Bangladesh: Towards a Non-partisan Search for a Pro-people National Political Economic Strategy during Crisis
Bangladesh is potentially capable of rapid, self-reliant and equitable development under a committed development-oriented leadership. The crucial tactical question right now, is how the currently successful policies can be continued and even better policies devised for the future. Thinking strategically for the medium to long term, the combination of strategic openness and self-reliance requires firm, skillful and committed leadership at all levels. Our current situation is perilous precisely because the tentative moves towards a self-reliant and pro-people political and economic system under the dedicated leadership of patriotic elements have not been a consistent feature since liberation. In addition to confronting the current political challenges tactically, our medium to long run strategic perspective must involve a genuine private-public partnership with proper incentives for patriotic elements in the private sector and for efficient and equitable delivery of services by the public sector. At the same time our economic advisers must think seriously about gradual reduction of reliance on the undesirable and burdensome elements of the so-called foreign aid, much of which has created political and economic dependence and a domestic parasitic clientalism for big capital from advanced countries. While we must be open towards genuine development projects funded by donors who will build our domestic capabilities(for example, building the Padma Shetu and other infrastructural projects), we must reject the Trojan horse of aid that forces the adoption of neoliberal policies and weakens our sovereignty. While acknowledging and encouraging the work of genuinely good NGOs for human development in Bangladesh, we must also reject the manipulative use of big NGOs to sabotage the authority of a people’s government in Bangladesh led by patriotic popular pro-liberation forces. On the positive side, we must emphasize the building of governance institutions according to the ideals that reflect the will of the people who fought for our liberation--- particularly, secularism, democracy, sovereignty and social justice. Nine specific strategic areas ranging from strategic openness to innovation and building up of human resources through progressive educational and other policies are discussed in this pro- people position paper.
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