Today a whole new nation is being built in Burma — politically, socially, and economically. Part of the task is physical: to repair war damage and create enough industrial capacity to improve living standards and make out country self-sustaining; an even greater part is social and psychological: to educate a people long held down by colonialism in the ways of democracy and self-development. Because there is very little private capital in Burma, the major responsibility has inevitably fallen upon the Government. Its greatest efforts are now being applied to such fields as these.
EDUCATION: Free to all. Free text books for needy students. Many new schools being built in rural areas. Fivefold expansion of Rangoon University, and several branches. Mandalay College to be raised to university status. New technical and agricultural schools. State scholarships for advanced study abroad. Teacher training. Mass education program for adults. Burma Translation Society book projects.
HEALTH: Campaigns against malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, and venereal and epidemic diseases. Education for better nutrition and sanitation. New hospitals. Rural health centers. Meternity clinics. Training of public health workers and nurses.
AGRICULTURE: Redistribution of large holdings to the landless. Lowering of interest on crop loans. Twentyfold increase in total of crop loans since independence. Development of co-operatives. Improvement of farming methods. Diversification of agriculture. Experiments with new crops.
DEMOCRATIZATION: Voting compulsory. Elected village councils to replace old headman system. Decentralization of police and courts. System of democratization of local administration in operation in ten districts (one third of the country) as an experiment. Vocational training to rehabilitate insurgents. Nation-wide women's and youth organizations.
LABOR: A full range of legislation to protect the rights of workers and improve working conditions. Double rates for overtime beyond statutory 44 hours in factories. Encouragement of the trade union movement. Opening of labor welfare centers.
COMMUNAL DEVELOPMENT: Under the Pyidawtha (“Happy Land”) program, grants are made to communities, which are matched by voluntary contributions of labor or money, to build wells, irrigation systems, water storage tanks, disposal systems, roads, bridges, schools, libraries, and other social welfare buildings.
In addition, there are projects for developing better urban housing and improving the transportation, electric power, and communications systems. Some of our major industrial projects are outlined in the discussion of Burma's economy on the next page.
These are ambitious goals and progress in some fields has been delayed by shortage of funds and unsettled conditions. But Government and people alike are determined that a new and better nation will arise in Burma in the shortest possible time.