Increased transport fare: Woe of people, benefits of capitalists
Bangladesh is a developing country in the South-Asian region. It can't be denied that Bangladesh's economic growth is happening very rapidly. No one can disavow it. In a country, however, economic growth is a very exigent disclosure and one of the most vital tools for reaching their standard, higher in the outside world. Looking at the growth of GDP, we must say that Bangladesh has attained unprecedented success in the last ten to fifteen years. Hundreds of development projects including Metro Rail, Padma Bridge, Karnafuli Tunnel, Matarbari Deep Sea Port, Ruppur Nuclear Power Plants are going on. These unexampled successes of the current government made the way easier for owning a better position in the world stage.
According to the UK's major research agency, Centre for Economics and Business Research, "If this economic growth of Bangladesh continues, Bangladesh will become the 25th economically powerful country in the world by 2030-35 to surpass Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore". But, there are some "buts ". Let's have a glare about the economic system of Bangladesh before explaining those "buts". The economic system of Bangladesh can be called as a "tri-formed" (mixed) economy. They are:
1. Capitalist Economy.
2. Communist Economy.
3. Islamic Economy.
Though the chain of supply and demand is in the hands of some people, in a persuasive way, most of the institutions related to the state system run in the socialist economic system. For example government hospitals, government transports like BRTC and so on. Even, if a millionaire takes a ride in these transports, the same money has to be paid which is fixed for everyone. In addition, the Islamic economy exists in the Muslim families, society and at different levels of the state in Bangladesh.
This economic system of Bangladesh, on the whole, is more or less a mixed economy. If anyone of the readers of this article is so interested to know more about this, can check out the book "Bangladesh and World Affairs" of ninth-tenth class of secondary level.
Now, let's talk about the "buts".
Living standard of mass people:
We are still far behind in this place. Gross domestic products or GDP provides an outcome or consequence in this capitalist economic system by which you can never assume the overall development of every person of the grass-root level in the country, let alone inferring the quality of living standard. Even, though the per capita income is estimated at 2064 US dollars (nominal), according to the last year's estimation, the main scheme is that it's all the financial gangs-men and capitalists' money that gets counted as an average of GDP even for any day-labourer. The matter of regret is that the day-labourers remain poor and the capitalists become richer.
Covid-19 is a blessing for capitalists:
In the last year, since the outbreak of Covid-19, we all have carefully noticed very extreme paws of Corona. Though it helped capitalist to become richer, it ruined middle-class families with root and branch. Millions of families have, drowned in a huge catastrophe and, come on the way. 'Mother commits suicide for not being able to feed her child' - we had to see such incidents too.
Since the situation had become a bit normal in the last five to six months, many people begun to engage in different activities, but many families have not yet been able to return to their rhythm. They don't heed to what the ranking of Bangladesh is in the index of World Bank, their fundamental concern is to save lives by eating two handfuls of rice twice a day.
Increase of 60 per cent transport fare: Even though people could easily accept the increase in fare in the early days of Corona pandemic, it is not a easy matter to be accepted now. The reasons notice that the fare got increased at an extreme level but the issue of 'one seat one passenger' is not complying with by the most buses and other transports. Importantly, many buses which route City to City or Town to Town are very small in numbers. Verily, 70-80 per cent transport is local buses. These buses never, care about ensuring 'one seat one passenger' and, follow the rules in most cases. Although BRTC obeys the rules in many cases, the bus drivers of the Road Transport Owners Association are very reluctant to care about it.
On the one hand, the income opportunity has been reduced among the general public, on the other hand, two phases of the fare increase. Verily, it is a distressful economic pressure on middle-class people. Let me give an example of a route in the Feni district. Before Covid-19, where it used to cost 10 Taka to go to Mohipal from Khayara Bazar, during C-19 it became 15 Taka. Unfortunately, still, the situation of the seats is the same as before. In the recent time of this second wave, the fare is like 20-25 Taka but there is no service of 'one seat one passenger' even now. Disgracefully, even after pandemic, this fare will not be reduced.
Ultimately, the overall profit is all for the capitalists. Transport fare is increasing but passengers are not safe. There is 'No' problem for the transport owners. They are paying tax to the government. At the end of the day, the middle classes are the ones who are being exploited by these liberal capitalists. Here, they are also not at fault, we are also not at fault, the fault is of the structure and the system. In middle-income family fate, the anti-thesis of this thesis may never come. They have no choice but to accept suppression and exploitation by this system.
Overall, the government should initiate proper policies to handle this burning issue. The market is open, the footpath is full of people and the crowds of strangers are still well-appearing in this lockdown but the fates of middle-income families are dismal. Government should reconsider this issue.
The writer is a student,
Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka