Rehman Sobhan, also chairman of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), reminded the conference about the pledges made to the people before the Liberation War. He spoke both about the development and failures in the last five decades since the independence.

Mentioning that the country has deviated a lot from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s idea of exploitation-free society, Rehman Sobhan said, the ruling system in the country has become unjust. Explaining the matter, he said, the country has got all the rules and regulations but those are not implemented equally for all. He mentioned that those were promised to the nation during the fight for independence and that’s why those need to be protected.

Rehman Sobhan said to fulfil the dream to be a developed nation by 2041 the people’s representatives have to be elected by unreserved voting of the people

Rehman Sobhan said to fulfil the dream to be a developed nation by 2041 the people’s representatives have to be elected by unreserved voting of the people. “Now we have to ask, how far we’ve advanced towards that goal or what we have to do to achieve that.”

Only free and impartial elections are not enough, Rehman Sobhan mentioned. He said it is also important (to observe), who are representing the people. Nowadays businessmen have been representing the people at every level; almost 70 per cent MPs are businessmen; the remaining MPs may also have indirect connection with business. But in a democratic system people from all walks of life are supposed to represent people, especially the people of the majority class. “Naturally they (businesspersons) will try to ensure profit after going to the Jatiya Sangsad investing so much money. But those who were doing politics during the time of Bangabandhu did not have so much money. Such is the situation these days that people are being murdered even in union parishad elections because being a member of the parishad has become a very profitable matter.”

Professor Rehman Sobhan further said Bangabandhu not only thought of freeing the country from the clasp of foreign rulers, but also from the oppression of local exploiters. He said, “This time our struggle is struggle for freedom, this time our struggle is struggle for independence.” Through this Bangabandhu clearly gave the message of independence. The nation has got independence but the struggle for freedom is a very complex matter.

Abul Barkat said once discussion in reforming the agriculture sector was abound. During his days Rehman Sobhan was most vocal about it. He (Abul Barkat) also wrote about the matter. But since then nobody talks about it anymore

Rehman Sobhan said, “Bangladesh has achieved many things since the time of independence. We have bettered Pakistan almost in all the indices. But inequality has increased in the society and politics has not become inclusive. The nation has to take these things into consideration.”

On the first day of the 21st biennial conference of Bangladesh Economic Association, association’s president economist Abul Barkat was awarded ‘Mujib Gold Medal’ for his contributions to economics.

Abul Barkat said Bangabandhu simultaneously talked about the struggle for independence and freedom. But though the country has achieved independence, freedom is yet to achieve. The matter of freedom is very complex, maybe that’s why Bangabandhu mentioned the matter of struggle for freedom later [sic].

Mentioning that the nation has deviated a lot from Bangabandhu’s idea of socialism, Abul Barkat said, nowadays everything has become dependent on the market and private sector.

Quoting from economist Adam Smith, Abul Barkat said businesspersons rarely meet and if they meet, after exchanging greetings they go home with one thing in common, that is techniques to increase prices.

Discussing various sides of economic condition of the country, Abul Barkat said once discussions to reform the agriculture sector was abound. Back in the day, Rehman Sobhan was most vocal about this. He (Abul Barkat) also wrote about the matter. But since then nobody talks about it anymore.

After the inauguration of the conference economists made presentations on various issues.

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