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ABOUT BANGLADESH > INTRODUCTION
Bangladesh 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.


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