Bangladesh, a country that has often been butt of joke for its poverty, and hygiene, taking great strides in economic growth as the latest data show its per capita income has gone up from $2,064 to $2,227. The news was shared by Bangladesh’s Planning Minister MA Mannan when he informed the country’s cabinet last week. What could hurt a lot of Indians who made fun of Bangladesh is that the per capita of India is $280 lesser as India’s per capita income stands at $1,947.
Once a “bottomless basket” now a growth basket
US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who was not so much happy as India broke Pakistan into two pieces and helped in the formation of Bangladesh, a new country for Bengalis, especially Bengali Muslims who had realized their mistake of 1947. It is well known that Henry Kissinger did not have sympathies with Bangladesh, a new country that was ruined by Pakistani army’s ruthless violence. As he had then termed Bangladesh a ‘bottomless basket’, it was up to Bangladesh’s leadership to prove him wrong and this is happening. The best part is, Henry Kissinger is still alive to see and read all these stories, hope someone sends all the news stories about the economic growth of Bangladesh to him.
There could be several reasons why Bangladesh is faring better than the other regional economies, especially India’s, the largest neighbor. As it has come to notice, the last decade has seen terrific political stability in Bangladesh which has contributed significantly in setting up systems and mechanism towards massive economic activities. Additionally, there have been sustained policy commitments to macroeconomic stability through prudent fiscal and international debt management in the country.
Taking advantage of country’s ‘Developing’ Status
Although factors like expansion of the social security net and massive investment in mega infrastructure projects are two major reasons that have propelled the economic growth of Bangladesh, it has been its exports, especially textiles that is helping the country gain lots of Forex. Bangladesh’s exports have been going up significantly since the 1990s. For instance, it was less than US $2 billion in 1992; however, has gone up to $40 billion in FY19. The country gets lower tariff on textile exports to Europe and America since it is still classified among the poorest nations in the world that need fair trade conditions.
The textile industry in Bangladesh has come at the cost of India’s loss as the country has replaced India in the western country as the cheapest manufacturer. There could be various reasons behind Bangladesh becoming the low-cost textile manufacturing destination; however, the major reason is it lacks regulation and low wages are rampant. Most of the workers in textile industry are women who work or as low as half of a dollar daily.
An interesting data from 2020 shows that the export value ready-made garments in Bangladesh amounted to approximately $27.95 billion.
Pakistan is still the biggest loser
With per capita income of $1543, Pakistan has emerged as the real loser and nothing pleases the most to an average Bangladeshi than the fact that they are better placed in all parameters vis-à-vis Pakistan. Pakistanis, especially Punjabis made fun of dark colored Bengalis, branded them as ‘rice eaters’ ‘lazy’ and what not. However, things have changed diametrically since Bangladesh has become an inspiring story and Pakistan, a failed state.
Nothing sums better than what Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says, “My father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took the right decision to break away from Pakistan in 1971. See where they are and where we are today.”
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