Sheikh Hasina, the most dynamic and versatile political leader and policy maker from Bangladesh, has set a series of long-term goals for the country to ensure more prosperity alongside some short-term strategies like the five-year plans.
One of her master plans for the people of Bangladesh is the Vision 2041, continuation of the construction of Digital Bangladesh, that seeks to take the nation to the development highway dreamt by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It was introduced first in 2020 to be undertaken between 2022 and 2041.
Through the extraordinary social, economic management and strong political leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is now achieving 7% average GDP (gross domestic product) growth, crossing the international standard line of the Lower Middle-Income threshold in 2015.
The country has also met all the benchmarks for LDC graduation. Encouraged by these successes, under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, the government has declared several plans to enrich and shape the future.
Back in 1973, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman introduced the country's first five-year development plan or FYP. Basically, five-year plans were a Soviet concept which later proved very efficient to enlarge and boost the economy.
Later, many states around the world adapted this sort of action. With pure passion, organising skills and winsome mentality, Bangabandhu decided to adapt five-year plans with some modification for his country.
Meanwhile, in July 2005, the government adopted the PRSP on the advice of donors, with the goal of completing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
The 8th five-year plan for Bangladesh, approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) in December 2020 under the direction of PM Sheikh Hasina, has goals of achieving 8.51% GDP growth and lowering the poverty rate to 15.6% by the end of this period.
Bangabandhu was an optimist who could see clearly, despite standing on the rubble that was left after the destruction caused by the Pakistan army during the liberation war. It was also an outstanding move during those hard times when he announced the formation of the Planning Commission on his very first day in office as Prime Minister and pledged to commence the creation of the first five-year plan.
Unfortunately, his dreams were stopped by the brutality of 15 August 1975.
In 1996, Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina came to power after an overwhelming victory, giving her the opportunity to establish a truly democratic government after 21 years and also to fulfil her father's unfinished dreams.
With the capable and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangabandhu's legacy is being carried forward, paving the way for the realisation of his long-cherished dream of Sonar Bangla or the ultimate affluence of the nation.
Incorporating her own vision for development and the dream of the father of the nation, Sheikh Hasina proposed an outline called Vision 2021 in 2001. The main goal of the vision was to make Bangladesh a middle-income nation by 2021, three years ahead of the World Bank's deadline.
In fact, she is also a visionary leader like Bangabandhu. She commenced to carry out her father's vision of transforming Bangladesh into the Switzerland of Asia.
According to the United Nations Development Policy Committee, Bangladesh was upgraded from a low-income country to a middle-income country in 2018. The country has to maintain its current status in several sectors till 2024 to permanently attain the middle-income status. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the country is cruising toward the right direction.
The nation is now a development role model across the world. The economy that once was labelled as a "bottomless basket with no hope of survival" after the liberation war has now been globally perceived as a "development miracle".
With the citation of PricewaterhouseCoopers, World Economic Forum predicted in 2017 that Bangladesh's economy will be worth $3 trillion in 2050.
In October 2018, Forum 2041 was created to study, review and implement the steps taken by Bangabandhu and his dreams in various sectors of the country to build a prosperous and developed Bangladesh by 2041. The total work was under the supervision of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The government launched 'Making Vision 2041 a Reality: Perspective Plan of Bangladesh 2021-2041' containing strategies, short and long-term plans, policies, challenges, programmes and development plans to achieve some specific goals by 2041.
The goals include eliminating extreme poverty and reaching Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) status by 2031, and High-Income Country (HIC) status by 2041.
The goals will reach the ultimate point by 2041 after going through different stages.
The per capita income of Bangladesh in 1987 was half that of Pakistan, and in 2007 it was two-thirds that of India. However, Bangladesh has surpassed both India and Pakistan in 2020 in this regard. Bangladesh tells the world a remarkable story of poverty reduction and development – the World Bank observed during Bangladesh's golden jubilee in 2021.
The two major initiatives of Sheikh Hasina's government, Vision 2021 and Vision 2041, have helped the nation make commendable progress over the past ten years.
The development of Bangladesh is not a miracle. It has been achieved through the struggle of the ordinary people and the efficient leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Achieving self-sufficiency in food, transition from the status of less developed country, providing electricity to every household - all these have become possible due to the implementation of the development strategy Vision 2021 by confronting all domestic and foreign conspiracies under the strong and steadfast policy-leadership of the Prime Minister.
Vision 2041 has been formulated as a continuation of the success of Vision 2021. The National Economist Council (NEC) meeting in February 2021 approved 'Making Vision 2041 a Reality: Perspective Plan of Bangladesh 2021-2041'.
Vision 2041 is based on two main objectives. First, Bangladesh will be a developed country by 2041, with a per capita income of more than $12,500 with full compatibility with the digital world. Second, the country will be 'a Golden Bangla, where poverty will be a thing of the distant past'.
Vision 2041 also has collaborations andis integrated with other short- and long-term plans. Our Delta Plan 2100, an 82-year sustainable development plan, focuses on efficient use and preservation of water. Making Bangladesh a country that is environmentally sustainable is a common objective of both the Delta Plan and the Perspective Plan 2041.
The Father of the Nation's cherished dream of 'building a prosperous Bangladesh free from poverty, hunger, corruption and exploitation' has been conceived as the 'encouraging start' of Vision 2041.
A simple example can illustrate the connection between Bangabandhu's vision and modern development plans. The Home for the homeless programme in Bangladesh was started by the Father of the Nation. On 20 February, 1972, he visited Lakshmipur district and directed the rehabilitation of the landless, homeless and helpless people there.
In response to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's slogan that 'no one will be homeless in Mujib Year', the housing programme has taken the form of a social movement.
The 'Sheikh Hasina Model of Inclusive Development' is being implemented through the shelter project, with the intention of changing the quality of life of about 2.5 crore people living below the extreme poverty line. The sole purpose of inclusive development is to improve the quality of life of a large section of the population by connecting them to productive employment.
Growth and equity are two most paramount constituents for sustainable development of any country. Another vital point is that the rapid growth must be balanced with an emphasis on equal distribution to ensure benefits for the total population, especially the poor and the vulnerable parts of the population.
Harmonising this interdependent relation between growth and equity, Sheikh Hasina has prepared Vision 2041 for the accomplishment of that dream, and a 20-year perspective plan to attain a pro-people, pro-planet, peaceful and sustainable Bangladesh where no one is left behind.
Vision 2041 provides the roadmap for accelerated growth and lays down broad approaches for eradication of poverty, inequality, and human deprivation. In the past decade, we have had remarkable success when it comes to socio-economic development under the policy of the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The dream of Bangabandhu's Sonar Bangla is no longer a myth. Hopefully, by implementing the Vision 2041, Bangladesh will be a peaceful, prosperous, happy and developed nation, comparable with the developed world.
We firmly believe that with Sheikh Hasina's strong leadership, proper planning and dedicated efforts of all the people of the country, Bangladesh will move forward to the peak of development.
Sanjida Khandoker is an entrepreneur, women empowerment leader and founder of the first of its kind women led "work from home" platform called the2hourjob.com