Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged people to take a vow afresh not to allow anyone to hinder Bangladesh’s democratic and development progress by playing ducks and drakes with their fate.
“On this auspicious occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Independence, we’ve to vow afresh that no one can play ducks and drakes with the fate of the people of Bangladesh. No one can hinder the country’s democratic and development progress,” she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing the nation on the eve of Independence Day 2021.
State-owned Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar simultaneously broadcast the Prime Minister’s speech at 7:30 pm on Thursday. Private television channels and radio stations also aired the speech.
The Prime Minister called upon people to work for building Bangladesh as a developed, prosperous and non-communal Sonar Bangla (Golden Bengal) as dreamt by the Father of the Nation.
“Let’s build Bangladesh as a developed, prosperous and non-communal Sonar Bangla by forgetting all the differences and being imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War,” she said.
Noting that the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Independence just should not be a formality, she said, “On the occasion of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation and the Golden Jubilee of Independence, we’ve to take vow afresh to take our country to a new height.”
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has achieved an unimaginable success in the socio-economic index as a result of her government’s tireless works over the past 12 years.
Last month, she said, Bangladesh received the final recommendation to graduate from the least developed country (LDC) group.
“Bangladesh has not only surpassed its neighbours in various indexes like life expectancy, gender equality, universal primary education, women education, women's political rights, women and child mortality, sanitation and food availability, but also exceeded many developed countries in many cases,” she said.
But the path of this development has not been smooth at all as the anti-liberation forces inside and outside the country carried out various ill-motivated activities to hinder the progress of Bangladesh. “This process still continues. So, we all will have to resist all the anti-state attempts by playing the role of vigilant watchdogs.”
Sheikh Hasina said passing half a century of independence is a significant milestone for the life of a nation.
“For us, this Golden Jubilee celebration has become more colorful as Bangladesh Awami League, forming the government, started running the government with the ideology of Liberation War. Today, Bangladesh has stood raising its head in the world as a proud country proving all the negative and pessimistic predictions against Bangladesh wrong, she said.
Even a decade ago, Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh was presented as an example of poverty. “But today development experts are presenting Bangladesh as a role model for poverty alleviation and development.”
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Presenting the current picture of several socio-economic indicators compared to the 2005-06 fiscal year, she said the per capita income increased to US$ 2,064 now from just US$ 543, while the poverty rate dropped to 20.5 percent from 41.5 percent, the GDP size rose to Tk 2800,000 crore from only Tk 482,337 crore, and the foreign currency reserve to US$ 44 billion from only US$ 0.744 billion during the period.
She said the budget size has increased to Tk 568,000 crore in the current fiscal year from only Tk 61,000 crore in 2005-06 fiscal year, while the average life expectancy to 72.6 years in 2019-20 fiscal from 59 years in 2005-06 fiscal, the infant mortality rate has come down to 28 from 84 per thousand, the maternal mortality rate to 165 from 370 per lakh and the power generation capacity has increased to 24,421 megawatt from 4,900 megawatt. “Today's achievement is, in fact, the achievement of the common people of this country,” she added.
She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had declared the Independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of March 26, 1971 just before he was arrested by Pakistani army. His announcement spread across the country through the wireless of the then EPR, she said.
The independence of Bangladesh had come as the result of the 24-year continuous political struggle. And Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had led from the front in this struggle from the beginning to the end, said Sheikh Hasina, also the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu.
“Today, we’re proud citizens of independent and sovereign Bangladesh thanks to the birth of that great man named Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib. Today, we’re proud of our own country, language and culture because he was born,” said the PM.
Sheikh Mujib is the creator of a country and a state. “So, we’re celebrating his birth centenary and the golden jubilee of independence simultaneously,” she said.
On the eve of the Independence Day, the PM extended her sincere greetings to all the citizens of Bangladesh living at home and abroad.
Sheikh Hasina thanked the people of Bangladesh for keeping Bangladesh Awami League, the political party that led the Liberation War, in power while celebrating these two important milestones in the national life.