As like tea stall discussion, today at morning, while electricity was not available at the office, we are dicussing about many things like e-governance, neo-liberal economy, public-private partnership etc – the most discussing development agenda to use our spare times. As a social worker, we should a clear perception about these issues, while we works for the people, specially on poverty and for poor people and least developed nations like Bangladesh.
My collegues argue that e-governance and public-private partnership is a perfect development tools for Bangladesh. We, who challenges the neo-liberal economic paradigm, critique public-private partnership as World Bank advise (conditionalities) to least developed countries to make a viable environment for foreign direct investment (FDI) to serve the interest of TNCs / MNCs.
Bangladesh Government has introduced public-private partnership in Bangladesh Railway. Government is responsible for infrustructure development and some companies is conducting business by giving royalty to government. Government is responsible for Railline development and management, purchasing Rail Engine & Carriers and maintainance, providing skilled drivers, checkers and employees for diffirent Railway Station, developing stations etc. In other hand, the companies only responsible to sell tickets and to make profit as a business. In the end of the year, they just give some royalty to government. It is the public-private partnership!!!!
What are happening for this intervention. The fare of jouney has been increased which is not viable to poor people. So, the poor people is using the private transport like buses to travel. In the recent past, while Bangladesh Railway was public transport, then the poor people uses train to travel for carring their goods from one station to another places. So, the rural market (HAT) built adjacent of each station. Now the HAT is becoming an ancient talks. In this process, poor is losing their trade and companies capture their economy. Poor is becoming more poorer losing their job. And we are getting opportunity to work with poverty!!! How strenge the results of neo-liberal economy is?
In a simple example, we will try to show you the tricks of public-private partnership theory here: In a rural villege, there was a old man and he was three sons. They quareled everyday. Each sons tried to make money individually, so they did not work properly, but tried to stole the own assests for individual interst. So, they were losing each year and becoming poor year by year.
Oneday a wise man (like World Bank) came to this villege and saw, the land of the old man is fertile and resourceful. He also saw that the sons of the old man were opportunists and blame gammer. So, he met the sons one by one and said them individually: `You have a fertile land, you can cultivate your land and become wealthy by giving us your paddy, rice and vegetables for marketing. We will sell your paddy, rice and vegetables in town and give you the profit.’ But you have to sign a partnership agreement with me.
The sons signed the agreement and waiting for be a wealtheir persons. Being a wealthier person, the sons worked hard to supply more paddy, rice, vegetables to wise man to sell them in the towns. They had no time to quarels. They produced a lot of thing in their land and provided to the wise man to sell. Day by day, they became a obidient farmers of the wise man. Oneday, a son found that none of his brother, nor he is becoming wealtheir, but serving the wise man. Not only that, the wise man controled them and controlled their cultivation. He also found, none of his brother nor he had no control over their own land. Oneday he met one of his brother and said his realisation. The brother also realised it and they protested the partnership. The wise man gave some extra benefit to other brother to face his two brothers.
The two sons met their old father to make a solution. The old man said to his two sons, `Dear Son, oneday you quarelled & stole your own assets and blamed each other for losing. So, the wise man took the opportuny to control all of you and your fertile land and resources. You have given control to wise man to my land and you also. Now you are just a slaves of the wise man. I am so older to protect my slave son from wise man. You have come to me lately, my son. Now, you have to bear this fates!!’.