Bangladesh is ahead of India in social indicators. Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen has frequently cited this example at global forums. Now Bangladesh is trying to catch up with India in economic indicators as well. Bangladesh's outperforming India in terms of per capita GDP (gross domestic product) reminds us of that.
This is undoubtedly a momentous achievement for us. However, there is no scope for feeling complacent. We need to do better.
In the past, we used to compare Bangladesh with Pakistan on these issues. However, Pakistan is not a stable country from that standpoint. On the other hand, India is one of the largest economies in the world and is also the largest democracy. Therefore, to move ahead of this country on any issue is a great achievement for Bangladesh. However, there is no question of rivalry here.
Bangladesh and India are neighbours. Therefore, it is wise to move forward together. The development of the two countries will further enrich the region. Both countries will benefit if they work together in removing Bangladesh's trade barriers with India, resolving the water-sharing issue, and sending the displaced Rohingya people back to Myanmar.
India has fallen behind in per capita GDP primarily because the Indian economy is more closely linked to the global economy than Bangladesh's. As a result, the negative impact of the coronavirus has been more adverse in India than in Bangladesh. Consequently, India's GDP growth has dropped to negative levels, but Bangladesh has not plummeted to that extent.
On the other hand, economic recovery in India will also be slower than in Bangladesh because of the former's close links with the global economy. Against this backdrop, Bangladesh is likely to be ahead of India in the days ahead. Besides, India's growth has been declining since 2016 but Bangladesh has made steady progress during this period. This has had a positive impact on the per capita GDP growth.
Besides, the rate of population growth is higher in India compared to Bangladesh. The country has been able to leverage its lower population growth since per capita GDP is calculated by dividing GDP by the total population. What is most striking is that Bangladesh has come into discussions by virtue of its economic achievements. The country is being talked about in Indian political circles and media.
As is the case in Bangladesh, inequality prevails in India. Many wealthy people in India have made into the club of global billionaires. From that perspective, inequality in Bangladesh is not as extreme as in India. Still, we need to focus on reducing inequality. We need to make sure that wealth does not become concentrated in a few hands.