Delimitation: 186 applications filed regarding redrawing of JS constituencies
The Election Commission has said 186 applications have been submitted so far regarding the redrawing of the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies. “On February 26, the preliminary list of the boundaries of the parliamentary constituencies was published. The deadline for submitting claims and objections to the list was March 19. A total of 186 applications have been submitted during this period," the Election Commission's Joint Secretary SM Asaduzzaman told reporters on Monday. The highest number of applications have been received in Comilla (84). The lowest number of applications have been filed in Mymensingh (1) and Chattogram (1). Meanwhile, no applications were filed in Rangpur and Sylhet, Asadduzzaman said. Among other districts, 43 applications have been received from Rajshahi, 29 from Barisal, 18 from Dhaka, and five each from Khulna and Faridpur. Election Commissioner Anisur Rahman said: “The applications will be arranged based on constituencies. Then, the secretariat will work on how many objections have been received in which constituencies. The committee will then hold a hearing where the decision on any redrawing of constituencies will be made.”
Russian envoy assures JS speaker of desire to continue cooperation
Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander Mantytskiy has said his country wants to continue cooperation with Dhaka – namely, in trade and economy, and the implementation of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant – despite the "sanctions pressure by the US and the countries of the collective West" Mantytskiy said this during a meeting with the Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury. During the conversation Thursday, the mutual commitment to strengthening friendly relations between the parliaments of Russia and Bangladesh was confirmed, including under the auspices of the relevant friendship groups established for the exchange of the best practices of national legislation. Read more: Moscow thanks Dhaka in light of UN vote
Six by-polls proved vote can be fair under the AL govt: PM Hasina tells JS
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said no one should raise any concern about the election being free and fair under the AL government following the recent by-elections in six parliamentary seats and Rangpur City Corporation. “These have proved that fair elections are held during the Awami League period,” she said. The prime minister said this while participating in the discussion on the thanksgiving motion on President's speech in parliament. She said that six by-elections were held just a few days ago where Jatiya Party won in one seat. She mentioned that in another seat, the BNP MP who resigned from the parliament returned as an independent candidate. “Moreover, we left one to Rashed Khan Menon’s party where the Jatiya Party candidate won. Another was given to Hasanul Haque Inu’s party and it won in Bogra,” she said. She said that AL candidate won only in Bogra and Chapainawabganj. “No one could complain about Rangpur mayor election. But Jatiya Party won that election, Awami League lost.” Therefore, she said, “we have been able to prove that the election has been fair, free and impartial during the Awami League government.” “I hope no one gets a chance to raise anything about the election after this (by-elections and mayor election).” She mentioned that AL always has fought for people's right to vote. “I think it is our responsibility to ensure the right to vote.” PM Hasina said that the government has built the Padma Bridge with its own funding, which was a challenging job. “This one decision has changed the image of Bangladesh internationally. Those who earlier thought that Bangladesh will never be able to stand up proved wrong. Those who seized power after 1975 tragedy (assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) had wanted that,” she said. Hasina said that the international status of Bangladesh has increased as the country has proved that it can. She said that digital services are being launched in all areas and now the documents of land can be taken at home while any bill can be paid from home. She said that the government is working for the overall development of the people of the country. The premier recalled the election during Ziaur Rahman's tenure. The people had seen how the presidential election of 1981 was rigged, she said. She also said that during his time General Ershad (founder of Jatiya Patty) changed the election results by withholding the counting for 48 hours. She recalled that no party could form the government in the 1991 elections on its own and so BNP joined hands with Jamaat to form the government. And they held a election without participation of voters on February 15, 1996. People don't let go if votes are stolen. Khaleda Zia had to resign on March 30.” The PM said that there was a conspiracy in 2001 regarding the sale of country’s gas. She said that Bangladesh is sending medical teams, medicines, dry food to help the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria.
JS passes Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman University, Naogaon Bill
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman University, Naogaon Bill, 2023 was passed in Parliament on Tuesday. Education Minister Dipu Moni moved the bill and it was passed by voice vote. The proposed university would be prototypes of other public universities. As per the bill, there will be a business incubator to make the university students entrepreneurs and give them all kind of assistance at preliminary stage. The university will also cooperate students or teachers to use their invention, intellectual property in processing, marketing, and its usage commercially. As per the bill, the disciplinary committee will propose the syndicate to take appropriate steps for resisting and preventing sexual harassment, violence and ragging. It said that the Chancellor, the President of the country, will appoint an eminent educationist in the vice-chancellor post for four years. But no one will be appointed as vice-chancellor for two terms. The chancellor will also appoint pro vice-chancellor for four years tenure, but not more than two terms. But for the treasurer post of the university, one needs to have at least 20 years of experience as teacher in any public university.
BNP, Jamaat will create unrest before polls, Tarikat chairman tells JS
Tarikat Federation chairman Syed Najibul Bashar Maizbhandari on Wednesday said that BNP and Jamaat would do subversive activities later this year to destabilise the country ahead of next general elections. Bashar said that while the country is moving forward under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina there is a conspiracy to destabilise the country by the BNP and its alliance Jamaat. He said that he has information that BNP and Jamaat will start killing again from next August. “They want to take the country towards another direction in August, September, October and November. Killing, militancy will increase, I am asking the government to be aware of this.” “No matter what conspiracies they do, the next election will be held as per the constitution,” he said. He made the statement while participating in the discussion on the thanksgiving motion on President’s speech in Parliament. Bashar said that Hasina will return to power through next national elections. He said that he will also be elected as MP in the upcoming parliamentary elections. “In the next election, the prime minister will be the prime minister again. I will also be an MP from the Tarikat Federation, there is no (chance of any) mistake,” he said. Mentioning that the national election will be held in the first week of January next year, he said, "whether BNP comes or not, it does not matter at all.” He said that the election will be held under the leadership of the 14-party alliance leader Sheikh Hasina. He called on all the pro-liberation forces to unite under the leadership of Hasina. Ruling party MP Kujendra Lal Tripura said that 50 to 60 percent of Khagrachari area has come under electrification. “Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board through the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs is trying to light up the area with Tk 217 crore solar panels. We want electricity in the areas where it is possible to reach.” Jatiya Party MP Pir Fazlur Rahman said that earlier Begum Para was in Canada. “Now Begum para is being established in many countries of the world. Not only politicians, but also government officials are buying houses abroad.” Pir Fazlur said that many are buying 10-20 houses in Canada, Dubai. “No action is taken against money laundering from the country.” He also raised questions about how the central bank monitors. He said that the defaulted loan in the bank is Tk 1.5 lakh crore. “If you do the actual calculations, it will exceed Tk four lakh crore. The owner of one bank is taking loan from another bank. Actions should be taken against them.” The Jatiya Party MP said that everyone talks about development. “But some leaders do not see development. They visit their area occasionally. They are leaders of Awami League, but want to be elected in the future.” Criticising the sluggish implementation of development projects and the increase in project cost, Pir Fazlur said that if the duration of the project increases, the cost also increases. “Corruption is inextricably linked with it.”
Zakat Fund Management Bill passed in JS
The Zakat Fund Management Bill -2023 was passed in Parliament on Wednesay, aiming to make Zakat (obligatory charity in Islam) an important tool to eradicate poverty from the country. As per the proposed Bill, it also aims to engage a zakat receiver in any profession or activity to make the person self-reliant and rehabilitated. State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan moved the bill and it was passed by voice vote. The proposed 'Zakat Fund Management Act, 2023' will replace the Zakat Fund Ordinance, 1982. Also read: JS passes bill to introduce Universal Pension Scheme The Bill said that there will be a Zakat Board consisting of 13 members. Religious Affairs Minister or State Minister will be the Chairman of that Board. Other members are-the Secretary of the Religious Affairs Ministry, an official from the ministry with minimum joint secretary level, an official of the Finance Ministry with minimum joint secretary level, an official with minimum joint secretary level from the legislative and parliamentary affairs division, government selected five eminent islamic scholars (Fakih), two representatives from country’s trade body organisation and the Director-General of the Islamic Foundation. Their appointment will be valid for three years and they will hold at least two meetings per year. A fund will be formed called the Zakat Fund which shall consist of voluntary payment of Zakat by the Muslims. After the law is enacted, anyone from home and abroad will be able to give zakat at any government scheduled bank. The moneys credited to the Fund shall be kept in non-interest bearing accounts of scheduled banks. As per the objective of the Bill, Islam is a complete religion and way of life. Zakat is an important provision for the socio-economic welfare and security of people. Allah has made Zakat obligatory upon a compliant Muslim who possesses a Nisab amount of wealth as determined by the Shari'ah. Zakat is a tool for poverty alleviation and rehabilitation. Zakat is not a voluntary donation, rather Zakat is a fixed portion of the wealth of the rich to be paid to the poor and needy by Allah. Although zakat system has been in operation at the individual level for a long time in this country, the desired benefits were not being obtained from zakat due to various reasons. Poverty was once possible to be eradicated throughout the Muslim world through the system of Zakat. Therefore, the government formed the Zakat Board by enacting The Zakat Fund Ordinance, 1982 for the purpose of proper utilisation of Zakat and the permanent welfare of the destitute Muslims according to the provisions of Islam. The Zakat Fund Management Bill -2023 was placed in parliament in order to repeal the military regime ordinance in line with a verdict of the High Court.
JS passes bill to introduce Universal Pension Scheme
The Universal Pension Management Bill, 2023 was passed in the House aimed at bringing the country’s growing elderly population under a universal pension scheme. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal moved the bill and it was passed by voice vote. As per the Bill,aAll Bangladeshi nationals aged from 18 to 50 years can participate in this pension scheme. The expatriate Bangladeshis are also eligible to the benefits. The Finance Division has prepared the draft of the bill seeking to bring the growing elderly population under a sustainable social safety net. This will particularly benefit the elderly population when they become jobless or become afflicted with diseases, paralysis, old age or other similar conditions, or extreme poverty amid high life expectancy rate. As per the draft law, a person will have to provide premium for at least 10 years uninterruptedly to get pension from the age of 60 until the death. Also Read: Finance Minister places names of top 20 loan defaulters in JS If an elderly person dies before the age 75 years, the nominee will get the pension for the remaining time. However, the amount of premium will be determined by a rule under the proposed law. According to the proposed law, there will be a five-member national pension authority headed by a chairman and also a 15-member governing body with the finance minister as its chair. The government will appoint the chairman and the other four members national pension authority. Finance Minister will be the chairman of the governing body where the other members will be the Bangladesh Bank governor, finance secretary, financial institutions division secretary, NBR chairman, social welfare secretary, secretary of woman and child affairs ministry, expatriate welfare and overseas employment secretary, labour and employment secretary, post and telecommunication division secretary, PMO secretary, BSEC chairman, FBCCI president, Bangladesh Employers Federation president, BWCCI president and the executive chairman. The governing body will hold at least three meetings each year. The main office of the authority will be in Dhaka and its branches can be established in any place of the country taking prior permission. The inclusion in this pension scheme will be voluntarily unless the government issues any gazette for making it compulsory. The deposited fee will he treated as investment and will be applicable for tax waiver while the pension will be tax free. The Bill said that a portion of the free can be given by the government for the people who are below the lowest income level or who are insolvent. There will be a universal pension fund to manage the deposited money properly. One or more scheduled banks will act as the banker of the Fund. Fund will be transferred through electronic fund transfer system to ensure the transfer in specific time and for that a centralised and automatic pension distribution structure will be formed. For inclusion of the government, semi-government and autonomous bodies in this pension scheme the government will issue gazette notification. Taking part in the discussion, Gonoforum MP Mokabbir Khan termed the bill as very important one and an excellent initiative of the government. But, he said that this pension system will not get the response of common people. Because many things are not compatible with the way government employees get their pension. “It is not clear how people will get the returns. It is more like a banking package. Public opinion should be taken before this bill is passed,” he said. Jatiya Party MP Fakhrul Imam said this bill is contradictory to the constitution. The Constitution states, he said, it is the right of the people to get assistance from the government due to uncontrollable causes such as unemployment, sickness or infirmity or widowhood, parentlessness or old age or other similar circumstances. “The government will take fees from people and return it again. There is no chance of passing this bill,” he said. Another Jatiya Party MP Mujibul Haque said the words of the bill are good. “But what is the government's participation in this pension scheme?” he questioned. He mentioned that there is no government involvement in the pension. “It is like DPS scheme of banks. There is rumor that the government is in shortage of money that forced it to take money from the people?” Criticising the Finance Minister for taking the stance of keeping mum, Mujibul Haque said that the Finance Minister does not talk much. “Dumb has fewer enemies. But it is not known whether the words reached the ears of the finance minister. No feedback or initiative is seen from him,” he said. Jatiya Party MP Shamim Haider Patwari said that apparently the law is good. But it does not seem to be anything out of the way provided by various private institutions. “It is not clear what profit the government will give.” Also Read: Bill on the universal pension returns to the House after scrutiny Jatiya Pati MP Kazi Firoz Rashid said that it is like keeping chickens near a fox. “People will keep money in banks and the banks will siphon off the money abroad. Banks have lost people's trust. One bank’s director is taking money from another bank.” He said that the defaulters are getting all the benefits. He highlighted the information of the report published in a newspaper about money laundering abroad and said that there is no one to see the matter. “Those who are laundering money are being encouraged.” Responding to criticism from members of the opposition, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said that many discussions were held before bringing this bill. “Those who submitted written comments have been taken into consideration. The bill was also discussed in detail in the parliamentary committee. The Bill has been brought to the Parliament with a view to its acceptance.”
Bill placed in JS to pave a way for govt to adjust gas, electricity without public hearing
The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (amendment) Bill was placed in Parliament on Sunday, aiming to create scope for the government fix the prices of power and energy without public hearing. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid placed the Bill in the House and it was sent to the respective scrutiny committee for further examination. The committee was asked to submit its report within five days. Earlier, Law minister Anisul Huq placed the “Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (amendment) Ordinance, 2022” in Parliament on Jan 5. President Abdul Hamid promulgated the ordinance on December 1 last amending the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) Act-2003. Also Read: DPP being reframed to build Turag and Keraniganj townships: Sharif Ahmed The law ministry issued a gazette on December 1 on the amendment that allows government to adjust the prices of gas and electricity besides fuel oil. Previously, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources used to adjust the prices of fuel including diesel, octane, kerosene and petrol without any hearing but the prices of gas and electricity were adjusted by the BERC through hearings. With the amendment of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) Act-2003, the power ministry will not require to hold a hearing to decide new prices for gas and electricity. The BERC is an autonomous body which was established based on the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Act 2003, aiming at improving power and energy infrastructure in Bangladesh. The law was amended thrice in the past. The Cabinet on November 28 approved an amendment to the BERC Ordinance 2022 to empower the government to set fuel tariff on its own under special circumstances without waiting for the commission’s public hearing and decision.
Bill incorporating max 10 years’ jail for leaking PSC exam questions passed in parliament
Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) Bill 2023 was passed in the parliament today incorporating punishment for involvement in any irregularity in PSC exams. State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain moved the bill in the House and it was passed by voice vote. The maximum punishment for involvement in leaking questions of any PSC exam will be 10 years’ jail or financial penalty or both, according to the draft law. The bill will replace the Bangladesh Public Service Commission Ordinance, 1977 in line with a judgment of the High Court over the laws of military regimes. The maximum punishment for adopting unfair means in examination and engagement in answer sheet forgery would be two years’ jail or financial penalty or both. Also Read: Chunnu wants finance minister's view on reported corruption of MPs, WASA MD The penalty is the same for helping any examinee taking unfair mens in the exam hall, fake examinees and tampering with answer sheet. The penalty is one year of jail or financial penalty or both for creating obstacles in taking examinations and creating anarchy. As per the bill, apart from question paper leaks, other crimes will also be punished by mobile courts. There will be a public service commission to be called the Bangladesh Public Service Commission. The number of members of the Commission, including the Chairman, shall be not less than six nor more than 20. There will be a secretariat of the Commission where a secretary of the government will be appointed as the Commission Secretary.
No unauthorised clinics in Dhaka city, health minister tells JS
Bangladesh's Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque on Sunday (January 08, 2023) said there are no unauthorised clinics operating in the capital. The minister made the comment while responding to a tabled question of AL MP Habib Hasan. He said that if an unauthorised private clinic is found, necessary measures are taken as per the rules, including suspending the operation of the clinic by operating a mobile court with the help of law enforcement agencies. Also Read: Review of mass media employees bill gets another 60-day extension In response to the question from ruling Awami Leaague MP M. Abdul Latif, the health minister said that the process of starting the geriatric department for the treatment of the elderly in the medical college hospitals of the divisional cities across the country has started. Activities will start soon to provide modern medical care to patients aged 65 years and above at this department, he said. In response to AL MP Habib Hasan's question, the health minister said that the number of approved private hospitals and clinics in Dhaka city is 484. Read More: Policies must to stop misuse, overuse of antibiotics: Health Minister In reply to another question from AL MP Anwarul Abedin Khan, Zahid Maleque said that the government has a plan to increase the number of beds in all upazila health complexes in the country. He said that upgradation of upazila hospital from 31 to 50 beds is ongoing. Already five upazila health complexes have been upgraded to 100 beds. The government plans to upgrade all the 50-bed upazila hospitals to 100 beds as per requirement in phases, he said. Read More: “Won’t allow anyone to do business in the name of healthcare.” In response to the question of Didarul Alam, the minister said that the government has taken up the project of establishing one full-fledged cancer hospital at each divisional city where it will be possible to ensure the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients of all ages including children.