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AL-led govt steps into 4th year in office tomorrow

DHAKA, Jan 11, 2017 (BSS) - The Awami League-led government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina steps into its fourth year in office tomorrow (Thursday).

On this day in 2014, the Awami League that led the nation's War of Independence in 1971 under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, formed the government for the second consecutive term after a landslide victory in the election to the 10th Jatiya Sangsad (Parliament).

The election was held on January 5, 2014 although BNP-Jamaat alliance created anarchy across the country unleashing vandalism, destruction, killing of people, torching of public and private properties and uprooting railway tracks.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, however, restored peace and democracy in the country demonstrating bold, courageous and farsighted leadership.

In the past three years, the country saw significant successes in major areas including politics, economy, agriculture, combating terrorism and driving the IT sector towards attaining the middle-income status.

Global leaders and political analysts praised Sheikh Hasina for successfully restoring and maintaining peaceful political situation in the country and combating terrorism without any fear and hesitation. There was no big agitation like hartals, blockades and other destructive activities in the recent time that the whole nation witnessed in the past years.

The peaceful political situation helped the country's economy grow faster than ever, setting newer records in many macro-economic indicators.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data showed that the annual growth rate of GDP (gross domestic product) hit the highest ever record at 7.11 percent in the outgoing year when the per-capita income surged to $1465, also the record high. The poverty rate also declined to 23.2 percent.

According to Bangladesh Bank, the point to point inflation was 5.38 percent in November, which was close to the target of 5.8 percent for 2016-17 financial year.

The reserve also hit a record nearing $32 billion in 2016, which was enough for meeting the country's six months' import cost.

Agriculture sector also showed robust growth in 2016 when the farmers of the country produced staple food-grains not only substantial for meeting the domestic demand, but also enough for exporting.

The country stood third in global vegetable and fourth in fish productions. Besides the record productions, stable and reasonable prices made both the farmers and the consumers happy in the outgoing year.

Bangladesh also made a significant footprint in combating terrorism in the outgoing year that was lauded worldwide. Like in the past few years, the country maintained the strong pace in driving the IT sector a major means for development and ensuring better public services to people.

The country received the prestigious ITU Telecom World award for its Bangabandhu Satellite Project.

Sajeeb Wazed Joy, information and communication technology adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, got the "ICT for Development Award, 2016" in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the people of Bangladesh through implementation of "Digital Bangladesh" initiative.

The government also successfully delivered and executed the verdicts of the war crimes tribunals, making the nation proud again in the world for protecting and upholding the spirit of the War of Independence.

The country in the past three years achieved some significant awards and secured few important positions for the unrivaled leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government.

One of the biggest achievements of the government had been the winning of Visionary Award of the Global South-South Development Expo-2014 by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Sheikh Hasina was decorated with the United Nation's highest award on environment affairs, 'Champion of the Earth' for successfully facing the adverse impact of climate change and the 'ICT Sustainable Development Award' for her special contributions in building a digital Bangladesh and development of the country's ICT (information and communication technology) sector.

Bangladesh was also elected as the Director General of the International Mobile Satellite Organisation and it emerged victorious in the elections to Human Rights Council and International Telecommunications Union during the period.

Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury and lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury won the top posts of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU). Elected Representatives of a total of 188 states gave their mandate in favour of the two Bangladeshi contestants.

The implementation of the Land Boundary Agreement with India was one of the biggest achievements of the government in the past three years.

Earlier, the country won in international litigation in the legal battle for determining the maritime boundary with Myanmar and India while the government registered remarkable progress in education, power, ICT, agriculture, economy and other sectors in 2015.

The work on much-hyped Padma Bridge started in the second year of the second term of the government with the expectation that operation of vehicles and trains over the 'Dream Bridge' would start in 2018 opening a new vista of opportunities. Meanwhile, around 40 percent construction of the bridge had already been done.

Besides the Padma Bridge, the government already made significant progress in implementing some other mega projects including bus rapid transport, nuclear power plant, metro rail and deep-sea port.

In Dhaka, the government already constructed some major flyovers that helped ease the capital's traffic congestions. Two four-lane highways connecting Dhaka with Chittagong and Mymensingh had also been opened, making journey on these two roads safer and faster.