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13 January, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Social sector development

Social sector development

Speakers at a seminar in Rajshahi recently said that the Bangladesh’s successes are visible in all the major and vital areas including ICT, agriculture, education, reduction of infant and maternal mortality, poverty reduction, safety net and women empowerment.  Bangladesh’s economy has recorded remarkable economic performance in the last decade or so. Even more spectacular has been the steady improvement in its levels of many social development outcomes.  This phenomenon has received extensive coverage in international media outlets, such as the New York Times, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal.

A country that was once infamously dubbed “a basket case” is today an important example for others within the developing world. The progress achieved could place Bangladesh on a path of sustained growth, eventually starting a virtuous cycle whereby higher human and social development is followed by higher growth, igniting a positive feedback loop.

However, ineffective public governance, dysfunctional institutions, and limited budgetary allocations could prove to be obstacles. As Bangladesh’s gains from low-cost solutions are reaped, further progress will increasingly depend on higher public social spending and improvement in service delivery systems. Further reductions in child and maternal mortality will require more expensive interventions and the provision of relatively costly health services.

While good progress has been made in improving the school participation rate, there are now serious concerns about the quality of education. At the same time, improvements in public services delivery across social sectors will be necessary, requiring governance reforms aimed at improving mechanisms for public sector efficiency, transparency, and accountability.

To consolidate the gains made in social development so far and to make further improvements, the challenge for Bangladesh lies in addressing governance inefficiencies.

Bangladesh's achievements surprised many observers because the country faced many daunting challenges. The challenges include political instability and uncertainty, growing violence, climate change, frequent natural disasters, poor resource base, income inequality, crumbling institutions, increased centralisation, poor service delivery, endemic corruption, dysfunctional governance and so on. Defying such odds, Bangladesh continued to make progress in improving the lives and livelihood of its people. Bangladesh needs to diversify its economy as well as reorient towards domestic market. This is not an easy task in a depressed global economy and slowing regional growth. The growing inequality is a hindrance for the growth of the domestic market as the majority of population does not have enough purchasing power. Of course, the heightened political unrest, governance failure and the lack of national consensus, makes the task even more frightening.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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