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We don’t want to build “work-reluctant” nation: PM

DHAKA, Jan 2, 2018 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government doesn't want to build a "work-reluctant" nation, rather it wants that everybody who has work ability to utilise this strength for the country's socioeconomic development.

"We never want Bangladesh be built as a work-reluctant nation. Rather, we want that everybody who has work ability and strength to utilise those for the country's socioeconomic uplift," she said while inaugurating the National Social Services Day at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here this morning.

Pointing out providing various allowances to the distressed people including elderly, widows and the women abandoned by the husbands, the prime minister said her government has undertaken this programme so that none remains hungry and neglected.

Sheikh Hasina said while giving such allowances, the government remains careful so that none becomes completely dependent on it.

"We're providing allowances equivalent to such amount of money or little more to the distressed so that they can purchase 10 kilos of rice in a month ... we don't want to give more than the amount. Otherwise they won't work and stay at the house," she said.

In this connection, the prime minister criticised a section of civil society members who are critical of providing small amount of such allowances by the government.

"There're some civil society members who don't think practically, rather they see it hypothetically. We heard to say by many (people) that can any family be managed through this small amount of money?" she said.

Sheikh Hasina added: "The people will manage their respective families. But our responsibility is look into the matter that nobody remains hungry or neglected."

State Minister for Social Welfare Nuruzzaman Ahmed presided over the function, while Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the ministry Dr Mozammel Hossain was present as the special guest.

Social Welfare Secretary Md Zillar Rahman delivered the welcome address.


Calling upon all to stand beside the distressed people including the disabled, the prime minister said her government has been working to ensure development for all.

"We fought for the country's independence and we want to build a developed and prosperous Bangladesh and that uplift will be for all ... we're working so that everybody from the neglected to the disabled could get this scope equally," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the government is going to undertake the Cash Transfer Modernization (CTM) Project so that all allowance-recipients could get allowance through electronic system by 2021.

The premier said after assuming office in 1996, the Awami League government for the first time introduced elderly allowance for the elderly people.

"At that time, we launched allowances for the widows and the women abandoned by husband as well as the honorarium for the freedom fighters," she said.

The premier said since taking office again in 2009, her government has been implementing massive programmes to infuse dynamism into rural economy and ensure durable social safety.

"We've increased manifold the allowances for the elderly people, widows and women abandoned by the husbands, insolvent disabled people and the stipends for physically-challenged students," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the government is giving elderly allowance to 35 lakh elderly people at a rate of Tk 500 in every month in the current fiscal year, while widow allowance at a rate of Tk 500 per month is being provided to 12.65 lakh women.

"We're providing Tk 759 crore in this sector every year," she said, adding her government has framed various laws to ensure rights and welfare of the poor people.

The laws, she said, included the Vagabond and Shelterless People (rehabilitation) Act-2011, the Child Act-2013, the Disabled Persons Rights and Protection Act-2013, the Parents Alimony Act-2013, the National Neurodevelopment Disorder Protection Trust Act-2013 and the National Elderly People Policy-2013.

Reiterating her government's commitment to ensuring development and welfare of the children and juveniles, the premier said the activities of 85 government "Shishu Paribar" are underway.

"We've set up six technical training centres for the orphans and the disabled children, while initiatives have been taken for complete flourishing of street children through Sheikh Russel Child Training and Rehabilitation Centres," she said.

The prime minister said the government approved the National Social Security Strategy (NSSS), Bangladesh and undertook the Life Cycle Base Programme.

She said the Management Information System has been developed for the beneficiaries so that the underprivileged people are not deprived. "Information of 46 lakh elderly, widow and disabled allowance-recipients has already been incorporated in the system," she said.

The prime minister said the government has undertaken a work plan for implementation of the National Social Security Strategy (NSSS).

A project for construction of the Social Services Complex in 64 districts has been approved by the ECNEC and in the first phase, she said.

She mentioned that Disability Information System (DIS) Software has been developed to preserve their information and said her government is giving national identity cards to the persons with disabilities. Newly registered disabled people will also be provided with such cards, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said over 15 lakh 41 thousand disabled persons have so far been identified and survey on disability identification is on while opportunity is also there to participate in the survey through online system.

She said transparency has been ensured alongside reaching social services to the doorsteps of the people aiming to empower disabled persons in the private sector through registered organisations.

Sheikh Hasina said a project titled "Child Sensitive Social Protection in Bangladesh" was implemented in 20 districts of the country from 2012 to 2016 to integrate the distressed children in the families. The second phase of the scheme, which will be extended for five years, is at the final stage of the approval, she said.

The prime minister said she had declared to observe the Social Services Day on January 2 each year during the inauguration of the Social Services Building in 1999.

Sheikh Hasina said she later announced to observe the National Social Services Day on January 2 during the function of the National Social Services Day in 2011. "Since the day is being observed and this day is very important for bringing dynamism in the society's development and progress," she said.

Later, the premier through a video conference inaugurated a "Social Services Fair" arranged on the Department of Social Services premises at Sher-e Bangla Nagar.