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Political and technological environment of Bangladesh

Prepared by: Md. Sohel sardar Dept. of marketing Id:0907038 Comilla University Contact no: 01722744695

Prepared for: Meher neger Lecturer Dept. of marketing Comilla University

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1. Introduction
We have passed about thirty-four years since independence but our achievements in the spheres of democracy and development are not noteworthy. In Bangladesh every political leader or party, civil or military, popular or unpopular, big or small, in or out of power, talks about democratic incessantly. Even so the nation has failed to put it into practice. Parties voted into power to strengthen democracy have all failed to encourage its values. Taking advantage of this situation, military leaders intervened to practice their own Version of democracy, which only exacerbated the crisis. The country today is riddle with numerous problems threatening the very development of democracy. Our society with an under developed political culture and poverty ridden illiterate and incompetent masses is lacking democratic political organizations, institutions and practices. However, the prospects for a politically developed and economically prosperous nation is marked by peoples eagerness to democracy and progress, nations march toward a two party system and politicians realization that there is no way but election capture power.

2. Politics: Meaning & Concept

Politics (from Greek politikos "of, for, or relating to citizens") as a term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the corporate, academic, and religious segments of society. It consists of "social relations involving authority or power" and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy. Modern political discourse focuses on democracy and the relationship between people and politics. It is thought of as the way we "choose government officials and make decisions about public policy.

3. Political Environment of Bangladesh

The political environment consists of laws, government agencies and pressure groups that influence or limit various organizations and individuals in a country. The laws affect the major trends of political environment in a country. Some organizations have made some rules and regulations for trading. These organizations include WTO, SAFTA, and NAFTA and so on. Trade is highly affected by the rules and regulations of these organizations. Currently, the political environment is not so good in Bangladesh. As a democratic country, obviously the political environment of Bangladesh should be dressed of democratic form. But, in most of the cases political environment of Bangladesh would become so pollute that we cannot imagine that what type of political system has been following by our political parties. Without political unity, amity, true exercise of democracy; the political environment of Bangladesh can never be healthy. The greatest leader Abraham Lincoln stated that, democracy is of the people, by the people, for the people. To me, all of Bangladeshi politician must have to follow the statement so that the real political environment shall be pervaded in Bangladesh.

4. Brief Political History of Bangladesh:

Bangladesh achieved independence in 1971 from the internal colonial rule of the then west Pakistan, currently Pakistan. The nationalist leadership repeatedly blamed Pakistan rulers for exploiting and appropriating Bangladeshs resources and promised people a very different kind of policy and politics once Pakistani colonial rule is overthrown. Implicit in the idea of independent Bangladesh was the vision of a society economically prosperous, free of exploitation, democratically governed, tolerant of pluralism and respectful of peoples rights. This vision mobilized the nation behind the liberation war in 1971 and is still alive in the minds of average citizens as evidenced by peoples movements for democracy and human rights and their initiatives for economic well being. But the political and civil-military bureaucratic leadership that ruled Bangladesh in the last three decades has failed in large measure to demonstrate their commitment to this vision through their policies and performances. Undeniably there has been some

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progress in the last three decades. The rate of economic growth in the decades following independence is higher than that of pre-independence period. Poverty has been reduced. Infant mortality has been halved. Fertility has declined significantly. Literacy rate has nearly doubled. Rate of primary school enrollment has gone up. Gender gaps in human development, though still significant, have been narrowed. But these achievements in economic and social development have to be viewed in the light of the countrys potentials and the performance of other comparable states. For example, threat of GDP growth in Bangladesh has been slower than the growth of other countries in South Asia. Similarly the improvements in human development have been faster in many Southeast Asian countries. Income disparities and access to opportunities and services between the rich and the poor have widened. Additionally, many of the economic and social changes e.g. growth of ready-made garment industries, expansion of micro-credit and International migrations were brought about not so much by public policy initiatives but by individual economic and social entrepreneurs. However, citizens dissatisfaction with state performance is not simply due to slow pace of progress. People have started losing faith in leaders as successive regimes patronized Corruption and abused public officers for personal gains. State power has been used by all regimes to intimidate or suppress political opposition, buy support of individuals and groups and make money for personal use and party building. The arbitrary use of state power has not only created an unjust system of rewards and punishment in the society, it has made even simple acts of governance increasingly difficult. The states credibility in maintaining law and order has been eroded as it has failed to uphold the rule of law. Democratic governance has proved to be a particularly difficult project for the leadership. Though after independence the Awami League regime started with a parliamentary democracy it could not nurture the political institutions and culture needed for democratic governance. It did not devote sufficient attention to developing rules, processes, procedures and mechanisms needed for democratic decision-making within key institutions, e.g. the party, cabinet, parliament and the local governments. Instead, the regime started relying on one person i.e. Bangabandhu, to make decisions. Thus began the trend towards personal rule in the country. The military dictatorships of Zia and Ershad exacerbated this trend. The return of democratically elected government since 1991 has not succeeded in arresting the dependence on personal rule. As Khaleda and Hasinas claim to leadership is predicated on their dynastic connections, they have been able to dominate their respective political parties and governments. There has been very little scope for democratic participation and dissent within the party organizations. Nor have the parties or the top leaders made any attempt to groom leaders for succession. From the be ginning parliament has not been able to function as the main forum for holding dialogue, debate and negotiations to resolve policy differences amongst political parties. Norhas it been able to function as the main public accountability institution. Between 1972-75, the parliament was overwhelmingly dominated by the ruling Awami League. Failing to find representation in parliament the political opposition to the regime resorted to the tactics of violence and agitation politics of the street. Instead of engaging the opposition in a debate and dialogue, the regime responded with growing intolerance. The representative character of the parliament was in doubt during the fifteen years of military rule when elections were state-managed by the government. The policies of the military regimes towards political opposition were even more repressive. For the greater part of the 1980s, the political opposition was engaged in agitation politics, shunning participation in sham elections and parliaments. But even after r the return of democratic elections in 1991 which has ensured the representation of all the major political parties, the parliament has failed to emerge as the main institution for policy debates and public accountability. The intolerant attitude towards political opposition has also continued. After losing an election, instead of participating as a loyal opposition in the parliament, both the major parties have started boycotting the parliament thus making it ineffective and engaged in agitation street politics to topple the Government. There has also been no serious and consistent effort to institutionalize a system of effective Local governments. Each regime has experimented with its model of local government driven by the motive of consolidating its rural support base. The domination of civil bureaucracy, dependence on central government for funds and uncertainties of tenure and functions have inhibited the growth of democratic local self -governments. Despite rhetorical commitment and prolonged struggle to establish democracy, the political parties have failed to establish a consensus over the ground rules for democratic competition and dissent. They have relied heavily on money and mastans (muscle men) to mobilize support and capture votes. Though over the years, the policy difference between the two major parties, the Awami League and the BNP, have narrowed the only difference being the identity question and relations with India and the two parties have succeeded in taking turns to wield state power after winning free and fair elections, they have

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up to now failed to demonstrate their willingness to abide by the rules of democratic competition. Each party has tried to paint its political opposition as unpatriotic and thus by implication not a legitimate player in the game of democratic competitive politics. Political competition has degenerated into a deadly confrontation because the stakes of winning or losing control of state power is too high for the personal and political fortunes of the competing leaders and their parties. As access to state power and its patronage system is key to nurturing powerful constituencies, no party is willing to risk losing such a political and economic resource even for one term. As political parties and their leaders faltered in practicing democracy, a space has been created for other actors to play a leadership role in championing democratic norms and practices. Since the return of democratic elections in 1991, the print media has been relatively free and the press has sometimes been able to hold the government accountable. The Judiciary has occasionally exerted independence with rulings contrary to government decisions. The press and civil society organizations have become increasingly active in protesting and publicizing human rights violations. They have also consistently raised their voices against the confrontational politics and undemocratic practices of political parties. The changes in attitude of external actors have also been a positive influence on the development of democratic norms and practices. The military take over in 1975 did not draw any sharp criticism from the West. Instead the volume of foreign aid from Western democracies increased during military rule, which facilitated the military rulers to hold on to power. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, international donor community has consciously put promotion of democratic governance on its agenda and this has inhibited further military interventions. While external donor support for the project of democracy-building can create problems as democratic practices can only be sustained when they have indigenous popular support and supporting institutions, the shift in the Attitude of external actors from favoring effective and efficient military dictators to tolerating the slow and complex process of democratic decision-making has on the whole been a positive move. In the last few decades, Bangladesh society has undergone significant changes. Production and gender relation ns have changed. The NGOs have mobilized millions of poor people especially women into group activities. Migration to urban areas and to international destinations is steadily on the rise. However, these changes are not necessarily creating a secular society. While the rapid socio-economic changes are creating new voices that are seeking participation in a democratic political system, the rise of religious extremism is posing a threat to this possibility. Despite considerable progress in the socio-economic arenas, Bangladesh remains far behind its expected targets for economic development due to the inability of the mainstream parties to maintain political stability. But confrontational politics between the two main parties have largely contributed to the political instability of the country. Some political actions such as oppositions boycott of the parliament, Hartland the ruling partys alleged interference in the electoral process are demonstrating the visible manifestations of political instability in the country. Therefore, it is logical to probe the variations in the relationships between political stability and economic development withParticular reference to Bangladesh.

5. Formation of Bangladesh politics

Politics of Bangladesh takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Bangladesh is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The Constitution of Bangladesh was written in 1972 and has undergone fifteen amendments. It includes the followingsExecutive branch Main office holders Office Name Party Since President Zillur Rahman Bangladesh Awami League 12 February 2009 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Bangladesh Awami League 6 January 2009

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The President is the head of state, a largely ceremonial post. The real power is held by the Prime Minister, who is the head of government. The president is elected by the legislature every five years and has normally limited powers that are substantially expanded during the tenure of a caretaker government, mainly in controlling the transition to a new government. Bangladesh has instituted a unique system of transfer of power; at the end of the tenure of the government, power is handed over to members of a civil society for three months, who run the general elections and transfer the power to elected representatives. This system was first practiced in 1991 and adopted to the constitution in 1996.

6. Bangladesh politics and student activism

Bangladesh has a long history of intense student protest surrounding national politics. Students in Bangladesh have led major political movements and helped dictate the course of Bangladesh politics. Most recently, much of this activity in politics has turned violent, and students no longer inspire movements but encourage turmoil. The history of student involvement in Bangladesh politics dates back to the first nationalist movements of the former East Pakistan. The movement known as the Bengali Language Movement was led by student protesters refusing to give up their rights. As a result of growing tensions in Bangladesh surrounding the declaration of Urdu as the national language, governmental forces banned all public demonstrations. In 1952, student protests at Dhaka University challenging Pakistani politics led to police attacking the demonstrators and killing three students. Their death galvanized Bangladesh nationalism and started a long trend of student activism in politics. It seems in recent years Bangladesh students have become as jaded by partisan politics as their fore bearers. Bangladesh student leaders tend to go back and forth between practical demonstration and inspiring mass violence. The politics of these student groups seem to be passed down from either prominent political party, demonstrating obedience to party politics more than genuine grassroots demonstrations. Regardless of the root of students activism in politics, these student leaders enter the Bangladesh national light quite often, with several becoming members of parliament. When opposition parties take office, they generally focus a large portion of their time on persecuting prominent members of the other Bangladesh parties and sadly, students are not free from this persecution. Student leaders involved in politics have been jailed without the constitutionally mandated trials for years at a time, while others have even been murdered in cold blood. Since the recent restitution of Bangladesh government elections after widespread corruption, it appears some of the fanaticism in student politics has started to fade. However, when the army-backed interim government first disallowed political activity while they sorted out the rampant violence and corruption, students in Universities country-wide began to protest. Although the repression of rights by a governmental body should not be blindly accepted, the function of student politics morphed into violence. Active demonstration turned into extreme destruction as at least 200 individuals were hurt or killed and millions of dollars in property were destroyed. The recent activities of student politics in Bangladesh are not indicative of a problem with youth, but rather, a lack of vision by elected officials. Possibly with good intentions, students function exactly as the ineffective party leaders and refuse to compromise. To break the cycle of a corrupt Bangladesh government, it must start with leaders instilling in students the need to work together towards a common goal.

7. Religious influence in Bangladesh politics

Many nations world-wide struggle maintaining a balance between religion and politics. When Bangladesh gained independence from the Islamic nation of Pakistan, the nation supported a secular view on politics, focusing more on social liberties than religious fundamentalism. However, Bangladesh citizens are largely Muslim and since the signing of the constitution, laws have been enacted that encourage Islamic viewpoints. Following the Indian partition of 1947, the Islamic nation of Pakistan consisted of modern day Pakistan and Bangladesh. The boundary lines were drawn this way because of the large populations of Islamic citizens.

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When Pakistan began pushing Muslim policy, such as naming Urdu the national language, Bangladesh citizens fought to retain their cultural identity. Islamic politics did not suit the future Bangladesh nation and they soon after pushed for their independence. The makeup of Bangladesh helps explain their gradual shift to more religious-based politics in recent years. Nearly ninety percent of Bangladesh citizens are Muslim with smaller percentages of Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists. After separating from Pakistana nation based on Islamic principlesBangladesh supported more secular politics. Since that time the largely Islamic population of Bangladesh has pushed national politics towards more Islamic principles. Unlike many Islamic nations, Bangladesh politics maintain a strong focus on religious tolerance. The constitution protects religious observances of all faiths but some still claim social discrimination in national politics. Bangladesh law offers religious protection in all matters of life; marriage, employment, and politics. The gradual shift towards Islamic law came when the Bangladesh Nationalist Party took the mantle of conservative politics. Although the constitution specifies specific religious freedom, many individuals face pressure to convert or quell their religion practice by local politics and officials. Since the central government lacks infrastructure in many parts of Bangladesh, they struggle in delivering on the constitutional guarantees. An interesting component to the religious politics of Bangladesh is the unique nature of their form of Islam. Since it evolved regionally, influenced by regional variation and Hinduism, the Bangladesh form of Islam differs and sometimes contradicts common views of Islamic orthodoxy. Religion influences politics in every nation regardless of legal guarantees or separation. Even though Bangladesh offers equal protection to observe religious practices, the overwhelming majority of Muslimbased citizens creates a natural lean towards Islamic principles. The recent inauguration of the secular Awami League will likely change this recent shift in coming years to focus again of social liberties rather than religious observance .

8. International politics in Bangladesh

The nation of Bangladesh has increasingly become a player in international politics in recent years. Bangladesh is a member of several organizations fostering benevolent international politics world-wide. In addition, their strong stance on terrorism and general view towards religious tolerance places them in a unique position on the world stage. As a parliamentary democracy, Bangladesh shares a governmental philosophy with many Western nations aiding their incorporation in international politics. America and Bangladesh established ties following the latter are liberation in 1972. Since then, America has considered Bangladesh a useful ally in international politics. Considering the negative views many Muslim nations hold towards the United States of America, the peaceful nature between Bangladesh and America illustrates the possibility of diverse nations working together towards common goals. Bangladesh also aided in Operation Desert Storm facilitating a shared view on international politics. Bangladesh maintains strong feelings for the nation of Afghanistan and has assisted in many humanitarian issues. The nation strongly opposed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and has taken a strong opposition to terrorist camps, encouraging an acceptable world-view of their international politics. Bangladesh is a member of many world organizations encouraging fair international politics. During the 1970s, the Bangladesh president suggested a union to preserve shared international politics between South Asian nations. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was thus created and serves the largest population of any regional based association in the world. To harbor fair international politics, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation promotes a shared economic growth, a higher quality of life, and a refocusing on region-wide education. During the 1970s, Bangladesh joined the United Nations and shares many of the organizations views on international politics. Possibly the most important international relationship is between Bangladesh and India. Geographically, India surrounds most of Bangladesh and their shared histories makes the relationship quite unique. Bangladesh owes their liberation to Indias economic and military assistance in the early 1970s and continues to rely on the country economically. International politics between the two nations have strained over the years, but they manage to rebuild their relationship after these political flare-ups.

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As a small South Asian nation, Bangladesh is an important geographic and religious gateway. Although the nation has been plagued by corruption and scandal, their views on liberty and democracy encourage beneficial international politics. With a rapidly increasing population, Bangladesh expects to enter the worlds economic scene in the near future.

Bangladeshi general election, 2008

Banglades h general election, 2008 9. Present features of Bangladesh Democracy


December 29, 2008


All 300 seats in the Jatiyo Sangshad 151 seats were needed for a majority
First party Second party

For better understanding of our democracy we should known the present situation of our country. Among various features the most noticeable and important conditions may be identified as under: i) Absence of democratic political culture: Bangladesh is lacking a democratic political culture. Democratic orientations and practices are not seen in our polity and society. Peoples competence to cope with the democratic norms and values is not adequate. Even opportunities for democratic learning are not available in our educational as well as political institutions. Thus, democratic norms and values could not strike root in our society and polity. ii) Absence the rule of law: In our country, rule of law became merely a frace instead of making up the sun that shines on democracy. Today it has become the part of our political culture that police took action against oppositions and turned a blind eye to the real perpetrators. In case of bails to the political Activists, the judge simply to the wishes of political masters. iii) Lack of political morality: Our politicians lack political morality which is marked by

Leader Party Leader since Leader's seat Last election Seats won Seat change Popular vote Percentage

Sheikh Hasina AL 1981 Gopalganj-3 62 seats, 40.02% 230 +168 33,887,451 49.0%

Khaleda Zia BNP 1984 Feni-1 200 seats, 41.40% 30 170 22,963,836 33.2%

Prime Minister before election Khaleda Zia

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Prime Minister-designate Sheikh Hasina AL

special provision for caretaker government instead of political government to arrange national election. It is a sign of popular distrust on our p0liticians. However, the provision for caretaker government is positive for democracy enough to each our politicians about the lack of their political morality and trust on themselves. iv) Absence of strong civil society: Bangladesh has failed to establish a strong civil society, which could ground the liberalism and put flesh on the skeleton of democracy. Even we are lacking a civil culture which structure the social space of civil society in public regarding ways, anchoring individual identify and conscience in shared norms of solidarity trust and reciprocity. Our intellectuals are merely the prop of ruling classes. v) Absence of strong political leadership: Bangladesh is lacking of strong patriotic political leadership essential for leading the nation toward progress and stability. Our leaders do not hold image to unite the nation in a platform. Because they consider themselves as leader of there party not the nation as a whole. vi) Confrontational politics: Politics in our country is confrontational in nature where there is no cooperation, trust and solidarity among political parties and groups. There is no census among political parties on issues of national interest. They oppose each other only for the sake of opposition. vii) Ineffective political institutions: Our political institutions are not strong and developed enough to render required services on way of democratization and 11political development. Our parliament does not work effectively due to continuous boycott by opposition and its role as a ground for deliberation proved to be ineffective. Our political parties are safe shelter of vested interests. Thus their role to institutionalize democracy is not only inadequate but also unacceptable. viii) Corruption and terrorism: Corruption and terrorism are two terrible barriers to democratic development in our country. Al though the then govt. refused the claim, Transparency International has ranked 4th times Bangladesh as most corrupt nation of the world. Terrorism is not unconcerned to none of our citizens. thus, greatest challenge. Before the nation is to uproot corruption and terrorism from our society ix) Negativity/Double standard: Double standard attitude is a great barrier to democratic development as it discourages to accept others. Everything is just if it favors ones own interest, otherwise it is wrong. A election is fair if the result is favorable otherwise it is unfair. Such kind of attitude forces our politicians to stereotyped enmity and distrust. x) Lack of tolerance and reciprocity: There is a lack of tolerance, mutual respect, trust and reciprocity among our politicians and political parties. Compromise and consensus is absent from our polity, which inflames enmity among politician and endangers the growth of democracy in the country.

10. Other Major Problems & Impediments of Democracy

Beside the above trends and impediments of parliamentary democracy in Bangladesh there are some other institutions of democracy, which are beset with hazardous problems hampering the development of democracy in Bangladesh. Parliamentary Committee System Problems of Bureaucracy and Public Administration Problems of Political Parties Problems of Press and Media Problems of Local Government. Problems of Unconstitutional Laws and the Control Over Delegated Law. The Leadership Problem

11. Future of Political Stability in Bangladesh:

A set of projections are presented here about the future of democracy, and for that matter, future of political stability in the country. Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State expressed cautious optimism about the future of Bangladeshs democracy. While he said that the caretaker system has been widely appreciated, the most important thing to us is that we see that the parties cooperate, parties try to reach an agreement of

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fair sets of rules, he said. He emphasized that the parties must participate in the process.(Ahmed, Anis, 2006) TheBBC Television, on April 1, 2006 organized a debate on future of democracy with participation of a cabinet minister and members of the civil society. Against the backdrop of understandable concerns about confrontational politics deepening and destroying the democratic fabric of Bangladesh, the major concern was worrying about democracys future whether democracy will continue in the backdrop of unceasing animosities on both sides of the political divides in Bangladesh. (Rasul, Enayet, 2006) Concerns were expressed because of the apparent failure of reaching minimum common grounds through dialogue on the modalities of the ensuing elections. Having said that, it may also be pointed out that the kind of confrontational postures we are observing is not unique. Such brinkmanship has beenobserved in the past but the two opponents have sobered and come to minimum modicum of cooperation, at least on elections. (Rasul, 2006) The last sit in before the Secretariat or thePM office have not culminated into an all out programmer by the opposition to topple the government.

12. Political factor impact on business:

Monitoring, understanding and adapting to the political environment is absolutely essential for any business, because it significantly affects every business, some of the factors are Stability of the government. Government type (dictatorship, democratic, monarchy, etc). Economic policy of the government. Trade policy. Diplomatic events in surrounding countries

13. Political instability and its Impact on the Economic Development of Bangladesh
In this section, we are discussing three specific forms of political instability mentioned above and their impact on the economic development. Major source political instability in the country is confrontational politics between the ruling regime and opposition. It takes the forms of oppositions boycott from the parliament, oppositions street agitation and Hartalsprogramme, and ruling partys intransigence, politicization of administration and alleged rigging of electoral process. (For details, see Table 1) Thirty six eminent persons of the civil society expressed grave concerns at the instability in the country emanating from failure of the major political parties regarding reform talks on caretaker government and the Election Commission, rise of militancy, price hike of essential items and related issues. They observed that the opposition returned to the streets to realize their demands while the government continued its repressive acts as efforts for reform talks came to a virtual halt. (The Daily Star, May3, 2006). If elections could not be held through making the required changes, the unstable situation in the country would continue, they Observed. 13.1 Parliament Boycott Oppositions boycott from the parliament has become an almost regular phenomenon over the last decade of Bangladeshs parliamentary politics. Bangladesh Awami League (AL) like its predecessor Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in the opposition bench between 1996and 2001, stayed outside the House for the best part of the last two years on various pleas that essentially boils down to what it alleges in the Treasury Benchs undemocratic attitude towards the opposition. The AL entered the House eight months after the current parliament went its maiden session on October 28, 2001, and still is holding out on its boycott since the last budget session (Rahman/Sarker and Ullah 2004: 140).Such boycott from the parliament resulted in the deficit of parliaments role as legislativeoversight1. As the opposition abstains from parliamentary sessions, they pursue a variety of street political tactics to challenge the ruling party. Hartal is the most popular means of street political tactics that the opposition in Bangladesh deploys against the abuse of power by the ruling party. Though a popular strategy, Hartal disrupts normal life and most importantly it has the menacing impact on the economy. At the heart of these causes of the decline of political stability is the presence of confrontational politics between the two main parties. While confrontational politics results in boycott of the parliament and Hartals, it hurts the economic growth and human development. In the absence of legislative oversight the ruling party takes control of the allocation of resources resulting in

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corruption and rent seeking. Bangladesh saw corruption related financial losses equivalent to 4.7 % of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2001. The total amount lost in corruption in 2001 alone was $ 1,940.68 Million (Rahman/Sarker and Ullah 2004: 50)

13.2 Hartals: Its impact on the economy The purpose of the section, therefore, is not only to estimate the economic costs of Hartals, but to provide a qualitative analysis of their impact, focusing on a few key sectors, namely the export sector (particularly readymade garments), the transport, retail and small business sectors - and the public sector. Both formal and informal sectors of the economy are included in the study. The analysis also provides a comparison of the impact of Hartals on the rural and urban economy. To generate an overview of how the economy is affected by Hartals, it is useful to have a look at the following overall trends of Hartals: Regional and local Hartals occur more frequently and last longer than nation-wide Hartals. Both major political parties-the Awami League (AL) and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-have been equally active in using hartals as a means of political protest. In the ten-year period from 1991- to 2000, 61 national Hartals were called by the BNP, while the Awami League called 67. Recently, there seems to be a trend towards more half-day Hartals. 13.3 Economic cost of hartal Rigorous systematic studies on the economic impact of Hartals are not generally available although some attempts have been made to calculate the costs. The World Bank (Periodic Economic Update April 001:13), estimates that during the 1990s approximately five percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was lost annually due to Hartals. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) estimated that it loses US$18 million a day during hartals. These estimates may however be slightly exaggerated, given that various coping strategies are used to make up for losses.

90/91 91/92 92/93 93/94 94/95 95/96 96/97 97/98 98/99 99/2000 Average

Table 2 Yearly Cost of Hartals, million Taka GDP/Day Hartal GDP loss of Days 2 Hartals 1,325,226 4,477 1 4,477 1,392,005 4703 5 23,514 1,455,680 4,918 7 34,425 1,515,139 5,119 13 66,543 1,589,762 5,371 27 145,012 1,663,241 5,619 28 157,334 1,762,847 5,956 7 41,689 1,844,436 6,231 8 49,850 1,934,370 6,535 28 182,981 1,934,291 6,535 15 98,022 1,641,700 5,546 14 80,385 GDP1

GDP loss, % o.30 1.6 0.2 4.4 9.1 9.5 2.4 2.7 9.5 5.1 4.5

1. Constant market prices 2. National Note: Half-day hartals are counted as full days Source: Own calculations based on BBS data (Statistical Yearbook 2000) and hartals Statistics (Figure 1)

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Using the method of multiplying number of hartal days by GDP gives a picture of the average yearly cost of hartals Table 6.1 shows the GDP at constant market prices for the 1990s. After eliminating weekends and other official holidays, leaving 296 working days a year, the annual GDP is converted into daily GDP figures. This estimate, multiplied by then umber of days affected by hartals in a specific year, allows one to calculate the GDP loss during the year in both absolute and percentage terms. Only nation-wide hartals ere taken into consideration for this estimate. Following this methodology, the average cost of hartals to the economy during the 1990s is found to be 4.5% of the GDP. It should be noted that the estimates in Table 6.1 do not take into account coping mechanisms employed or certain sectors (i.e. agriculture) that may be Less affected and make up production losses during the year. It should also be noted that theGDP estimates correspond to a fiscal year, while the hartal statistics correspond to a calendar year. These figures, here fore, are only rough indicators; nevertheless, they do provide anidea of the economic cost of hartals. Given the explanations above, we estimate that the average cost of hartals to the economy is somewhat less than the 4.5% estimate, and perhaps realistically falls somewhere between 3 and 4%.Although, as demonstrated above it may be difficult to provide exact figures in relation toGDP losses, it cannot be denied that hartals have long-term impacts on levels of foreign Direct investment. There are also other, longer-term impacts on the economy in terms of reduced savings, indebtedness, and psychological and other non-economic costs that should be taken into account in assessing the overall impact of hartals.6.2.2 Impact of Hartals on Different Sectors The relative contribution of different sectors to the GDP indicates how hartals impact on Different sectors. The discussion below gives a more detailed analysis of the impact of Haralson selected sectors of the economy. (I) Impact on the Transport Sector The discussion includes formal and informal transport operators in Dhaka. The formal transport sector also included the public sector operators of the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC). Box1: Impact on Formal Transport Sector Earnings for drivers, helpers and owners of leased BRTC buses are 50 to 60% less than normal on hartal days, because the number of buses operating is much fewer than normal. For buses directly operated by BRTC, normal salaries are paid on hartal days; thus the government bears the cost. Premium (air-conditioned) bus services are shut down on hartal days , to avoid the risk of damage to the vehicles, and the earnings of workers and owners are completely foregone. Services in other towns operate sporadically, and the earnings of owners and employees are approximately one-third of normal on hartal days. Office workers of these bus companies are paid their regular salaries during hartals, but during prolonged hartals they do not get their salaries on time. Bus drivers and helpers face considerable risk of physical assault, bomb explosions and fires. The office staff faces similar difficulties, both getting to and from work. Owners bear the cast of damage to vehicles. The scope for alternative earnings for these workers is small or non-existent, although some helpers may work as day labourers. Most employees have to borrow money from friends and relatives or draw upon their savings to meet their daily consumption needs, especially during prolonged hartals. Owners of premium buses also have to barrow to pay installment on their bank loans, especially during prolonged or consecutive hartals. Box 2 : Impact on Garment Factories Not all of the factories were closed on hartal days. Some remained open, depending on the assessment of the risk involved. Smaller factories located in residential areas usually remain open during hartal days. Workers wages were generally not cut on hartal days, even if the factories were closed. However, during prolonged or continuous hartals, the factories were more likely to close down, in which case, workers were retrenched and not paid. Even when the factories stayed open, payments to workers were sometimes delayed. Production managers in all the factories reported that production losses due to hartals were partly made up by overtime and extra work an other days, including holidays, for

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which no additional payment was made. Major losses to this sector resulted from missed shipments and orders cancelled by discouraged buyers. 22 Other major difficulties caused by hartals were the disruption in banking services and the inability to procure raw materials, which are mostly imported. Workers were afraid of losing their jobs during continuous hartals. They also reported reduced earnings, and were unable to meet daily consumption needs because of price hikes for essentials. Some production managers suggested taken mini strikes of only a few hours duration as a means of political protest, in lieu of longer, more disruptive hartals. (iv) Impact of Hartals on the Retail Sector The retail sector includes informal outlets such as hawkwers, vendors, small shops and corner grocery stores, as well as larger, f ormal establishments and organized markets. Box 3: Impact on Hawkers & Vendors Business on hartals days is 50 to 60% less than on normal days for these small entrepreneurs. Individual offering shoe polishing and repair services reported the poorest sale s. Doing business on sidewalks and street corners during hartals poses considerable risk of physical assault, fire, bombs and tear gas. The demand for products and services sold by hawkers and vendors-clothing, fruit, betel leaf, cigarettes, shoe repair and polishing, watch sales and repair - relies on customers passing through the area on the way to somewhere else. Demand is therefore linked to other activities that are themselves disrupted by hartals. Because vendors and hawkers finance the purchase of their stocks from their daily income, their businesses also suffer on subsequent days after a hartal, because their working capital needs have been met. The hawkers and vendors tried to recoup their earnings by working longer and harder on other days, but are able to make up only 50% of their losses with increased psychological stress as a result. Continuos hartals are particularly damaging to this group, with greatly reduced earnings and consumption and limited sources of alternative employment. Hawkers mentioned that women feel more insecure during hartals and leave the home less often affecting the sales of clothing items in particular. Similar losses were blamed on the closure of educational institutions. Box 4: Comparing impact on the Public and Private Sectors Production losses from public sector industries were generally lower than private sector losses, especially in the last few years. These industries were mostly kept open, because they had better security measures and in many cases, provided housing for workers and officers on the factory premises. As a result, production losses were in the range of 10 to 15% mainly due to worker absenteeism and disruptions in the power supply. Factory closures of a few days were more common during prolonged hartals, such as those held to prompt the end of the Ershad regime. Sales in public sector industries affected by hartals, because show rooms were closed and buyers could not come to the factory premises. As a result, inventories piled up and there were storage problems. Both public and private sector industries complained of delays in repairs when machines broke down, and problem with supplies of raw materials and electricity. Private sector stakeholders also mentioned disruptions caused by the inability to

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conduct banking transactions. Workers in both sectors mentioned income losses and having to pay higher prices for transport and essential commodities. Workers in the public sector who normally resided elsewhere mentioned the added expense of staying on the factory premises during prolonged hartals. Various strategies to recoup production and sales losses due to hartals were mentioned, especially in the public sector in order to meet production and sales targets.

14. How to Ensure Political Stability in Bangladesh

How to ensure political stability is a million dollar question for two reasons. First, the East Asian high growth model in which growth is prioritized even on pains of some amount of illiberal political regimes and coercion so that the benefits of growth pacifies the populace isnt perhaps applicable in the context of rather politically mobilized populace of the country. Secondly, the confrontational political culture in the country has got entrenched in the country and may continue for quite some time. So certain amount of instability at times reaching crisis proportions will continue. But what is of utmost important and there is Thankfully reassurance about that is the continuity of the democratic process, however limping that may be. Given that assurance, application of dialogic and mediatory crisis management techniques by the civil society, international community and the business community is the feasible set of options available to Bangladesh. 15. Role of Major Political Parties in Political Stability Political parties are the direct actors and stakeholders in the political stability of the country. Both the ruling regime and the opposition has role to play in maintaining stability. There is no doubt that the political parties are hostages of history and political stands they have taken. It would be difficult for them to come out of those stands. Some other modalities may also be suggested. Thirty six eminent persons, while expressing concerns about the prevailing political conditions, said, it is a present day imperative that political parties are reformed through mandatory registration. The conditions for Regis trationshould include democratic practices within parties, making all sorts of monetary transactions through banks, publication of audited reports on incomes and expenditures of parties, and nomination of persons active in a party for at least three years. (The Daily Star, 3 May 2006) referring to the current deadlock on reform talks, they suggested that each side should propose their respective proposal in the form of bill and if necessary the Parliamentary Committee should arrange public hearing where the civil society people could make their Own arguments. (Jugantar, May 3, 2006)

16. Recommendation for solving the political problem

The system of allowing Ministers to act as Chairmen of standing Committees of their respective Ministries has to go. Instead, the Standing Committee on each Ministry ought to be comprised of eleven fifteen members drawn from each political party in proportion to their respective strength. Once the number of such committees and Chairman is determined, each committee will then elect its Chairman from among the members of the party to which the post of chairman has been designated and these will be no party whip in this regard. Each Committee may also decide to elect the Chairman by rotation among the parties on an annual basis. The Public Accounts Committee and the Public Undertaking Committee must always be chaired by senior members of Opposition (Ahmed, 1995). The proceeding of such committee meetings will be open to public and media unless the committee itself decides to meet in camera on any particular matter. The power to issue ordinance under Article 93 of the Constitution is being regularly misused. Except in an emergency such as war or total breakdown of law and order which calls for a proclamation of emergency, any ordinance the government intends to make under Article 93 of

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the Constitution must go through the scrutiny of the relevant Standing Committee and obtain its approval before its promulgation. The political will of the government must be demonstrated in a way so that the bureaucrats cannot dare defy Ministers orders (Halim, 1998). The constitutional independence and autonomy for CAG must be ensured so that it can independently work in the way to make bureaucrats accountable in respect of financial matter and monitor their financial responsibilities. A department of Ombudsman should immediately be created which will work as an all time watchdog against misadministration, red-tapism and inefficiency in the bureaucracy. Lower Judiciary should be separated from the executive. This will relieve the bureaucrats of exercising Judicial Power on the one hand, and on the other people will get rid of the problem of corruption in Magistrates court where Justice for the poor people in almost captive at the corrupt hand of magistrates. Separation will bring accountability in the Judicial Sector.

Corruption is the main problem in Bangladesh administration for implementation of any

development programmer. Corruption has engrained in our society. But this evil cannot be wiped out overnight. No Leader, howsoever powerful or charismatic he may be, will be able to wipe corruption out overnight. Only it can be wiped out gradually through the process of institutionalization of controlling institutions and it needs a dedicated leader for institutionalization of institutions, which controls the administration. Local governments should be so designed that MP can also become the Ex-Offico adviser of the Thana and District Council. This will keep the Linkage between the local government and the MP and help MP to remain in touch with the development work in his constituency. This will also help develop relation between the parliament and the local governments.

12. Conclusions
As also evident from cross-country experiences, political instability in Bangladesh has had its toll on growth and development. GDP growth would have been higher than what would have been. More significantly, the GDP growth, scrotal development as well as social development would not taken place, or GDP growth would have been lower. Violent changes of government and violent challenges to government have certainly affected growth and industrialization. Both domestic investment and FDI flow have been affected. Many FDI commitments have not come through while some limited amount of withdrawals has also taken place. Service sector transport and communication, banking, construction activities, hotel and tourism sectors have been affected. Thus overall GDP growth have beenaffected.A long term casualty has been education sector - directly and indirectly. In fact, turbulent campus politics itself has been a source of instability in the country. More importantly, national politics has mirror imaged in campus politics. Quality of higher education has suffered so much that the nation will feel the adverse consequences for a long time to come.

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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the backbone of Digital Bangladesh and its technological environment. ICT covers the vast area of communication technology, information technology, and the telecommunication technology. The technological environment in Bangladesh is emerging fast. In order to develop our information and communication technology Government developed ICT Policy 2002, 2008 and so on.

Technology: Meaning & Concept

Science has been described as "the means of understanding the natural environment, while technology is "the means of controlling and managing it". Hence Science and Technology together cover the gathering and generation of information about the material world and the application of that information for the welfare of mankind

Overview and status of ICT policies

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ICT Status in Bangladesh:

ICT Services:
1) Fixed Telephone service. 2) Cellular mobile Telephone service 3) Transmission service 4) Overseas service 5) Data service 6) Pay phone service 7) Internet service 8) E-Government 9) E-Commerce (Foreign bank/Stock exchange) 10) Radio-AM, FM & HF Service 11) Television Terrestrial & Satellite

Internet Subscribers and usage rate :

Total ISP Subscribers 300000 Peak hour internet usage rate: from taka 1.50 to lowest taka 0.20.(US$1 = BDT69.50) For unlimited access: Tk. 800-1000 per month Cyber Cafes are working as Community e-Centre. The speed of the internet service varies from 32 Kbps to 4 Mbps. By Dec,05 there are about 500 active cyber cafes operating in Bangladesh.

Cyber Cafes in Bangladesh:

Overall, Bangladesh ranks 118 among 133 countries but fares worse than most of its South Asian counterparts in the ICT sector.

India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan rank higher than Bangladesh. Bangladeshs low ranking on infrastructure is due to factors such as low level of secure internet servers, lack of widespread and consistent electricity supply and low internet bandwidth. Bangladesh is ranked as one of the lowest in the world (130), in human resource capacity, i.e. in terms of investment by companies in staff training and employee development.

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Market and political environment:

Bangladesh is at its weakest in terms of lack of capital availability to fund innovative but risky projects. There is also a heavy burden of government regulation and starting a business can be a lengthy process.

The country is unprepared in terms of education, staff training, research and investment and infrastructure.

Individual usage takes stock of ICT penetration and diffusion at the individual level, whereas business and government assesses ICT penetration in business and government respectively. Bangladesh fares worst in South Asia at usage by all the different stakeholders, highlighting this as the area that requires significant government focus. It ranks 130th (out of 133) in the presence of ICT tools in government agencies, showing extremely poor penetration and diffusion of ICT in government agencies.

Source: WEF INSEAD GITR (2009-2010)

Government owned Telephone Company, Private Mobile Operators, Railway Communication System, Active Internet Service Providers total Bangladesh is already under a digital network. By a small initiative an adequate Nationwide IT backbone could be developed. In this case only government could not be sufficient. Public-Private partnership could be the ideal endeavor.

Technology in society:
An Information Technology village is going to be set up very close to Dhaka. The government has already made 18 acres of land available for setting up this IT village. All the infrastructure, including high-speed telecommunication facilities ( 2 Mbps link) would be provided. These would enable the small companies to move into buildings with readily available facilities. Since this is going to take at least two years, a decision has been taken to initially set it up in an existing building in Dhaka.

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For example, improved Cooking Stoves are one of the cheapest means to protect women and children from in-door air pollution, which is a major killer in developing countries. The improved stoves reduce wood use by about 50% saving time and money. Improved Cooking Stoves is helping rural families to increase savings and capital, protect their health and save the environment at the same time. Rural people were unaware of renewable technologies and would not spend their hard earned money on a technology, which did not have efficient after sales services at the local level and no opportunity to earn an income but now the whole scenario is changing. There are many workings have been done by technology in society like Biogas technology, Solar energy etc.

Strengthening Rural Livelihoods:

Dissemination of agricultural technologies for improvement of rural livelihoods Opportunities both for domestic and international markets Creating employment opportunity especially for the women Diversification of high value crops Export promotion and development of AEZ based technology Agro- processing activities Revamping agricultural marketing system Supply chain development

Governments recent interventions:

Farmers database and Farmers Inputs Support Card to 1 Crore 82 Lakh farmers. Increased subsidy on Agricultural Inputs (Fertilizer, diesel, electricity, seeds) Farmer friendly agricultural credit policy 1 Crore 82 Lakh farmers new bank accounts being opened 100 Hr. free supplementary irrigation Enhanced Agricultural rehab grants to victims of natural calamities Support for accelerated mechanization of agriculture Surface water irrigation.

Technology in Economy: There are numbers of incidents in export and import of technologies:

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Government took many initiatives and thus the expenditures below:

Technology in Industry: Telecom Infrastructure in Bangladesh:

1) Fixed line Telephone : 1,12 million (Up to Sep07) 2) Digitalized Facility : Whole Country. 3) Mobile Telephone : 31.42 million (Up to Sep07) 4) Teledensity : 23.24% per 100 people ( Mobile & PSTN) 5) Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission established in 2002 6) Telephone call charge reduced significantly. 7) Now fixed line phone sector has been opened for private sector investment and 15 company got licenses. 8) Mobile coverage reaches most of the rural areas. 9) Recently Long Distance Telecom services (VOIP) Licenses under process to issue. 10) 1800 KM fiber optic cable under Bangladesh Railway is being utilized by the private mobile telephone operator. 11) Fiber optic link between few districts existing under BTTB. 12) Fiber optic link between all district is planned by BTTB.

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Total Subscribers:

BTTB has already established a network for providing Internet connectivity and plans to start commercial service very soon. The proposed tariff rate should make Internet connection affordable to a larger crosssection of public. BTTB is also establishing a fiber optic backbone in the country. They also plan to offer ISDN service very soon using the facilities of the already installed digital exchanges in Dhaka and Chittagong cities.

Obstacles of ICT in Bangladesh: Low computer penetration & Economic condition:

The first mainframe computer came to Bangladesh in 1964, but usage of computers was not common until very late and personal computers were fairly unknown. Except for some large organizations, and corporations, all work would go on manually, as they were used to over the past years. Computers were expensive, for the individuals as well as for the average businesses.

Weak data communication infrastructure & Absence of legal infrastructure:

Big organizations would do some information processing but it still was not enough for contributing to the efficient management of public and private sectors. There was not much information generated electronically that information processor could utilize and apply to meet their needs. To put it simply, an information infrastructure was lacking. Even today, the infrastructure development in Bangladesh is sporadic and limited to those who can pay. As we all know, the ICT infrastructure is defined in terms of availability of shared facility of telecommunication, mobile telephony penetration and cable service penetration. None of these are adequate enough yet to fully usher in the ICT era here in Bangladesh. The inadequacy of this basic infrastructure is largely effecting the other components of ICT so much so that the task force says Bangladesh cannot participate in the global ICT revolution until they are connected. There is no point in discussing our ICT potential if we do not build the highway to connect it.

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Lack of adequate skilled human resource:

IT is not only a hardware that could be run by a particular skill only. It is a knowledge driven technology, so, it need to run with them who have skill, knowledge, information and a level of education .

Concentration towards capital city only:

Almost all the IT related developments which have taken place during the last few years are concentrated in the capital city, Dhaka; in other cities and towns, only a small number of computers are being used, mostly for word processing.

No law against cyber crime & No law of electronic authentication:

The lack of any copyright protection for software has been one of the major deterrents in the growth of software industry. A software Copyright Protection Act has already been drafted and is expected to be enacted very soon.

Low usage in banking sector:

Although the banking sector had been among the pioneers in computerization in Bangladesh, the present level of computer usage in banks is very low. The foreign banks operating in Bangladesh have taken a lead in computerizing their front office operations. It is only during the last 4/5 years that some of the Bangladeshi banks have started gradually computerizing their front office activities and very soon a network of automatic teller machines (ATMs) would be set up by the private banks throughout the major towns.

Low facilities in educational sector :

At present, Internet access is available only in a few Universities. The University Grants Commission is setting up BERNET (Bangladesh Educational and Research Network) establishing linkage among the Universities and providing access to the Internet. Efforts were initiated about 13 years back to introduce computers in schools and colleges. Computer Studies has been introduced as an optional subject both in SSC and HSC examinations. The lack of adequate physical facilities, computers and qualified teachers has resulted in very few students opting for these courses. Experience of other countries shows that teaching of computer programming by incompetent teachers may do more harm than good. Therefore, teacher training is one of the priority actions to be taken. It is clear that the overall economic growth of Bangladesh is only possible if the country capitalizes on its abundant human and intellectual resources, and develops qualified labor rather than the cheap labor that the country is famous for. The introduction of a comprehensive, ICT-focused, educational campaign would make it possible for the country to become a source of high value, skilled ICT workers, boosting the remittance levels, offering opportunities to untold numbers of Bangladeshi citizens. One can also make a good case for further improvement of other aspects of ICT in Bangladesh. Research and development, software industry, hardware industry, service industry, development of e-commerce, uses of ICT for good governanceall these need to be properly developed for us to participate in the worldwide ICT revolution.

Advantage and disadvantage of technology:

Although technology and invention have many advantages and disadvantages, the main reason things are invented is to make a task easier to perform. Technology makes tasks easier, quicker, more efficient, and better. On the other hand, technology can make people lazier, products are made more cheaply (which can be good for companies but bad for consumers), and technology can have adverse effects on a person's health and safety. Besides this there are some other advantage and disadvantage which are given below:

Advantage :
Using information technology, a marketer can reach an enormous number of people with just the click of a button. Networked technologies give millions of people instant access to each other, and this fact is being exploited ever more actively by marketers trying to get their products into the public eye. While the Internet allows broad dissemination of advertising, other technologies facilitate its quick design and

Increased Reach:

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production. Photo editing and graphic design software enable artists to produce ads in a fraction of the time that would be required with older technologies. Technology allows advertisers to respond quickly to changes in the marketplace. For example, if a competitor develops a product that quickly becomes popular, an advertiser can alter the image of his own product to more closely resemble the competitor's. Different markets can be targeted with differently themed promotions using digital technology, without the prohibitive costs associated with traditional print technologies. A slick magazine advertisement can be put together in a day using graphic design software and sent via email to the magazine: Technology advances show people a more efficient way to do things, and these processes get results. For example, education has been greatly advanced by the technological advances of computers. Students are able to learn on a global scale without ever leaving their classrooms. Agricultural processes that once required dozens upon dozens of human workers can now be automated, thanks to advances in technology, which means cost-efficiency for farmers. Medical discoveries occur at a much more rapid rate, thanks to machines and computers that aid in the research process and allow for more intense educational research into medical matters. Cost efficiency is an advantage in some ways and a disadvantage in others. As technology improves on existing processes and showcases new ways to accomplish tasks, machines are able to produce the same -if not more -- output than humans in certain industries. This results in cost savings for business owners, allowing them to invest in growth in other areas of the business, which contributes on a positive level to the economy as a whole. Outside sales representatives, workers at a construction site and traveling insurance adjusters are just a few of the many occupations that require extensive work in the field. Investing in advances in communication technology can help you to get information to your field personnel faster and help you gain an advantage on the competition. Transmitting documents over the Internet as opposed to sending packets of information via an overnight courier can save you money on printing and shipping costs as well as getting important information to clients fast. Advances in technology can make running your company easier and less expensive. Interactive software programs can eliminate the need to train your employees on their benefits package. A step-by-step online training program can be used to not only help employees understand their benefits at their own pace, but it can also help employees fill out the paperwork. All of this is done without the need to hire additional human resources personnel to administer the training and process the paperwork. This can apply to all newhire paperwork and ongoing administrative forms and information that your company needs. When technology collects and processes the information for you, your human resources group has more time to focus on developing a better workforce. Your customers are using mobile communications devices and Internet websites to find information and purchase products. By getting involved in the advances in technology, you can offer customers new ways to purchase products and help customers to get instant support for product returns and shipping issues. For example, advances in technology allow you to have an e-commerce website where customers can purchase products from their computers. An an e-commerce website allows you to put applications on mobile devices that allow your customers to track orders and buy products when they are not near a computer.

Speed and Flexibility :

Great Discoveries in All Industries :

Cost Efficiency :

In the Field of Profession :

In the Field of Administration :

Customer Interaction:

Technology allows you to merge inventory needs as projected by the purchasing department with the manufacturing group to ensure accurate production levels. Computer software can deliver production needs to the manufacturing department, create ordering schedules with vendors and schedule pickups and deliveries with shipping companies. Advances in technology allow your staff to focus on their jobs without having to track several activities at the same time and improves overall productivity.

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Information technology has changed the way that the world does business. Correspondence that once took weeks to get from one organization to another is now delivered instantly with the push of a button. Advances in telecommunication allow associates from all point of the globe to confer in a virtual environment, minimizing the need for business travel. Although the benefits of integrating information technology in business are many, there are also disadvantages to its use. What makes all of these technological developments less than perfect is that they are available to everyone. If only one promoter had access to advanced technology, he would certainly have a tremendous advantage. In a world that is saturated with such technology, the result is a marketing arms race in which each business is striving for the next edge over its competitors. This level of competition can become expensive and stressful as new machines and software are constantly being purchased and employees are constantly being trained in new practices. As marketers all hone in on the fastest, most efficient and most effective way of getting public attention, the result is a growing homogenization in both products and the way that they are promoted. Because digital technologies make replication so easy, no marketer can have an edge on the competition for very long, because others will copy whatever is effective. An advertising environment in which everything looks the same makes it difficult for consumers to distinguish between products, and increases public cynicism about the process of marketing itself. The more advanced society becomes technologically, the more people begin to depend on computers and other forms of technology for everyday existence. This means that when a machine breaks or a computer crashes, humans become almost disabled until the problem is resolved. This kind of dependency on technology puts people at a distinct disadvantage, because they become less self-reliant. At the same time, human workers retain less value, which is a disadvantage of technological advances. Because machines automate processes and do the work of 10 people with one computer, companies find they don't need to employ as many people to get the job done. As machines and computers become even more advanced and efficient, this will continue to be a growing disadvantage of technology and an issue that has a global impact. Every business must consider startup costs when implementing any type of information technology system. In addition to the cost of hardware and software, some technology vendors require businesses to purchase user licenses for each employee that will be operating the system. Businesses must examine the cost of training employees in unfamiliar technology. Although basic information technology systems may be user friendly, advanced programs still require formal instruction by an expert consultant. In addition to the startup expenses, information technology systems are expensive to maintain. Systems malfunction, and when they do, businesses must engage skilled technicians to troubleshoot and make the necessary repairs. These expenses present a major disadvantage of information technology in business, particularly to businesses that are entering the technology era for the first time. Implementing information technology into business operations can save a great deal of time during the completion of daily tasks. Paperwork is processed immediately, and financial transactions are automatically calculated. Although businesses may view this expediency as a boon, there are untoward effects to such levels of automation. As technology improves, tasks that were formerly performed by human employees are now carried out by computer systems. For example, automated telephone answering systems have replaced live receptionists in many organizations. This leads to the elimination of jobs and, in some cases, alienation of clients. Unemployed specialists and once-loyal employees may have difficulty securing future employment.




Less Value in Human Workers:

Implementation Expenses:

Job Elimination:

Security Breaches:

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The ability to store information in an electronic database facilitates quicker, more efficient communication. In the past, an individual would sift through stacks of paper records to retrieve data. With properly implemented technology, information can be recovered at the touch of a button. Although information technology systems allow business to be conducted at a faster pace, they are not without their flaws. Information technology systems are vulnerable to security breaches, particularly when they are accessible via the Internet. If appropriate measures are not in place, unauthorized individuals may access confidential data. Information may be altered, permanently destroyed or used for unsavory purposes.

Steps toward ICT:

The government has taken a decision to withdraw all import duties and VAT from all computer hardware and software. This has brought the prices of computers down to a level affordable by middle income households and sales of PCs have soared during the last few months. A 80-90% annual growth in the number of PCs sold is expected this year. In June, 1996 the government decided to allow private companies to act as Internet Services Providers (ISPs). At present, there are about 22,000 account holders with the ISPs ( 8 in Dhaka and 2 in Chittagong) and the total number of users would be around 100,000. A number of Cybercafs providing e-mail and Internet browsing facilities have been opened in Dhaka city; these are quite popular among the young generation. Public kiosks with internet facilities are also being planned. The government has placed top most priority to human resource development in the IT field. At present, the annual output of graduates in the IT field would be around 500. The target is to produce 10,000 programmers annually by the year 2001. There are about 24 Universities offering undergraduate degree programs in IT-related fields. All the four BITs (at Rajshahi, Chittagong, Khulna and Gazipur) are also planning to offer undergraduate degree programs in computer science and engineering. Bangladeshi students have recently been participating in international programming contests. For example, in the ACM Inter-collegiate Programming Contest held at Atlanta, USA, last year, the team from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (which had earlier emerged as the regional champions) secured the 24th position, above many of the reputed universities in USA (including Stanford University). In the on-going ACM programming contest on Internet, the performance of Bangladeshi students is among the best - out of the top 25 positions, 17 are now occupied by Bangladeshis. In the Regional ACM Inter-collegiate Programming Contest held in Dhaka recently, teams from Bangladesh (particularly from BUET) performed much better than those from other countries of the region (including India, Sri Lanka and Iran). A large number of Bangladeshis are now working in the IT field in different companies in USA. The government is trying to get the assistance of these non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) in IT development, particularly by giving them incentives to set up software companies in Bangladesh. In order to enable rural populace to get the benefits of IT, Grameen Communications is trying to develop a system linking the mobile telephone systems with solar-powered computers. This would enable the large number of rural educational institutes, offices and households to get the benefits of e-mail and Internet access. The present government has recognized IT as one of the priority sectors and is providing all support to the private sector. Development of Information Technology is one of its principal policy goals. New value added services like Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN), e-commercial, e-educational, emedical, e-official, e-political & e-other activities are being already introduced by the Bangladesh telecom sector.

Exemption of tax on Computer items:

Computer education:

HRD in IT field:

The Information Communication Technology has arrived here in Bangladesh, it now remains for us to get ready and leap forward to join the ICT revolution. Today Bangladesh is presented with a window of opportunity; we have the tools and now is the time to use them, before the window closes. To build a digital Bangladesh, let build a nationwide IT infrastructure, a tech shabby generation, a human resource with knowledge, nation with kindness and patriotism.


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