Bangladesh will soon emerge as a developed country as it has already secured a dignified position in the global arena through economic, commercial and social advancement, President Abdul Hamid said yesterday.
People hope Bangladesh will become a middle-income country during the golden jubilee of independence in 2021 and a developed one by 2041.
“This dream of the nation will definitely come true through the achievement of Vision 2021,” Hamid said at the New Year’s inaugural session of the current parliament.
He also urged people to forge unwavering unity once again to build an exploitation-free “Sonar Bangla”, uprooting terrorism and militancy from the society.
Lawmakers from both the treasury and the opposition benches welcomed his speech by thumping desks repeatedly.
This is Hamid’s last speech in the 10th parliament as his five-year stint as president will expire on April 23, said sources at the parliament secretariat.
But if he is re-elected as president, he will address the next year’s inaugural session of parliament.
According to the constitution, the president addresses the first sitting of the New Year’s session of the House.
He read out a 65-page summary of his 185-page scripted speech and requested the Speaker to consider the entire speech as part of parliament proceedings.
In his one-hour speech, he urged both the treasury and the opposition benches to play a proper and effective role in parliament to fulfil people’s aspirations.
“We have been on a journey to achieve peace, democracy, development and prosperity and will go further following the path of development.”
On the government’s Vision 2021, he said, “I am firmly hopeful that we will be able to develop a welfare state based on an ideal society by achieving the targeted goals through establishment of good governance and social justice, institutionalisation of democracy and direct involvement of people in every sphere of our society.”
Hamid highlighted the government’s development activities in different areas, including economy, trade and commerce, agriculture, power, foreign relations, tourism, education, health, good governance, expatriates’ welfare, science and technology, ICT and public administration.
On the Election Commission, Hamid said that since taking charge on February 15 last year, the current Election Commission conducted free, fair and peaceful elections to two city corporations, five municipalities, four upazila parishads, 134 union parishads and several other local bodies, and by-elections in two constituencies.
The EC secretariat has been brought under the commission to ensure its freedom and accountability, he noted.
“Besides, steps have been taken to allocate separate budget for and under the commission. As a constitutional body, the Election Commission is playing a very important role to uphold the country’s democracy by holding elections in a free, impartial and peaceful manner,” the president added.
The House session began with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair. Leader of the House and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and Leader of the Opposition Rawshan Ershad were present.
Earlier in the morning, speaking at a function in Kushtia, the president said there should be more cultural activities and scope for free thinking at universities to help check militancy and intolerance, reports UNB.
Discussions on nation building and cultural and sporting events should be organised alongside academic activities to bring students out of the cycle of ignorance, he said.
Hamid, also chancellor of the Islamic University in Kushtia, was speaking at its fourth convocation ceremony.
The young generation must use its strength and potentials to build the country, Hamid mentioned.
“Do not follow anyone blindly. Explore new knowledge following our culture and values,” the president said, adding that the age-old tradition of communal harmony and coexistence must continue in the country.
University Grants Commission Chairman Prof Abdul Mannan, Convocation Speaker Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, and Vice Chancellor of the university Prof Dr Harun ur Rashid Askari also spoke.
Earlier, the president unveiled the plaque of a newly-built mural of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman beside the main gate of the university.
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