1364Published on May 14, 2020
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced that the government will provide Taka 2000 crore (US$ 235.3 million)) to Karmasangsthan Bank and Taka 500 crore (US$ 58.8 million) to Probashi Kalyan Bank to help the youths and expatriate Bangladeshis who became jobless amid the coronavirus pandemic.
She also declared that the government will give financial assistance to all mosques and 7,000 more qawmi madrasas across the country before the Eid-ul Fitr.
The prime minister made this announcement while launching the disbursement of Taka 1,250 crore cash assistance among 50 lakh poor families hit hard amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
She said the underprivileged people like hijra (3rd gender) and bede (gipsy) communities will also be provided with financial help.
The prime minister also kicked off the distribution of stipend and tuition fees from her education assistance trust fund among the students of bachelor degree and its equivalent level of 2019 academic year through mobile/online banking.
She said her government during its 1996-2001 term established the Karmasangsthan Bank with an aim so that the youths become self-reliant by taking a loan from this bank without any security and at a low-interest rate.
“Taka 2000 crore deposit will be given to the bank to increase the amount of loan so that our youth folk do not roam remaining unemployed, rather they can do business by taking more credit from the bank,” she said.
The prime minister said the expatriate Bangladeshis send a huge amount of remittance to the country every year. “So, we had founded another specialised bank named Probashi Kalyan Bank so that the people can go abroad by taking a loan from the bank instead of selling property,” she said.
“Earlier, we had given Tk 400 crore to the bank and we’re now giving another Tk 500 crore as many Bangladeshis returned home from abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
She went on saying: “They’re citizens of our country and we don’t want that they go through the ordeal by staying abroad. If they wish to return home they will come back and that’s why we’ve allocated the money so that they can do something here by taking a loan from the bank.”
In this connection, the prime minister mentioned that the people are becoming self-reliant through the Palli Sanchay Bank.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has given financial assistance of nearly Taka 10 crore to 6,865 qawmi madrasas having orphanages across the country ahead of the Ramadan.
“In the second phase, we’ll provide financial support to 7,000 more such madrasas ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr and we’re taking these steps so that the people of any class don’t remain neglected,” she said.
The prime minister said the government will also give financial assistance to all mosques of the country before the Eid.
“We know that the mosques are run with the donation of the affluent people and the mosque committees. But we’ve also a responsibility in this regard. We have asked to prepare a list of the mosques … we’ll give financial assistance to all mosques,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has appointed 2,000 doctors and 6,000 nurses so that the coronavirus-affected people get proper treatment and services.
“Alongside, we’ll recruit more manpower like health technologists and the health ministry has been given instructions in this regard and they’ll asses what types of manpower they need,” she said.
The prime minister said the government has taken steps to save lives of the people and ensure their treatment facilities by combating the coronavirus in one hand, while it is continuing relief assistance for the people in a planned way, on the other hand.
“I’m inquiring round the clock about relief distribution up to the remote areas,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the well-off people have come forward alongside the government to extend support to the distressed people in this perilous time.
“The relief goods are also being disbursed on behalf of our party so that none suffer for want of food and treatment,” she said.
In this connection, the premier reiterated her call to the countrymen to keep the confidence and mental strength and stay ready to face any situation.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has relaxed the nationwide shutdown over the COVID-19 pandemic to some extent for the sake of the livelihood of the people.
“Though the infection rate might increase slightly for relaxing the restrictions, I hope we’ll be able to bring it under control,” she said.
“If we compare with the developed countries, our healthcare services showed adequate efficiency. That’s why we’ve been able to keep the disease under control to a large extent,” she said.
The prime minister urged all to follow the health codes properly to protect themselves from the COVID-19.
“We’re trying our best to protect the people from the lethal disease and calling upon them to follow the health codes,” she said and thanked them for responding to the call and maintaining the instructions.
The prime minister urged the people not to always wear masks, saying that they have to use it when they go out of the home. “Wearing masks round the clock is harmful to lungs as it obstructs supply of oxygen,” she said.
Referring to the much-talked-about N95 mask, she said this mask is not for the use of the general people. “This mask is for those who provide services to COVID-19 patients,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina also thanked the health workers, including doctors and nurses, officials of the administration, the members of the armed forces and law enforcement agencies, saying that they have been working round the clock by risking their lives to contain the disease.
The prime minister once again asked all concerned to make sure that no single inch of land across the country remains fallowed to effectively fight the possible famine due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve fertile land and hard-working people and we’ve to utilise those to boost food production… we’ve to produce crops keeping in mind that we can help other countries after meeting our own demand,” she said.
In this regard, Sheikh Hasina said she has already asked the agriculture ministry to take initiatives and accordingly they took proper measures.
She said the leaders and workers of Awami League, Krishak League, Jubo League, Sechhasebak League and Chhatra League have stood beside the framers alongside the administration and law enforcement agencies to harvest their paddy.
PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus moderated the videoconference at Ganabhaban and made a presentation on the cash support programme.
While inaugurating the distribution of stipend and tuition fees from her education assistance trust fund among the students of bachelor degree and its equivalent level, the prime minister elaborated her government’s various steps for the development of education sector.
“We’ve given the highest importance to education as a knowledgeable nation is required to build a poverty-free nation,” she said, adding the government has taken steps to reach education to the people’s doorsteps.
Through the mobile and online banking, stipend and tuition fee of Taka 111,40,43,800 will be disbursed among 2,09674 students of bachelor degree and its equivalent level of 2019 academic year.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni joined the videoconference from her ministry, while Deputy Minister for Education Barrister Mohibul Hasan Nowfel was present at the ministry.
The prime minister later exchanged views with the beneficiaries of the cash assistance of Barguna, Shariatpur, Sunamganj and Lalmoniraht districts through videoconference.