Bangladesh: An Overview

Bangladesh emerged as an independent and sovereign country in 1971 following a sanguinary and protracted war of liberation.  It was constituted as the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the official name is “The People’s Republic of Bangladesh”. The Republic is comprising three basic organs: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary The Government is unitary in structure and parliamentary in form. President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of Government. The country was under Islamic administration for five and a half centuries since the thirteenth century under British rule with nominal Mughal authority for a century from 1757 A.D. thereafter another ninety years under the British Crown and renamed a province of Pakistan between 1947 and 1971. The state language is Bangla. The national anthem of Bangladesh comprises the first ten lines of the song ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’ by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The National Flag of the Republic consists of a red-colored circle placed in the middle of a green rectangular background. The emblem of the Republic is the flower Shapla (Water Lily- Nymphaea nochali) resting on the water having on each side sheaf of paddy surmounted by three connected leaves of jute, with two stars on each side of the leaves. The capital of the Republic is Dhaka. The currency unit is Taka divided into 100 paisa. The citizens of Bangladesh are known as Bangladeshi. The standard time of the country is GMT +6 hrs.

Bangladesh is a sub-Himalayan country situated in the eastern part of the South Asian subcontinent. The geographical location lies between 20° 34′ and 26° 38′ North Latitude and 88° 01′ and 92° 41′ East Longitude. The country is bordered with boundary on three sides- East, North, and West-India. South-East Myanmar. South-Bay of Bengal.  Its alluvial plains provide fertile agricultural lands. The landmass is largely a deltaic formation of three mighty rivers- the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna with a network of numerous rivers and canals. Vast green fields are bounded by sub-Himalayan tableland in the north-west and folds of low hills in the north-east and the south-east with an average elevation of 244 and 610 meters respectively. The highest point is located in the south-eastern extremity of Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Bangladesh has a tropical monsoon climate. Its six calendar seasons are climatically characterized by roughly four periods in a year: cool – December-February, hot- March-May, Monsoon- June-September and mild- October-November. The average temperature across the country usually ranges between 110 C  and 290 C in cold months and between 210 C and 340 C during warmer months. Annual rainfall varies from 160cm  to 200 cm in the west, 200 cm to 400 cm in the southeast and 250 cm to 400 cm in the northeast.

It is one of the largest deltas of the world with a total area of 147,570 sq km. With a unique communal harmony, Bangladesh has a population of about 150 million, making it one of the densely populated countries of the world. The literacy rate of Bangladeshi people is 43.1%. The majority about 88% of the people are Muslims and the Hindus about 10% and the rest comprise mainly of Buddhists, Christians, and animists. The constitution guarantees religious and cultural freedom to all citizens of Bangladesh. Over 98% of the people speak in Bangla. English, however, is widely spoken.

The country is covered with a network of rivers and canals forming a maze of interconnecting channels. Being an active partner, Bangladesh plays a vital role in the international and regional forum, particularly in the UN, Commonwealth and South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC). From the administrative point of view, Bangladesh is divided into 6 Divisions, 64 Districts, 6 City Corporations, 308 Municipalities, 481 Upazillas, 599 Thanas and 4498 Unions.

Bangladesh has an agrarian economy with 25% of GDP coming from the agricultural sectors, although the share of agriculture to GDP has been decreasing over the last few years. Yet it dominates the economy accommodating major rural labor force. From a marketing point of view, Bangladesh has been following a mixed economy that operates on free-market principles. The GDP of Bangladesh is 6.51% and per capita income is about US$ 600. The principal industries of the country include readymade garments, textiles, chemical fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, tea processing, sugar, leather goods, etc. The principal mineral includes Natural gas, Coal, white clay, glass sand, etc.

Principal Exports Readymade garments, Knitwear, Jute and Jute goods, Shrimps, Leather and Leather goods, Tea, Handicrafts, Agricultural products, Ceramic, Pharmaceuticals, Light Engineering Products, and skilled and unskilled Manpower, etc. Principal Imports Petroleum & Lubricants, Chemicals, Cement, Capital Machinery, Machinery parts, Tinned and Bagged Milk powder, Edible oil, Automobiles, electronics, etc.

OFFICIAL NAME The People’s Republic of Bangladesh
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION It lies between 20° 34′ and 26° 38′ North Latitude
and 88° 01′ and 92° 41′ East Longitude
BOUNDARY On three sides- East, North, and West-India. South-East Myanmar. South-Bay of Bengal
AREA 147,570 sq km
POPULATION Approximately 141 million
ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS The country is divided into six Administrative Divisions.
These are Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal, and Sylhet. Each Division is divided into districts
TOTAL DISTRICTS 64
CAPITAL Dhaka
OTHER MAJOR CITIES Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet & Barisal
GOVERNMENT Parliamentary form of government. The President is Head of the state, while the government is headed by the Prime Minister
BUSINESS HOURS The official working hours in Bangladesh are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from Sunday to Thursday. Friday and Saturday are weekly holidays
BEST TOURIST SEASON October – March
PLACES OF TOURIST INTEREST Dhaka, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Kaptai,
Rangamati, Khagrachari, Bandarban, Kuakata,
Bogra, Khulna, the Sundarbans, Sylhet, Rajshahi,
Dinajpur and Comilla
LANGUAGE Bangla-Official Language, English-Second language  and widely spoken
LABOUR FORCE 60.3 million
Male: 37.5 million, Female: 22.8 million
SECTORAL DISTRIBUTION OF LABOUR FORCE Agriculture: 62.3 percent
Industry: 7.6 percent
Others: 30.1percent
RELIGION 4 major religions: Islam, Hinduism,
Christianity & Buddhism
Muslim: 88 percent of the total population
PRINCIPAL EXPORTS Ready-made garments, Knitwear, Jute and Jute
goods, Shrimps, Leather and Leather goods,
Tea, Handicrafts, Agricultural products, Ceramic,
Pharmaceuticals, Light Engineering Products, etc.
PRINCIPAL IMPORTS Petroleum & Lubricants, Chemicals, Cement,
Capital Machinery, Machinery parts, Tinned and
Bagged Milk powder, Edible oil, Automobiles,
electronics etc.
PRINCIPAL INDUSTRIES Jute, Textile, Leather, Garments, Chemical, Fertilizer, Shrimp Processing, Sugar, Cement, Paper, Pharma, Engineering, etc
AIRPORTS Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Jessore, Rajshahi,
Saidpur, Barisal and Cox’s Bazar
RADIO STATIONS Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet and
Rangpur
TELEVISION STATIONS Dhaka and Chittagong
SATELLITE EARTH STATIONS Talibabad (Dhaka), Betbunia (Rangamati)