Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged researchers to conduct studies to diversify Bangladesh’s export products alongside modernising and mechanising the agriculture sector.
“Research is essential if we want to increase our export items. I hope you all will pay special attention so that our export continues (to thrive) with diversified products,” she said.
The Prime Minister this while addressing a function arranged to distribute Bangabandhu Science and Technology Fellowship, National Science and Technology (NST) Fellowship and special research donations among teachers, scientists and researchers of different universities and research institutes.
She joined the function held at the city’s Osmani Memorial Auditorium, virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban.
On behalf of the Prime Minister, Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman distributed the fellowships and research donations among them for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Sheikh Hasina laid emphasis on making the research and development wing of every industrial factory effective and stronger.
She said the government is setting up 100 special economic zones across the country, where research is essential. “Because we can reduce (production) cost, improve the standard, produce quality goods and diversify export products without depending on one or two items. So, boost export through research,” said the Prime Minister.
In that case, she said, digital devices can be new items in the export basket saying that now it is ‘Digital Bangladesh’ and it can do whatever necessary in this regard.
Noting that Bangladesh’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture, she stressed the need for research for accelerating modernisation and mechinisation of the sector.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is a country of huge population but it attained food autarky using its small arable lands.
“Keeping it (scarcity of land) in mind, we’ll have to strengthen our research so that we can build the country as ‘Sonar Bangladesh’ (Golden Bengal) as dreamt by the Father of the Nation,” she said.
Bangladesh’s progress unstoppable
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is marching forward and no one will be able to halt the progress of the country. “When Coronavirus couldn’t halt it (the progress), no one will be able to do so anymore. It’s my belief,” she added.
Noting that Bangladesh has already sent Bangabandhu Satellite-1 into orbit, she said broadband internet connectivity is being set up throughout the country now. “We’ll move forward using sciences,” she said.
Pointing at the scientists and researchers, Sheikh Hasina urged them to work for human welfare. “Continue your research works paying attention so that your study can be effective for the welfare of people,” she added.
The Awami League government has relentlessly been working giving priority to education, health and social safety sectors since 2009. “We’ve been giving the highest allocation and implementing massive development programmes in education and research,” she said.
Noting that the government has been giving importance to multidimensional education in order to create skilled human resources, she said 18 new public universities have been established in the country since 2009.
The government formed science and technology clubs in 490 upazilas and 90 Union Parishad with a view to making science and technology popular in the country.
Novo theatre in every divisional city
The Prime Minister said the government will construct a Novo theatre (Planetarium) in every divisional city as done in Dhaka. “We’ll construct Bangabandhu Novo Theatres (Planetariums) in all divisional cities,” she added.
All educational institutions reopening by March
Talking about the education sector, the Prime Minister said the government will be able to reopen all the educational institutions at the end of March as those remained closed for one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said teachers and employees of the educational institutions from primary school to higher educational institutions are being given priority in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“We’ll be able to reopen all the educational institutions at the end of March,” she said.
Fellowship and research donation
Sheikh Hasina said her government has disbursed around Tk 190.45 crore among 596 students for MS, PhD, and postdoctoral studies from 2010-2011 to 2020-2021 fiscal years under the Bangabandhu Science and Technology Fellowship Trust.
Besides, NST Fellowship is provided to students and researchers for M Phil, PhD, and postdoctoral studies.
Alongside the fellowship, special research donation is being distributed among the scientists and researchers for inspiring them to conduct research on science and technology.
Some Tk 152.93 crore have been distributed as research donations under 4,382 projects from 2009-10 to 2020-21 fiscal years, she added.
The Science and Technology Minister presided over the function while Senior Secretary of the Science and Technology Ministry Md Anwar Hossain delivered the welcome speech.
The secretary in his speech said a total of 4182 cheques are being disbursed among scientists and researchers under the Bangabandhu fellowship, NST fellowship and special research donation for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Of them, 77 researchers and scientists are being given Bangabandhu fellowship, while 3,305 others NST fellowship in the current fiscal year.
Besides, special research donations are being provided under some 800 projects in the 2020-21 fiscal year, he said adding that a total of Tk 78 crore is being disbursed in this sector in the current fiscal year.