Bangladeshi PM completes first-year rule with achievement

15:09, January 07, 2010      

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Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina completed her first year in office Wednesday, overcoming various national and international challenges.

On this day a year ago, she assumed office for the second term after her Awami League-led grand alliance achieved an overwhelming victory in the general elections held on Dec. 29, 2008.

With some visible success in the first year and many more challenges in the future, Hasina has stepped into the second year of her government.

Political analysts say the most critical challenge of Hasina's first year rule was the bloody mutiny by paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) at their Headquarters in Dhaka on Feb. 25-26. Some 57army officers were killed along with several BDR soldiers and civilians.

Admitting the gravity of the incident Hasina herself said a certain quarter wanted to push the country towards a civil war and oust her elected government by staging the BDR mutiny. However, she had successfully put down the mutiny.

In her first one-year governance, the Prime Minister has successfully put the things on the right track.

In line with her election pledges, Hasina's government brought down the prices of essentials to great extent and the country gained bumper production in wake of giving subsidy to agriculture inputs.

Shortage of electricity that led to frequent load shedding and irritating traffic congestion in the capital Dhaka raised public discontent.

The law and order situation seems to have improved as the government dealt with terrorists and militants. The U.S. government dropped Bangladesh from its watch list following the improvement in the human rights scenario.

Despite global economic recession, the Bangladeshi economy did not suffer the way as feared by many economists and experts. The stimulus package announced by the government for vulnerable sectors helped a lot to keep the economy going.

The country's foreign exchange reserve exceeded 10 billion U.S. dollars, and inflation has been pulled down to 4.69 percent in August 2009 from 10.11 percent when she formed the government on Jan. 6 last year. The flow of remittances has increased 22.4 percent from the previous year.

On climate change issue, the Prime Minister faired well convincing the world leaders at the Copenhagen climate change conference about the country's most vulnerability to the global warming.

However, there are mixed reactions about the first year of Hasina's rule. Her major ally in the government, Former President H.M. Ershad said despite the passage of one year, there is a big gap between expectation and achievement.

Commenting on one-year rule, eminent economist Dr. Khaliquzzaman told Xinhua that the country started moving on the right track to establish an economic vibrant and democratic welfare state which is the election pledge of the Prime Minister.

"If one looks at the formulation of the national budget, national education policy and climate change strategy and action plan, it appears that the country is moving on the right path," said Khaliquzzaman, former professor of Dhaka University. However, he stressed on removing bureaucratic tangles to implement the government policies and programs.

Dr. Mizanur Raman Shelley, a former minister and think tank, said the remarkable inadequacy of the Hasina's government is the inability to tone up the administration for good governance.

He said politicization of the administrative machinery creates great problem. In addition, he said the slow progress in improving infrastructural facilities such as electricity and gas supply obstruct desirable investment.

Source: Xinhua
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