Bangladesh's annual per capita income has risen to $1044 in 2012-13 from $923 a year ago. The year 2005-06 will be used as the base year from now on for economic calculations, especially the gross domestic product (GDP), instead of 1996-96 -- so long used as the base year. Updating the base year is required for obtaining accuracy of data in an updated manner as far as possible. It is also essential to take account of newer economic activities -- expansion or downsizing of different industries and economic sectors over the years.
The rate of GDP growth, using 2005-06 as the base year, is 6.18 per cent as against 6.03 per cent calculated earlier using 1995-96 as the base year. Calculation of the GDP using the new base year, however, included nearly 150 new products and services. Agriculture and forestry sector alone contributed 24 new crops to the GDP calculations. Services sectors such as micro-credit, cooperative banking, house building financing have also been included.
Of the three broad conditions required to get into the list of developing countries, Bangladesh will be able to fulfill one if her per capita income reaches $1190. Besides, Bangladesh will have to improve on human resource development index and stable economy for the same purpose.
A good deal has no doubt resulted from poverty reduction efforts. So far, the country has done well on its way to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) in poverty reduction within this year. It has been found that the purchasing capacity of the Bangladeshis has increased and the incidence of poverty has come down gradually during the last decade from 63 million poor people in 2000 to 47 million in 2010.
Expansion of social security net, wage hike and reduction in population growth rate are believed to be largely responsible for the decreased pressure on resources and incomes. Earlier a family used to depend on one earning member but now many have multiple earning members.
Every year on average during 2000-2010, 1.8 million people have been pulled out of extreme poverty by improving their living standards. Moreover, incomes in non-institutional sectors under agriculture and small transport sector such as rickshaw pulling have increased by 10 per cent each year. Success in poverty alleviation would have been more pronounced if the entire poor population could be brought under the social security net.
The achievement must not make the government complacent, as there are a host of other sectors lagging far behind the millennium development targets. Progress in areas such as female employment, gender equity in higher studies is, as reports say, poor. The government must concentrate on the living standard of the masses because increase in per capita income has not brought any noticeable change in their living standards.