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Key Economic Data 
  2004 2003 2002 Ranking(2004)
Millions of US $ 56,844 51,900 45,500 54
GNI per capita
 US $ 440 400 390 175
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bangladesh

Update No: 020 - (27/08/07)

After seven months of army-backed rule, violent clashes erupted between students and police compelling the government to impose an indefinite curfew on 22 August, in six of the country's largest cities. The leader of the caretaker government, Fakhruddin Ahmed said that the administration was compelled to impose the curfew and to shut colleges and universities across the country to "protect public life and property as well as stop illegal activities." Mobile phone networks were also closed down. The political unrest developed after a minor scuffle broke out between students of Dhaka University and the police. The scuffle led students to demand that troops on the campus be removed. On August 21, the protests spread, with demonstrators setting fire to a military vehicle in the capital. In clashes around the country, at least one person was killed and several hundred, some of them police officers, were injured. The government said that the army had already withdrawn from the Dhaka University campus and that a judicial inquiry had been opened into the initial clash that prompted the protests. Mr. Ahmed suggested that the student protests had been exploited by others to stir political unrest. "It's unfortunate," he said, "that some evil forces and opportunist, unruly people created anarchy in different parts of the country, including Dhaka, are capitalizing on the university incidents." 

This month Bangladesh has been devastated by one of the worst floods yet to hit the country, and this has forced a re-allocation in budget resulting in pooling 0.8 percent of the country's GDP toward flood rehabilitation. Finance Secretary Dr Mohammad Tareque has said that "donor supports are needed to achieve growth objectives as well as macroeconomic objectives." He said that budgetary allocation amounting to about 0.8 percent of GDP was shifted to flood rehabilitation while budget deficit would increase to keep momentum of the planned activities. This would mean more borrowing from banks, and fueling inflation. 
The finance secretary informed the donors that the food safety net budget was reallocated to meet the immediate relief requirements to the tune of 21 billion taka (about 300 million U.S. dollars) and the maintenance budget also reallocated (about 21 billion taka), to cater to the immediate post-flood rehabilitation priorities. The World Bank earlier estimated that the country's GDP growth would be slowed down by 0.2 percent to 6.8 percent from the projected estimate of 7 percent in the current fiscal year. The United Nations had previously warned of a food crisis across northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal, after monsoon floods destroyed millions of acres of farmland. 
The annual monsoon rains, which run from June to September, are vital to an increase in farm production, key to faster economic growth in South Asia. But this year's rains have also caused rivers to burst their banks and inundate thousands of villages, devastating crops across the region. More than 2,000 people have died in South Asia since the monsoon season began in June. Aid agencies say the death toll will rise, as stagnant waters become a breeding ground for diseases, including diarrhea, malaria and dengue fever. 

As a consequence of the havoc wreaked by floods, Bangladesh has asked foreign donors and development partners for hundreds of millions of dollars to help its economy since the floods destroyed thousands of crops and left millions homeless. Bangladesh's economic growth might slow down to 6.8 percent from a target of 7 percent and the budget deficit is likely to widen due to an increase in unforeseen expenditure caused by the floods. Mohammad Aminul Islam Bhuiyan, secretary of the Economic Relations Division, told Reuters "that to deal with the budget deficit we requested the development partners to provide initially $150 million, but after the final assessment we will require more assistance from them". An official who attended a meeting with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank on Sunday, said the two organizations might provide $300 million and $150 million respectively as budgetary support over the next four months. Officials said that initial assessments showed the worst affected sectors are agriculture, communications, education and health. The floods affected nearly 700,000 ha (1.73 million acres) of farmland, washing away mainly rice crops.

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