PM stresses utilizing research-based knowledge for country’s socioeconomic development

Publish: 5:26 PM, January 13, 2022 | Update: 5:26:PM, January 13, 2022

DHAKA, – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today laid emphasis on leveraging the research-based knowledge for the country’s socioeconomic development, calling upon the researchers to put concentration on basic and practical researches alongside exploring unused resources. “Along with the research, we are putting emphasize on how the knowledge, gained from the research, can be used for our socio-economic development,” she said. In this connection, she opined that, “importance should also be given on basic research as well as applied research, and our researchers should definitely look into it.”

The premier said this while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the National Science and Technology Complex (NSTC) in city’s Agargaon as the chief guest, joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban. Talking about the unexplored resources, she said, “We’ve to find out what we have in our country as there are many invaluable resources that we have not yet been able to use or those are out of our reach.” To this end, she also stressed the need for paying special attention on researching unused resources so those can be used for the people of the country. Sheikh Hasina noted research is inevitable in every field such as health, food production, engineering or infrastructure development. “In fact, excellence cannot be achieved without research,” she said. About attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, she said, “In our country study is absolutely necessary and that’s why everyone needs to pay attention on research.”

Besides, more attention also needs to be paid to keep pace with the technology as the use and impact of technology has increased all over the world, she added. She continued, “In this age of science and advanced technology, the countries which are advancing in scientific research are also making rapid economic progress.” The prime minister, however, noted that the country is lagging behind in the research of the health sector. She said despite progress in other studies, the country is lagging behind in health research as the number of research in this field much lower than others. The head of the government also pointed out that many physicians could no longer be involved in research after attending patients, but her government is taking steps to increase health research. Sheikh Hasina also renewed her call to the countrymen who are still remained unvaccinated to get the Covid-19 jab immediately to protect their lives from the new variant of the pandemic.

“I urge those who have yet to get inoculation to receive vaccines soon. We started vaccinating school students as well. At least life might be saved if one gets vaccinated,” she said. She said the new variant of Covid-19 is now spreading rapidly and the people are being affected by the Omicron variant. She called upon all to follow the health safety protocols properly and maintain the recent directives issued by the government. With Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman in the chair, National Museum of Science and Technology (NMST) Director General Muhammad Munir Chowdhury delivered the welcome address. At the outset of the function, an audio-visual documentary on the newly built National Science and Technology Complex was screened.

The modern complex was constructed at a cost of some Taka 222 crore to further popularise science and technology through scientific exhibitions and to encourage the young and non-professional scientists to their innovative activities. The eye-catching structure, having 300,000 square feet space, 700-seat auditorium, two seminar halls, multipurpose hall, rooftop solar system and cafeteria, will promote arrangement of the national and international seminars, conference, workshops and fair on science and technology. The prime minister said her government is providing all kinds of assistance including necessary financial grants for research on science and technology. She said “Bangabandhu Fellowship” is being offered for science and technology research at home and abroad under the Bangabandhu Science and Technology Fellowship Trust for building a science-minded nation and developing skilled and qualified scientists, technologists and researchers at national level. In addition, National Science and Technology Fellowships are being given among the students and researchers at the MPhil, PhD and post PhD levels, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said after assuming office in 1996, “I allocated fund initially for research” as there was no allocation for conducting study and subsequently, “the special allocation is being kept for research in every year’s national budget”. She also briefly highlighted the development initiatives in the field of research and science and technology. She said her government has established the National Institute of Biotechnology to ensure meaningful use of the biotechnology in improving the quality of life of the people alongside setting up of several world-class science research institutes including Genomic Research Laboratory.

The premier said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre has been set up in Dhaka to give the young generation a better idea about space and its branches are being expanded in divisional levels. She continued that an effective addition to medical science is the National Institute for Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Medical University and the Institute for Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences at various government medical colleges across the country. She went on saying that the government is also building Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant which would take the country to a new height globally. The premier said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had put highest importance on science education while building a war-torn country after the independence.

She said Bangladesh became a member of the International Telecommunication Union on September 5, 1973 and inaugurated the Satellite Earth Station at Betbunia on June 14, 1975 to connect Bangladesh with the world during Bangabandhu’s tenure. “His steps have been serving as a guideline for us,” she added. After long 21 years, when Awami League came to power in 1996, she said that she saw the number of science students, even interest in science education decreased in the country.

Then she took initiatives to establish 12 science and technology universities across the country, Sheikh Hasina said. About the reason behind declining interest in science education, she said the then governments that came to power illegally after 1975 by violating the constitution were involved in corruption to legalise their illegitimate powers and took initiatives to create an “elite class” with a handful of beneficiaries. “They (the then illegal governments) also handed over money and weapons to the meritorious students and the educational institutions saw the jingle of arms even they hadn’t time to pay heed to common people’s need,” she added. She also mentioned the failure of the then BNP government formed in 1991 to take the opportunity of being connected to international submarine cable for free use in technology.

Sheikh Hasina said, “Our misfortune was that BNP was in government and Khaleda Zia was the prime minister, and she said it (submarine cable) can’t be taken. Because, if this is done, all the information of Bangladesh will go abroad,” Thus, they ruined the development potentials of Bangladesh, she added. She said Awami League government, after assuming power in 1996, had taken a project to provide 10,000 computers to 10,000 schools free of cost and the development partners came forward while a list of schools was prepared She added the Dutch government offered to buy computer from their company at half price and an agreement was also signed with them.

She mentioned that the computers were supposed to be bought from the Dutch company “Tulip”, also the name of Dutch national fruit, saying the company’s name was her younger sister Sheikh Rehana’s daughter Tulip Siddiqui’s namesake. But, the BNP had foiled this initiative immediately after forming government in 2001, she said. She went on saying, Due to the similarity of name of the Dutch company with Tulip Siddiqui, the then BNP government cancelled the deal. “Because, our very wise the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia was made understand by someone that the firm Tulip belonged to Sheikh Rehana’s daughter Tulip.

Therefore, it cannot be taken and she cancelled it,” she said. Sheikh Hasina said as a result of the cancellation of the agreement, the Dutch company filed a case against Bangladesh and lawyers were hired to deal with the case and finally Bangladesh was fined Taka 60 crore. She also said 10,000 computers were destroyed and a fine of Taka 60 crore had to be paid due to the decision of the head of government of a country. “And if you (people) have such a head of government, then you understand that how the country will prosper,” she added.