Hill Voice, 30 July 2020, Dhaka: The Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) organized an online discussion meeting on 29 July 2020 Wednesday, on the plight of marginalized people during Corona pandemic. There, associate organisations of the MJF gathered some information from their project area.
In this meeting, it was said, 21 thousand 826 Dalits and Harijans, 29 thousand 631 people with disability, 49 thousand 239 fishermen did not get any government assistance from April to June. On the other hand, only 4,100 households in the three hill districts of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and indigenous people in the plains have received government benefits, which is 25 per cent.
Planning Minister MA Mannan was present as the chief guest at the online discussion meeting which was conducted by Shaheen Anam. Debapriya Bhattacharya, Special Fellow of the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Raja Debasish Roy of Chakma Circle, Meghna Guhathakurta, Executive Director of Research Initiatives, Aroma Dutta, MP and Zakir Hossain, Executive Director of Nagorik Udyog participated in the event as Special guests
According to the MJF, the government had allocated Tk 1,250 crore for distribution among 50 lakh distressed people during the Corona period and an expenditure of Tk 6 crore was also estimated for managing the distribution. But as of July 7, only 16 lakh people had received the money. The remaining 34 lakh people have not yet received that assistance.
The chief guest at the meeting was Planning Minister MA Mannan, who said the Prime Minister’s package is for everyone. There is no reason for anyone to be left out. Those who have become poor anew are temporary. This is for a few months. They will overcome this situation quickly. They are not permanently poor. He hopes that this new poverty rate has also already come down.
Debapriya Bhattacharya, a special fellow at the Center for Policy Dialogue, said the number of poor people has increased anew. Many kinds of steps have to be taken for these people. There must have information about these people and be accountable for their actions.
Raja Devasish Roy, Circle Chief of the Chakma Circle, said there was insufficient government support in the hilly areas and recommended to increase it.
Shaheen Anam, moderator of the meeting and executive director of the MJF, said the government has the goodwill to help marginalized groups. But there are many challenges of fair distribution.
Among others, Judith Herbertson, Bangladesh Representative of DFID, Meghna Guhathakurata, Executive Director of Research Initiatives, Aroma Dutta, MP and Zakir Hossain, Executive Director of Nagirik Udyog, representatives of indigenous and marginalized communities also addressed the meeting.