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Budget Olympiad Grand Final 2021

To build a society free from discrimination, there is no alternative but to reflect the views and opinions of all in the formulation and implementation of the national budget. Although the maximum proportion of the budget allocation comes through taxes from citizens, from the very beginning of history in Bangladesh the budgeting process has been highly centralized without the participation of the people, and even at the policy-making stage, critics have given their views but those are never included. Ensuring transparency and accountability of the budget as well as ensuring public participation in the formulation and implementation of the budget process will further advance the overall development of the country.

As stated by the speakers at the Virtual Grand Finale of the Budget Olympiad 2021 jointly organized by the Democratic Budget Movement, Participatory Research & Action Network-PRAAN, and ActionAid Bangladesh today January 16, 2021, Sunday.

Presided over by eminent economist Professor MM Akash, the convener of the Budget Olympiad Committee and Facilitated by Nurul Alam Masud- Chief Executive of PRAAN & Secretary of Budget Olympiad, Economist Development Thinker, and Climate Change Expert Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad- Chairman of Palli Karma- Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and Dhaka School of Economics (DScE) was present as a chief guest. Professor Kazi Maruful Islam, Director, Center and Policy Dialogue Dhaka University; Amanur Rahman- Director, CARE Bangladesh; Nuzhat Zabin โ€“ Program Manager of Economic Justice at CristianAid Bangladesh, Budget Olympiad Organizing Committee Member Laila Tasmia, A K M Nazrul Islam Associate Professor of Environmental Economics at Dhaka School of Economics (DScE) Sekender Mina Sumon- Joint Secretary Democratic Budget Movement DBM other than that of joining the event. Umme Salma- Programme Coordinator of PRAAN and Coordinator of Budget Olympiad presented the keynote presentation on the event.

In his speech of chief guest, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that budget learning is an important process. Those who are learning about the budget through the Budget Olympiad are the most important demography in the country – the youth. The number of these young people is 56.6 million, which is about one-third of our total population. If they are given the right direction, they can bring positive change to the country. To take the country towards justice, it is important to have effective participation of all the citizens in the budget of the country, the reflection of the views of all and through this, full dignity of the citizen has to be established. Therefore, it is important to understand the budget, and raising questions can create space. Although many objectives are usually set in the formulation of the budget, it is not reflected in the implementation. Budget analysis should look at these inconsistencies and consider whether the allocations match the different needs of different groups. If young people talk about these things and create unity, then changes are possible.

Dr. Kazi Maruful Islam said, โ€œfor the last several years, we have been trying to take the budget discourse to the common people and make it easy in understanding.” The Budget Olympiad is different from other Olympiads in the way that it will not only win the competition, but also involve the participants in the learning process of how the government’s revenue is spent, how the government adopts its development plan, and so on. It is very important to create the mentality of questioning the budget process and lack of participation among the youth. The Budget Olympiad has been successful in this regard and has created a critical mass of people interested in talking about the budget in various educational institutions. He hopes that the Budget Olympiad and its participants will play a role in empowering those who can speak and uphold the trend of the Democratic Budget Movement.

Professor Dr. MM Akash quoted a saying that philosophers have interpreted the world the point is to change it. We will continue to explain, work and try to change. We have not stopped at the discussion of the democratic budget; we have been able to spread this movement among the young people. We can focus on writing an informed discourse, through discussion and in many ways. If an idea works together among many people, it can surely make a difference. Budget Olympiad has been able to create an environment where people are interested in talking and listening to this issue.

Intending to inspire budget advocates across the country, Democratic Budget Movement- DBM has been organizing Budget Olympiad since 2017. This year around 4,000 students from more than a hundred educational institutions of the country participated in various rounds of the competition this year.

Prodyut Kumar Paul from Rajshahi University became the champion in Budget Olympiad 2021. The first and second runners-up were Uday Jaman from Rajshahi University and Zannati Yeasmin from Khulna University respectively. The winners of the regional stage and the top ten winners of the final stage were also announced at the ceremony.

Media Coverage in National dailies :ย  SAMAKAL, Sharebiz, Bangla Tribune

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