Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday allocated Tk 10.50 crore in favour of deputy commissioners of the country to provide assistance to the poor, distressed and insolvent people who have been affected due to the ongoing lockdown that the government enforced for containing the spread of Coronavirus.
“The assistance has been provided from the PM’s Relief and Welfare Fund,” said PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim.
He said the deputy commissioners will provide the assistance after making lists of the poor, distressed and insolvent people who have been affected most by the going on lockdown.
The amount of the allotted money will vary depending on the number of poor, distressed and insolvent people in the districts. Karim also said all the deputy commissioners of 64 districts will get the share of the allotted money.
The government has imposed a nationwide limited scale lockdown for one week from April 5 as part of its move to contain the spike in both coronavirus infections and fatalities.
After the weeklong lockdown, the government enforced a fresh one week lockdown with harsher measures from April 14 and later it was extended till April 28 midnight.
On April 18, the Prime Minister declared to provide financial assistance to some 36 lakh families who have been hit hard by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and recent natural disasters.
The 36 families include 35 lakh low-income ones engaged in different occupations but hit hard by the current coronavirus situation, and the rest one lakh are farmers affected by recent natural disasters.
An amount of Tk 2,500 will be provided as cash support to 35 lakh families, while Tk 5,000 each will be given to one lakh families of farmers.
The government will spend a total Tk 930 crore to disburse cash among 36 lakh families as the allocation for Covid-hit low-income families is Tk 880 crore and for disaster-affected farmers is Tk 50 crore.
Out of 30,94,249 hectares of cropland in 36 districts, 10,301 hectares of cropland was completely destroyed while 59,327 hectares partially damaged due to strong winds, hailstorms and cyclones on April 4, 2021. Some 100,000 farmers were directly affected due to the recent disaster, according to the data of the Department of Agricultural Extension.
Under the circumstances, the Ministry of Agriculture has recommended providing Tk 5,000 to each farmer as they are affected by double blows — natural calamity and Covid-19 pandemic.
The ministry has already started enlisting one lakh farmers incorporating their names, national identity card and mobile numbers in the list. The actual allocation for the farmers can be more or less depending on the number of farmers in the final list.
In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the government disbursed Tk 2,500 as cash aid to each 35 lakh families scrutinising a list of 50 lakh families hit hard by the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The allocation for providing cash support to the poor families was Tk 1257.50 crore.
The Prime Minister in May 2020 inaugurated the disbursement of cash support through G2P (Government-to-Person) through mobile financial services (MFSs).
In the wake of the second wave of coronavirus, the government has enforced lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus.
In this context, the ministry concerned recommended providing Tk 2,500 as cash aid to each of 35 lakh families this time.