BANGLADESH > INTRODUCTION
is a low-lying country with a total area of 56977 square miles
or 147570 square kilometres. It stretches latitudinally between
20o34' and 26o38' north and longitudinally between 88o01' and
92o41' east. It is mostly surrounded by Indian territory except
for a small strip in the southeast by Myanmar. Bay of Bengal
lies on the south. Most of its area is relatively flat lying
in the deltaic plain of the Ganges Brahmaputra-Meghna river
system. The only significant uplands are in the northeast and
southeast of the country with average elevaton of 244m and 610m
respectively. The country is covered with a network of rivers
and canals forming a mzae of interconnecting channels.
Bangladesh has a troplica monsoon climate marked by sweltering
temperatures and high humidity. The country has mainly for
seasons, the winter (Dec-Feb), summer (Mar-May), monsoon (Jun-Sept)
and autumn (Oct-Nov). During summer and monsoon tropical cyclones,
storms and tidal bores are not uncommon.
The population of Bangladesh is about 130 million. Majority
of the population are Muslim, Hindus, Budhists and Christians
make up 13 percent of the entire population. Over 98 percent
of the people speak Bengali, English however, is widely used.
The lowest administrative unit is the union run by an elected
union council. Each union comprises about 20,000 inhabitants
and about 8-10 unions cluster into a thana. Government services
are concentrated at the thana level. There are about 560 thanas
in Bangladesh. Several thanas form a district. The total number
of districts stands at 64. The entrie country is broadly divided
into six administrative divisions, namely, Dhaka, Chittagong,
Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal and Sylhet.
Bangladesh has an agrarian economy. Agriculture accounts for
nearly 46 percent of the GDP and provides emplyment to more
than 61 percent of the workforce. Jute an rice are main cash
crops. Other crops are tea, sugarcane, oilseeds, fruits, vegetables,
spices, wheat, potatoes, tobacco and cotton. The major industry
in Bangladesh is jute processing followed by cotton, steel,
garments and pharmaceutical.
As an emerging nation, Bangladesh places special priority
on economic and social development. In order to accelerate
the development process the Government has recently decentralized
the administration and has undertaken massive development
programmes. A large unmber of non-government organizations
(NGO) are also involved in development activities to benefit
the rural poort.