Millennium Post

The exemplary neighbour

The exemplary neighbour

The neighbouring state of Bangladesh has emerged phenomenally as a market of over 30 million middle- and affluent-class people, thanks to its development miracle. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh attributed this remarkable quality and pace of development to the societal values and peoples' trust in Bangladesh, which are said to be the strengths of the nation. Together with that, the peoples' aspiration to progress, their resilience and their confidence in the country's leadership have been vital in taking Bangladesh to the heights where it is today. The vision of the founding father of Bangladesh is to have an exploitation-free and just society and the efforts of the state are made in keeping with this aspiration. Textile has been the mainstay of Bangladesh's economy but pushing the limits, Bangladesh is fast progressing towards a knowledge-intensive society with accomplishments that include exporting twelve industrial robots to Korea and four indigenously manufactured ships to India. With a nearly eight per cent GDP growth, Bangladesh has made commendable efforts to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and by 2030, it is speculated to become the world's 24th largest economy. The backbone of this development is information and communication technology. More than 120 companies in Bangladesh export information and communications technology products worth nearly $1 billion to 35 countries. By 2021, it's expected that this will increase to $5 billion. This very fact establishes that economic growth and development is but the product of integrated development across various areas linked together with effective policies and good governance. Bangladesh was much ahead of India in launching the initiative to digitise the nation in 2008 and in 2009, the government launched Digital Bangladesh Vision which identifies with human resource development, connecting citizens, digital government, as well as promotion of information and communication technology. With the aim of making Bangladesh a gateway for the digital world, the country instated multiple initiatives to develop a skilled, equipped and digital-ready pool of talent. The education system is the oxygen for this initiative as it produces more than 500,000 university graduates every year who are adequately trained. Several dedicated training programmes are also introduced to supplement the talent pool and prepare it to deliver value which now stands on a global scale. According to the estimate of the Oxford Internet Institute, Bangladesh has the second largest pool of online workers in the world. Investment in frontier tech centres of excellence with global technology partners such as IBM, focus on training professionals in emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, etc. Certainly, being in tandem with the rapidly developing technology in the global arena does well to boost the domestic economy in significant ways.

A component of very crucial significance in the growth story of Bangladesh is the state's efforts to connect its citizens with the aim of ensuring 100 per cent internet connectivity by 2021. India stands in a comparable place in this regard with pervasive use of affordable data and mobile phone connectivity that has penetrated through the deepest rungs of the society. 5G is the next milestone that the South Asian neighbours vie for. Given this line of progress, the most discernable fact is that when things like education—and the factors behind this making it an effective and smoothly functioning sector—are in place, growth can be more significant and development will be far more effective. The take away is definitely that for any economic upscalling and global standing to be made in this area, matters pertain to the social sector can not only be ignored, but must be addressed as matters of utmost priority. Things like e-governance and digital revolution will endure only if there is a solid substratum to hold these developments so that they may continue to deliver. As far as the structure of India's economy goes, it is the services sector which is the dominant force in contributing to the economy. Industries, on the other hand, have a far meagre contribution compared to Bangladesh which grows on the strength of its booming industrial sector to the extent that Bangladesh today stands out as an economy in terms of growth momentum in south Asia. Bangladesh's consistent economic growth happens while still maintaining a stable level of inflation. With a thriving industrial sector, numerous jobs are created and this pushes up the economy on several parameters. As the situation is for India, not only is unemployment a persisting concern, the bulk of the population remains engaged in the agriculture sector which happens to contribute least to the GDP. A possible solution to India's predicament is that a boost to industrial sector will absorb manpower to a considerable extent and serve the dual purpose of addressing the crisis of unemployment and facilitating a heightened level of basics for growth and development across various other sectors. The strength of Bangladesh's domestic industries is the lesson that India must imbibe; irrespective of the trade war between global superpowers, it has maintained a healthy export which have only grown over the years and the internal economy has remained cushioned from the twists of international events.

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