‘Face the situation with courage,’ says the prime minister as she greets the people on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh
Tk100 crore allocated for government physicians, nurses and health workers treating Covid-19 patients
Tk760 crore allocated for working class people losing jobs during shutdown
Full coverage of social safety programme in 100 upazilas
Tk2,130 crore to be allocated for housing scheme for the homeless
Tk750 crore for health and life insurance for those affected while on duty
5 lakh tonnes of rice and 1 lakh tonnes of wheat for low-income people
74,000 tonnes of rice to be distributed under Tk10-per-kg OMS scheme for the urban poor
2 lakh tonnes of rice to be procured in the current season
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Monday announced allocation of Tk 760 crore to be transferred directly to bank accounts of informal sector workers thrown out of livelihood by the countrywide shutdown put in force since March 25 to stem the spread of coronavirus.
"A directive has been given to prepare a list of day labourers, rickshaw-pullers, transport workers, construction workers, newspaper hawkers, restaurant workers, and people of other occupations, who lost their jobs because of prolonged leave or partial lock-down amid Covid-19 prevalence," the prime minister said.
With this, the fiscal stimulus for overcoming shocks from coronavirus outbreak would amount to Tk 95,619 crore, which is 3.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
The prime minister came up with the announcement while greeting the nation in a televised address on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla calendar year.
"I thank physicians, nurses and other health workers who are risking their lives in taking care of Covid-19 patients with limited resources. Don't lose mental strength in this crucial time," she said.
She boosted their morale saying that the whole country was with them and that she had already ordered preparing a list of the government health workers who were directly involved in the treatment of coronavirus patients.
An allocation of Tk100 crore was made in this regard, she said.
The prime minister said life insurance coverage would be introduced for physicians, nurses, health workers, field administration officials, members of law enforcement agencies, armed forces, Border Guard Bangladesh and other government officials who were directly involved in tackling the crisis.
She announced an allocation of Tk750 crore for their health and life insurance.
"If anybody is affected while on duty, they will be brought under health insurance ranging from Tk5 lakh to Tk10 lakh depending on their posts and ranks," she elaborated, adding that in case of death it would increase fivefold.
Mentioning that the people under the social safety-net schemes like 'old age allowance' and 'widowed and distressed women' are the most poverty-prone, the prime minister said Tk2,130 crore was allocated for them.
Alongside continuing the existing social safety programmes, the other schemes that have been taken for the marginalised people include distribution of five lakh tons of rice and one lakh tons of wheat for free and distribution of 74,000 tons of rice under the ongoing open market sale at Tk10 per kg.
"And to do that, a subsidy to the tune of Tk251 crore will be needed," she said.
The prime minister said an extra two lakh tons of rice on what was procured last year would be procured this year so that the farmers got fair price for their Boro yields.
For this, Tk860 crore would be needed, she mentioned, adding that Tk200 crore was allocated for buying agricultural machinery.
She said Tk9,500 crore will be allocated for agricultural subsidy.
"We had a bumper production of rice last season, and there is indication of good production in the coming season," the prime minister said in a note of optimism.
She acknowledged that many individuals and organisations were coming forward to help people with relief goods.
She, however, added that the relief distribution would best be done with the help of law enforcers because it would ensure discipline and check spread of coronavirus.
She urged people not to be afraid and not to spread rumours.
"We have to face the situation with courage. The government is always beside you. Some quarters are trying to confuse people by spreading rumours, which is not expected at all," the prime minister said.