A review of the 23-year freedom-struggle led by Bangabandhu clearly shows that the Pakistani colonial rulers identified the Awami League as a party and Sheikh Mujib as its leader as enemy number one. Therefore, from the beginning of the language-based movement in 1948 to the Liberation War, the Pakistani rulers were assertive in implementing the conspiracy to oust Awami League and Bangabandhu. But the conspiracy was foiled by the collective struggle of Bengalis under the wise and tactful leadership of Bangabandhu.
The realization of independent-sovereign Bangladesh took place through nine months of armed struggle under the leadership of Awami League. The defeated enemies of the Liberation War started a new conspiracy in the newly independent Bangladesh. Their goals are also almost identical. Killing Bangabandhu and its leaders to make Awami League, the leading party of the Liberation War, void of leadership and make Bangladesh a new Pakistan. As part of executing their plan, Bangabandhu was killed with his family on 15 August 1975 and four national leaders landed in jail on November 3 of that year. The country was quickly plunged into anarchy. Directly and indirectly, military and semi-democratic rulers administered the country for 21 years sharing power with the anti-independence forces. They sent democracy into exile. To stay in power, they choose the politics of murder, assassination and conspiracy. In such a suffocating situation and misrule, Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina, who survived the 1975’s assassination of her family, returned to the country in 1981 and took the helm of Awami League. Awami League's street movement against dictatorship gained great momentum.
Instead of the unequal education policy in the country with the highest priority on education, is the universal education system for all free of cost. New academic books are now being handed over to hundred percent of the students on the first day of every year. The country is the 57th proud member country of Satellite Club by launching Bangabandhu Satellite-1. Metrorail and Karnaphuli Tunnel are going to be added to the list of many milestones achieved in December this year. Bangladesh has been established as a self-respecting nation in the world assembly. Digital Bangladesh took the country to a unique height under the magic of the Honourable Prime Minister.
Sheikh Hasina was born on September 28, 1947 in Tungipara of Gopalganj district by the Modhomati River. She is the eldest child of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa. Sheikh Hasina's life is full of struggle. She remained under house arrest for nine months of the liberation war. Despite the fall of the military dictatorship, she had to suffer imprisonment and house arrest several times. At least 21 attempts have been made to kill her. But she remained steadfast in achieving her goal with infinite courage even at the risk of her life. Bangabandhu's life's vow is to build a happy and prosperous golden Bangladesh in the spirit of the liberation war. This fearless noble woman and the popular leader Sheikh Hasina has turned 75 today. A prime minister who is used to living a simple and unpretentious life, is a statesman who has achieved the most honourable position of the head of government or the head of state in the present world. With creative vision, talent and wisdom, she sowed the courage of the Bengalis to establish their lost rights.
The visionary leadership of the head of government is very important to take any state to the pinnacle of development. If the leader does not have clear goals then the country can never move forward properly. Just as Bangabandhu gradually prepared the people of Bangladesh for independence through his visionary leadership, similarly, Sheikh Hasina, inspired by her father's ideals, has made Bangladesh a role model for development through the implementation of various initiatives. This achievement was possible due to her leadership skills. One example is enough to understand how skilled a statesman she is. When Awami League formed the government in 2009, the budget size of Bangladesh was 87 thousand crores, from that place the budget size has increased to 6 lakh 78 thousand 64 crores in the last 13 years.
One of the best achievements of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's state management skills is the construction of Digital Bangladesh in thirteen years. Digital Bangladesh is a visible reality today under her able leadership and the experienced knowledge and guidance and supervision of renowned IT expert and ICT Advisor to the Prime Minister, Sajib Wazed Joy. A strong ICT sector infrastructure has been developed in the country. High speed (broadband) internet has reached the union level. At present it is going to the village. The number of internet users in the country is more than 13 crore. The number of mobile phone connections is more than 18 crores.
Due to the development of ICT infrastructure, the successful 650,000 freelancers of the country are earning about 500 million dollars in foreign exchange. Government has digitized 2 thousand services. More than 60 lakh people are receiving services every month from about 8 thousand 500 digital centres across the country. Transactions of about Tk. 92 thousand crore per month in mobile banking highlights the success of implementation of inclusive policies of the Prime Minister. 9 Hi-Tech/Software Parks/IT Incubation Centres have started business activities. E-Nathi, National Information Batayan, National Helpline 333, E Namjari, RS Khatian System, Krishi Batayan, E Challan, Ek Pay, Ek Shop, Ek Seba, Kishore Batayan, Muktapath, Teacher Batayan, I-Lab, Corona Portal, Ma Tele health services, Prabus Bandhu call centre, virtual court system, digital classroom and numerous online services have made life easier for people. Bangladesh has shown unique success in dealing with epidemics like Corona with the help of technology, which has been appreciated not only in the country but globally. Digital economy cannot develop without innovation and research. With this realization, the Prime Minister stressed harnessing the innovative power of the youth. On the one hand, 33 labs including AI, robotics has been established as part of the establishment of specialized labs in all universities, on the other hand Start-up Bangladesh Limited Company has been established. The government has provided a fund of 500 crore taka to these IT start-ups to create talent development opportunities. Like Bangabandhu, his daughter is an unstoppable warrior for the younger generation. She has become a beacon of youth through the implementation of Digital Bangladesh. The youth of Bengal are now getting the opportunity to make them more efficient by using the power of the Internet.
But the hard reality is that when the country started to recover from the damage of the corona epidemic under the leadership of the Prime Minister, the per capita income in the financial year 2021-22 stood at 2824 US dollars and the GDP growth was 7.25 percent.
Today, Sheikh Hasina's success story is not only at the national or regional level, but her success story has spread throughout the world. She is the longest serving national leader in the current democratic world. People's participation and opinions are being given importance in the country's development activities and administrative decision-making. As a result, transparency and accountability have been ensured in administrative activities. Sheikh Hasina's success in terms of economic and social development is a wonder to the world. In short, she is a symbol of development, good governance and success.
The dream of building an efficient, sustainable, innovative and intelligent and knowledge-based smart Bangladesh and a developed country by 2041 based on Digital Bangladesh is possible only through People's Leader Sheikh Hasina. Let her succeed in the realization of her dreams for the good of the country and the nation, may she live long - this is our wish.
The writer is the State Minister for Information and Communication Technology. He can be reached at: [email protected]