Distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya on Tuesday said that “Information Blindness” has been prevailing in the country.
Dr Debapriya, also the member for UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP), made the remarks while addressing a discussion meeting on the use of financial information and right to information towards ensuring transparency and accountability.
Organized jointly by the Asia Foundation, CPD and the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF), senior research fellow of CPD Towfiqul Islam Khan made the key-note presentation at the meeting held at the ERF’ auditorium at Paltan.
Debapriya said either the government or the concerned authorities could failed to perceive that information could be a supporting force. “There is also a lack of modern mindset on effectiveness of information towards optimum utilization of limited resources which is also not consistent with the moderate world,”
He also opined that even such dearth in information and data is also not consistent with the development desire of the country as well as its efforts to ensure recovery from the pandemic, attaining the SDGs by 2030 and thus becoming a prosperous developed country by 2041.
Moderated by ERF general secretary SM Rashidul Islam, its executive committee member and former Bureau chief of Reuters Sirajul Islam Qadir also spoke on the occasion.
Debapriya said since Bangladesh is now on the way towards graduation from the LDCs, such country needs to have “trigger indicator” to avail support from the international community if it faces any challenge beyond graduation.
“So, the situation of graduation from the LDCs by Bangladesh has increased the demand for financial information by 100 times. Although the matter is acknowledged verbally, but no such action is still evident,” he said.
He said after LDC graduation, sufficient support would not be available if there is no timely supply of full-fledged information. It will also tarnish the image of the country.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the global production and supply chain was halted which led to the decrease in demand. Under the circumstances, the governments had to increase expenditure, especially to the lagging behind communities, through various support measures.
He said even the public representatives were not fully aware of the fact as to what was the overall stimulus package amount, who were the recipients and how much amount was disbursed. It was not possible to disburse even 20 per cent of the Taka 2,500 cash support (Eid Gifts) to each beneficiary due to lack of data and information.
He observed that the researchers as well as the public representatives are not getting latest information. As a result, it is not being possible to make qualitative evaluation on education, health and in other sectors.