Bangladesh is well on her way to officially graduating from an LDC to a developing country. This new status will enhance the global standing of the nation. It will also present new opportunities and challenges for the government and the citizens, which, if effectively handled, can make the cherished collective dream of finally becoming a developed nation a reality.
The government could play its part by continuing to improve infrastructure and ensure investment-friendly regulations. That’s because leading global organizations will assess the possibilities of investing in this highly fertile, 170 million people strong market where incomes and hence economic prosperity continue to rise. Everyone knows how foreign investments helped China rise through the ranks to eventually become a global economic giant. Moreover, ensuring political stability and low to no levels of corruption would be essential. The recent scandals regarding question paper leaks, if continues into the future, could threaten the productive capacities of the future work force. Effective measures to mitigate the issues are of utmost importance on the government’s part.
The responsibilities of the people - the common citizens - however, carry equal importance when it comes to how long Bangladesh will continue to be a developing nation before finally reaching the coveted status enjoyed by her developed counterparts. So, how can the citizens play a part in sustaining a healthy rate of development?
Two words – civic sense. A person’s civic sense refers to his or her social ethics. Abiding by the law, keeping the roads clean, good manners and etiquette, and mutual respect for fellow citizens are within the purview of civic sense.
If we take a look at the streets and reflect on certain traits of us Bangladeshis, we will sadly find that many of our activities do not meet the standards of civic sense. The roads are unclean, traffic rules are often violated, and respect for fellow citizens is virtually non-existent. In short, our collective moral attitude, which is reflected by our collective behavior, is not up to the level which can make us a competent driving force to sustain optimum rate of development of the nation.
If we take a look at the developed nations of the world, we will observe the citizens fostering a far greater level of civic sense compared to the least developed or developing ones. The people of Bangladesh now must realize that we are about to be collectively elevated to a higher status, which means that not only will the world expect better from us, but that each of us must expect better from each other.
It is only through discipline that a person can reach his or her maximum potential. Most of the components of social ethics require greater collective discipline and respect for the nation, which can be best displayed through respect for the citizens who populate it. Greater discipline will mean that we will keep the roads clean, follow the law and regulation, and lead our lives in a way that does not cause inconvenience for our fellow Bangladeshis.
Our region - which is now our country - and her culture are thousands of years old. Her people - us - are enjoying the legacies of our great forefathers who have fought for our rights – right to speak our mother tongue, right to independence and sovereignty – and gave their lives for it. We must keep a check on how we are building on that legacy and what we are leaving behind for our successors. A collective realization by the government and the people, and action based on that sense, should help us best utilize the great potential that Bangladesh has to be a prosperous and globally respected nation.
Sifat Mosaddek Bhuiyan is a Feature Writer, Dhaka Tribune