Dhaka, Bangladesh
Growth with fair sharing seen urgent

Growth with fair sharing seen urgent

System rebuilding can help

News Special: Recent discoveries of high concentration of wealth and further marginalization of the multitudes through reported price fixing provoked thoughts on revisiting the aspirations behind independence. Many analysts suggest it's time politicians and policymakers got down to building up a saner system. They say--and the purge kicked off by the prime minister illustrate the urgency-that the applicable fundamentals of the basic principles on which the independent Bangladesh state was founded could come to a great help in a much-needed socioeconomic reordering. This way it is possible to avert recurrence of crises, and resultant sufferings and high tragedies in the polity has witness could be averted. An optimal reaping of developmental and demographic dividends presupposes social order and peace. "When a nation, people stay in heightened sensibility and surrealistic sate, delivering the desired goods becomes difficult," says many a thinker. It's true for all of the nations on earth. Instances and evidences of disruption to development process are not scarce in Bangladesh context in particular, they point out. And the recent raising of alarm from both sides of the political divide-the Martyred Intellectuals Day calls and counter-calls are no exception-is self-explanatory. Democratic deficit and economic disparity were at the core of war cry that rallied the Bengalis in 1971 to wrest independence from the then exploitative Pakistani regime. Many gains garnered from the independence the nation has achieved and much remains a far cry. It's no prevarication of the facts, as also admitted by those who have ruled Bangladesh by turns so far. So, they suggest, all heads that have the brains should be put together to think out how to strike a balance in economics, politics and society. There is a universal obligation, too, in this respect. Economic growth with minimal equitable sharing of its benefits through proper redistribution of wealth remains a challenge, as viewed by economists and policy think-tanks who find a widening disparity. A latest economic analysis by a leading trade body also pointed out this and other challenges ahead in the quest for a sustainable economic growth. As articulated in the latest UN-mandated development paradigm, development has to be sustainable that presupposes inclusive growth in a country with equitable incomes to avert socioeconomic disparity. In Bangladesh, there have been flurries of discussions and debates before, during and after the new budget over reported excessive wealth concentration in few hands, and recommendations are offered for remedies so that development takes the line delineated in the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. The government has widened the social-safety-net recipes to that end so that some share of the national wealth or development benefits reach the lower strata-especially some vulnerable groups. Some economists and analysts are, however, of a different view of such dollops of aid to the poor. They say it is drawn from international donor agencies' prescription such as 'trickledown effect'. It means top-down approach to development. They are of the opinion that development has to be done on the basis of minimal parity by addressing the growing income disparities. And that calls for fair redistribution of wealth, as also articulated in the nation's constitution which is an outcome of the country's independence. Failing this, they caution, there could be much deeper social unrest stemming from discontent among different segments of the population. What the instrument to gauge parity in development and sharing wealth was also shown by some members during budget discussion in parliament. The tool is Gini coefficient. The Gini index or Gini coefficient is a statistical measure of distribution which was developed by the Italian statistician Corrado Gini in 1912. It is used as a gauge of economic inequality, measuring income distribution among a population. The coefficient ranges from 0 (or 0%) to 1 (or 100%), with 0 representing perfect equality and 1 or 100 percent representing perfect inequality. Discussions on this point of development paradigm continues after the passage of the Tk 5.23-trillion budget for the current 2019-20 fiscal year, as achieving the SDGs by 2030 is a mandate for Bangladesh, too. A latest analysis came from the International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh that identified two major challenges in Bangladesh's development drive, urging the government to give more importance on social-service delivery. "The main challenge is to maintain the economic growth. Another challenge is related to eradicating inequality," the ICC,B said, adding that if the country continues its economic growth, it has to ensure the equal distribution of the benefits of the growth among all segments of the population.

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