Dhaka, Bangladesh
Inclusive democracy imperative for inclusive growth

Inclusive democracy imperative for inclusive growth

Says Prof Rehman Sobhan

Inclusive democracy is an imperative for achieving inclusive growth, said eminent economist Prof Rehman Sobhan, at a time when both the fundamentals remain topics of talk in the country. The first one is political that presupposes inclusion of all classes of people and the opposition parties in the democratic process of election and governance, while the second one of the parallelogram focuses on equitable distribution of economic growth and wealth among all strata of society. "If you want inclusive growth, you've to have inclusive democracy in your process," the Chairman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) told a seminar titled 'Pursuing Inclusive Growth: Priorities for the New Government' at a city hotel Sunday. Prof Rehman Sobhan also said the issue of quality education is not discussed in parliament as children of about 90 percent MPs are studying in English- medium schools. "There're chances that 90 percent of MPs' children study in English-medium schools." He called for conducting a study on the education situation. The seminar was also addressed, among others, by Planning Minister Abdul Mannan, Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, former Finance Minister M Syeduzzaman, Gonosha-sthya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, eminent physician Dr Rashid- E-Mahbub, eminent environmentalist Dr A Atiq Rahman and educationist Dr Rasheda K Chowdhury. CPD Executive Director Fahmida Khatun made the keynote presentation on the topic while its distinguished fellow Prof Mustafizur Rahman moderated the seminar, reports UNB. Country's education system has serious structural flaws, said Rehman Sobhan, who presided over the seminar. "But I never witnessed any debate in parliament in the last 10 years on the issue of quality education." He said although the Prime Minister has announced a 'zero-tolerance' policy against corruption, the costs of different projects overrun. "But those are not being investigated." Terming poverty country's main problem, Planning Minister Abdul Mannan said the government is fighting hard to eradicate it. He questioned what the government can do if people want their children to study in English medium schools with money that comes from their family members working in the Middle East or the UK. Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury admitted that there are some bad communal contents in school textbooks and blamed it on the influence of a reactionary group that had been in the administration. He said Awami League has prepared its election manifesto in light of the country's present reality. Former Finance Minister Dr M Syeduzzaman said Bangladesh badly needs private investment for enhancing growth. "But unfortunately, Bangladesh's position is even lower than Myanmar in this regard," he observed. Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury alleged that the attorney general office is creating obstacles to obtaining bail by those accused in 'fictitious' cases. "This is a big barrier to good governance." He also underscored the need for delegating power to the local level administration. Dr Rashid-e-Mahbub said he feels bad to see that the country's medical care system is in its 'worst' situation. "The poor are getting poorer and it has been biggest challenge to ensure rationality in providing medical care services." Dr Rasheda K Chowdhury said the young community is skeptical about whether they will get job on completion of their education. She said communal contents are still in school textbooks although those have already been identified. Appreciating the High Court verdict banning coaching business by teachers, the educationist said children will now get time to go to playgrounds. She also said if repression on women stops and corruption is uprooted, this will increase GDP by 2.0 percent.

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