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Bangladesh - Its Future and Possibilities

PART - B

 

Geo-politically Bangladesh is in a very advantageous position.

  1. It is the 'Linkage' between South Asia and South East Asia.

  2. Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and 10 (ten) provinces of eastern India constitute a powerful 'geo-economic zone'.

  3. This 'geo-economic zone' is rich in skilled manpower, gas, oil, sweet water resources of Bay of Bengal, forestry, coal, hydro-electricity and other mineral resources etc.

  4. It is not only a natural geo-economic but a geo-cultural entity as well.

  5. Military-strategy wise this is a door to the Indian Ocean.

  6. Geo-physically this region has occupied a unique position for the last thousand years. But the formation of Bangladesh has become a central attraction for everybody, as this has the potential to become the center for this north-eastern region.

  7. This region should be treated as a 'sub-regional economic' group under SAARC. This means keeping the independence and sovereignty of each country of which this 'sub-regional economic co-operation' is formed.

The Objective

The objective of this proposal is to create an institutional base to generate a process of participation of all sections of people e.g. professional and occupational people (including workers, peasants, women, tribal people etc.) in the politico-administrative and economic structures suitable for the 21st century.

It is a fact that in the last 30 years (that is after the independence of 1971) Bangladesh has made progress in economy, education, health, business and industry, agriculture, service sectors, cultural fields, information sectors etc. The following statistics is a clear picture of the said development.

As a result of these developments the differentiation and stratification of our people has become qualitatively different from the past. This means now every individual man or woman is identified by his or her work and occupation. This new identification is a socio-political and socio-cultural characteristic of our people.

The only field, that is, in politics and political mechanism Bangladesh lags behind. We are following a model practiced in other countries of the world in 1940-'50s. So we find a major contradiction between policy-making process (political-mechanism) and social development.

But political science always suggest a political mechanism corresponding to social and economic developments. But the present day political mechanism and conventional political parties no longer fully represent the hopes and aspirations of the whole people. Particularly various social forces in the form of different professional and occupational groups are kept away from the policy-making mechanism of the country.

The socio-economic formation of the country has under gone a list of positive changes over the last 30 years. But the political mechanism and party system has not adjusted itself to changed circumstances. This is why the development process frequently gets stagnant.

As a newly emerged country (nation-state) we need national unity. This can't be achieved without accommodation various social forces, women, tribal people etc. in the policy-making structures of the country. There is a gap between the thought processes of the old fashioned political parties and that of the comparatively advanced professional-occupational forces (social forces) and groups.


Professionals, Occupationals, Women, Tribal people etc.
Populationa 138 million (census report 2001)
Male-Female Ration 50:50(%)
Adult Population (Voters) 60.85 Million.

Doctors
31,000
Engineers
31,000
Diploma Engineers
51,500
Teachers
515,000
Journalists
2,500
Cultural Activists
10,300
Agriculturists
10,300
Diploma Agriculturists
51,500
Bankers
31,000
Lawyers
41,000
Business-Industrialists
12,000
Shop-Owners
155,000
Shop-Employees
360,000
Officers and employees of Govt. and autonomous bodies
1,545,000
Experts of Various Subjects
7,000
Defense Department
103,000
Police
100,000
Ansars/Para-Military/VDP
515,000
Sports Men/Women
20,500
Paramedics
100,000
Tribal People
1,050,000
Co-operative Farmers
1,050,000
Agricultural Workers
15,450,000
Industrial Workers
6,200,000
Rickshaw Pullers
550,000
Daily Labours
505,000
Weavers/Fisherman
1,050,000
Ordinary Farmers (Non-Co-Operatives)
15,000,000
Garage, Lathe-machine, workshops workers etc.
505,000
Involved in other small Professions
2,050,000
Bangladeshi living abroad
6,000,000
Students above 18 years of age
7,000,000
Old Men above 65 years of age (Seniors)
5,000,000
 
Gross National Income (GNI)  
From Agriculture
47%
From Industries
11%
From Business And Services
42%
 
Unemployed Adults
3,500,000
Unemployment
5%

14-Point Constitutional Proposal

Keeping all these things in consideration the introduction of a new political mechanism with 14 points is suggested below:

  1. To form a 'Bi-cameral Parliament' with 'Lower House' and 'Upper House'. The 'Lower House' should comprise of 300 elected representative from 300 constituencies. The political parties will nominate the candidates for this house. 'Upper house' should comprise of 200 members to be elected by the 13 categories of professional occupational groups, women, tribal people etc.

  2. There should be a government of 'national unity' taking ministers from all parties elected in the Parliament. Prime minister will be the chief executive. There will be 'recall' and 'initiative' system.

  3. Bangladesh to have 7 or 9 provinces (one must be for the tribal people) with elected provincial assemblies. These provinces will have representation in the Upper House of the parliament.

  4. All the elections including National Parliament, provinces, district and sub-district (Upazilla), municipalities and pourashaves to be held under the supervision of caretaker government. The Caretaker Govt. is to be formed from the 'Upper House' of the Parliament on non-party basis.

  5. In case of any vacancies in any of the elected posts, instead of holding by-elections, the post should be filled by the elected candidate of the party to which the former candidate belonged.

  6. The election commission must be independent.

  7. The president (who is the constitutional head of the country) must be a non-partisan person.

  8. The parliamentary sub-committees are to be more powerful and effective.

  9. The Tribal people must be recognized on the basis of 'nationality' of their own.

  10. There should be a 'national security council' (NSC) comprising of prime minister, leader of the opposition, defense minister, home minister, the three chiefs of armed forces (Military, Navy, Air-force), under the President of the country.

  11. There should be a seven member 'constitutional court' comprising of the Chief Justice and six other retired judges who are expert in constitutional matters.

  12. There should be a 900-member National Economic Council (NEC) taking representatives of all associations and unions.

  13. For an independent judiciary 'Judicial Council' to be formed under supervision of the Supreme Court which must be independent and free from executive branches of government.

  14. A 'sub-regional economic group' under the SAARC comprising of Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal, Monipur, Tripura, Mozoram, Nagaland. The sub-regional economic co-operation groups may be extended up to South-East Asia in the East and Afghanistan in the West.

Structure of the federal government


Notes

  1. The structure of the Government will be Federal.
  2. There will be 7 (seven) or 9 (nine) provinces in the country.
  3. The form of the Government will be parliamentary.
  4. Each province will have elected assembly.
  5. There will be a Constitutional Court.
  6. National Security Council (NSC) to be composed by the Parliament.
  7. Zilla Parishad will co-ordinate the Upazilla Parishads.
  8. Industrial Zones to be constituted in each Upazilla.
  9. Metropolitan City Govt. to be established.

Structure Of Parliament

Notes

  1. Parliament: The Parliament shall consists of two houses (Lower House and Upper House)

    1. The Lower House: 300 (three hundred) members shall be elected nominated by political parties for territorial constituencies.

    2. The Upper House: consisting of 200 (two hundred) members.
      1. Members elected on 'non-party' basis by the persons engaged in professions and occupations.
      2. Members elected on 'non-party' basis by adult women.
      3. Members elected on 'non-party' basis by Tribal people.
      4. Member selected by the President basically from among the defense forces and bureaucratic officers, law and order implementing agencies and bodies.
      5. Selected members from among the political parties on the basis of the ratio of votes cast in the national polls.
      6. Representation from the provinces.

  2. Groupings: The professional, occupational, women and tribal people etc. have been divided into 13 (thirteen) categories.

  3. Voting System: One man-two votes: One vote for territory, the other for the grouping mentioned in 13 categories (professions, occupations, women, tribal people etc.).

  4. Call Back: 'Call Back' election will be held if 15% voters submit a call back petition.

  5. Initiative: By a signature campaign called 'initiative' in which 5% of the voters initiate inclusion or deletion of a law which the parliament shall have to consider.

  6. Election: The election will be held according to the specified schedule declared by the election commission.


Profession, Occupation, Women And Tribal Grouping etc.

  1. Intellectual and Cultural groups: Teachers, Lawyers, Journalists, Publishers, Artists, Singers, Actors, Literati, Researchers, Choreographers, Economists, Social workers (NGO's) etc.

  2. Technical Experts: Engineers, Diploma Engineers, Doctors, Pharmacists, Agriculturists, Architects, Planners, Industrial managers, Scientists, Business executives, Technocrats, Para-medics, Computer experts etc.

  3. Trade, Business and Industry: Industrialists, Traders, Businessman, Bankers, Shop-keepers etc.

  4. Defense Forces, Para-Milirary Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, B.D.R., Ansar, VDP, Auxiliary Forces etc.

  5. Workers: Industrial workers, Factory workers, Plantation Workers, Employees Under Factory Law, Transport workers, Government-Semi-Government-Autonomous-Private Sector Workers etc.

  6. Agricultural workers.

  7. Peasants and Co-operative Peasantry: Small, Medium and Big.

  8. Cadre Services.

  9. Women.

  10. Employees: Government, Semi-Government, Autonomous Body and Private Sector Employees.

  11. Backward Sections of the People: Weavers, Fishermen, Washer Man, Barbers, Blacksmiths, Potters, Sweepers, Gypsy etc.

  12. Tribal People: Chakma, Garo, Mog, Santal, Hazang, Tipra, Kuli, Khasia etc.

  13. Others.

Profession and occupation includes all services whether in a civil or military capacity of the government of Bangladesh. Profession and Occupation includes other services involving different skills and expertise whether in public or in private sectors which are used for the development and advancement of the country.


Structure Of National Economic Council (NEC)


Notes

  1. National Economic council (NEC) will have about 900 members and elected standing committee of 25 members headed by NEC Chairman.
  2. Representatives of various bodies and organizations will be chosen by their respective unions and associations.
  3. NEC will deal with overall national economic development and its monitoring and implementation.
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