Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Tuesday said the number of vehicles without fitness certificates in Bangladesh is 4,81,029 as of December 2020.
He came up with the number while responding to a tabled question from ruling party MP, elected from Chattogram-11, M Abdul Latif.
The minister said steps like informing all concerned through SMS from circle offices to renew the fitness certificates have been taken.
Besides, he said, punitive actions such as imposing fine, jailing and dumping vehicles are going on against the vehicles without fitness certificates across the country.
Replying to Jatiya Party MP Liakat Hossain Khoka, he said the constriction work on Padma Bridge will be completed by June 2022.
The work on this mega project was hindered slightly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said Obaidul Quader adding, "Though the pace of work had slowed down a bit, but it did not stop fully."
While replying to a question from Ayan Uddin from Rajshahi-3, Obaidul Quader said there are 3,943.69 kilometres of national highways, 4,882.94 kilometres of regional highways and 13,556.20 kilometres of district highways under the Roads and Highways Department.
In response to Jatiya Party MP Shamim Haider Patwary, Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujon said the government has taken 89 projects since it was formed in 2009 the Awami League and 79 of the projects have been completed.
Responding to a question of AKM Rahmatullah, the minister said the government has taken a 'Land Use Plan' to utilise the unused lands of Bangladesh Railways.
Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi, while answering to BNP MP Mosharrof Hossain, said a total of Tk 1559 crore has been given to jute workers as their dues.
Besides, around the same amount of money will be given to them in the form of savings certificates, he said.
The minister also said the government has decided to pay the dues of jute traders in the 2021-22 fiscal.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on jobs worldwide, an impact worse than the 2008 recession, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has said.
Unemployment and reduced working hours, in fact, cost the world the equivalent of 255 million jobs in 2020, ILO said on Monday, noting that the “massive impact” was nearly four times the number lost during the 2008 global financial crisis.
According to the 'ILO Monitor: Covid-19 and the World of Work', the losses resulted in an 8.3 percent decline in global income, before factoring in support measures, equivalent to $3.7 trillion or 4.4 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), reports UN News.
While there is still a high degree of uncertainty for 2021, the ILO projected that most countries could see a relatively strong recovery in the second half the year, as Covid vaccination programmes take effect.
ILO put forward three scenarios: a baseline estimate showing a 3 percent decline; a pessimistic forecast indicating a 4.6 percent loss, and in the most optimistic scenario, a 1.3 percent decrease in working hours through this year.
"The signs of recovery we see are encouraging, but they are fragile and highly uncertain, and we must remember that no country or group can recover alone," Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, said.
“We are at a fork in the road. One path leads to an uneven, unsustainable, recovery with growing inequality and instability, and the prospect of more crises. The other focuses on a human-centred recovery for building back better, prioritiding employment, income and social protection, workers’ rights and social dialogue," he added.
“If we want a lasting, sustainable and inclusive recovery, this is the path policy-makers must commit to.”
Women and children most vulnerable
In terms of sectors and groups, women were more affected than men, as were younger workers, ILO said.
“Globally, employment losses for women stand at 5 percent, versus 3.9 percent for men. In particular, women were much more likely than men to drop out of the labour market and become inactive," it added.
Similarly, younger workers either lost jobs, dropped out of the labour force, or delayed entry into it.
‘Lost generation’ risk
“The employment loss among youth (15-24 years old) stood at 8.7 percent, compared to 3.7 percent for adults. This highlights the all too real risk of a lost generation” according to ILO.
Accommodation and food services was the worst hit sector, where the employment rate declined by over 20 percent, on average, followed by retail and manufacturing.
In contrast, the information, communication, finance and insurance sectors grew in the second and third quarters of 2020. Marginal increases were also seen in mining, quarrying and utilities.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised this year's Padma Awardees, saying that India cherishes their contributions to the nation and humanity at large.
"These exceptional individuals from different walks of life have brought qualitative changes in the lives of others," tweeted the Indian Prime Minister adding that they are proud of all those who have been conferred upon the Padma Awards.
Renowned Bangladeshi musicologist Dr Sanjeeda Khatun and Lt Col (retd) Quazi Sajjad Ali Zaheer have been named by India for this year's Padma awards. Indian Home Ministry made the announcement on Monday night.
Padma, the fourth-highest civilian award in India, is conferred upon in three categories – Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field.
These awards, recognising outstanding contributions of individuals in various fields, are announced every year on the eve of India's Republic Day and conferred by the President in March-April.
Sanjeeda Khatun, 87, a musicologist, was one of the founders of Bangladesh Mukti Sangrami Shilpi Sangstha during the Liberation War in 1971 and Chhayyanaut in the early 1960s.
Lt Col Quazi is a veteran of the Bangladesh Liberation War. He joined the Liberation War in September 1971. He organised the 2nd Artillery Force under Sector 4 in the Sylhet region.
The Bangladesh government honoured him with the prestigious ‘Bir Protik’ title for his gallantry. In 2013, he was awarded the ‘Swadhinata Padak’, the highest civilian award in Bangladesh, for his contributions to the Liberation War.
Padma Awards 2021
The Indian government has also nominated former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe for this year's Padma awards, the Home Ministry said in a handout.
This year, the President has approved conferment of 119 Padma Awards, including one duo case (in a duo case, the Award is counted as one). The list comprises seven Padma Vibhushan, 10 Padma Bhushan and 102 Padma Shri Awards.
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Twenty-nine of the awardees are women, and the list also includes 10 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI, 16 posthumous awardees and one transgender awardee, according to the Press Information Bureau of India.
Thirty-eight Bangladeshi children returned from India through Benapole after a two-year imprisonment for illegal entry.
All the returnees are aged between 12 and 15 years. Ten of them are boys and 28 are girls.
India’s Petrapole immigration police handed them over to Benapole immigration police on Monday night. From there, three NGO’s took them to Jashore’s shelter home to send them back to their families.
Bangladeshi Deputy High Commissioner to India Shamim Yasmin said the children went to India without proper travel documents in the hope of a better life.
Police arrested them while they were working at homes in different places of India.
Benapole check post immigration Officer-in-Charge Ahsan Habib said these children went to India illegally at different times.
After their release from jail, some Indian NGOs kept them at shelter homes.
Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader has said the government will not interfere in the upcoming Chittagong City Corporation elections.
Speaking at a regular briefing from his official residence on Monday morning, Quader said the people of Chittagong would vote for whomever they wanted and the government would extend full cooperation to the commission in playing an independent and authoritative role in holding free and fair elections.
Noting that the Sheikh Hasina government is working tirelessly to establish a hunger and poverty free Bangladesh, the Awami League general secretary said the Bangabandhu family is a unique example of honesty in the politics of this country.
He said that everyone should learn from this family to be honest and respectful.
Obaidul Quader called upon the leaders and workers of Awami League and allied organizations to be dedicated to the service of the people without showing their power.
Stating that power is not permanent, Obaidul Quader said that leaders, activists and followers should focus on serving the people and avoid the lust for enjoyment.
Obaidul Quader also said that the struggle for building a prosperous Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina must continue for the development of the country.
In order to realize Bangabandhu's dream of establishing a non-communal state and fight against the enemies of democracy, Obaidul Quader said that the future politics will be the politics of purity, the spirit of liberation war and scientific.
He said the misdeeds and conspiracies of those who want to push the country back must be dealt with politically and everyone must be united for that goal.
In response to a complaint by a party alleging that the government was obstructing their peaceful movement, the Awami League general secretary said that spreading violence in the name of movement, burning people's property in the name of procession could not be a peaceful movement.
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The minister said the people of this country do not believe that those who pursue the politics of killing, sponsoring terrorism and corruption will carry out peaceful protests.
He also referred to the BNP as the father of the politics of revenge.