From the Viewsroom

Rise and rise of Bangladesh

B Baskar | Updated on November 01, 2020

The country has emerged as a South Asian economic powerhouse

When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out it exposed the fragility of global supply chains and their vulnerability in relying on China. As a result governments world over started giving incentives to businesses to move their manufacturing units out of China. India made an earnest pitch to attract investments and position itself as an alternative to China. Some State governments took the lead and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu E Palaniswami even took the trouble of writing to the heads of several multinational companies showcasing Tamil Nadu’s congenial business atmosphere.

Anecdotal evidence so far points to Vietnam and Bangladesh being the preferred destinations for businesses wanting to relocate from China. That Bangladesh was preferred over India has led to a lot of hand wringing in India. But this wouldn’t come as a surprise to analysts who have been observing Bangladesh’s quiet strides — first in social and human development — then in economic growth.

The IMF, in its recent report, said that India’s GDP growth is likely to contract by 10.3-10.6 per cent this fiscal while Bangladesh is likely to post a growth of 4 per cent. According to IMF’s assessment, Bangladesh’s per capita GDP at $1,888 is expected to surpass India’s $1,877. Though some economists, most notably former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, have advised against reading too much into these numbers, but the trend is still revealing and depressing from the Indian point of view.

In fact, today, Bangladesh has become an export power house and a major player in the global textiles and garment sector. In terms of most social indices — health, education and nutrition — Bangladesh scores better than India. Even from the gender point of view Bangladesh seems to be outscoring India as women there enjoy better health, mortality and education status. In the recently released Global Hunger Index, India has been ranked at 107, while Bangladesh is much ahead at 75.

Bangladesh has for long been derided as a country for exporting poor immigrants into India. Its recent ascent should lead to a moment of quiet reflection in India.

Senior Deputy Editor

Published on November 01, 2020

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