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About Bangladesh

 

About Bangladesh

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

বাংলাদেশ-এর জাতীয় পতাকা (Flag of Bangladesh)

Area: 144,000 sq km (55,599 sq miles)


Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India
 

Population:

Division
Bangla
2011 population
Area (km2)
Population density
2011 (people/km2)
Barisal Division
বরিশাল
8,147,000
13,297
      613
Chittagong Division
চট্টগ্রাম
     
28,079,000
33,771
     831
Dhaka Division
ঢাকা
     
46,729,000
31,120
      1,502
Khulna Division
খুলনা
   
15,563,000
22,272
    699
Rajshahi Division
রাজশাহী
     
18,329,000
18,197
     1,007
Rangpur Division
রংপুর
     
15,665,000
16,317
     960
Sylhet Division
সিলেট
     
9,807,000
12,596
   779
Bangladesh
     
 
 142,319,000
147,570
   964

 

 

 

Capital City: Dhaka, 6.7 million populations (approx)
People: Bengalis (98%), and small numbers of tribe’s people.

Languages: Bangla, and 73 tribes’ languages. English is quite widely spoken by those with education.
Religion(s): Muslim 89.7%; Hindu 9.2%; Buddhist 0.7%; Christian 0.3% and other 0.2%. Ethnic 73 groups.  
Total Mosque: 143000 (Approx)
Total Churches: 4300 (Approx)
Temple: 17500 (Approx);
Pagoda: 270 (Approx).
 
 
Currency: Taka
 
Major political parties: Bangladesh Awami League (AL), Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, Jatiya Party (N) (JPN)
 
Government: Parliamentary Republic. Bangladesh is a Parliamentary Democracy with a non-executive President elected by Parliament. Parliament and President are both elected for five years.
 
Head of State:  President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Geographic coordinates: 24 00 N, 90 00 E
 
 
HEALTH

Malaria is not prevalent in Dhaka. It is, however, common in some parts of Bangladesh. There is a risk of dengue fever throughout Bangladesh.
Hygiene and sanitation standards are poor throughout the country and intestinal diseases are common. Water should be boiled and filtered before drinking.
The high levels of humidity during certain times of the year and pollution in downtown Dhaka can cause problems.
Local clinics and hospitals are generally of a poor standard. There are no adequate psychiatric services in Bangladesh.
A growing concern for many Bangladeshis is the presence of arsenic in groundwater supplies. The scale of the problem is not yet fully understood, but some people fear that it will be the most significant health problem in Bangladesh in the coming years.
 
 
ECONOMY
 
GDP: US$ 105bn (IMF)
 
GDP per head: US$638 (IMF)

GDP Growth: 6.0% (IMF 2010 est.)

Human Development Index Ranking: 129th out of 168 countries (UN)
Inflation: 8.1% (IMF)
Foreign Exchange Reserves: $11.2 billion (IMF)
Export partners (goods): EU27 (51%), US (26%), India (4%), Canada (3.5%), China (1.7%) (WTO)
Import partners (goods): China (15.6%), India (13.2%), EU27 (9.7%), Kuwait (7.2%), Indonesia (5.1%) (WTO)
Inward Remittances: US$ 11bn, 12% of GDP (World Bank 2010 est.)
 

Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index ranking:  146th of 187 countries

World Bank Doing Business Ranking: 107th of 183 countries

Principal Exports: Garments account for 80% of Bangladesh’s exports to the UK. Seafood is also a significant Bangladesh export. Almost 10% of Bangladesh’s world-wide exports go to the UK.
 

Aid & development: 115 million people still live on less than US$2 per day. The UK is the largest bilateral donor to Bangladesh (£1 billion during 2011-2015), helping very poor Bangladeshis secure a better quality education for more children; improving family planning and reducing deaths in childbirth, strengthening livelihoods and encouraging private investment, helping more people adapt to climate change and prepare for natural disasters, and strengthen key democratic systems and institutions.
 
 
Outlook for Bangladesh: Bangladesh has made significant economic progress in the past 10 years. Annual economic growth has averaged 5-6% since 2000 and incomes have doubled in less than 30 years. GDP growth risks being dented in 2012 by double digit inflation, high levels of government borrowing and a growing trade deficit.

The agricultural sector is a major component of the Bangladeshi economy, such that weather conditions can have a significant impact on growth. The sector contributes 20% of GDP and employs around half of the working population.  The financial, telecommunications and energy sectors have the potential for high growth, but Bangladesh’s challenging business environment has meant foreign direct investment has remained stagnant at around US$ 1bn.

Remittances play a major role in reducing poverty and increasing economic growth by driving consumer spending. Remittance inflows have more than doubled in the last five years but this growth is expected to slow following the global financial crisis. Developments in the Middle East could affect remittances going forward. 

Constraints to growth: According the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, companies find inadequate infrastructure, inefficient government bureaucracy, corruption and political instability the most problematic factors for doing business.

Shortages of power and gas are impeding industrial growth. Energy infrastructure in Bangladesh is inadequate and current levels of investment in the sector are low. The government is however planning expansion of oil and coal fired power-generation capacity, as well as awarding contracts for gas exploration.

In the longer term, low levels of education also limit Bangladesh’s growth prospects. With adult literacy at only 56% (World Bank 2009 est.), significant improvements are needed if Bangladesh is to reap its demographic dividend.
 
 
HISTORY

Europeans began to set up trading posts in the area of Bangladesh in the 16th century; eventually the British came to dominate the region and it became part of British India. Before the independence of India and Pakistan, the territory formed part of the Indian provinces of Bengal and Assam. Following partition in 1947, East Bengal, with a Muslim majority population, emerged as the eastern wing of Pakistan.

During the period of East and West Pakistan there was a growing sense of Bengali nationalism, stimulated in part by the insensitivity of the central Government in West Pakistan, particularly on language (Urdu was declared the official language although few in East Pakistan spoke it).
In the 1970 General Election, the Awami League (AL), a Bengali nationalist party led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a landslide victory in East Pakistan. Since the East had the larger population this gave it an absolute majority in the national parliament. After West Pakistan failed to recognize the AL's majority, Sheikh Mujib launched a secessionist uprising. The Pakistan government responded with vicious military tactics, including the targeted murder of “intellectuals” (including many Hindus) and mass rape. This became known as the Bangladesh Liberation War which began on 26 March 1971 (when Sheikh Mujib called on Bangladesh to become an independent nation).  The war ended on 16 December 1971 (known now as Victory Day) shortly after the intervention of the Indian army.
Sheikh Mujib became the first President and then Prime Minister of Bangladesh. His AL government introduced a secular and democratic constitution in 1972. In December 1974, facing growing economic difficulties, the government declared a state of emergency and a month later amended the constitution, replacing parliamentary rule with an executive presidency and providing for the introduction of one party rule.
 
Sheikh Mujib, who had assumed the role of President, was assassinated in August 1975 in a military coup. The Army, under its new Chief of Staff General Zia ur Rahman, took control. Zia became President in 1977 and set up his own political party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). In May 1981 he too was assassinated by a group of army officers. The Vice-President, Abdus Sattar, was elected the new Head of State a few months later.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ershad overthrew President Sattar in a bloodless coup, in 1982. Ershad suspended the constitution and re-imposed martial law. He founded his own political party, the Jana Dal and declared himself President in 1983. The following year he began talks with the two opposition alliances - one led by Sheikh Mujibur’s daughter, Sheikh Hasina, and the other led by Begum Khaleda Zia, Zia ur Rahman's widow. In 1986 Ershad's renamed party, the Jatiya Party, won parliamentary and presidential elections and martial law was lifted. The main opposition political parties forced Ershad to step down in December 1990 when he lost army support after massive protest demonstrations.

With the support of all opposition parties, Chief Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed assumed the post of Acting President, appointed a neutral caretaker government and conducted General Elections in February 1991. Khaleda Zia's BNP won a surprise victory and she took office as Prime Minister. The constitution was amended and a return to Parliamentary rule approved in a referendum in September 1991. Abdur Rahman Biswas was elected to the now largely ceremonial office of President, while Shahabuddin Ahmed returned to his post as Chief Justice (he was re-elected as President in 1996).
 

All the main opposition parties boycotted the next general elections, in February 1996. Although a new BNP government was sworn in, opposition agitation increased, bringing the economy near to collapse. The Government resigned in March following a constitutional amendment which provided for a caretaker Government. Fresh elections were held on 12 June 1996 under a caretaker Government. These elections were conducted peacefully, with a high turnout of voters. The AL won most seats and formed the Government with Sheikh Hasina becoming the Prime Minister.

In the summer of 1997 the Opposition staged a walk-out from parliament, complaining about harassment of BNP members and about their treatment in parliament where they claimed they were not getting their due in terms of speaking time and seats on select committees. The government and the BNP reached an agreement in March 1998 which led to the return of the BNP to parliament, but they subsequently staged further walk-outs and political strikes or hartals. This pattern continued on and off throughout the next three years. Efforts by the Speaker to get the Opposition to return to parliament failed and public invitations by the Prime Minister to the Leader of the Opposition were rejected.

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