Sunday March 25, 2018 09:32 AM

  • The budget conundrum – is it too big to be true?

    The budget conundrum – is it too big to be true?

    The budget, standing at Tk2.2tn, has made history in terms of size

    The budget for the FY2013-14 has made history in terms of its size, currently standing at Tk2.22tn (16% increase from FY2012-13) and a 275 fold increase from the first budget in FY1972-73. Despite the optimism and confidence exuded by our octogenarian finance minister, the fact remains that the budget target is deemed over ambitious, considering the upcoming political upheaval, national election and handover of power from this government to the next.

  • Is there ‘good’ and ‘bad’ corruption?

    Is there ‘good’ and ‘bad’ corruption?

    We must do all that we can to do away with crony capitalism

    Corruption is an important issue and throws up some interesting problems and dilemmas.

    Private sector-led development can never be free of crony capitalism, and the early days of capitalist development in most countries were fraught with challenges and opportunities, many of which were abused as well as used.

  • Don’t discount the Islamists

    Don’t discount the Islamists

    The take-away lesson from the city polls is that the religion-based groups will have a huge role to play in the national elections

  • Obama’s best bad choice in Syria

    Obama’s best bad choice in Syria

    The US president's decision to send small arms and ammunition to Syrian rebels is a basic first step towards slowing Assad's advance and Tehran's rise

    For the last two years, there has been bitter debate in Washington over what the US should do in Syria. Beneath the surface, though, there has been broad agreement on what should not happen: President Bashar al-Assad crushing the rebels, remaining in power and handing Tehran a strategic victory that boosts its influence across the region.

  • A political tsunami

    A political tsunami

    The landslide victory for the opposition in the city corporation elections is a wake-up call for the government

  • The shape of things to come

    The shape of things to come

    The writing is on the wall. But can we read?

    The recently held mayoral elections in Barisal, Khulna, Rajshahi and Sylhet were interesting for many reasons. Mainly so because this was the first head to head contest between BNP and AL since the last general elections. But of course more importantly, because this could be a bellwether for the upcoming (dare I say it?) general elections.

  • How much change can Rohani bring?

    How much change can Rohani bring?

    Iran's friends and foes alike seemed to agree that Rohani's victory would not bring fundamental change in foreign policy

    Iran's enemies and friends responded to the election of Hassan Rohani as its next president with a little hope, but more scepticism, that the moderate cleric can close the rift between Tehran and much of the world.

    Washington said it stood ready to engage with Iran to reach a "diplomatic solution" over its nuclear programme, which the West suspects is intended to produce nuclear weapons – something Iran denies.

  • Bengali Muslims’ incomplete quest

    Bengali Muslims’ incomplete quest

    It is unrealistic to take religion completely out of the equation
    Bengali Muslims have been trying to construct a synthesis of their identity for over a hundred years now. Bangladesh, which comprises the largest ethnic Muslim population in the world after the Arab, embarked on a journey as a secular nation in 1971.

    During the partition of 1947 when we became Pakistan, we created our identity on the premise of excluding “Hindu India” as the other. We were Muslims then. Then came a time when being Muslim was not enough to hold the homogeneity of Pakistan.

  • American exceptionalism: Seen through the PRISM of America’s blunders

    American exceptionalism: Seen through the PRISM of America’s blunders

    Why should China listen to American grievances about China’s IP theft when these practices work perfectly well and Beijing can categorise America’s cyber practices as a step too far, also?

    The past weeks’ revelations about PRISM, the National Security Agency’s broad electronic surveillance program, follow a grand American tradition of major disclosures that undermine the high standards to which the United States holds itself, and the world.

    In this case: How can the US tell other countries to stop using the internet to pursue their aims at the expense of others when it has been systematically spying on foreigners for years?

  • Still room for surprises in Iran elections

    Still room for surprises in Iran elections

    Televised debates last week revolved around the economy and the nuclear question
    As Iranians voted on Friday they were faced with a choice of six potential presidents, two having dropped out of the running in the final few days.

    One of these was the last overtly reformist candidate, Mohammad Reza Aref, who withdrew in favour of a moderate, Hassan Rouhani.

    But the election campaign has not caught fire in the way that it did in 2009, when the Green movement arose and seemed for a time to be on the point of transforming the Islamic Republic. That is no accident.

  • What is the writing on the wall?

    What is the writing on the wall?

    Many individuals in the country are making preparations

    With the country’s foreign exchange reserve reaching the $15bn mark, inward remittance growing at 14% during the last 10 months, and exports also holding up well at 10% year-on-year growth despite a challenging situation in destination countries, we all thought unless the US dollar is continuously supported by the Bangladesh Bank, the taka would soon see a level of 70 against a unit of the greenback.

  • In search of the ‘ever-elusive’ common good

    In search of the ‘ever-elusive’ common good

    As long as our politicians cannot be above and beyond obsessive self-interest and gross partisan aggrandisement, we will not have a clean, logical and functional governance system

  • Can we beat corruption?

    Can we beat corruption?

    It doesn’t seem like we’ll be seeing the end of it any time soon
    Will Bangladesh see an escalation in corruption? This question is worrying. I know corruption has become a widespread malady in Bangladesh. Yet, I keep hearing people talk about hope – a future Bangladesh under our generation – free of corruption. Sadly, the hope is utopian in nature but I fear I will not see any real reduction in corruption in the near future under our generation. It will only escalate or at least that is what I fear, and in this article I will justify my worries.

  • Much ado about Advani

    Much ado about Advani

    In the drama surrounding Narendra Modi, the biggest showdown was the one between him and his former guru Lal Krishna Advani

    Much drama has surrounded the ascent of Narendra Modi, chief minister of the state of Gujarat, to the de facto leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The biggest showdown inevitably had to be the one between him and his former guru, Lal Krishna Advani. The old warhorse didn't want to trot quietly into the sunset, and the results have been messy.

  • Building a safer and stronger garment industry

    Building a safer and stronger garment industry

    A plan through which the country’s highest export earner can continue to grow and contribute

  • Benefitting from black money

    Benefitting from black money

    We need to find a solution where everybody wins
    In his most recent budget the Finance Minister AMA Muhith took another stab at whitening what analysts claim is a vast, and unaccounted for, black economy.

    With some estimates claiming that as much as 60% of the country’s GDP is in the black economy, this is a vast source of inefficiency with regard to the nation’s growth.

    The choice of the real estate sector as the vehicle to do this was however ill informed and perhaps wasteful, if not harmful.

  • An apology, maybe?

    An apology, maybe?

    It is time for people to stop stereotyping journalists
    I had to debate with myself for a long time, whether or not it was okay for me to use the word “journalist” when people asked me about my profession. After months of being surrounded by “real” journalists and reporters I have realised however small or insignificant my work has been so far in my career, it is okay for me to use the word for myself.

    The kind of work that I produce does fall under “journalism” whether it’s good or bad.

  • Power misery: First aid

    Power misery: First aid

    As people suffer from record high temperatures and power outages, the new government can take some measures to alleviate the misery of citizens

    The suffering of the people has reached a peak as they are caught in the vice of record high summer temperatures and acute power outages. Let us indicate some urgent measures that the new government can undertake to mitigate the misery of citizens.

  • Bangladesh’s idol: Fools vs Ashraful

    Bangladesh’s idol: Fools vs Ashraful

    Why do we hold cricketers to a higher standard than politicians?
    One of the primary reasons Bangladesh is known in the wider world is because of the nation’s legendary corruption. This malpractice in the state mechanism affects each and everyone, no matter the position of the person in the society, be it in a metropolitan city or a remote village.

    But, these are all old stories and are shared by many other countries in the world, including our next-door neighbour India, the largest democracy in the world, as well as another neighbour Myanmar, ruled by military junta for years now.

  • Preventing another industrial disaster

    Preventing another industrial disaster

    Savar municipality officials permitted the building to be built, hence, they are also a party to the crime

    The whole background behind the incident at Rana Plaza keeps getting murkier and murkier – this is what I thought as I saw reports about the circumstances that gave rise to the collapse.

    From these reports it is clear that Rana Plaza's owners are fully responsible for second degree murder, but it doesn’t end there. Savar municipality officials permitted the building to be built, without due and proper verification. Hence to that extent; they are also a party to the crime.

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