Mass communication regulation

 

Information Ministry

Bangladesh’s Information Ministry is the apex policy-making body on issues such as broadcasting, the press and films. It formulates a range of communication and media regulations. It disseminates information, media briefs and unclassified data to the public and the international community.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission

Bangladesh established its telecoms regulatory agency, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BRTC), in 2001. The BTRC is responsible for regulating all matters (e.g. wire, cellular and satellite) related to telecommunications.

Right to Information Act

Bangladesh enacted its open info access law, the signature Right to Information Act, in 2009. This was designed to ensure the free flow of information to the public. According to the law, any government body has to provide information to the requester within 20 working days. The only exception in the law relates to information on national security and personal privacy.

Broadcasting Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Broadcasting Policy in 2014. It was curated to streamline the proliferating broadcasting sector in the country. This balances creativity, freedom of expression, neutrality and accountability.

Printing Presses and Publications Act

Bangladesh enacted its Printing Presses and Publications Act in 1973. It essentially gives district magistrates (at local government level) the power to grant the permission to publish a newspaper. It also specifies the responsibilities of the newspapers.

Press Council Act

Bangladesh enacted its Press Council Act in 1978 to establish independent free press advocacy. It formed the Press Council, which has the purpose of preserving the freedom of the press and improving the quality of news. The Press Council enjoys some special legal protection on matters such as summons, presentations and deposition of witnesses.

Online Mass Media Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Online Mass Media Policy in 2017. It contains a rule-based guide for running online media that covers radio, TV and newspapers.

 

Public–private partnership (PPP)

 

PPP Policy

Bangladesh formulated its signature Policy and Strategy for Public–Private Partnership, popularly known as the PPP Policy, in 2010. It was designed to foster growth in strategic areas of public infrastructure and essential services. It was the early policy document for the basis of any PPP projects in the country. It helped create the nodal agencies of the PPP Authority at the Prime Minister’s Office (dedicated to policy implementation) and the PPP Unit at the Finance Ministry (dedicated to fiscal viability).

PPP Act

Bangladesh enacted its legal framework for public-private partnership, the PPP Act, in 2015. It integrates the legal considerations for private businesses in partnering with government entities to deliver public goods projects such as in critical infrastructure. It was designed to channel foreign investment. It also gave legal basis to the formation of the nodal agencies of the PPP Authority at the Prime Minister’s Office (dedicated to policy implementation) and the PPP Unit at the Finance Ministry (dedicated to fiscal viability). It was amended in 2023.

PPP Authority

Bangladesh established its go-to public private partnership agency, the PPP Authority (initially named the PPP Office), in 2010. This was to help kickstart the country’s public and private cooperation agenda. It was housed in the powerful Prime Minister’s Office to strengthen its coordination. It collaborates with different government agencies in project identification, tendering and quality control. It also oversees PPP-related policy reforms. It is staffed with both public and private sector experts. The agency is chaired by the prime minister.

PPP Unit

Bangladesh’s Finance Ministry, which manages fiscal policy, created its PPP Unit to oversee the fiscal viability of all PPP projects. The unit manages three pivotal funds: the PPP Technical Assistance Fund, the Viability Gap Fund and the Bangladesh Infrastructure Finance Fund. It is also responsible for budgetary implications and the contingent oversight of PPP projects. Its overall role is to look into the mid- or long-term impacts of PPP projects in public finance.

Procurement Guidelines for PPP Projects

Bangladesh has formulated a guide, the Procurement Guidelines for PPP Projects (or the PGP), for the authorities to use in picking PPP projects.  This is essentially a procurement framework for use in developing, bidding for and approving any project. It was created with efficiency and transparency mechanisms under the PPP policy framework in mind.

Policy for Implementing PPP Projects through Government-to-Government Partnership

Bangladesh introduced its unique government-facilitated PPP policy, popularly known as the G2G Policy, in 2017. It was formulated with a strategic aim to bolster diplomatic ties with foreign governments. It is a model through which Bangladesh can seek other governments’ support in PPP projects. These projects are often carried out by their respective state-owned or private sector entities.

 

Energy

 

Energy Policy

Bangladesh first formulated its Energy Policy in 1996. The main objective of this was to provide energy for sustainable economic growth. The policy covered the survey, exploration, distribution, production and transmission of energy. It was updated in 2004.

Renewable Energy Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Renewable Energy Policy in 2008. This aims to harness the potential of renewable energy resources and the dissemination of renewable technologies in both rural and urban areas. It incentivises investment in the renewable energy sector. It is designed to scale up the contribution of renewable energy in electricity production.

Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority

Bangladesh established its renewable energy agency, the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority, in 2012. This is a nodal agency for sustainable energy uptake, covering renewable energy and energy efficiency elements. It brought together all renewable projects that were previously being implemented by different government agencies without any overarching strategy. Its long-term goal is to ensure the energy security of the country.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Rules

Bangladesh formulated its go-to regulation for energy savings, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Rules, in 2016. This comprises multidimensional energy efficiency strategies. It also details essentials such as minimum energy efficiency performance standards.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan

Bangladesh formulated its long-term energy conservation plan, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan, in 2016. This stipulates that the country will increase its energy intensity by 20% by 2030 compared with in 2013. It is complemented by an action plan containing programme frameworks and the organisation structure.

Solar Energy Roadmap

Bangladesh formulated a two-decadal solar integration policy, the Solar Energy Roadmap, in 2021. It has decade-wise solar PV capacity targets up to 2041. It stipulates three scenarios for solar to be implemented in the country: the business-as-usual case (the least ambitious one), the medium case (a practically achievable one) and the high-deployment scenario (the ambitious one).

 

Carbon reduction

 

Paris Agreement 2015

Bangladesh is a signatory to the Paris Agreement and has submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by both unconditional and conditional targets by 2030. The unconditional target is a 6.7% reduction below business-as-usual levels and the conditional target is a 15.1% reduction, 5% of which is unconditional, with international support.

Nationally Determined Contributions

In line with its commitment to international treaty obligations in the Paris Agreement (to reduce greenhouse gases), Bangladesh updated its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2021. This revised NDC includes more ambitious mitigation targets, both unconditional and conditional. For its unconditional contribution, with its own resources Bangladesh’s pledge is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 27.6 million MtCO2e, or 6.7% below business-as-usual levels, by 2030. Additionally, as part of its conditional contribution, with international support, the country aims to further reduce emissions by 22% below business-as-usual levels by 2030.

Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan

Bangladesh formulated its signature Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) in 2009. Bangladesh is the first country among developing countries to formulate such an integrated action plan. The plan deals with the adverse impacts of climate change. It identifies 44 programmes under six themes. It identifies realistic adaptation and mitigation efforts to counter climate change challenges.

Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund

Bangladesh established the earmarked Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund in 2010. This is a publicly financed fund to ensure investment in disaster preparedness and to smooth implementation of the country’s climate policies. It can be accessed by both government agencies and civil society groups.

Green Growth Roadmap

Bangladesh formulated a ‘green’ development strategy, the Green Growth Roadmap, in 2021. It outlines a sustainable path, emphasising carbon reduction and green-tech adoption. It is aligned with the country’s long-term development agenda (including Vision 2041) and has been backed by a seed fund of USD 525 million. It focuses on restoring degraded forests, enhancing biodiversity, spurring the blue economy and helping green small businesses.

 

Trade

 

Industrial Policy

Bangladesh formulated its latest Industrial Policy in 2022. Its previous versions were in 1973, 1975, 1982, 2005, 2010 and 2016. The policy is designed to expand the economy, create jobs and harmonise public–private efforts. It also aims at reducing poverty and unemployment by harnessing the IT-based Fourth Industrial Revolution. The target is to balance the interests of workers and entrepreneurial development. With a view to mitigating the scarcity of skilled workers in the industrial sector, the policy stresses the need for training.

Occupational Safety and Health Policy

Bangladesh formulated its targeted workers’ safeguard policy, the Occupational Safety and Health Policy, in 2013. This ensures the safety of workers while increasing industrial productivity. It applies to all workplaces, in both the formal and the informal sectors.

Regional Trade Agreement Policy

Bangladesh formulated a free trade strategy, the Regional Trade Agreement Policy (the Bangladesh RTA), in 2022. This is the country’s first comprehensive attempt to strategically approach free trade negotiations. It prioritises the countries that can be market access gateways to countries to which Bangladesh may lose trade preferences. It factors in the challenges of global trade once Bangladesh loses the market access support (given to less developed countries).

 

Decentralisation

 

A constitutional mandate

The legal basis of local government in Bangladesh is incorporated in its Constitution, which was formed in 1972. It states that ‘local government in every administrative unit of the Republic shall be entrusted to bodies composed of persons elected in accordance with law,’ and ‘Parliament shall, by law, confer powers on the local government bodies, including the power to impose taxes for local purposes, to prepare their budgets, and to maintain funds.’

Union Parishad (local government) Act

Bangladesh enacted its defining local constituency legal framework, the Union Parishad Act, in 2009. This defines the lowest rural electoral unit, known locally as the union parishad. There are 4,500 union parishads in Bangladesh. This is also the lowest tier of local (rural) government institutions, offering doorstep citizen services. For Bangladesh’s rural areas, it is an extremely important entity for development planning, service delivery, governance and accountability. The union parishad is governed by 15 elected members, of whom three must be women. It has a set of added regulations with an implementation strategy.

Upazila (subdistrict) Parishad Act

Bangladesh enacted its defining subdistrict (locally known as upazila) governance law, the Upazila Parishad Act, in 1998. This went through various steps of politicised tinkering, and was last amended in 2015. The upazila is both a local government electoral unit (the second lowest) and an executive/administrative subunit (the lowest). This tier of the local government system is locally called the upazila parishad. The upazila is governed by a chair, two vice-chairs (at least one a woman) and representatives of all elected government bodies within its area. It has a set of added regulations with an implementation strategy.

Zila (district) Parishad Act

Bangladesh enacted its defining district (locally known as zila) governance law, the Zila Parishad Act, in 2000. The zila is both a local government electoral unit (the third lowest) and an executive/administrative subunit (the second lowest). This tier of the local government system is locally called the zila parishad. There are three types of local government units operating under the jurisdiction of the zila parishad. The zila parishad consists of a chair and 18 members, of whom five must be women. The law is not effective in the south-eastern semi-autonomous region of the Chittagong Hills, where local governance is carried out via the norms of the indigenous peoples. The law was amended in 2016.

Paurashava (small town) Act

Bangladesh enacted its defining small town (locally known as paurashava) governance law, the Paurashava Act, in 2009. This defines the lowest urban electoral unit. There are 329 paurashavas in Bangladesh. This is also the lowest tier of local (urban) government institutions offering doorstep citizen services. For Bangladeshis residing in urban areas outside of big cities, it is an extremely important entity for development planning, service delivery, governance and accountability. It has a set of added regulations with an implementation strategy.

Local Government Division

Bangladesh’s apex body for urban governance is its Local Government Division, housed in the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives. This covers two major categories of urban governments, the city corporations (for the country’s 12 largest cities) and the small-town municipalities (locally known as pourashavas).

National Integrity Strategy

Bangladesh formulated its local governance efficiency policy, the National Integrity Strategy (NIS), in 2012. Its core agenda is to improve governance in local government institutions. The country’s government proactively promotes the NIS to strengthen transparency and accountability of both government and non-government organisations.

City development authorities

City development authorities are responsible for city-specific planning. They are responsible for infrastructure development, housing development and zoning. They are the lead agency responsible for dealing with other relevant government agencies. They are run by their respective governing bodies and executive teams. There are five city development authorities in Bangladesh:  Capital Development Authority (in Dhaka city), Chattogram Development Authority, Khulna Development Authority, Rajshahi Development Authority and Cox’s Bazar Development Authority.

Rural Development Policy

Bangladesh formulated its rural areas-oriented policy, the Rural Development Policy, in 2001. This addresses a constitutional obligation to raise the living standards of the rural population. It is a guideline for rural development initiatives, such as grassroots community development projects and non-farm sector employment strategies.

Bangladesh Rural Development Board

Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB) is Bangladesh’s apex regulatory body for rural development and poverty alleviation. It provides institutionalised support to farmers and landless people. Its main activities are production-oriented schemes, cooperative expansion and rural women-focused projects.

Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development

Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD) is the prime long-running institution for research and innovation on rural development. It has developed some innovative rural development programmes and models. Many functional institutions, like the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB), the Small Farmers Development Foundation (SFDF) and the Comprehensive Village Development Programme (CVDP), have emerged as an outcome of BARD’s innovative works.

Perspective Plan provisions

Bangladesh formulated its second long-term plan, the Perspective Plan, in 2021. This represents a reorientation of the previous plan. The plan is a policy prescription for the country to become a high-income advanced economy by 2041. It targets reducing poverty and inequality while fuelling double-digit economic growth. According to the plan, extreme poverty will be eradicated by 2031 and poverty will be minimised to below 3% by 2041.

The plan places a strong emphasis on ensuring a smoother transition from an agrarian economy to an urban-based industrial economy. It emphasises strengthening urban local government institutions. It aims to establish at least eight regional urban centres and reinforce efforts on inland water transport and an inter-city highways upgrade.

Delta Plan 2100 provisions

Bangladesh adopted its landmark Delta Plan 2100 in 2018. This long-term integrated strategy is a comprehensive development document to address the adverse impacts of climate change posed by the country’s deltaic formation. It directs environmentally sensitive financing into development initiatives. It also focuses on water management to minimise the damage of river floods. It has six goals: to ensure safety from climate-related disasters; to enhance water security; to manage an integrated river system; to conserve wetlands; to develop equitable governance; and to support trans-boundary water resources.

Although the plan focuses on water-related issues, it factors in rural–urban migration. It outlines robust urban governance, integrated urban land use and services (water supply, sanitation and solid waste management).