Extensive steps to help poor during lockdown

The government has taken several initiatives to help the unemployed people during the ongoing lockdown. These include cash, food, making available low-price commodities through TCB, assistance to farmers and other means.

The lockdown has been going on since last April 5. Strict lockdown has started from April 14, which has been extended till April 28.

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman said, “Considering the strict lockdown, the government has already allocated around taka 573 crore for the unemployed during the Coronavirus crisis. 

Allocated funds have already reached the wards of each Union Parishad and City Corporation. Under this program, about one crore 24 lakh 41 thousand 900 families of the country will be given this financial assistance under VGF (Vulnerable Group Feeding) program. 

However, if the prevention of corona infection does not improve, the government will provide food assistance as before if the lockdown is prolonged.

Prime Minister’s press wing has reported that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will provide financial assistance of Tk 2,500 to 36 lakh families affected by the Coronavirus and natural disasters this year as well as last year. 

Awami League General Secretary and Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will provide financial assistance of Tk 2,500 to 36 lakh 25 thousand families as eid gifts. The beneficiaries will get the money through mobile banking.

According to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, if the harsh lockdown period is extended, there are plans to provide food assistance to every unemployed family. This will include 10 kg of rice, 1 kg of oil, 1 kg of pulses, 5 kg of potatoes and 1 kg of salt.

According to the Ministry of Food, rice and flour will continue to be sold in the open market (OMS) at fair prices in the country's divisional and district level cities to meet the basic food needs of low-income people. 

A total of 733 metric tonnes of rice and 796 metric tonnes of flour are being sold in 715 outlets (including 10 mobile trucks) through 715 OMS dealers. This activity will continue six days a week except Fridays and public holidays.

Meanwhile, Commerce Secretary Zafar Uddin said that the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) will continue to sell essential commodities at affordable prices even during the lockdown. It has been informed that these activities will be conducted in compliance with all types of hygiene rules. 

TCB is selling six products in 500 mobile trucks every day across the country. Soybean oil is being sold at taka 100 per kg, sugar, gram and lentil pulses at taka 55 per kg and dates at taka 80 per kg and onion at taka 20 per kg.

It is learned that taka 450 crore 44 lakh 77 thousand 50 has been allocated for 492 upazilas of 64 districts of the country and 87 lakh 79 thousand 203 cards and 12 lakh 30 thousand 746 cards for 328 municipalities against a total of 1 crore 9 thousand 949 VGF cards. 

The equivalent of 10 kg of rice per family, i.e. taka 50 per card with an increase of taka 450 to taka 500, financial allocation of taka 395 crore six lakh 41 thousand 350 for upazilas and taka 55 crore 38 lakh 35 thousand 700 for municipalities. Which has already reached.

At the same time, taka 121 crore 64 lakh 50 thousand has been given for immediate food aid to the helpless families affected by various natural calamities including Kovid situation. 

A total of Tk 114.20 crore humanitarian assistance at the rate of Tk 250,000 will be provided to each of the 4,568 unions in 64 districts. A total of Tk 5 crore 67 lakh has been allocated in favor of 328 municipalities across the country.

On the other hand, boro paddy in farmers' fields has been damaged due to cyclone and severe heat in some parts of the country a few days ago. The government has decided to provide one-time financial assistance of taja 5,000 to each of the one lakh affected farmers. Tk 50 crore has already been released for this.