Perspective Plan 2010-21 / Vision- 2021 : Goals and Strategies

Perspective Plan 2010-21 / Vision- 2021 : Goals and Strategies

Perspective Plan - Vision 2021
The Vision. Bangladesh is a nation endowed with enormous potential that is yet to be realized. The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of independence. In recognition of the long -term development challenges, the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina adopted the Vision 2021. The Vision 2021 and the associated Perspective Plan 2010-2021 have set solid development targets for Bangladesh by the end of 2021. Those targets if achieved will transform the socio-economic environment of Bangladesh from a low income economy to the first stages of a middle income economy. Along with higher per capita income, Vision 2021 lays down a development scenario where citizens will have a higher standard of living, will be better educated, will face better social justice, will have a more equitable socio-economic environment, and the sustainability of development will be ensured through better protection from climate change and natural disasters. The associated political environment will be based on democratic principles with emphasis on human rights, freedom of expression, rule of law, equality of citizens irrespective of race, religion and creed, and equality of opportunities. The Bangladesh economy will be managed within the framework of a market economy with appropriate government interventions to correct market distortions, to ensure equality of opportunities, and to ensure equity and social justice for all.

Development priorities of the Perspective Plan are distilled from the vision statement formulated to take Bangladesh to where it ought to be in the year 2021, given its human potential and natural resource endowments. Those development priorities include ensuring broad-based growth and reducing poverty; ensuring effective governance and sound institutions but creating a caring society; addressing globalization and regional cooperation; providing energy security for development and welfare; building a sound infrastructure and managing the urban challenge; mitigating the impacts of climate change; and promoting innovation in a knowledge-based society. These thematic approaches will shape and form the foundation on which specific strategies are developed over the period of two five-year plans (Sixth and Seventh Five Year Plans).

Goals of Perspective Plan - Vision 2021
The main goal is for Bangladesh to become a middle income country where poverty will be completely eradicated.
1. Democracy and effective parliaments
2. Political framework, decentralization of power & people’s participation
3. Good governance through establishing rule of law and avoiding political partisanship
4. Transformation of political culture
5. A society free from corruption
6. Empowerment and equal rights for women
7. Economic development & initiative

a. Meeting basic needs
b. Population and labour force
c. Alleviation of poverty
d. Food & nutrition
e. Health care center
f. Education
g. Industry
h. Energy security
i. Infrastructural development
j. Housing
k. Environment
l. Water resources

8. Bangladesh in the global arena
a. Achievements of liberation
b. Culture
c. Foreign policy
d. Good Religion

1.1 The Vision
Bangladesh is a country with enormous potential that is yet to be realized. Mindful of the fact that people of Bangladesh deserve a future that is significantly better than their lot today, Vision 2021 and the supporting Perspective Plan, lays down goals and strategies together with a framework for mobilizing our natural and human resources to achieve those goals.

Vision 2021 calls for Bangladeshi socio-economic environment to be transformed from a low income economy to the first stages of a middle-income nation by the year 2021, when poverty would have all but disappeared, where society would be full of caring and educated people living healthy and happy lives. In line with constitutional obligations and international commitments to human rights, Bangladesh in 2021 shall be a country in which (i) every citizen has equal opportunities to achieve his/her fullest potential; (ii) all citizens enjoy a quality of life where basic health care and adequate nutrition are assured; (iii) all citizens have access to a modern, technical, and vocational education tailored to meet the human resource needs of a technologically advancing nation; (iv) sustainability of development is ensured through better protection from climate change and natural disasters; (v) there is respect for the principles of democracy, rule of law, and human rights; (vi) gender equality is assured; so are the rights of ethnic populations and of all other disadvantaged groups including persons with disability; and (vii) the diversity and creativity of all people are valued and nurtured.
Thus in 2021, Bangladesh will take its place amongst middle income nations of the world, where progress is not just reflected in higher living standards but also in a wide range of human development indicators. And all this will be achieved with the recognition that the state must play a key role in sustaining economic development. But that role will not be one of control and ownership of enterprise but that of facilitator of private initiatives and innovation, through provision of infrastructure and effective regulation of markets, with the goal of creating an enabling environment for the private sector to invest and serve as an engine of growth. The government will be service-driven through cost-effective public sector delivery systems fully enabled by adoption of modern technology and it will be held accountable to the highest standards of governance in the operation of all public and private sector institutions.

The private sector will operate in a policy environment that encourages investments in innovation and enterprise, where ideas and talents have the scope to flourish. Financial intermediation and the legal system will have been made effective through reforms that give impetus to private entrepreneurship and actively encourage business start-ups. Special encouragement to women entrepreneurs will be the hallmark of micro, small, and medium enterprise development programs.
Finally, the public and private sectors will collaborate effectively and efficiently through public private partnership (PPP) projects and other innovative models to deliver infrastructure, utility and other services in an environment-friendly manner.

1.2 Promoting Democratic Institutions
The vision of Bangladesh in 2021 is not merely of a middle-income country replete with signs of economic progress but a country where democratic institutions have taken root, and citizens enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. Nurturing political maturity and a culture of democracy will have to be a primary focus of governance over the next decade. Political maturity will come through greater tolerance and cooperation in politics symbolized by mutual respect and trust. Consistent with Westminster form of government, Parliament will be responsible for law making and ensuring accountability of government. Parliamentary Standing Committees will be made more effective. Public accountability will be ensured through greater transparency of public actions as the Right to Information Act 2009 is duly implemented as citizens get easier access to all information in the public domain. Finally, independence of the judiciary will be the hallmark of progress. The judiciary has already been separated from the executive. What remains to be done is to ensure the full complement of judges at all levels with competent investigation and prosecuting staff appointed to enable the judiciary to carry out their duties without interference.

1.3 Promoting Gender Balance
Ensuring gender balance is a fundamental principle of state policy. A system of reserved seats for women has been introduced, increased from 45 to 50 seats, in the National Parliament. Similar measures are being introduced in many sectors to empower and mainstream women in national life. Institutionalization of gender responsive planning and budgeting with a view to promoting gender balance is also in progress. Programs are afoot to give women their rightful share in skill development training both at home and abroad. Due attention will be given to enhancing the participation rate of women in the labor force from 29 per cent to at least 40 per cent by 2021. All laws relating to gender inequality will be reviewed to ensure gender sensitive good governance, with due respect for personal laws and community specific customs.

1.4 Technical Framework for Achieving Middle Income Country Status
A centerpiece of the Perspective Plan is the delineation of the country’s macroeconomic and sectoral outlook during the plan period. Macroeconomic outcomes, sectoral outlooks as well as employment and poverty implications for the perspective plan have been generated from an integrated technical framework involving following four linked models.

(i)            A macroeconomic framework containing five accounts delineating the economy to generate consistent macroeconomic outlook over 2003 to 2021 period.
(ii)           A dynamic computable general equilibrium (DCGE) model based on an updated inputoutput table and a social accounting matrix for Bangladesh for FY07. The key outcomes of the macroeconomic framework are fed into the DCGE model to derive the sectoral implications over the perspective plan period. (
(iii)         An Employment Satellite Matrix (ESM), constructed for FY07. The sectoral value additions and outputs are linked with the ESM to calculate sectoral employment impacts under perspective plan period.
(iv)          The Distribution and Poverty Module has been developed using the information of Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) 2010. Household income, consumption and sectoral price information generated in the DCGE are linked with this module to assess the poverty situation.

1.5 Development Priorities
Development priorities of the Perspective Plan are distilled from the vision statement formulated to take Bangladesh to where it needs to be in the year 2021. Those development priorities may be articulated as follows:

·         Ensuring broad-based growth and food security.
·         Addressing globalization and regional cooperation
·         Providing energy security for development and welfare.
·         Establishing a knowledge based society
·         Building a sound infrastructure.
·         Ensuring effective governance.
·         Mitigating the impacts of climate change.
·         Creating a caring society.
·         Promoting innovation under a digital Bangladesh.

These thematic approaches will shape and form the foundation on which specific strategies are developed over the period of two five-year plans (Sixth and Seventh Five Year Plans). While development priorities are elaborated in the following chapters, it is clear that the nation needs to harness all its resources and skills, moving forward with an integrated approach in each priority area, because these crosscutting goals are underpinned by culture, diversity, and physical differences. The combined efforts of public and private initiative will be needed to create the critical mass necessary to support the development efforts.

1.6 Making Vision 2021 a Reality
Generating the Will and Skill: The implementation of the Perspective Plan envisages the full commitment of will, skill, and resources from all stakeholders to developing the nation into a middle income country by 2021. The government will make the long-term perspective a central element of the decision making process and service culture. But the government alone cannot achieve the Vision. It will have to be a collective effort in which the private sector, civil society, and all other stakeholders will share responsibility to reshape the nation’s future. The consultative process in formulating the Plan must continue throughout the implementation holding Vision 2021 not as a destination in itself but a journey. The Plan will no doubt inspire great vision but the challenge is not to let it fall short of expectations due to implementation failures.

Institutionalizing Plan Implementation: The preparation of the Perspective Plan is only the first step along the challenging road to “Making the Vision 2021 A Reality”. Effective and efficient execution of the Plan is the key, its success will be judged by progress made against the goals, and targets set in the Plan. This Plan presents the broad framework, allowing considerable latitude for the Sixth Five Year Plan (2011-2015) and the Seventh Five Year Plan (2016-2020) to work out strategic and operational details on how the country should move forward.
The broad goals of the Perspective Plan for a Transformed Bangladesh by 2021 may be described as follows:
      Achieve middle-income country status by 2021 through sustained annual rate of GDP at 10 per cent by 2021.
      Eradicate illiteracy after 2014, by ensuring 100 per cent net enrolment at primary level as soon as possible after 2010, providing free tuition to degree level as soon as possible after 2013, and turn Bangladesh into a country of educated people with adequate skills in information technology.
      Substantially eradicate poverty by bringing down the number of people living below the poverty line to 15 percent of the population estimated at no more than 25 million.
      Ensure a minimum intake of 2,122 k. cal/person/day of food for all and standard nutritional food to at least 85 per cent of the population by 2021.
      Achieve self sufficiency in food by 2012.
      Change the sectoral composition of output with the shares of agriculture, industry, and services approximating 15 percent, 38 percent, and 47 percent respectively by 2021.
      Reduce the unemployment rate to 15 per cent; change the shares of agriculture, industry, and services in employment to 30 per cent, 25 per cent, and 45 per cent respectively by 2021.
      Provide living accommodation for the entire population as soon as possible after 2015, supply of pure drinking water for the entire population as soon as possible after 2011, and bring all household under hygienic sanitation by 2013.
      Reduce maternal mortality to 1.5 per cent, raise the use of birth control methods to 80 per cent, and bring down infant mortality to 15 per thousand live births by 2021.
      Eradicate all contagious diseases and increase life expectancy to 70 years by 2021.
      Generate 8,500 MW of electricity by 2013, 11,500 MW by 2015, and make provisions to meet the expected demand for power of 20,000 MW by 2021, such that it ensures per capita energy consumption to rise to 600 kwh.
      Promote and deepen the application of information technology towards a digital Bangladesh.
      Ensure preservation, conservation, and restoration of all the historical monument/mass graves of martyred war veterans.
      Ensure protection of the environment by effectively meeting the challenges arising from climate change and preventing environmental degradation.

The Government recognizes that without fundamental reforms of core institutions, improvement in public administration capacity and a strong anti-corruption strategy, the ability to implement Vision 2021 and the underlying five year development plans and the Perspective Plan will be seriously compromised. Vision 2021 places strong emphasis on establishing a legacy of good governance by focusing on three fundamental principles of governance: (a) ensuring the rule of law, (b) avoiding political partisanship, and (c) building a society free from corruption. These cardinal principles also guide the articulation and implementation of development programs thus forming the institutional framework for the Perspective Plan.

Broadly defined governance reflects all rules and procedures, formal and informal, in economic, political and administrative spheres, and in organizational entities entrusted with formulating and implementing such rules of the game including the management of macro, micro, or economy wide polices. The principal dimensions of governance or institutional quality may include: voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption.
From a pragmatic point of view the quality of governance depends on the quality of institutions. A country that has good governance also has good institutions. Effectiveness of government institutions is imperative for good governance through which a country could achieve its policy targets and development goals. The governance issues, particularly the quality of government institutions, have important implications for long-term economic growth and poverty reduction in Bangladesh.

The Perspective Plan targets annual real GDP growth rate to rise to 8.0 per cent by 2015, and further to 10.0 per cent by 2021, significantly improving living standards of the population by drastically reducing unemployment and poverty, riding on substantially higher output and export growth. Per capita annual income is projected to rise to about USD 2,000 (at constant 2013 dollars) by 2021, thus crossing the middle income threshold. Among others, a prudent macroeconomic policy will be required to ensure internal and external stability, low inflation and high economic growth. Accordingly, this chapter presents a macroeconomic framework, spelling out the key targets, and articulating strategies and policy guidelines underlying the Perspective Plan FY2010-FY2021.

3.1 Strategic Goals
The following strategic goals will be pursued as the essential components of economic policy over the long-term:
      Promotion of equitable, environment friendly, inclusive and socially sustainable pro-poor accelerated growth;
      Enhancement of productivity growth across all sectors of the economy;
      Acceleration of investment with domestic as well as foreign resources;
      Speeding up of employment keeping in view the gender dimension;
      Stabilization of general price level; and
      Promotion of structural transformation of the economy.

Ensuring food security for the poor is a fundamental objective of the Government. It involves the physical availability of food at all times and its access to all at affordable prices. Seventy per cent people of Bangladesh live in rural areas and draw their income and employment from agriculture and related activities. Food security is ensured through an optimal level of stock, by undertaking special programmes for subsidized food marketing (e.g. OMS) in poverty and disaster prone areas in times of scarcity and while maintaining a public food distribution system.

Agricultural land is limited and is reducing at 1 per cent per annum. Modern methods of production, including water resource management, high yielding drought and submergence resistant seeds, increase in land productivity through efficient irrigation, flood control and drainage, are among the key factors in achieving a higher level of self-sufficiency in food production to feed the ever increasing population and to save foreign exchange for food imports. Future growth in agricultural production will depend, among other things, on increase in irrigation efficiency. Therefore, water resource management is a crucial issue to ensure self-sufficiency in food production. Despite a spectacular increase in food production, Bangladesh has faced persistent challenges in achieving food security due to (a) natural disasters and consequent crop losses; (b) fluctuations in food prices caused by volatility in the international markets; (c) failure to steady maintenance of domestic stocks; (d) inept monitoring of markets to prevent syndication that creates an artificial scarcity of food items and increases prices; and (e) absence of income generating activities that could add to the purchasing power of poor people.
With a view to enhance agriculture production and ensuring food security, the target is that, by 2021, food deficiency will be eliminated and the country will attain self-sufficiency in food production enabling to meet nutritional requirement of the population.

BY 2021 Much of the impetus to higher growth will come from additional private and public investment, particularly in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure and human development. Yet, the experience of Bangladesh shows that it has not benefitted much from productivity improvements. A key strategy and policy focus of the Perspective Plan is to enhance productivity in all sectors of the economy. Among other factors, productivity improvements depend on research and technology. The world has moved with new knowledge and technology; Bangladesh has a lot of catch up to do. Emphasis on knowledge economy is a key development priority for Bangladesh.
Vision 2021 focuses on the Digital Bangladesh strategy to highlight the tremendous capacity of information and communication technology to help steer the country’s development during the Perspective Plan. The national ICT Policy 2009 has expressed its vision in terms of expansion of information and communication technology and its huge potential in establishing a transparent, committed and accountable government, the development of skilled manpower, improvement of social justice, and management of public services. Put together, this will generate the impetus to move Bangladesh towards a poverty-free middle income prosperous country by 2021.

Bangladesh has been experiencing rapid increase in its urban population ever since its independence in 1971. Urban population as a percentage of total population increased from around 8.8 % to nearly 23 % during 1974-2001 period. It is estimated that by the year 2021 nearly one-third or 33% of the population of Bangladesh will be living in urban areas. The urban population recorded during the 2001 Census was nearly 28.6 million and is currently (2010) estimated at 40 million. The tremendous challenge of absorbing such a massive number of people in urban areas and providing them with shelter, food, employment, healthcare, education, municipal services and recreation facilities is made more difficult given shortage of urban facilities and resources, skilled manpower and good governance. The urbanization challenge unless managed well could pose a serious problem to the future growth prospects for Bangladesh.

1.1 Strategies for Urban Development
Urban Governance: Policies and strategies in this area focus on institutional reforms and decentralization of responsibilities and resources to local governments; participation of civil society including women in the design, implementation and monitoring of local priorities; building capacity of all actors (institutions, groups and individuals) to contribute fully to decision-making and urban development processes; and facilitating networking at all levels.
Urban Economic Development: This involves initiative to combine available skills to be suitably upgraded, resources and ideas to stimulate the local economy towards the goals of job creation, economic growth, poverty alleviation, as well as proactive measures to deal effectively with changes in the national and global economies that are likely to affect the local economy.
Urban Environmental Management: Policies and strategies in this area seek to promote cleaner environment, control pollution and protect public health from environmental hazards. Special emphasis will be given on preventive actions, that is, to develop preventive measures that can forestall future environmental degradation without imposing excessive financial burden on government. Emphasis will also be given on holistic and inter-disciplinary approach.
Urban Housing: Access to affordable urban housing is an increasing problem in the country as population pressure increases and prices of land and construction costs rise. The policy in this respect is to bring about improvement in the housing situation in terms of quality and quantity of housing units, housing tenure and housing accessibility.
Urban Transportation: Policies and strategies in this area focus on developing an integrated and balanced transportation system taking into consideration the needs of the road system, nonmotorized transport, public passenger transport and mass transit. Issues such as a city’s balance 76 in the locations of employment and housing, demand management and the roles for the public and private sectors will also be given due emphasis.
Urban Land Management and Planning: The objectives of the policy in this area are to promote sustainable land-use planning and innovative land management practices, with the objective of providing for the land requirements for urban development through integrated and environmentally sound physical planning and land use.
Infrastructure and Services: Basic infrastructure and services at the community level include the delivery of safe water, sanitation, waste management, social welfare, transport and communications facilities, energy, health and emergency services, schools, public safety, and the management of open spaces. Steps will be taken to provide adequate and affordable basic infrastructure and services so as to help safeguard the health, safety, welfare and improved living environment of urban dwellers.
Urban Poverty : Policies to deal with urban poverty focus on promoting equal access to and fair and equitable provision of services in urban areas. Emphasis will be given to urban policies and programs that ensure equal access to and maintenance of basic services, including those related to education, employment and livelihood; basic healthcare services; safe drinking water and sanitation; adequate shelter; and needs and rights of women and children who often bear the greatest burden of poverty.

Over the next decade, Bangladesh’s human resource development will encompass three broad processes:

  • 1.    Ensuring education for all.
  • 2.    Promoting and sustaining health and nutrition, and
  • 3.    Planning population (both containment and management) and converting them into human resources.
In light of the government’s vision 2021, the country aims at fulfilling the following targets:

  • 1.    Deficiency in food will be removed and nutritional requirements of 85% of the population will be ensured.
  • 2.    In addition, a minimum daily intake of 2,122 kilo calories of food will be ensured.
  • 3.    Contagious diseases will be eliminated and primary health care and sanitation will be ensured for all.
  • 4.    Average longevity will be increased to 70 years.
  • 5.    Under 5 mortality per 1000 live births will be reduced to 45 and maternal mortality will drop to 100 in 100,000.
  • 6.    Net enrolment at the primary level will be increased to 100% by 2013.
  • 7.    Illiteracy will be removed by 2014.
  • 8.    By 2021, there will be significant improvement in the quality of education with emphasis on science and technology.
11.1 Population Planning & Generating Human Capital
Population and development go hand in hand. Since people in a society are both producers and consumers, a development process should consider demographics, i.e. a population’s structure, composition, distribution, behavior pattern, attitude, values, norms, beliefs, practices, and its whole lifestyle pattern. The number of people, the rate of growth, the quality of life, the pressures people face are influenced by environmental, economic, political and social conditions. This is not a one way process. People influence these conditions by the decisions they take, and vice versa. Therefore, any development effort must take account of population parameters if economic growth and the welfare of society are to be sustained.

11.2 Promoting and Sustaining Health
Over recent decades, Bangladesh has made substantial advancements in the health status of the population. Life expectancy at birth has increased to 67.8 years in 2009, maternal, infant and 79 child mortality rates have declined, and immunization coverage has remained fairly high. However, much remains to be done to improve people’s health condition. Serious health problems persist in Bangladesh. Poor nutrition represents a major health problem. Anaemia among women of childbearing age is extremely high. Diarrhoeal diseases are still a major killer, though treatment is known and accessible. Communicable and poverty-related diseases that are preventable continue to remain among the top ten causes of mortality. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are a leading cause of death and disability among women of reproductive age. Skilled birth attendants attend only one-fifth of all births. This figure is even lower in slums and tribal areas. More than 80 per cent of deliveries take place at home. Only 18% of woman receive post-natal care. The situation is even worse in the lowest quintile of population.

In Bangladesh, HIV incidence is low, both among sex workers and in other populations. However, the incidence rises dramatically among intravenous drug users. TB and malaria, along with the threat of arsenic poisoning, continue to pose significant risks to public health. Non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and respiratory diseases are emerging as major public health concerns. While their treatment is taking place, the cost often is prohibitive. Road accidents constitute another public health hazard which is posing serious consequences to health status as well.

11.3 Promoting Improved Nutrition
From a nutritional standpoint, food security is ensured when all individuals in all households have the resources to obtain adequate, appropriate, and safe food for a balanced diet and good physical condition that enables the proper utilization of that food. Changes in nutrition status could take place mainly through decent employment and income generation, as well as improved decision-making by women when they spend the household income. Provision of safe drinking water, improved health care and education for all women should be considered essential and part of a comprehensive strategy to eliminate malnutrition and to achieve health for all by 2021 or beyond.

11.4 Education, Training, and Skills Development for Human Capital Formation
Education directly contributes to building a dynamic economy, an efficient system of governance, non-communal democracy and an enlightened progressive society. Illiteracy and democracy cannot run together. Recent experiences of developing countries suggest that successful implementation of population policies such as delayed marriage and late child birth aimed at a small family norm are directly related to education of girls. Education, health, nutrition, family size and employment are mutually reinforcing. Education is essential for developing the foundation required for a highly trained work force. It is accepted as the foundation of growth in productivity, income and employment opportunities, and for the development of science and technology.

While the Perspective Plan stipulates acceleration of economic growth, the underlying policies stress the inclusiveness and pro-poor approach to growth so that in the process of achieving the Vision 2021 goal of reaching middle income status, there is substantial eradication of poverty through a comprehensive scheme of social inclusion.

12.1 Notable record of poverty reduction
Bangladesh has been successful in achieving significant reduction in poverty since 1990. National poverty headcount declined from 58.8 percent in 1991-92 to 31.5 percent in 2010, while extreme poverty rate declined from 41 to 17.6 percent over the same period. Other measures of poverty, such as poverty gap and squared poverty gap show long-term trends similar to those for headcount rates. Assuming these trends to prevail with some improvement in the income inequality situation, headcount poverty rate is expected to decline to 22.5% by 2015 and to 13.5% by 2021

12.2 Strategies for accelerated poverty reduction
The main elements of the poverty reduction strategy in Bangladesh will consist of policies and programs to:

  • 1.    Promote Growth By Sustaining Increases In Labor Productivity And Job Creation In Manufacturing And Services;
  • 2.    Increase Farm Income Through Better Productivity;
  • 3.    Enhance The Access Of The Poor To Production Inputs (Fertilizer, Seed, Irrigation Water, Power, Rural Roads) And To Institutional Finance
  • 4.    Expand Employment Opportunities In Lagging Regions By Improving Connectivity With Growth Poles Through Better Infrastructure And By Investing In Human Capital;
  • 5.    Facilitate Migration From Poor Areas Given The Poverty-Reducing Impact Of Remittances;
  • 6.    Stimulate Women’s Participation In The Labor Force;
  • 7.    Sustain Bangladesh's Past Successes In Reducing Fertility;
  • 8.    Improve Poor Households Access To And Quality Of Education, Health And Nutrition Services;
  • 9.    Strengthen The Coordination, Targeting And Coverage Of Social Protection Programs;
  • 10.  Enhance The Access To Micro Finance;
  • 11.  Ensure Stable Food Prices; And
  • 12.  To mitigate the adverse consequences of climate change
12.3 Challenge of addressing income inequality
Yet another aspect of the problem to be addressed is the prevalence of income inequality in society which appears to be growing, though moderately in the recent past. Results show that the distribution of income is much more unequal than the distribution of consumption. Income inequality as measured by the gini coefficient for the distribution of income has risen substantially during the 1980s and the 1990s. More recent data show a further increase in the income gini coefficient during 2005 but slightly improved in 2010 arresting the upward trend from 0.46 to 0.45 (HIES – 2010). Income inequality between the urban and the rural areas is still a matter of serious concern. There is a need to address the income inequality problem through a range of measures including creating better access to high productivity, high income employment; improving farm productivity and incomes; sharpening the focus on equity aspects of public spending on education, health, family planning; nutrition and water supply; reducing the regional disparity of growth; and improving the access of the poor to means of production (fertilizer, seeds, water, electricity and rural roads); and by improving the access of the poor to institutional finance.

12.4 Human development
The need for human resource development is a key element of the overall poverty reduction strategy. Basic education is critical to ensure that everyone can participate in and benefit from growth. As described in the preceding chapter, Government policies and budgetary allocations will focus on human development, and spending on primary education, child care, and pre-natal care. 91 The Government’s policies and goals are to increase substantially the proportion of post- primary students enrolling in VTE. Under the new education policy formulated in 2010 one technical school will be established at every Upazilla. Health care facilities will be taken at the door step of the people. The Government will revitalize and made operational 10,723 existing Community Clinics and construct 2777 new clinics at the grass root level to provide primary health services to the rural community. Reproductive health care system will be further strengthened. Population programme will be revamped and coordination among the health and population directorates will be ensured. The availability of safe water and good sanitation is also essential for improving living standards of the poor. Increasing investment in water and sanitation is therefore planned during the Sixth Plan period and beyond.

12.5 Sustainable Environments
Climate change poses a significant threat to the goals of the fight against poverty in Bangladesh. Adaptation to climate change is therefore a national priority for the long-term. Government’s policy for proper handling of disasters would be coordinated with the efforts taken at different stages in the disaster management cycle, like disaster management practice, disaster mitigation, emergency preparedness, emergency response, disaster management mechanism, early recovery and immediate rehabilitation, space technology and disaster management, space technology in disaster prediction, warning, flood monitoring, mapping and use of internet facilities for disaster monitoring, prediction and information dissemination.

12.6 Addressing poverty through social protection
The diverse underlying causes of poverty in Bangladesh include vulnerability, social exclusion, and lack of assets and productive employment; although the main symptom is often hunger. The extreme vulnerable poor can potentially lift themselves out of poverty with appropriate short to medium-term support. The extreme dependent poor, who are old, disabled or chronically sick, will depend on long-term social protection to survive. The children of the extreme poor, who are stunted or malnourished, are vulnerable to harassment, and have limited, or no access to education. A sharp rise in inequality would not only undermine the impact of growth, but may also threaten social cohesion and breed instability and discontent. Both poor and non-poor families are vulnerable to shocks (e.g. natural disasters, health problems) that can return them quickly into extreme poverty.

Perspective Plan of Bangladesh 2010-2021 The Perspective Plan of Bangladesh 2010-2021 has provided the road map for materialization of the national goals enshrined in The Vision 2021. That Vision embodies a dream that Bangladesh, on the eve of its 50th anniversary of independence, will cross into the middleincome country threshold, its citizens will enjoy a higher standard of living, will have better access to education, will benefit from improved social justice, and will live in a more equitable socio-economic environment. These milestones will be achieved in a political climate that is in line with core democratic principles of human rights, freedom of expression, the rule of law, equality of citizens irrespective of race, religion and creed, and equality in opportunities

To start with, the Perspective Plan acknowledges that in order to meet the desired outcomes by 2021, the country needs a better governance scenario that provides improved incentive mechanisms for the public sector to deliver results. This improvement requires enhanced public administration capacity, lower levels of corruption from increased transparency and stronger prevalence of the rule of law. On overall macroeconomic management, and for Bangladesh to qualify as middle income country, the government must adopt a prudent macroeconomic framework that ensures macroeconomic stability for the long term. This necessitates that macroeconomic policy ensures external and internal stability through an effective exchange rate policy, low inflation, and adequate resource mobilization to generate optimal level of public and private investment. The goal is to accelerate real GDP growth to 10% by 2021, and reduce head count poverty rate to about 14% of 2021 population.

A number of key sectors will play a pivotal role in materializing the Vision 2021. It begins with a focus on explicit goals, challenges, and strategies for the agricultural and rural sectors which account for a significant proportion of the country’s GDP and employment. The primary goal is to eliminate food deficiency by improving production that will enable citizens to meet their nutritional requirement. More specifically, for ensuring food security by 2021, strategic goals need to be addressed in the crop sector, fisheries, livestock and poultry, and forestry. In order to enhance employment generation and rural development, adequate policy attention must be given to rural-non-farm activities. The government must also help farmers in marketing agricultural products and accessing rural credit by pursuing policies that establish powerful autonomous local government bodies for coordinating public and private development initiatives.

Next, industrialization process must play a central role in accelerating growth and achieving real GDP growth of 10% by 2021. This means that in an era of increasing globalization, the only mantra for survival and progress is to facilitate the competitive strength of our industrial sector. In terms of broader goal, the industrial sector will continue to account for a much larger share of GDP – reaching 37% in 2021. This dominant performance of the industrial sector is necessary for it to address the increasingly diminishing capacity of agriculture to absorb the incremental labour force. However, industrial expansion must simultaneously be matched with a highly productive farm and non-farm agricultural sector. Within industry, the manufacturing sector is to display superior double digit performance for the period 2011-21. This can be realized by increasing the competitiveness of Bangladesh’s export, and ensuring a larger share for the country in global trade. With this objective, policy makers can target product and market diversification with an effective trade policy regime that is geared to ensure productivity and export competitiveness while aiding the emergence and expansion of new product markets.

The current wave of globalization holds both opportunities and challenges for Bangladesh. The Bangladesh economy today is more integrated with the global market – largely due to the rapid growth in trade, substantial out-migration of labour and remittance inflows, financial sector reform, and creation of favorable FDI regimes. The Perspective Plan emphasizes that it is very important for Bangladesh to make-use of the complementary resources, which it shares with countries like India, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. This makes a case for greater regional cooperation on trade and trade facilitation, regional transport, energy trade and water management, FDI and joint ventures, cooperation on rail and road projects.

The Vision 2021 also constitutes a goal that is eloquently described by the Prime Minister as ‘Digital Bangladesh’ to rapidly address the lack of capacity to generate productivity improvements from technological progress, which has long been undermining Bangladesh’s growth potential. To minimize such constraints, the government has implemented the national ICT Policy 2009 in order to enhance the usage of information communication technologies in both private and public sector. On the whole, the ‘Digital Bangladesh’ agenda is likely to aid the creation of a knowledge-based society, which is necessary for Bangladesh to move up in the development ladder.
The Perspective Plan underscores that at present Bangladesh is coping with a grave energy crisis which is a product of growing deficit in the supply of energy against current and potential demand. The circumstances call for a prompt but well crafted sustainable long-term strategy for a balanced growth in resource exploration, energy generation, transmission and distribution. The goal for the power sector is to have electricity for all by 2021. The goal necessitates that policymakers complement energy options from domestic sources with possible options for energy trade. Emphasis has been placed on the need to identify and reach the optimal fuel mix for energy generation. While the present scenario exemplify our over-dependence on gas for performing generation activities, the sector must gradually accelerate the usage of other fuels – especially coal- to maintain the desired growth in energy generation. This also demands that the government speed up exploration of domestically available resources, such as coal, oil and gas from offshore sources. Lastly, the supply side options need to be balanced with policies for demand management that conserve energy and discourage inefficient use of electricity.

For Bangladesh to emerge as a ‘middle income country’, we need a vibrant and effective transport and communication network. The strategy is to develop an efficient, sustainable, safe, and regionally balanced transportation system in which various modes – roads, railways, inland waterways, air transport, ports and shipping, urban and rural transport – complement each other, interface appropriately, and (when possible) provide effective competition to each other. The progress in the telecommunication network and digital media are also noted to be fundamental in advancing economic growth. This is because these sectors play a fundamental role in facilitating the diffusion of information, which in turn reduces associated transaction costs in the economy.

The development targets by the end of this decade also bring to attention the changing nature of urbanization. It is estimated that by 2021, more than 33% of the population of Bangladesh will be living in urban areas. This prospective urbanization challenge unless well managed can choke off future growth acceleration targeted in the Perspective Plan. To minimize such risk, the government plan to undertake an ambitious urban development program based on policies and strategies that will cover spatial, economic, social, cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspect of urban life. Effective implementation of these programs will be pivotal in determining if the urban areas can provide access to health, education, security, shelter, and basic services – which are essential ingredients in ensuring a ‘quality life’ for its habitants. Economic development to be meaningful must be associated with human development. The idea here is to expand the ‘choice-set’ available to every citizen in the country to pursue their basic needs and entitlements. Plan targets in this regard include: (i) removing deficiency of food and ensuring nutritional requirements of 85% of the population, (ii) ensuring minimum daily intake of 2122 kilo calories of food, (iii) eliminating contagious diseases and ensuring primary health care and sanitation, (iv) increasing life expectancy to 70 years, (v) reducing under five mortality to 45 per 1000 lives births and maternal mortality into 100 in 100000, (vi) increasing net enrollment at primary level to 100% by year 2010 , (vii) removing illiteracy by year 2014, and (viii) improving the quality of education with an emphasis on science and technology. These targets are to be attained with the help of strategic actions that aim to improve access and affordability of public service with a special focus on quality.

Lastly, the Perspective Plan reiterates that accelerating economic growth without paying attention to the concepts of ‘inclusiveness’ and ‘sustainability’ holds no meaning for a country. As a result, the Plan intends to achieve pro-poor growth with adequate attention to social protection that promotes participation of the excluded groups –such as poor women, people from ethnic groups, and socially excluded groups – in the process of development. The growth experience, so far, has also brought chronic environmental degradation. Consequently, the plan document accepts that the present decade holds a ‘window of opportunity’ for halting the process of environmental degradation through pursuing strategic actions that generate green growth, and also minimize the adverse effects of climate change.

In sum, the Perspective Plan of Bangladesh 2010-2021, articulates the ‘means’ and ‘ends’ that Bangladesh wants to adopt and reach on the eve of its 50th anniversary of independence. It highlights a pragmatic multidimensional approach in producing an economy that is innovative and competitive, and the opportunities it creates allows us to achieve a socially just society.

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