Bangabandhu envisioned equal rights for all: economists

DHAKA, Aug 27, 2018 (BSS) -Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took an economic policy immediately after the independence, envisioning equal rights for all, said some noted economists.

They said the new government, under the leadership of the Father of the Nation, outlined the fiscal policy, prioritizing relief and rehabilitation so the war affected people especially the rural poor get necessary support to start their life anew.

The country’s first national budget also put priority on agriculture, education and social welfare including construction of houses for the freedom fighters and the women, children and others who lost everything during the War of Independence.

In line with the budget, the country’s first fifth five year plan with Taka 4,455 crore was also announced at the special initiative of Bangabandhu aimed at eliminating poverty and ensuring education, health, food and housing for all.

“He always worked for poor. Even when he was a little child, he shared his father’s crops with his poor neighbour,” said former Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman.

Dr Atiur said if we analyze the life of Bangabandhu, we could see that he joined politics for fighting against discrimination of the Pakistan government and establishing an exploration and corruption free society. “He went to jail several times with smiling face for talking against the exploiters. Even in jail, he created a friendly environment with other prisoners and tried to understand about their problems. He also gave suggestions to solve their problems,” he added.

Before election in 1970, Atiur said, Bangabandhu declared that farmers would not require paying tax for owning 25 bigha lands, but none would be allowed to own more than 100 bigha of land.

“After the Liberation War, Bangabandhu nationalized banks and industries and took the First Five Year Plan to build the war-torn country where everyone will be treated equally.

“Bangabandhu laid emphasis on agriculture, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and cottage industries for creating employment opportunities and reducing income discrimination. He took initiatives to develop communication across the country,” he added.

Now, Atiur said, Bangladesh is moving forward under the leadership of Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “Our prime minster is also fighting against poverty for ensuring equal rights for all, which was the dream of her father.

In a one sentence, the philosophy of Bangabandhu’s economy is economics of parity, which means equal rights for all, he said.

Dr Salehuddin Ahmed, an economist and also a former governor of the central bank, said the key issue of the six-point movement was to ensure economic rights since Pakistan government effectively detached the people of East Pakistan from all sorts of economic activities.

“There was no incentive in national budget for uplifting the East Pakistan industry though the main export earning source of the Pakistan was jute from the East Pakistan”, the economist said.

He said Bangabandhu took many initiatives to achieve self reliance in food and create employment opportunities to ensure basic needs of the common people.

“Now Bangladesh achieved remarkable success in many areas, including poverty alleviation, and food security under the prudent policy and dynamic leadership of the Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” Dr Salehuddin said.

The economist said Bangladesh is moving forward to implement the dream of Bangabandhu.

The World Bank’s Lead Economist in Dhaka Dr Zahid Hussain said Bangabandhu took different time befitting initiatives, including nationalizing banks and industries to build the country after the Liberation War so the benefit of economic rehabilitation goes to all.