Government and Politics in South Asia

By Craig Baxter; Yogendra K. Malik et al. | Go to book overview

18 Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems

BANGLADESH IS OFTEN DESCRIBED as the "largest poorest" nation in the world, and the title of a book on Bangladeshi political development refers to the country as "the least developed nation." 1 According to World Bank data, Bangladesh ranks thirteenth from the bottom in the usual measure of wealth or poverty: The gross national product (GNP) per capita was only US$1,380 in 1995 on the purchasing power parity basis. 2 In this chapter, we shall look at the economic and social aspects of political development--an especially problematic concern in Bangladesh if the soaring and geometrically compounding pressure of population on resources is not abated, and very soon.


The World's Largest Poorest Nation

The two principal goals of Bangladesh, as propounded by Zia, Ershad, and the parliamentary governments that followed, have been the achievement of self-sufficiency in food grains and a sharp decrease in the rate of population growth. The two are intimately related. The amount of land available for cultivation is basically constant, changing favorably only to the extent that it can be double- or triple-cropped through better water management, including irrigation. Hence, as the population increases, the amount of land per capita decreases. The challenge is to increase production per unit of land at a faster rate than the population growth rate.

In 1984 Ershad introduced a new land reform program under which no family may own more than twenty acres of land, reduced from the earlier limit of thirty-three acres. It will mean little, however, to the majority of Bangladeshis. According to the 1977 agricultural census, only 0.4 percent

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Government and Politics in South Asia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Illustrations ix
  • Preface to the Fourth Edition xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 4
  • 1 - The Governance of South Asia Under the British 5
  • Suggested Readings 18
  • Part One - INDIA 19
  • 2 - Political Culture and Heritage 21
  • Suggested Readings 52
  • 3 - Political Institutions and Governmental Processes 55
  • Suggested Readings 90
  • 4 - Political Parties and Political Leaders 92
  • Suggested Readings 120
  • 5 - Groups and Multiple Demands on the System 122
  • Suggested Readings 139
  • 6 - Conflict Mediation 140
  • Suggested Readings 150
  • 7 - Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems 151
  • Suggested Readings 159
  • Part Two - PAKISTAN 161
  • 8 - Political Culture and Heritage 163
  • Suggested Readings 174
  • 9 - Government Structure 175
  • Suggested Readings 183
  • 10 - Political Parties and Political Leaders 184
  • Suggested Readings 200
  • 11 - Conflict and Mediation 202
  • Suggested Readings 212
  • 12 - Policy Issues 213
  • Suggested Readings 223
  • 13: Modernization and Development 224
  • Part Three - BANGLADESH 231
  • 14 - Political Culture and Heritage 233
  • Suggested Readings 246
  • 15 - Government Institutions 247
  • Suggested Readings 257
  • 16 - Elections, Parties, and Interest Groups 259
  • Suggested Readings 279
  • 17 - Conflicts and Resolution 281
  • Suggested Readings 291
  • 18 - Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems 292
  • Suggested Readings 299
  • Part Four - SRI LANKA 301
  • 19: Political Culture and Heritage 303
  • 20: Government Structure 316
  • 21: Political Parties and Interest Groups 331
  • 22: Conflict Mediation 346
  • 23: The Search for Prosperity 352
  • 24 - Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems 358
  • Suggested Readings 362
  • Part Five - SOUTH ASIA 365
  • 25 - Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives 367
  • Suggested Readings 381
  • 26 - South Asia as a Region and in the World System 382
  • Suggested Readings 402
  • 27 - Conclusion: Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia 404
  • Suggested Readings 411
  • Statistical Appendix 413
  • Index 415
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