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Radical Change in the Country is Possible by Harnessing the Power of Cooperatives: Local Government Minister

Dhaka: Local government minister M. Tajul Islam has expressed the possibility of bringing about fundamental change in the country through the effective utilization of cooperatives.

On Saturday, November 4, during his address as the chief guest at the award ceremony for the 52nd National Cooperative Day 2023 and the National Cooperative Award 2022, he conveyed this message.

The local government minister stated that the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, emphasized the significance of cooperatives in transforming the economic conditions of rural people. He believed that what might not be possible for an individual could be achieved by bringing ten people together through cooperatives. By pooling the small savings of individual people, cooperatives have the potential to bring about significant changes in various aspects of society.

He explained that the successful implementation of cooperatives in the economic development of the rural population has been accomplished in our country through the Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD) in Comilla. Following BARD’s model, even in South Korea, the economic development of rural people has been achieved through cooperatives. By strengthening cooperatives, we too can advance towards that goal. This will enable us to build a prosperous and developed Bangladesh, in line with the vision of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Minister Tajul Islam emphasized that the vision of Bangabandhu was to use modern technology in agriculture to ensure efficient production, distribution, and marketing through cooperatives. The focus was to ensure equitable distribution of wealth. He said that we need to become more powerful in implementing cooperatives to achieve this vision.

He mentioned that the poverty rate in Bangladesh was 41.5% during the first term of the present government. However, after about 14 years of effective governance, it has come down to 18.7%. He said that the project “Ashrayan” aims to include landless and homeless people in the economic and social development of the country. At present, the implementation of three development projects is ongoing through the Department of Cooperatives.

He also stated that under the development journey, every section of urban and rural people will participate equally. No one will be left behind. Currently, there are approximately 1.89 million cooperative societies registered under the Department of Cooperatives. These cooperative bodies are playing a crucial role in socio-economic development, job creation, and poverty reduction.

At the event, special guests included Nural Islam Nahid, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Local Government, Rural Development, and Cooperatives, Mosammot Hamida Begum, Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development, and Cooperatives, and Munima Hafiz, Comptroller and Auditor General of the Department of Cooperatives.

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