Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken a number of steps to save the people’s lives during the coronavirus pandemic and announced around 21 stimulus packages involving Tk 1,21,000 crore to offset the shock of COVID-19 on various sectors of the country.
The premier’s steps to deal with the deadly virus were highly lauded globally as the steps were proved effective against the COVID-19 in saving the people’s lives and livelihood.
The steps taken by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the coronavirus pandemic include:
* The government announced closure of all educational institutions and suspended public examinations to prevent coronavirus infection in the country.
* Conducting online and television-based education programmes.
* General holiday was announced from March 25 to May 30 last year to prevent spread of coronavirus infection.
* Protective materials, including PPE-mask, are being ensured for health workers, doctors-nurses, members of law enforcement and administration and frontline fighters in the Covid-19 war.
* Importing testing kits, setting up laboratories in different parts of the country and taking necessary arrangements for testing Covid-19 samples.
* Health insurance of Taka 5-10 lakh was announced for frontline fighters to deal with coronavirus, while the amount of life insurance is five times of the health insurance.
* 2,000 doctors and 6,054 nurses were recruited. Another 5,000 health technologists will be recruited.
* Three hotlines for health counseling (18263, 333 and 10655) were launched.
* Committees were formed at division, district, upazila and union levels to deal with the coronavirus situation.
* Conducting talks directly with district officials and giving them necessary directions through videoconferencing.
* 21 stimulus packages involving around Taka 1,21,000 crore were announced aiming to keep the affected economy vibrant, which was around 4.3 percent of the country’s GDP.
* Taka 811 crore was allocated for increasing the coverage of allowance programme, while Taka 2,130 crore for building houses for homeless people.
* Excluding VGD, VGF, food assistance at Taka 10 and about 76 lakh families getting other assistances, a total of Tk 1,250 crore was provided in cash for 50 lakh Covid-19 affected people in May/2020 on the occasion of Mujib Year. Each family got Taka 2,500 in cash.
* Taka 102.74 crore was distributed as stipend among 2,09,674 students of graduation and equivalent level of 2019, and Taka 8,66,41,200 was distributed as tuition fee.
* There are 50 lakh ration card holders who get rice at Taka 10 per kg. Another 50 lakh new ration cards will be given, which will benefit about five crore people.
* Initiatives were taken to provide Aus paddy seeds and fertilisers free of cost to farmers under supervision of the Agriculture Ministry.
* Up to 60 percent subsidy is being given in purchasing agricultural inputs for mechanisation of agriculture.
* Stern actions are being taken against those involved in irregularities and corruption during relief distribution.
* Till June 26 last, 2,11,017 metric tonnes of rice was allocated across the country, while 1,88,024 metric tonnes was distributed. The number of beneficiary families was 1,62,95,904 with 7,14,83,095 people.
* Taka 123 crore has been allocated in cash for procuring baby food and other items.
* In the coronavirus situation, on the occasion of the holy Ramadan, an assistance of Taka 16.94 crore was given to Qawmi madrasas, while Taka 122,02,15,000 to mosques.
Even, in the Covid-19 situation, 28,317 textbooks of their own languages were distributed among the students of the ethnic minorities.