The year 2020 will be recorded in the history of the world as a year of sorrow because of Covid-19. At the beginning of the year, the Covid-19 epidemic hit the world and crippled the wheel of economy and people’s lives. Bangladesh could not be freed from the clutches of Covid-19. But the happiest thing is that Bangladesh continues to progress even in the midst of the epidemic. Due to the indomitable will of the government and the intense love of the people Covid-19 could not stop the progress of Bangladesh. Celebrating Mujib centenary is our biggest national event in 2020. The counting of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary started from 10th January 2020. On the occasion of Mujib’s year, the Postal Department of United States published a postage stamp with a picture of Bangabandhu on 17 March 2020. Bangabandhu Day is also celebrated in Surrey city of England to commemorate 17 March 2020. On the occasion of Mujib year, Bangladesh Bank issued 200 taka notes for the first time.
Another major achievement of 2020 is the completion of span work of the Padma bridge and the bridge is visible now. This is a revolutionary achievement in the field of communication in Bangladesh. 2020 is a year of new horizon in the field of communication. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the deep seaport development project at Matarbari on 10 March 2020. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge on 29 November 2020. The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge will be built over the river Jamuna and will be the largest railway bridge (4.80 km) in Bangladesh.
2020 will be memorable for us because of the variety of development activities. In 2020, the High Court issued a full verdict in the Peelkhana murder case. The country’s largest and modern 1320 MW coal-fired Pyra thermal power plant started production on January 13, 2020. Bangladesh launched e-passport on 22 January 2020 as the 119th country in the world and 10 November, e-passport activities were started in 64 districts of the country. The country’s third forensic lab was inaugurated in Rajshahi on 3 February 2020. In order to improve the quality of primary education, the salary of the assistant teachers of government primary schools has been raised to 13th grade and a notification has been issued by the ministry of primary and mass education. The Human Trafficking Crime Suppression Tribunal was formed on March 5, 2020 to strengthen the judiciary and speedy trial. ‘Joy Bangla’ was declared as the national slogan and the verdict was given by the High Court on 10 March, 2020. The High Court delivered a landmark judgment to ensure the rights of Hindu widows in the country to their husbands’ property. The full judgment of the High Court regarding on the ban on gambling was published on 20 February 2020. The government has taken some remarkable steps to stop violence against women. The death penalty has been added to the Women and Child Abuse Prevention Act as the maximum punishment for rape.
Hotline No. 16121 of the National Directorate of Consumer Protection was launched on 15 March 2020 to strengthen consumer rights. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced TK. 5000 crore incentive package for agriculture sector on 12 April 2020 to combat the coronavirus. To make the education sector more up-to-date and to ensure quality education 1633 school-colleges were enrolled in the MPO and notifications were issued on 29 April, 2020. One Stop Service Rules (Bangladesh Investment Development Authority) 2020 were issued. Globe Biotech Limited announced the discovery of the coronavirus vaccine and it is a manifestation of our capacity in the medical field. For the first time in the country, Health Outcome Measurement and Individual Health ID card has been introduced through community clinics. Aircraft ‘Dhrubatara’ was added to Bangladesh Airlines fleet on 24 November to strengthen air connectivity. Biman Bangladesh Airlines launches Manchester flight on 5 January 2020. Rohingya rehabilitation begins in Bhasnchar on 4 December, 2020 to address Rohingya crisis, a great initiative. Measles-rubella vaccination for children across the country begins on 12 December. The 50th Great Victory Day is celebrated. A virtual meeting was held between the prime minister of Bangladesh and the prime minister of India on 17 December, 2020. With the inauguration of Chilahati (Nilphamari) and Haldibari (Jalpaiguri) railways after a long 55 years, the direct train service started between Bangladesh and Siligiri.
In 2020, Border Guard Bangladesh gained the status of a three dimensional force and two helicopters were added to the BGB. On 16th November 2020, two ships ‘Sonadia & Kutubdia” have been connected to the Coast Guard. NVG (Night Vision Goggles) technology has been annexed to Bangladesh Air Force in 2020. On 16 November 2020, the cyber support for women service was launched to ensure the safety of women. The work of deleting the name of Pakistan from the border pillar and writing the name of Bangladesh was completed in 2020. The country’s first private Bashundhara Bitumen plant was inaugurated on 22 February 2020. Bangladesh won six medals in the 61st International Mathematical Olympiad in 2020. The journey of One Health Global Leaders on Antimicrobial Resistance’s platform started last year. In 2020, for the first time Bangladesh became the president of Commonwealth Ministerial Group on Guyana (CMG). The country’s electricity facilities cover 96 percent of the total population and the total power generation capacity of the country by February 2020 is 19,630 MW. The amount of expatriate income in 2020 has increased compared to previous years. The amount of expatriate income in 2019-20 fiscal year is about 5.52 percent of GDP. In 2020, the foreign exchange reserves have increased a lot. The 50th budget of the country was announced on 11 June, 2020 and it was passed on 30th June, 2020. The total budget is 5,68000 crore taka (17.91 percent of GDP). GDP growth rate is 8.2 percent. From 29 July 2020, the bank rate is 8 percent and this is the lowest bank rate in the history of the country.
Allocations in education and technology sector have increased significantly in 2020. 85,762 crore taka has been allocated for education and technology sector which is 15.1 percent of the total budget. The country’s first six-lane expressway (55 km), Dhaka-Mawa Highway, was inaugurated on March 12, 2020. Habiganj Agricultural University Act 2020 and Chandpur University of Science and Technology Act 2020 came into force in December 2020. From 2020, The National University decided to open MPhil and PhD courses on Bangabandhu. Shahjalal University of Science and Technology decides to include Bangabandhu’s speech on March 7 in the curriculum on 13 September 2020. On 25 August, 2020 EFD was introduced experimentally to close the scope for VAT evasion. Monetary policy is announced to control inflation and accelerate GDP growth. On 29 July, 2020 the new monetary policy was announced. The target for private sector credit growth for the fiscal year 2020-21 has been set at 14.8 percent and 44.4 percent for public sector. The government issued ‘Investment Index Guideline 2020’ to introduce Sukuk in Bangladesh. Sukuk is an interest-free debentures. Investors will get profit from Sukuk instead of interest. Bangladesh has advanced in export in 2020. The total export revenue for the fiscal year 2019-20 has been 33,674,09 million US dollars. Remittance flow has increased in the country. The total remittance flow of Bangladesh for the fiscal year 2019-20 is 18,205,01 million US dollars. On 13 October 2020, Bangladesh ratified the Paperless Trade Facilitation Framework Agreement.
In 2020 Magura Regional Spice Research Center invented onion that yields three times as much as a normal onion and Dr. Masud Alam invented the technology of making powder of raw onion. Bangladesh Agricultural University invented a new breed of duck in 2020 and these ducks have more meat and eggs.
Braille version of Bangabandhu’s the Unfinished Memories was unveiled on 7 October 2020. The construction of the country’s highest sculpture ‘Muktir Dak’ reads ‘Call for Redemption’ was completed in 2020.
The government of Bangladesh has been able to deal with Covid-19 very efficiently so that it could not break the economic progress of Bangladesh. In the midst of such a catastrophe, the success of Bangladesh in 2020 is at a satisfactory level.
The writer is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College, Kurmitola, Dhaka Cantonment.