Covid-19 put 1.3 crore citizens at job risk



Senior Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
photo: collected

photo: collected

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As a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic 1.3 crore citizens of the country are at risk of losing their jobs. In particular, citizens employed in temporary or part-time employment are at risk. This estimate is being made by reviewing the data of 2017-18 labor force survey. Considering the current situation, the number of citizens at risk of losing their jobs will increase further.

These observations were captured in a virtual dialogue titled ‘New Challenges of SDGs and Budget 2020-21’ organized by the Citizens' Platform for SDG Implementation, Bangladesh on Thursday (June 18). Convener of the SDG Platform and Honorary Fellow of the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr. Devapriya Bhattacharya presented the key note report in this dialogue.

The government may consider a special economic recovery program to overcome the stagnation, the dialogue said, adding that backward and marginalized people are at most risk. The government needs to move forward with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework in the process of reviving the country's economy and ensuring economic security, including employment for its citizens.

It is important to take a detailed action plan and take steps to recover from the ongoing crisis through periodic monitoring. The SDG framework needs to be specially incorporated in the country's Eighth Five-Year Plan to address the new challenges posed by the pandemic. In this case, special attention is required to bring the backward and marginalized people of the country under the fold of cooperation.

Speaking as a special guest in the dialogue, a member of the General Economic Division of the Planning Commission (Senior Secretary) Shamsul Alam said the government will take a short-term action to recover the economy from the ongoing crisis. In all development activities, including the Eighth Five-Year Plan, the government will consider providing assistance to all citizens at risk in the country.

Professor Rehman Sobhan, Member of the Advisory Council of the SDG Platform and Chairman of the CPD, presided over the dialogue. The ongoing challenges of women, children, the elderly, the disabled, the tribals, the people in the remote areas, the youth and the backward sections of the society were discussed in the dialogue. The dialogue was attended by development workers-experts, economists, researchers, business representatives, youth representatives and journalists from different parts of the country including Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Khulna, Barguna, Sunamganj, Thakurgaon, Bogura.

Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh



News Desk, Barta24.com
Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh

Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh

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The wait period is over. The dream came true. Today (June 25), the door of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, which stands on the two banks of the river Padma, is opening.

This dream bridge of about 60 million people in 21 districts of the south-west is a proud history of the whole country. The wonder of the whole world. The bridge connecting Mawa in Munshiganj to Banglabazar in Shariatpur is a harbinger of a new day in the country's economy, investment, trade and overall development.

The celebration of Padma victory will touch the whole country today. Various programs have been taken all over the country on the occasion of inauguration of Padma Bridge. The people of the south are happy with the new day.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will open the much-anticipated 6.15-kilometer Padma Bridge for vehicular movement on Saturday which will bring massive progress in road connectivity of 21 south and southwestern districts with the capital of Dhaka and other major cities.

Marking the grand opening of the bridge, a festive mood is prevailing in the country, particularly in the southern and southwestern region which will be directly facilitated through the major road connectivity.

The premier will join the Padma Bridge inaugural ceremony at Mawa point in Munshiganj at 10 am.

As per the premier’s programme schedule, she will also unveil commemorative postage stamps, souvenir sheets, opening day cover and seals at 11am at Mawa point to mark the grand opening of the country’s biggest self-financed mega project which is likely to boost GDP by 1.2 to 2 percent.

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Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned



News Desk, Barta24.com
Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned

Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned

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Incessant rains and gushing waters have marooned at least six million people in Bangladesh, prompting authorities to call in the Army to assist in the rescue and relief operations.

Officials estimate that six million people were marooned at their nearly inundated homes or were forced to take makeshift refuge elsewhere as water level in rivers in northeastern and northern regions continued to rise.

“Water now continued to surpass much above the danger lines in two of the country’s four major river basin. The situation appears to be nearly as bad as that of the 2004 flooding, a Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) spokesman said. The FFWC attributed the flooding to excessive rainfalls simultaneously in upstream Meghlaya and Bangladesh.

Many people were forced to initially take refuge on their rooftops amid gushing rising waters until rescue boats came in Sunamganj, said local officials. Meanwhile, due to huge rainfall, many districts of norther Bangladeh are facing threat of fresh flood.

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CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez
CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective

CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective

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The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is a group of districts within the Chittagong Division in southeastern Bangladesh, bordering India and Myanmar (Burma) and covering 13,295 square kilometers. Historically settled by tribal groups, now the CHT is also inhabited by huge Bengali settlers.

The CHT region witnessed bloodshed beginning in the early 1970s, when ethnic groups protested the government’s policy of recognizing only the Bengali culture and language and designating all Bangladeshi citizens as Bengalis.

The CHT Peace Accord, signed in 1997 with the promise to end ethnic insurgency and grant a host of benefits to the people, was hailed by all.

With two decades passed since the signing of the CHT Accord, its lack of implementation has reached alarming levels. Ethnic groups and Bengali community are also demanding different types of political, citizenship and land rights.

As per ground realities, there could be fresh tension, political confrontation and security problem in the CHT if the emerging issues are not addressed.

The fact that the CHT people are overwhelmingly in favor of peace as a necessary precondition to all round development of the region is good augury. But the biggest challenge is to continue the peace that has emerged from the conflict with the wisdom, determination and political skill of the leadership.

However, the proximity of the Chittagong Hill Tracts to the Bay of Bengal (BoB) poses a security risk. In a research report, Angshuman Choudhury, Siddharth Anil Nair, Ashutosh Nagda & Garima Maheshwari mentioned the BoB region is one of the most climate-vulnerable in the world. Its strategic, political, social and economic faultlines are also extensive. Together they create fertile ground for volatile security dynamics, social friction and violent conflict. It is a textbook example of the complex relationship between climate change and security, and how an aggregate of both could create emerging challenges for policy-planners (CLIMATE SECURITY IN THE BAY OF BENGAL, 18 Jan, 2022, 212, IPCS Special Report).

Growing strategic significance of the Bay of Bengal within the emerging and increasingly contested geography of the Indo-Pacific, is sharply visible in various ways. BoB's strategic location at the heart of the Indo-Pacific, and ponders the unfolding challenges to regionalism in the Bay of Bengal. It is important for Bangladesh to intensify its efforts to construct a more secure and cooperative Bay of Bengal littoral (C. Raja Mohan, "The Bay of Bengal in the Emerging Indo-Pacific").

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Political Science, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh; Associate Editor, www.barta24.com



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Dr. Kamal's Writ Hearing on Tax Evasion Adjourned for a Week



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Dr. Kamal's Writ Hearing on Tax Evasion Adjourned for a Week

Dr. Kamal's Writ Hearing on Tax Evasion Adjourned for a Week

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The High Court has adjourned the hearing of prominent lawyer, constitutional expert Dr. Kamal Hossain's writ petition for a week.

A High Court bench of Justice Syed Rifat Ahmed and Justice Mohammad Mahbub-ul-Islam granted the order on behalf of Kamal Hossain on Sunday (June 5).

Junior lawyer Barrister Tanim Hossain Shaon appeared for the writ petition. "We asked for a one-day court hearing," the lawyer said. The court has given one week time.

Earlier, a writ petition was filed in the High Court by Kamal Hossain over a dispute over the amount of income tax applicable to him for one year. The writ petition challenging the order of the tax appeals tribunal was on the agenda for hearing today.

Writ has said, for the tax year 2018-19, Kamal Hossain in his income tax return file shows annual income of 1 crore 4 lakh 3 thousand 495 Taka. On the other hand, it is mentioned in the return file that the applicable tax has been deducted at the source as 76 lakh 41 thousand 548 Taka.

Meanwhile, on December 30, 2019, the Deputy Tax Commissioner in an order fixed Kamal's annual income at 20 crore 11 lakh 4 thousand 219 Taka. Due to non-submission on time, with a late charge of 87 lakh 35 thousand 634 Taka,
a total of 6 crore 9 lakh 85 thousand 351 Taka income tax was demanded from Kamal Hossain.

Against the decision of the Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Kamal Hossain appealed to the Tax Appeal Tribunal. However, the tribunal dismissed the appeal.

Later, a writ petition was filed in the High Court on behalf of Dr. Kamal Hossain. The High Court on Sunday (June 5) adjourned the hearing of the writ petition for a week.

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