Damodar Industries Ltd., a famous Indian yarn maker, is aiming at increasing its annual exports to Bangladesh to 2,000 tonnes. The company hopes to achieve this target within the next three years. At present, Damodar Industries supplies 500 tonnes of yarn to Bangladesh per year. The company believes it to be a very realistic target and hopes to easily achieve it on time.This company deals with twelve major suppliers in Bangladesh and is the main source for getting raw materials for them. In the last few years, the focus of international garment companies has shifted from China to Bangladesh. Due to rising costs, China is no longer their preferred shopping place. Shortage of skilled workers in China is another factor that is driving the foreign companies away.
Most of the garment companies from all over the world no prefer to buy garments from Bangladesh as it is providing high quality products at very low prices. The same shift is being seen in yarn exporters as well and they too give preference to export to Bangladesh rather than China. In 2015, Bangladesh exported apparels worth $ 26.5 billion and this figure is going to be even higher this year. By the year 2021, Bangladesh hopes to increase its garment export to $5 0 billion and going by the current trend it should get there easily. Due to Bangladesh’s ties with big international brands as well as retailers it has become a respected and favoured destination in the garment industry.
Since Bangladesh is exporting huge quantities of apparels to numerous countries throughout the world the yarn exporters know that they are going to get repeat business which will keep growing with time. This has made many of them very keen to do business with this country. Cost factor is also influencing this decision in Bangladesh’s favour as it is much more competitive than China in terms of prices. Winsome Yarns Ltd., is another Indian company that does a huge amount a business with companies based in Bangladesh. According to Mr. Chunmay Sharma, Manager (Export) at Winsome Yarns, the company is confident that they will be doing annually increasing business with Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has been playing cricket for many years now and this journey started with its first international cricket match in 1979 when it participated theInternational Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy tournament. However, for a long time this team was not taken seriously by the rest of the cricketing world. This is clear from the fact that it took this team so long to achieve the Test team status and it was able to play its first test match only in November, 2000. After achieving the Test status, Bangladesh formally established the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) in the same year. Much of this delay may also be attributed to separation of East and West Pakistan and Bangladesh emerging as a new country which forced it to begin from the scratch and assert its cricketing nation status all over again.
In the 1979 ICC Trophy tournament, Bangladesh won its first ever international cricket match against Fiji and later also defeated Malaysia. The team could not make it to the semi-final stage due to losses against Canada and Denmark. The country’s first ICC Trophy win came in 1997 where Bangladesh pulled off an impressive performance by winning all five of its matches and this qualifying for the Cricket World Cup to be held in England in 1999. Even after that it was still considered a minnow by the other cricketing teams as it was not able to match them in terms of performance. Bangladesh performed quite poorly for a long time and holds the record of most successive losses in both test matches and one day internationals. This team lost 21 test matches consecutively between 2000 and 2002. It also lost 23 one day internationals consecutively between2001 and 2004.
The cricket team of Bangladesh has a come a long way since its inaugural international match in 1979. Today it is ranked ninth in Tests, seventh in one day internationals and tenth in Twenty-twenty internationals by the International Cricket Council. Bangladesh also has a Women Cricket team that is ranked ninth in the world. In the past, Bangladesh’s men’s cricket team was not taken seriously at all. Any match it participated in was considered one-sided and it was assumed that the other team is surely going to win unless that team happened to be another minnow itself such as Scotland, Holland, and likes. But today things have changed a lot. Bangladesh has proven that it cannot be taken lightly by beating cricketing giants such as South Africa, Pakistan, and India. It has even managed to win a few series against some of the top teams.
By showing tremendous improvement and pulling off multiple impressive performances against strong opponents, Bangladesh has declared its arrival as a good cricket team. Its outstanding performances and impressive victories have provided it a lot of respect and the whole world has been forced to stand up and notice. This development has been welcomed by the cricketing world and is being considered good for the future of cricket. This team is certainly moving in the right direction and its moving fast. The fans of cricket in Bangladesh are delighted and now they can dream of becoming the number one team in the world and maybe even win the World Cup one day.
Dohatec is a reputed and trusted Bangladeshi software company which specializes in developing software solutions and providing IT services to enterprise clients. This company has worked on many prestigious projects with numerous reputed clients in the past and now it has added another feather in its cap by bagging the project to develop an electronic Government procurement (e-GP) system for the Government of Bhutan. This e-GP will have the capacity to handle 15,000 bids a year. Dohatec has already signed the deal with the Government of Bhutan and commenced working on the project on January 26 this year.
The company has also been handling e-GP system development work for Bangladeshi Government for the last 12 years. The system built by Dohatec is being used In Bangladesh by various Government departments including the road transport and bridges ministry, water resources ministry, local Government ministry and the Rural Electrification Board. The impressive portfolio of the company includes developing Bangladesh’s voter identity registration and biometric matching system, developing voter enrolment and people’s identification software for Bangladesh’s army, working in partnership with Harte-Hanks Inc. to develop United States Postal Service’s online mail-tracking system, creating the World Bank’s World Development Report every single year starting from 2002, and various other projectswith different companies in Canada, Germany and Switzerland.
The e-GP system of Bhutan will be modelled after the similar system Dohatec built for Bangladesh. In order to complete this project the company has partnered with New Edge Technologies by signing an eight year contract with them. Dohatec faced tough competition in order to bag this project and had to compete with reputed companies from various developing countries including software giants from India. Even Microsoft is greatly impressed by Dohatec’s achievements and has honoured the company by making it a Microsoft Gold Software certified partner in 2006.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has received € 2 million from the European Union (EU). This amount has been provided to UNHCR to help Bhutan in resolving issues such as providing protection and sustainable solutions for Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. The money will be used over a three year period from 2016 to 2019. Besides providing care to the refugees from Bhutan who have decided to stay in Nepal and not go back, UNHCR will also work to help resettle Bhutanese refugees in other third world countries.
Services including shelter, education, health, sanitation and access to sustainable energy will be provided to Bhutanese staying in Nepal. UNHCR will also work to provide social support as well as physical and legal protection to these people. The European Union has been trying to support the 17000 refugees from Bhutan living is Eastern Nepal for many years. This monetary assistance of € 2 million will help to address various kinds of problems being faced by these refugees. UNHCR is making every possible effort to help them in meeting all kinds of basic needs and to create satisfactory living conditions for them.
Out of the total 17000 of these refugees living in Beldangi and Sanischare camps in Nepal, about 11000 are expected to refuse to go back and choose to stay in Nepal. Including the refugees residing in Nepal, over 101,000 Bhutanese refugees are living in eight different third world countries. The program to help these people resettle was started near the end of 2007. UNHCR has been supporting this cause for a very long time and EU joined hands with it in 1994. The UNHCR Representative in Nepal, Mr. Craig Sanders, has expressed gratitude towards the huge contribution made by EU.
In India, just as the New Year starts, the month of January brings many harvest festivals along with it. Some of these festivals include Pongal in Tamil Nadu; Lohri in Punjab; and Makar Sankranti in northern and western regions of India. The North Eastern state of Assam is also home to one such festival called Bhogali Bihu. It’s a colourful and fun filled festival which is thoroughly enjoyed by all the people of Assam. On this day political leaders greet common people and sweet words containing messages of tolerance and love are spoken to each other. All the different communities residing in Assam come together and celebrate their oneness with nature.
This year, the Bihu festival was celebrated on January 15 and it was just as wonderful as it is every year. Over the years modernization has started touching and creeping into the North Eastern lifestyle. Some of these aspects had an effect on the Bihu festival as well and resulted in some what changes being made to the traditional dresses, songs, and dancing. For this year’s Bihu festival, Saodou Asom Bihu Sanmilani Somonnoy Rokkhi Samiti issued a list of rules and pleaded people to go back to the original traditions and culture.
The appeal made by Saodou Asom Bihu Sanmilani Somonnoy Rokkhi Samiti had some effect and this year’s Bihu festival turned out to be more traditional and culturally pure than it has been in the last few years. “Magh Bihu” is a festival of enjoyment through singing, dancing, and feasting on mouth-watering dishes.Despite refuting some of the modern influences it had picked up with time, this year’s festival was still a wonderful and extremely entertaining affair.
On the eve of January 15, men went to the field and built a makeshift cottage which is called Bhelaghar and a bonfire called Meji. At night community feats were held all over Assam and at these gatherings people gathered around Meji and sang Bihu songs, played dhol, and participated in various games. The next morning all the men took a bath and then commenced to set fire to Meji.All the others gathered around the burning Meji and threw rice cakes and betel nuts in the fire. While doing so they offered their prayers to the God of Fire and marked the end of the harvesting year.
Japanese International Cooperative Agency (JICA) has signed an agreement with Mizoram Government under which it has agreed to share its knowledge, expertise and technology to help promote sustainable agriculture in the state.This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been named ‘Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable Agriculture and Irrigation Development’ and it was signed on March 24, 2016. The list of the people who signed the agreement on behalf of Mizoram includes various top officials from Agriculture, Minor Irrigation, Horticulture and Soil and Water Conservation departments. Mizoram’s State Chief Secretary Mr. Lalmalsawma was also present at the occasion. Representing JICA were Mr. Satoru Fujita, its Team Leader and four other senior officials. Between 2013 and 2015, JICA conducted a development study and used its findings to formulate a master plan. This plan spans a period of 20 years and is set to begin from October, 2016. As a part of this the technical cooperation project, training programs will be conducted for both farmers and officials in Japan. All the expenses will be borne by the Japanese Government.
Indian telecom company Vodafone has decided to enter India’s North East region. This huge telecom network operator Vodafone India is going to introduce 3G services In Meghalaya. In order to achieve this aim it has deployed 68 new 3G towers in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. Vodafone has already made a huge investment on this project which it hopes to recover soon by tapping into the Shillong’s telecom market and reaching out to its 2.8 lakh residents. The decision was made after Vodafone managed to bag 3G (2100 Mhz) spectrum for Assam and North East circle at auctions held in March, 2015.
So far, Vodafone has invested Rs. 500 crore in Assam and North East (ANE) circle. The company already has 40 million subscribers in this circle and it hopes to increase that number even further by expanding its services in Meghalaya. At present, 40 percent of Vodafone’s customers are data users and as 3G services are made available many more will be attracted towards utilizing these services. The company aims promote and speed up mobile internet usage by providing easily accessible and high quality services.
Union Minister of India Mr. Jitendra Singh has announced that central Government has decided to undertake 17 new waterway projects. Mr. Sing serves in the Indian Government as the Minister of State for Development of the North-eastern Region (DoNER). Indian Government has been paying special attention towards its North East region recently and it has a plan to focus on development of all the states located in the area. These projects are a part of that plan and they will serve to improve connectivity between North Eastern states and the rest of India. Projects for the betterment of railway, air and road links in all eight states located in the region have already been finalized and work has already begun for many of them.
All of these projects can be connected to Government’s Act East Policy which makes resolving connectivity problems in the North East a priority. Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi believes that India’s North East is it’s gateway to ASEAN countries and without improving connectivity in the region we cannot hope to increase trade with any of those nations. He also believes that nation cannot progress as a whole if some area is left undeveloped. The region has been generally ignored by the previous central Governments but fortunately things are changing for better now.
Emphasis on waterway projects is important because not only is this mode of transport cost effective and fuel efficient but along with that it is also environment friendly unlike other ways of traveling. At present, India has six waterway projects and some time back the parliament of the country has passed the National Waterways Bill, 2015 which seeks to add 106 inland waterways to the list. Out of the proposed 17 waterway projects to be undertaken in North East at least one and maybe even two of them will serve to connect the Bay of Bengal with the Brahmaputra River in Assam.
Amul, the Indian dairy giant, has decided to set up a processing unit in North East India. It is the brand name used by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) to sell its dairy products. The enormous size of this company can be judged from the fact that every single day it procures about 14.85 million litres of milk from 18,536 village milk cooperative societies. Today this company has come a long way from what it was when it was formed in 1946. At that time GCMMF started operating with just two village dairy co-operative societies and only 247 litres of milk.
GCMMF has played a huge role in helping India to become the largest milk producer in the world. The firm makes huge sales all over India and by the end of this fiscal year it is expecting to earn annual revenue of Rs. 23,000 crore. Representatives from Amul say that this huge revenue is a result of its increased sales and neither has it increased its prices nor does it have any plans to do so at least for the next six months. Besides catering to the Indian market, GCMMF also exports its value-added products to over 50 other countries. Revenue from exports contributes Rs. 25 crore to its total annual revenue.
At the moment Amul has 60 processing units and it is already in the process of setting up two processing units in Uttar Pradesh. One of these plants is being set up in Lucknow and the other one in Kanpur. Both these plants are expected to become operational within the next six months. Amul is spending a total of Rs. 400 crores on these plants. GCMMF’s Managing Director Mr. R S Sodhi has confirmed that the company is looking at North East for setting up new manufacturing plants.
The reason behind this move is increase in the production costs at existing manufacturing units due to increase in the price of cattle feeds, labour and other costs associated with production and procurement. Besides the cost factor, Amul is also looking towards expanding its production capacity in order to meet the increased market demand.
The Tripura Government has plans to extend the Indo-Bangla railway project and it would need to acquire a huge stretch of land for it. Acquiring that much land is a very expensive affair and the state Government doesn’t have enough funds to do it on its own. Central Government has come forward to help Tripura in this regards and it has promised to provide 60 percent of the amount required to complete this process. State Government is waiting to receive the funds from centre so that it can begin the land acquisition process. The initial cost estimate for the complete project was Rs. 302 crore but it has been revised and reduced to Rs. 97 crore now.
The recent decision taken to construct a 3.7 kilometres long flyover is the main reason for this reduction. The fly-over will stretch from Agartala railway station to Charipara including the 1.3 kilometres railway yard which will connect to Gangasagar Railway Station in Bangladesh. The railway line in question will be 15.054 kilometre long and run from Agartala to Akhaura.The improved connectivity provided this railway line will prove beneficial in various ways. This project will certainly help to strengthen the bond between India and Bangladesh as well as boost trade.
The proposed railway line will enter Bangladesh from a village named Nischintapur which is located at Indo-Bangla border. It will be a broad gauge railway line and its construction work is expected to be completed by 2017. Agartala Railway station received a commercial broad gauge train for the first time ever on February 23, 2016.The plan to connect all North East state capitals by broad gauge line is also in the pipeline and as per Union Minister of State for Railways Mr. Manoj Sinha this will be done before we enter the year 2020.