DHAKA, Jan 12, 2017 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today gave a nationwide televised address coinciding with the completion of third year of the second consecutive tenure of her government. Following is the full text of her speech.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
I am extending New Year greetings to you all.
Today is 12th January. I took oath as the Prime Minister for third time on this day after getting huge mandate of the people in the 10th Jatiya Sangsad (JS) election on 5 January, 2014.
I extend my sincere greetings and felicitation to the people on completion the third year of this tenure of Bangladesh Awami League Government.
With deep respect I am remembering the greatest Bangalee of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who gave us a sovereign independent country after his 24 years struggle defying imprisonments and repressions.
I am remembering four national leaders -- Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Captain M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamaruzzaman -- who were killed inside jail on November 3 (in 1975).
I am remembering with respect the three million martyrs of the Liberation War. I am extending my sympathy to the war wounded freedom fighters, the families which lost their dear ones and two lakhs of mothers and sisters who were exposed to tortures in 1971.
I am recalling with profound pain the victims of August 15, 1975 massacre -- my mother Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib, my three brothers Captain Sheikh Kamal, Lieutenant Sheikh Jamal and ten-year-old Sheikh Russell, newly married wives of Sheikh Kamal and Sheikh Jamal -- Sultana and Rosy, the only brother of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Naser, and all martyrs of the night including Bangabandhu's military secretary Brigadier Jamil.
I am remembering Awami League leader Ivy Rahman and 22 other leaders and workers, who were killed in grenade attacks on August 21, 2004.
I am remembering 21,000 leaders and activists including former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria, Awami League leader Ahsanullah Master, Manzurul Imam and Momtajuddin who were killed during the BNP-Jamaat alliance regime.
I am remembering slain lawmaker from Gaibandha-Sundarganj Manjurul Islam who was killed recently. I express my deep respects to the deceased members of parliament of the 10th Jatiya Sangsad.
Bangladesh Awami League is set to step into its ninth year in government after performing its responsibilities for eight consecutive years. During this long time you have gave my government the opportunity to serve the countrymen. I am grateful to you.
You will judge how much the government fulfilled yours expectations. But I firmly can say we left no stone unturned for the welfare of the country and the countrymen.
We should remember that the quantum of resources is limited in this country of huge population which saw no socio-economic development for a long time. Many problems gradually accumulated to take mammoth shapes.
Internally we had to face adverse situations. The global economic adversity also repeatedly stood on our way to development.
But after overcoming all obstacles Bangladesh is now on the highway of development. Bangladesh is the role model for universal development. The World Bank presents Bangladesh to the globe as a model country in reducing poverty within a very short time.
The Bangladesh of today is not what it was eight years ago. Today's Bangladesh is self-confident.
In the index of economic progress Bangladesh is the one of the top five countries of the world. The size of Bangladesh economy currently is more than Taka eight lakh crore. In terms of GDP, it the country is placed in 44th position and purchasing capacity wise we have secured 32nd position in the world.
We have amazed the entire world by keeping a steady growth rate of 6.5 percent. In 2015-2016, the GDP growth rate was 7.11 percent. The next year's growth rate has been targeted to be 7.4 percent.
We have exceeded the South Asian and low-income countries in most cases of economic and social indicators. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, Bangladesh will secure the 29th economic position by 2030 and 23th by 2050.
People's per capita income has now increased to US$ 1,466 from US$ 543 in 2005-06.
The poverty rate was 41.5 percent in 2005-06, which has now declined to 22.4%. The rate of extreme poverty has declined to 12 percent from 24.23%. Our aim is to bring down the poverty rate to 15/16 percent and the extreme poverty rate to 7/8 percent by 2021.
The people's purchasing capacity has increased on the one side and living standard has improved, on the other side, as inflation remains within the tolerable limit. In 2009, inflation rate was at double digit, which has now slashed down to 5.03 percent.
Export earning was only US$ 10.52 billion in 2005-06, which has increased to US$ 34.28 billion in 2015-16. We are going ahead with a target of US$ 60 billion export earning by 2021. To attain this goal, we have declared a national export policy and we are offering different incentives.
Bangladesh economy is now set on a strong footing. The foreign exchange reserve was only US$ 3.5 billion in 2005-06, which has now increased to US$ 32 billion.
About one and a half crore people have been employed at home and abroad in the last eight years. In the last year, a record number of 7,57,731 people went abroad. Five crore people have been upgraded to the middle class from the low income group.
The implementation of the 6th five-year plan has already ended with an objective of country's overall development. We have started working on implementation of the 7th five-year plan.
When our government assumed office in 2009, then 3,200 megawatts of power was generated in the country. Currently, the country generates about 15,300 megawatts. Eighty percent people of the country have come under the electricity coverage.
We want to reach electricity to every house by 2021. To attain this goal, we have to generate 24,000 megawatts of power. We have started construction of a number of big power plants.
I would like to assure the people that in building coal-based power plants, we have taken the highest safety measures to protect environment.
Special importance has been given to power generation using renewable energy. About 45 lakh solar home systems have been installed across the country, including remote hill and char (shoal) areas. Of the total electricity, 10 percent would be generated using renewable energy.
We are going to join the nuclear club. The construction of a 2,000-megawwat nuclear power plant is progressing at Rooppur in Pabna.
One of our pledges was to ensure food security and boost agriculture production. Extensive advancements have taken place in agriculture sector in last eight years. Annual food-grain production has reached four crore metric tons. Once a country of food shortage, Bangladesh has now turned into a food-surplus country.
Bangladesh occupies the fourth position in production of sweet water fish and third place in production of vegetables in the world.
Agriculture assistance worth about Taka 40,300 crore was provided in the last eight years. We have made arrangements of low-interest agriculture loan for sharecroppers without collaterals through the Krishi Bank.
The Awami League government is continuing different social safety net programmes, including allowances for elderly people, widows, poor women, freedom fighters and the disabled people since 1996.
One hundred and forty-two programmes are being implemented in the current year the under social safety net programme.
Under this programme, Taka 2,29,165.90 crore has been spent in eight years from 2008-09 to 2015-16 . Taka 33,066.62 crore has been allocated in this sector in the current year.
An allowance of Taka 600 is being given to hijra (transgender individuals) and bende community people. Grant for tea workers has been increased to Taka 15 crore from Taka 10 crore.
Poverty alleviation programme is being implemented through small savings under the "one house, one farm project". One hundred branches of Palli Sanchaya Bank have been inaugurated.
So far, 1.40 lakh families have been rehabilitated through the Ashrayan Project. More 2.80 lakh families will be rehabilitated by 2019 through the Ashrayan Project and project of the housing programme.
Since the month of September, 50 lakh families are being provided with rice at a cost of Taka 10 per kilogram.
Dear Countrymen, Radical changes have taken place in education system during our tenure. A time-befitting education policy has been formulated.
We started distributing free textbooks among students up to the secondary level in 2010.
A total of 36,21,82,245 textbooks were distributed among 4,26,53,929 students this year. In the past eight years, 225,43,100,128 textbooks were distributed. There is no such example of distributing free textbooks in the world.
As many as 1,72,93,118 students of class one to degree level have received talent-pool scholarship and stipend in 2015-16 fiscal year.
We have nationalized 26,193 primary schools. At the same time, jobs of 1,20,000 teachers also have been nationalized.
Computer labs and multimedia class rooms have so far been set up at 31,131 educational institutions since 2009. New primary schools were set up at 1125 villages, where there was no school. A total of 365 colleges have so far been given approval for nationalization from 2009. One school and one college will be nationalized in those upazilas where there is no government school or college.
There was no government school in 315 upazilas in the country. However, 113 high schools have been given permission for nationalization.
More 202 schools will be nationalized in phases.
Student dropout at primary schools has decreased. Literary rate has come down to 44 percent from 65 percent when BNP-Jamaat alliance came to power in 2001. At present, literacy rate has increased to 71 percent.
Eight public universities were set up in the country from 2009 to 2016. At the same time, the government has given approval for establishing 42 universities at the private sector. At present, the number of public universities in the country is 39 while private universities is 96. Specialized universities including textile and fashion design have been set up in the country.
The government passed laws for setting up two new medical universities in Chittagong and Rajshahi. One public or private university will be established in those districts where there is no university.
Under the first phase, activities for setting up 100 technical school and colleges are underway in 100 upazilas while 389 technical schools and colleges will be established in the second phase.
One polytechnic institute has been set up at Kishoreganj, Magura, Moulvibazar and Chapainawabganj districts each. World standard polytechnic institute will be established in 23 districts. Four women polytechnic institutes have been set up in four divisions - Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna.
Four women polytechnic institutes will be set up in Sylhet, Barisal, Mymensingh and Rangpur divisions. Four engineering colleges will be founded in Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions. Eight women technical school and colleges will be set up in eight divisional cities.
We have established 16,438 community clinics and union health centres aiming to reach healthcare facilities to doorsteps of the people. Thirty types of medicines are being provided to the poor people.
Medical advises also are being given from 64 district and 421 upazila hospitals through mobile phones. We have formulated a time-befitting health policy.
In the past eight years, the government recruited 12,728 assistant surgeons and 118 dental surgeons. A total of 13,000 health workers and nearly 12,000 nurses have been recruited at the field level.
As many as 3000 midwifery posts have been created. Almost all the children in the country have been brought under immunization programme, while all people have been brought under safe water and sanitation facilities.
Maternal mortality rate has decreased to 1.8 in every one thousand while child mortality declined to 29. In the past eight years, 24 public hospitals were constructed in different districts including Dhaka. Nearly 8,500 beds have been increased at public hospitals. High quality equipment and ambulances have been supplied to hospitals. The number of public medical colleges was at 14 when the present government came to power in 2009. At present, number of public medical colleges is 36. There are 69 medical colleges in the private sector.
The number of public and private dental colleges is 28. With sincere and relentless efforts of my daughter Saima Wazed Hossain, autism has drawn attention of the world community. Child development centres have been set up at 22 public and private hospitals for supporting autistic children.
The Prime Minister said health card will be distributed soon among one lakh families living under poverty line and this card will also be distributed among all poor families in phase across the country.
The communication sector has witnessed a massive development after my assumption of office.
Forty-eight large bridges have been constructed. Dhaka's Hatirjheel Project, Kuril-Biswa Road Multipurpose Flyover, Mirpur-Airport Zillur Rahman Flyover, Banani Overpass, Mayor Hanif Flyover have been completed.
The construction work of 26 kilometers expressway from Airport to MAtijheel is progressing. The construction work of metro-rail has also begun. Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane highway has been opened to traffic. Nabinagar-DEPZ-Chandra Road and Dhaka-Mymensingh road have been upgraded to four-lane. Work on upgrading the Chandra-Tangail Highway and Dhaka-Sylhet Road is going on.
Country's first eight-lane highway from Jatrabari to Kantchpur has been opened to traffic. Construction work of Padma Bridge with our own finance is progressing fast. Construction work of 2nd Kantchpur, 2nd Meghna and 2nd Gumti bridges will begin soon.
The Awami League government has taken steps to modernize the railway. High-speed express train has been introduced between Dhaka and Chittagong. Feasibility study on electric train and metro-rain is also going on.
The government has constructed 45 river vessels and put them on operation for transportation of passengers for the development of the country's waterway communication. Two passenger ships and four sea-trucks have been included in the national river transport system. Fourteen dredgers have been bought for increasing the navigability of the waterways. Purchasing of 17 more dredgers is now underway.
Four inland river ports have been set up. Dhaka and Barisal river ports have been modernized.
Landing facilities for river transports have been made at Kantchpur, Sandwip and Kumira.
Mongla port which was on the verge of closure once has become a profit-making organization during our government.
Economic activities are getting intensified in southern district Patuakhali because of the beginning of the work of Paira seaport. Activities on setting up direct rail connectivity with Paira Port have also started.
We have procured six large aircraft for Biman Bangladesh Airlines. A move is underway to buy four more aircraft. Feasibility study regarding construction of Bangabandhu International Airport in Madaripur, the other side of Padma Bridge will begin soon.
The national tourism policy has been formulated for the development and expansion of tourism industry. Tourist police have been constituted to ensure security of the tourism sector.
We have been able to establish digital Bangladesh with our relentless efforts during the last eight years. The people are getting 200 types of services from 5,275 Union Digital Centres and 8200 e-post offices. Optical fiber is being expanded up to union level.
There are over 13 crore mobile-SIM holders in Bangladesh. The number of internet subscribers is about six crore. Work is going on to launch Bangabandhu Satellite-1 on the orbit within the current year.
We have introduced the world's largest web portal "Tathya Batayan" with 25,000 websites which has been rewarded internationally.
Our government has taken up most liberal policy for flourishing of trade-commerce and industry. Investment is increasing in the country because of taking up investment-friendly programmes. Bangladesh is in second position in South Asia in receiving foreign investments.
In 2015-2016 fiscal year Bangladesh's export-earning was Taka 223 crore which was Taka 45.6 crore in 2006, the last year of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government.
The Jute Act 2016 has been passed to promote use and trade of jute. Steps are underway to formulate Jute Policy 2016, Textile Industries Act 2016 and Textile Policy 2016.
Works are progressing for setting up of 100 Special Economic Zones (SEZ) to attract foreign investment for industrialization. The SEZs would create employment opportunities for as many as ten million people.
The government attaches the highest priority to freedom of speech and thought. In view of this we have framed the country's first National Broadcasting Policy and Right to Information Act in addition to establishment of the Information Commission.
In the private sector 44 television channels, 22 FM radio and 32 community radios have been given permission.
Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust has been established with an allocation of Taka five crore as seed money from the government. The government has also donated Taka 1.58 crore to the trust fund in addition to collecting Taka 7.10 crore. The government has so far distributed Taka 5.20 crore as assistance among journalists.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been strengthened. The commission is functioning with freedom. Information technology is being widely used to check corruption and ensure transparency and accountability.
We have taken measures for strengthening the local government structure. Elections to the Upazila Council, City Corporation, Pourasabha, and Union Council were completed in different phases. Elections to the reserve seats for women in every tier of the local government were held.
Bangladesh is one of the top countries in the world in empowering women.
The parliament has been made the center of all activities. Thanks to the opposition party for their active participation in the parliament and giving their opinions on various issues.
Salaries of the officials and employees, both civil and military, were increased by 123 percent. Steps were taken for their promotions and elevating their ranks.
Forces Goal 2030 has been ascertained in light of the defense policy formulated by the Father of the Nation. Armed forces were equipped with modern weapons and war machines.
Members of police, RAB, Ansar, BGB and armed forces are getting risk allowances. Minimum wage of the garment workers has been raised to Taka 5,300.
Bangladesh has made remarkable successes in national and international sports arena for last few years. For the first time Bangladesh was qualified for playing in the quarter final in the World Cup Cricket. In One Day International (ODI) we have defeated Pakistan, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Our girls became regional champion in the AFC Under-14 football tournament. Our girls became runner-up for the first time in recently held Women Football Championship in India.
National female cricket team has been qualified for T20 World Cup Cricket for next year.
Physically challenged boys and girls are also showing excellent successes in sports. They are brining honour for the country by participating in various sports events at home and abroad.
We have achieved MDGs for which Bangladesh has received MDG Award.
We are pledge-bound to implement the SDGs adopted by the United Nations. As many as 56 goals of the SDGs were incorporated in the 7th Five Year Plan.
We believe in peace and peaceful coexistence. The motto of our foreign policy is 'friendship with all, malice to none.".
Based on the basic principle of our foreign policy, we have established our relation with neighbours with creating new avenues for regional cooperation.
We have peacefully resolved the land boundary problem with India. Disputes with India and Myanmar on maritime boundary were also resolved, creating enormous opportunities to explore sea resources and strengthen our economy. It will make special contribution to the national economy.
We have built up maritime research institute in Cox's Bazaar, where a sea aquarium would be constructed.
Bangladesh is the top troops contributing country in the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions and Bangladesh is playing a praiseworthy role in establishing global peace.
When Bangladesh is moving forward, a vested quarter is out to create anarchic situation in the country by carrying out terrorist acts in the name of Islam.
Islam is the religion of peace. Those who are killing people in the name of Islam are not friend of the Islam, they are enemies of Islam. Islam never supports killing of people.
The people of Bangladesh are religious minded but not fanatic. The people of all religions have been living in peace with the bondage of harmony for thousands of years.
There is no room for those who want to destroy the religious harmony on the soil of Bangla.
I urge all imams, teachers of all educational institutions including madrasas, local senior citizens, members of Ansar-VDP and guardians to be aware against militant activities.
It's my call to especially the guardians to look after their children and grow them in such a way so that they don't step into wrong way.
The trial of war criminals is underway.
We passed three years of our current tenure and the general election would be held after completion of our specific tenure. We believe in democracy and have full confidence in the people.
You know, the apex court of the country cancelled the Caretaker Government System and we have stopped the illegal way for usurping state power through the fifth amendment to the constitution.
Before the 10th Jatiya Sangsad election on January 5, 2014, we proposed formation of a polls-time national government with the participation of all parties representing in Jatiya Sangsad.
Because, we were always in favour of holding free, fair and neutral elections. Under the Constitution, we were ready to give all kinds of concession. Even we wanted to give any ministry to the BNP, which they wish.
But the BNP's leadership did not response to that call. Rather, they established reign of terror by letting loose the terrorists. They were indulged in killing of people by hurling petrol bombs, arson and bomb attacks. They killed over hundred people and destroyed property of thousands of crores of Taka.
Though the BNP alliance boycotted the 10th Jatiya Sangsad election, the polls were held smoothly with the participation of a significant number of political parties and candidates.
During the election time, all organizations concerned including administration and law enforcement agencies were under the election commission and the government did not any interfere.
The BNP leader staying lavishly in the party office for 92 days from January to March 2015 instigated torching and vandalism in the name of movement.
In three months 231 innocent people were killed and 1,180 others injured by the BNP-Jamaat terrorists. They set fire to 2,903 vehicles, 18 trains and eight launches, while 70 government offices and establishments were vandalized and six land offices were torched.
The countrymen rejected their terrorism activities and they don't to see the recurrence of such activities.
The honourable President took initiative to constitute a new election commission and we hope all political parties would keep confidence in the election commission to be formed by the President.
I hope all political parties would join the election as per the constitution and help uphold the democratic trend in the country.
Bangladesh Awami League believes in work not speak. Bangladesh Awami League brought all the successes the country so far witnessed from starting War of Liberation under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
We liberated the country through War of Liberation by fighting and the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu taught us not to down heads. We will put Bangladesh at dignified position on the world stage by overcoming all obstacles.
Bangladesh earned the status of lower middle income country under the leadership of Awami League government. I strongly believe that only Awami League could establish Bangladesh as a middle income country by 2021 and developed and prosperous country by 2041 and build "Sonar Bangla," as dreamt by the Father of the Nation.
Let us come to engage ourselves in the country's development unitedly and present a developed-prosperous, beautiful and livable Bangladesh for the future generation.
Be everybody well and healthy, I am praying this to the Almighty Allah.
Heartiest thanks to all again.
Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu
Long Live Bangladesh
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)