DHAKA, Jan 7, 2021 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed the nation this evening on the occasion of the second anniversary of her government. The full text of her televised address is as follows:
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
I appear before you at an important transition period of Bangladesh’s journey of development and unusual situation of global pandemic.
On this day, two years back, you bestowed upon me the important responsibility of running the government for the third term. Taking it as an ‘amanat’ (trusted deposit), we are going to begin the third year of running the government.
It is my great fortune that I can observe the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with you all and we have reached the door of the golden jubilee of our great independence.
On this auspicious occasion, I am congratulating all the citizens of Bangladesh staying home and abroad and extending greetings of New Year 2021.
I am recalling with profound respect the greatest Bangalee of all times Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
I am recalling four national leaders – Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Captain M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamaruzzaman.
I am paying tributes to 30 lakh martyrs and two lakh violated mothers and sisters. I am saluting the freedom fighters with due respect.
With profound sorrow, I am recalling all martyrs of August 15, 1975, including my mother Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, three brothers – Freedom Fighter Captain Sheikh Kamal, Freedom Fighter Lieutenant Sheikh Jamal and 10-year-old Sheikh Russel – Kamal and Jamal’s newly married wives – Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal respectively, my uncle Sheikh Abu Naser, Freedom Fighter youth leader Sheikh Fazlul Haque Mani, Freedom Fighter Agriculture Minister Abdur Rab Serniabat, Brigadier Jamil and ASI of police Siddiqur Rahman.
I am paying glowing tributes to the subcontinent’s one of the oldest political parties -Awami League’s founding President Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani, founding General Secretary Shamsul Haque and champion of democracy Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy.
I am recalling 22 leaders and workers of Awami League, including Ivy Rahman, who were killed in August 21, 2004 grenade attacks.
I am recalling 21,000 leaders and workers including former Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria, Awami League leaders Ahsanullah Master, Manjurul Imam and Mamtaz Uddin who were victims of brutal killings after 2001.
I am recalling those who were killed in arson terrorism and petrol bomb attacks carried out by BNP-Jamaat alliance between 2013 and 2015. I am conveying sympathy to wounded people and members of bereaved families.
I am praying for eternal peace of the departed souls of the politicians, public representatives and noted personalities who passed away after the formation of the government through the 11th parliamentary elections.
We had to pass the year of 2020 through a deep crisis due to coronavirus pandemic. Along with that, cyclone Amphan and flood put adverse impacts on our economy.
We have been able to overcome the brunt with firmness. But the world is yet to be freed from the crisis triggered by coronavirus.
By the grace of Almighty Allah, (coronavirus) transmission and death rates are very less. We are doing our best to keep the pandemic under control. The matter of hope is that different countries have begun vaccination. We are making our all-out efforts to bring vaccines in Bangladesh quickly. Frontline fighters, including physicians, health workers and members of law enforcement agencies will be vaccinated on priority basis just after the arrival of vaccines.
I am extending heartiest thanks to frontline fighters, including physicians, health workers, members of law enforcement agencies, armed forces and field-level administration for facing the Covid-19 pandemic with courage.
After the outbreak of Coronavirus in the country, leaders and workers of Bangladesh Awami League, Chhatra League and associate bodies and people of different professions came forward to extend cooperation to the distressed and destitute people. I am extending heartfelt thanks to all. I am praying for eternal peace and salvation of the departed souls of those who died of COVID-19.
Coronavirus pandemic has already created deep wounds in the world economy. Different countries have faced economic stagnation. The economy of Bangladesh also faced a loss. But we are continuing our efforts to keep running the wheels of economy through different policy supports and liberal financial stimulus packages.
We have so far announced different stimulus packages worth Taka 1, 21,000 crore which is 4.3 percent of the total GDP.
We kept continuing the process considering the situation. We have brought around 2.5 crore marginal people of different classes and professions under different assistances, including cash-aid. The social safety net coverage has been increased. Our GDP growth rate has reached 5.24 percent in the last fiscal year. As per our estimations, the GDP growth will stand at 7.4 percent in the current year. According to predication of different international organizations, Bangladesh will be in the top position in terms of GDP growth rate. According to IMF report, Bangladesh secured the third position among the highest GDP growth rate attaining countries in 2020. Per capita income stood at $2064 in 2020.
At the beginning of coronavirus outbreak, I expressed my hope that we will successfully face the crisis with the cooperation of the people, In-sha-Allah. I am very happy that the countrymen stayed beside me and my government during the crisis period.
You extended all-out cooperation to us in facing the disaster. I am expressing my optimism that you will stay beside us in facing any situation in the coming days as well.
We attained independent and sovereign Bangladesh; a nation state through political struggles of 24 years and the Liberation War under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. We are going to step into the 50 years of our independence. The Father of the Nation’s dream was to build a repression-deprivation-free, democratic and non-communal state where people irrespective of religion, caste, creed and profession will live in peace and comfort and every human being will get food, clothing, shelters and treatment facilities.
When the newly independent war-ravaged Bangladesh under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was marching ahead side along with rehabilitation and reformation, the anti-liberation fundamentalist forces assassinated him along with most of his family members on August 15, 1975.
Through his assassination, Bangladesh’s journey towards progress had been halted. Then many conspiracies and plots were perpetrated. The people of this country witnessed various evil acts of the rulers including repression under military rule, lack of democracy, derailing of Liberation War spirit and distortion of history. Bangladesh was kept dependent on others through looting of public money, making the people deprived and betraying with the blood of 30 lakh martyrs.
I returned to the country in 1981 after spending six years in exile after the tragic incident of 1975. I devoted myself in the struggle for restoring democracy and establishing people’s right to vote and food.
My only goal was to materialize the Father of the Nation’s dream of bringing smile in the face of the people of the Bangla.
After long 21 years, Bangladesh Awami League took the charge of running the state through people’s votes in 1996. Taking the charge, we took initiatives to build Bangladesh as a self-dignified country in the world. In the midway, between 2001 and 2008 during the period of BNP-Jamaat regime and the caretaker government, our efforts faced a setback.
But after the Awami League government assumed office in 2009, Bangladesh was established as a self-dignified country in the world in the last 12 years. Bangladesh has achieved remarkable development in the socio-economic and infrastructure sectors. According to a report of “The Economist” in 2020, Bangladesh ranked ninth in the list of 66 emerging strong economics. According to a forecast of the World Economic Forum, Bangladesh would be the 24th largest economy in the world by 2030.
In the eleventh parliamentary election in 2016, I announced a manifesto titled ‘Bangladesh on the Path of Prosperity’. The main theme of our election manifesto was to build a non-communal Bangladesh free from hunger, poverty and illiteracy by eliminating terrorism and militancy and by building a skilled, service-oriented and accountable administration.
By 2031, Bangladesh would be an upper middle-income country and by 2041, it would be a high-income, prosperous and dignified country. We have achieved the status of a developing country before 2021. We have prepared a roadmap to reach the desired destination. The second proposed plan 2021-2041 has been formulated as a strategic document of the ‘Vision 2041’.
Last week, the Eighth Five-Year Plan for 2021-2025 tenure was approved. For its accomplishment, the estimated cost of the project is Taka 64, 95, 960 crore. In this period, Taka one crore 16 lakh 70 thousand employment opportunities will be created. At the end of the implementation of the Eighth Five-Year Plan, the poverty rate will come down to 15.6 percent and the extreme poverty rate to 7.4 percent. In the concluding year of 2025, the GDP growth rate will stand at 8.51 percent. Along with the Eighth Five-Year Plan, the prime minister, said “Ten Initiatives” would continue to be implemented which would help alleviate poverty.
We have already adopted a plan titled ‘Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100’ to ensure sustainable development by tackling the effects of climate change. Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, our economy is moving towards the right direction. In December, the month of victory, the country’s southern part was directly connected with the capital and other regions with the installation of the last span of the under-construction Padma Bridge. As many as 82 percent work of the Padma Bridge has, so far, been completed. Hopefully, this dream bridge will be possible to open for vehicular and rail traffic next year.
Work on other mega projects is also going on in full swing. A 14-kilometer railway line from Uttara to Agargaon has been set up. Train from Japan will reach Dhaka shortly.
About 80 percent of the construction work of the first unit of 1,200 mw power plant of the ‘Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant ‘ , the largest development project at the cost of Taka 1.13 lakh crore in the history of the country, has already been completed.
The unit will be able to supply electricity to the national grid within the stipulated time by April 2023. The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant will bring about a revolutionary change in the country’s technological development.
The construction of a tunnel under the Karnafuli River in Chattogram is also on progress rapidly. Already 62 percent of the work on this tunnel has been completed.
As the people’s government, I think it is our duty as well as responsibility to improve the living standard of the people. It is up to you to evaluate what we have done for the people in the last one era. I want to highlight in brief some sectors which affect our daily lives tremendously:
Recall the power supply situation before our government took over the charge of in 2009. What a miserable situation it was at that time. There was no certainty as to when the electricity would come and go. Today we have achieved self-sufficiency in power generation by adopting short, medium and long-term plans after taking the charge of the government.
About 19,000 mw electricity has been added to the national grid from 2009 to 2020. At present, the capacity of daily power generation stands at 24,421 mw. Electricity beneficiaries have increased from 48 percent in 2005-06 to 99 percent. As part of a long-term plan, a 1,320 mw capacity power plant has already been set up at Payra.
A total of 7,800 mw capacity power plants are being constructed at Rampal, Payra, Banshkhali, Moheshkhali and Matarbari. Electricity will be provided to cent percent people in the Mujib Year and the Golden Jubilee of Independence. All houses will be illuminated.
In 2009, 1,744 million cubic feet gas was supplied to the national grid, which now stands at 2,525 million cubic feet. Liquid gas is being imported from 2018 to meet the growing demand of gas.
Today, Bangladesh is self-sufficient in food production. The production of cereal food-grains was 4 crore 53 lakh 44 thousand metric tons in the fiscal year 2019-20. Bangladesh ranked third, up from fourth, in rice production in the world. This revolution in agriculture was possible through continued policy support and incentives.
In the year 2019-20 alone, a subsidy of over Taka 7,188 crore was given in the agriculture sector. Bangladesh is also self-sufficient in fish, meat, eggs and vegetables production. Bangladesh ranks second in terms of growth rate of fish production in inland open water and the first among 11 hilsa producing countries.
Our villages were always out of development thoughts. We are the first to integrate rural development into the mainstream of development. By including the motto ‘My Village, My City’ in our election manifesto in 2018, we pledged to expand modern urban facilities in every village.
Today, pucca (paved) roads have been constructed in almost all the villages throughout the country. From 2009 to 2020, 63,655 km roads, 3 lakh 76 thousand bridges and culverts, 1,685 Union Parishad Complex buildings, 936 Cyclone Centers and 249 Upazila Complex buildings were constructed in the rural areas.
A total of 453-km-long national highways were upgraded to four or more lanes between 2009 and 2020 years. Work is underway to upgrade another 661-km of highways to four lanes and above. The construction work of 46.73 km Elevated Expressway from Dhaka Airport to Kutubkhali is expected to be completed by 2023.
Some 451 km of new railways were constructed and more 1,181 km were rehabilitated from 2009 to 2020. Besides 428 new railway bridges have been constructed. A few days ago, we laid the foundation stone of the 4.6-km long Bangabandhu Railway Bridge over the Jamuna River.
One thousand forty (1,040) locomotive passenger carriages and goods-carrying wagons have been procured. At this time, 137 new trains have been pressured into operation in Bangladesh Railway.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines added 12 new state-of-the-art Boeing and Dreamliner aircraft to its fleet. Last month, one Dash-8-400 aircraft was added. Two more Dash-8-400 aircraft will be added to Biman’s fleet this month.
Bangladesh has brought remarkable positive changes in its health sector with contributions of both public and private sectors. Healthcare is being provided to the common people, including rural women and children, from 18,500 community clinics and union parishad health centres across the country. Besides, 30 types of medicines are being given to them free of cost. Due to expansion and quality improvement of our healthcare facilities, the average life expectancy of people increased to 72.6 years in fiscal 2019-20. The mortality rate of under-five children reduced to 28 per thousand, while the under-one mortality rate to 15 per thousand. Maternal mortality rate came down to 165 per lakh.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, our educational institutions remain closed considering the safety of students. The same situation persists all over the world, not only in our country. But, academic activities are not stopped.
Education programmes continue through online and television for school level students. As soon as the situation gets normal, educational institutions will be opened. Distribution of new books began on the first day of the year.
In fiscal 2019-20, Taka 2,958 crore was distributed as scholarships and stipends among two crore students from primary to higher education levels. In 2020, about Taka 101 crore was distributed as stipend among 2,10,049 students of graduation and equivalent levels under the prime minister’s education assistance trust. On the occasion of Mujib Year, in the 2021 academic year, Taka 1,000 will be given to the primary level students as kit allowance. This will cost Taka 1,400 crore.
About 1,48,061 teachers and employees of 7,624 MPO-registered madrasas of the country are being given salary-allowance of Taka 276 crore per month. In 2020, 499 new madrasas were registered under MPO.
A quarterly grant of Taka 3.15 crore has been given to 4,529 teachers of 1,519 ebtedayi madrasas. The Dawra Hadith level has been made equivalent to masters degree. Some 560 model mosques and Islamic cultural centres are being set up across the country.
As the people’s movement gets limited during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, digital technology is considered the only means of communication and business. As a result of our government’s visionary initiative of building Digital Bangladesh, digital technology has emerged as a savior in this critical period. Internet connections have been given to 18,434 public entities and 3,800 union parishads by through optical cables.
During the coronavirus period, the number of internet users has increased to 11 crore. General people have been able to continue normal life by taking advantages of online business and transactions. Apart from broadcasting programmes of all the country’s television channels through our own satellite Bangabandhu-1, internet service has been provided to 31 remote islands. Several banks and Bangladesh Army are receiving the services of Bangabandhu-1 satellite.
Under the social safety net programme, Taka 6,520.9 crore has been allocated for old-age allowance, widow and oppressed women allowance, ill-off disability allowance, education stipend for disabled students, tea workers, gypsy community, transgender people and treatment of immedicable patients in fiscal 2021. The total number of beneficiaries is about 90,50,000.
Bangladesh is a respected name across the world today. Bangladesh’s representation in international forums, including various UN organisations, is mentionable now.
We have been working to establish peace around the world by following the foreign policy formulated by Father of the Nation – “Friendship to all and malice towards none”. At this moment, Bangladesh is at the top of the peacekeepers’ list in the UN peacekeeping missions.
All-out efforts continue to peacefully repatriate around 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingya people of Myanmar. To cut their sufferings in different camps of Cox’s Bazar, high quality infrastructures have been constructed in Bhasan Char, which are suitable for living of one lakh people. The Rohingya refugees, who want to go voluntarily, are being sent there. I call upon the international community to take more effective initiatives to repatriate the Rohingya refugees.
You all should remain alert so that the way Bangladesh is moving fast today on the highway of development is not obstructed anyhow. We are committed to removing all obstacles on the path of development. Some unscrupulous people always carry out ill-efforts to grab the wealth of the people by using various tactics. We have taken a strong stand against graft. No matter how powerful the corrupt people are and which parties they belong to, they will not be spared. To this end, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is independently performing its responsibilities.
We will do everything necessary to ensure the civic and democratic rights of the people upholding the rule of law.
We have resisted the rise of militancy with an iron hand. Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony. People of all religions and castes have been living here by maintaining mutual tolerance and will continue to do so in the future.
We took initiatives to celebrate the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in a befitting manner. But, its programme has had to be changed due to the outbreak of coronavirus. On March 17 last, the celebration function was inaugurated digitally, avoiding public gatherings. We are airing TV spot titled ‘Bangabandhu Pratidin’. Online quiz competition has been arranged.
Commemorative coins and postage stamps were released. Short- and animated films are being made. About 1.15 crore saplings were planted across the country.
For the landless and homeless people, the construction of 65,726 houses is underway with allocation of two decimal khas land each. 14,000 houses have been built for the heroic freedom fighters.
The deadline of the Bangabandhu’s birth centenary celebration was extended to December 16 next. UNESCO launched an award on creative economy in the name of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The next March 26 is the golden jubilee of our independence. If there is no coronavirus outbreak, we will celebrate this ceremony solemnly, In-sha Allah. At the same time, the programmes of the Father of the Nation’s birth centenary celebration will continue.
It is good luck for the people of Bangladesh and a matter of pride for the Awami League that the political party, which led the freedom struggle, is in power on this auspicious occasion of the golden jubilee of the country’s independence.
Also, Bangladesh Awami League was in state power during the country’s silver jubilee celebration in 1997. Except Bangladesh Awami League, no party or group will feel the urge to commemorate this auspicious moment of independence.
In his speech on December 15 in 1973, Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujib said – I’m quoting: “Building a country is more difficult than the struggle for independence. The struggle to build a country requires more self-sacrifice, more patience, more hard work. If we try a little more, work a little harder, if we all do our best to stay on the right path, most importantly, we all stay united – then I can say without hesitation, In-sha Allah, we will turn into a golden Bengla again within a few years.” Quote ends.
It is true that we have advanced a long way today. We have to go a far way too. This path may be smooth, it may be uneven. Bangalees are the nation of heroes. How much the path may be uneven, we will reach the expected destination. If we work hard and perform our responsibilities with honesty and patriotism, then we will be successful, Insha Allah.
In the words of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, I would like to say:
Durgam Giri, Kanter-Moru, Dustor Parapar
Langitea Hobea Ratree-Nishitea Jatrira Hushiar!
Ahead of the golden jubilee of independence, let us pledge anew – we will build the non-communal welfare Bangladesh of Father of the Nation free from hunger, poverty and illiteracy, being imbued with the spirit and ideology of the Liberation War.
I pray to the great Allah so that the darkness of coronavirus goes away. Until then, you have to live abiding by the health guidelines. May Almighty Allah help us.
Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu
May Bangladesh live forever.