Bangladesh has made phenomenal progress in its economic development. From a fragile socio-economic set up at independence, it has emerged as a ‘development surprise’.1 Despite confronting numerous socio-economic challenges, its economy has grown on average at an annual rate of 5.6 per cent for the past three decades with the comparable growth rate for the most recent past 10 years (of 2009–19) being more buoyant at 6.7 per cent. This means a mere $35 billion economy of the mid-1990s has grown to a sizeable one of more than $300 billion. During the same period, the per capita gross national income has registered a more than six-fold rise from just $300 to above $1,900. The dependence on foreign aid, measured by the proportion to national income, declined from around 8 per cent of GDP in the 1980s to less than 2 per cent. It is one of the few low-income countries that did never face any unsustainable external debt situation and was not included in the group of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) that received support from international debt relief initiatives. In the mid-1990s, while more than half of Bangladeshi households lived on less than the nationally determined poverty line income, the corresponding poverty incidence has now fallen to just about 21 per cent. Compared to many other countries at a similar stage of development, Bangladesh has achieved faster progress in various social and human development indicators such as health, demographic and gender equality outcomes (Asadullah et al., 2014).