Progress


gitr_2007_cover_image.jpgThe Global Information Technology Report by World Economic Forum has become a valuable and unique benchmarking tool to determine national ICT strengths and weaknesses, and to evaluate progress. It also highlights the continuing importance of ICT application and development for economic growth.

The Report uses the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) to measure the degree of preparation of a nation or community to participate in and benefit from ICT developments. The NRI is composed of three component indexes which assess:
- environment for ICT offered by a country or community
- readiness of the community’s key stakeholders (individuals, business and governments)
- usage of ICT among these stakeholders.

The 2006-2007 report report is published today. And where do we, Bangladesh, stand?

At the bottom, where else!

It was a beautiful evening at the lawn of liberation war museum. The program marked a milestone in Bhobodoho project implementation. The money raised for the water logged students of Bhobodoho area to help them sit for the HSC exam was handed over to the local partner of Drishtipat, Daily Jugantor. The simple but very rich program was arranged by DP’s partner Ain o Shalish kendro and DP BUET chapter. Jugantor, in turn, will with the help of their local forum will hand over the money to respective students.

PICT0177

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While we wait for the events to unfold within the next few days, let me explain my take on a 3rd political force.

1. Liberal democratic party has been formed and Bangladesh citizens are embracing this new entity in the hope that it will be the much coveted 3rd party. I knew LDP was coming, but was not as elated.

Why not?

B and Mahi Chowdhury with Major Mannan formed a quite organized political party called Bikalpa Dhara within a short time. Mahi has been forced to learn politics from the basic grassroots level. I was hoping Oli and others will join this force under B Chowdhury’s leadership.

Col Oli was in Michigan this summer. No doubt he is relatively honest, headstrong, and outspoken. But I also saw in him was grandiosity, impractical ambition and a lot of rhetoric.

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We had a pre-planned meeting with Mrs Nurjahan Begum of Grameen Shikhkha, the scholarship management program of Grameen Bank for the benefit of underprivileged students .

She offered us to a day long field trip at one of the Grameen locations to see the activities of Grameen. Due to time restraint, we decided to do it the following day. A car was rented, a Grameen Bank officer, MR. Shahabuddin would accompany us to Madhabpur of Singair Thana at Manikganj.

Here is a pictorial essay of the day,
We went deep inside Bangladesh, we drove beside the paddy fields,

We walked through paddy fields

These farmer’s family members get loans for seeds, tractor rent, fertilizer etc.

GS Scholarship recipients, walked miles to meet us

They walked miles to greet us at the Bank office. We found them waiting for us.
As grameen scholarship recipients, their high school and college education expenses are partly met by Grameen education scholarship.

Please view the full post with 32 more pictures in next page.

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Let’s start with USA, the icon of democracy. The president of this country was initially elected by a Supreme Court decision, not by publics vote. And although it was face to face election, the person bagging more votes did not get the power. And over the last six years, on the plea of war against terrorism, basic principles of democracy and liberty are trampled one after one.

Then Go to UK, the birth place of this industrialized democratic civilization. The elected prime minister is more influenced by a leader of a different country on the other side of the Atlantic than his own constituency, his own colleagues in the parliament.

In the rest of the democratic Europe, conservative, more authoritative hawkish parties are winning the election one after another.
A man is ruling a continent called Australia and he is also apparently more inclined to appease the king of world than his own people.

Democracy in the rest of the world, Africa, Asia is nothing but a joke. Most cases there are monarchy running in the name of democracy, notable among these dynasty are the Nehru Dynasty of India, Lee dynasty of Singapore, the Chakri dynasty of Thailand, Sukorno dynasty of Indonesia, with here and there some half hearted experiments of democracy ( Japan, Korea, New Zealand, south Africa etc.)

And now zoom in to Bangladesh.
The options people have are either, Hasina and Joy- the daughter and the grandson: Khaleda and Tareque-widow and the son or an ambitious army general.

In the middle ages, ruler used to be decided by palace politics and usually at the cost of some royal blood. Now a days, rulers and ruling family are decided by street politics and at the cost of some subjects’ life.

And at the end of the day, be it Tareque, Joy or Ershad, there is basically no different in the life of people except a handful.

Malaysia and Mahathir is probably the most frequently quoted words in our political tea cup storm. Mahathir himself was never an icon of democracy, he was an authoritarian leader.

In fact there is no moral high ground in supporting a corrupt son or a disconnected grandson than a general or an authoritative ruler.

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But there is definitely a moral high ground in supporting democracy. This democracy is not about selecting the family who will occupy the palace and exploit the subjects. This democracy is about social justice, the freedom of speech. Because we have democracy, I can write this blog without fear, because there is democracy, I can watch what I watch in TV news, because there is democracy, there is finally an agreement about the garments workers minimum wages, because there is democracy 4th largest national Bank, Rupali goes to the real highest bidder, because there is democracy poeple like Anu Muhamamd can speak out loud against Fulbari oppression, becasue there is democracy Golam Rabbani finally comes out victorious in Kansat, because there is democracy, people in Bangladesh have a hope, the hope for better days. People under communist regime in East Europe didn’t even have any hope.

There are many reasons to be hopeful of my friends.

Failure of leadership does not make the system a failure. Islam is in the wrong hands now a days, it does not mean that Islam is all bad. Similarly, there is no reason to denounce democracy because the custodians have failed to perform.

Let’s try to separate democracy from the people who abuse it.

Picture courtesy Daily Prothom ALo.

After watching the clip can any of us remain not convinced to return home someday?

I was attending a meeting of Bangladeshi medical professionsals living in USA. One whole afternoon was devoted to a seminar on healthcare in Bangladesh. However the seminal virtually turned into a recruitment campaign for different large healthcare ventures desparately looking for foreign trained physicians. Leadership of Bangladesh Diabetic asociation, Apollo hospital, Square Hospital, Lab Aid Hospital, Americal Health Consortium Hospitals did their best to present their systems in an intense recruitment effort. All the speech was followed by well designed multimedia clips. Here is one that followed Square group’s Tapan Chowdhury’s passionate appeal.

[ I have no relationship with Square Hospital. This clip was chosen as, with my very limited technological skill, this is the only one I could figure a way to upload and share with you in this blog.]

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