since they were in power uninterruptedly for a longer period of time.
Former Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Mashiur Rahman touched upon various aspects of development, justice and freedom in a society and highlighted the measures of the government of Bangladesh in this regard.
Prof SR Osmani in his key-note presentation said as the government is advancing to the path of development it cannot ignore the demand for justice and freedom.
“While aiming for development, we can’t ignore justice and development. We shouldn’t focus only on economic development, we should focus on justice and freedom as well,” he added.
Prof Osmani also opined that justice and freedom significantly contribute to the development while the government also needs to invest more in the health and education sectors alongside in both physical and Human Resources.
Dr Binayak Sen said in pursing the thoughts on development, justice and freedom, all would have to return to the ideas of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. “All these three goals need to be pursued simultaneously,” he added.
The three-day BIDS conference will feature a total of 18 papers, five special seminars and seven public lectures, encompassing various themes such as macroeconomic challenges and policy options, democratic socialism, post-COVID crisis analysis, the Rohingya refugee crisis, the Ready-Made Garments (RMG) sector, updated growth experiences in South Asia, global price shocks and food security, megatrends in gender, population, and development, taxation, unpaid care work, evolving global order, geo-economic spectrum, agrarian change in contemporary Bangladesh, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and more.
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