Bangladesh is doing well – The Navhind Times

Posted: February 23, 2020 at 3:48 pm

Karan Thapar

Frankly, I blame Henry Kissinger. Way back in the 1970s, he called Bangladesh an international basket case. At the time, no doubt, it was. Television images of the frequent devastating floods it suffered confirmed this characterisation. So the description stuck.

Today, Bangladesh is a different country. The world maybe slow in changing its opinion although I am not so sure of that but we inIndia have no right to be trapped in the 1970s. Yet, thats precisely what thejunior home minister revealed last weekend.

Half of Bangladesh will be empty (vacant) if Indiaoffers citizenship to them, said minister of state for home, G Kishan Reddy.Half of Bangladeshis will come over to India if citizenship is promised.Apart from the fact that he was undiplomatic and offensive, Reddy also revealedthat hes ignorant of the true state of Bangladesh. Worse, he doesnt know that,in comparison to India, Bangladesh is performing far better on many, if notmost, of the indices that determine quality of life.

First, Bangladesh is growing at a rate that we in Indiacan only envy and hope to achieve two or three years down the road. Whilst weslip below five per cent, Bangladesh isracing ahead at

eight per cent.

Second, while Nirmala Sitharaman desperately strives toattract investment leaving China by offering 15 per cent rates of corporatetax, Bangladesh is one of the two countries where its actually going.Consequently, high streets in London and New York are brimming with clothesmade in Bangladesh, but very few produced in Ludhiana and Tirupur. No wonderBangladeshs merchandise exports grew in double digits in fiscal 2019;

Indias sharply fell.

However, economic performance is only one part of thegrowing difference that separates India from Bangladesh. The other is moretelling. To put it bluntly, life in Bangladesh appears a lot more attractivethan in India.

Just look at the facts. Life expectancy for males andfemales in Bangladesh is 71 and 74 respectively. In India, the correspondingfigure is 67 and 70. When you break down this big picture, the differencebecomes even more striking. First, take children. Neonatal mortality in Indiais 22.73 per 1,000 live births; it is 17.12 in Bangladesh. Infant mortality is29.94 in India versus 25.14 in Bangladesh. Our under-five mortality is 38.69;theirs is 30.16.

Now, come to women. In Bangladesh, 71 per cent of womenabove the age of 15 are literate, while 66 per cent are so in India. InBangladesh, female labour participation is 30 per cent and rising; ours is 23per cent and has fallen by eigt per cent in the

last decade.

Finally, the ratio of high school enrolment for boys andgirls a measure that indicates how the future is developing is 0.94 inIndia but 1.14 in Bangladesh. Not only are things better on the other side ofthe border; theyre going to get better still. Were falling behind.

So when AK Abdul Momen, Bangladeshs foreign minister,says: Some Indian nationals are entering Bangladesh illegally for economicreasons, he may well be right. People migrate to improve their lives, and lifein Bangladesh seems decidedly better. If youre an Indian Muslim in danger oflynching because you trade in meat, accused of love-jihad because youve fallenin love with a Hindu, or in fear of losing your citizenship, you could easilybe tempted to cross over to the

other side.

At the moment, there cant be too many inclined tojourney in the opposite direction. The statistics I have quoted suggest thatits more attractive to be a termite in Bangladesh than a legal citizen inIndia.

One last point: Someone should tell Reddy that if theUnited States of America promises citizenship, half of India will cross over.Actually, it will be far more. And, by the way, the fact that Americas doorsare presently shut isnt stopping us.

(HT Media)

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Bangladesh is doing well - The Navhind Times

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