Hasan said under a government programme some 50 lakh lower income families, which mean about 2.5 crore people, are getting 30 kg of rice each in a month at Taka 10 per kg for several years for a period of seven months a year and the authorities are now mulling to extend its time span.

Besides, about one crore people, including 17 lakh widows, 44 lakh elderly people and 16 lakh destitute people, are given different allowances under the social safety net programmes, the information minister said, adding that sufficient relief, including cash Taka 760 crore, has been allocated for the people who were rendered jobless due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

“All of those assistance meant for marginalized and poor people. But I am astonished to see that those government assistances were not projected in the research of an institution like CPD,” the AL joint general secretary said.

Noting that the country’s GDP growth has increased about three and a half times while per capita income and purchasing capacity of the people also have increased about three times in the last 11 years, Hasan said but it is a matter of regret that CPD could not laud the development.

“So, the statement that there were ‘no incentives for the marginalized people’, as has been revealed in a CPD study, is just a traditional statement of the institution as it is their perpetual habit to find out faults (of the government),” he added.

Speaking about BNP, the AL joint general secretary said BNP is busy in comments making competition instead of standing by the people.

Motioning that the BNP leaders were seen delivering speeches staying at homes for some days, he said they are also busy in criticizing the government through photo sessions after distributing a small amount of relief items.

“Recent remarks of the BNP leaders seemed like the remarks of people who lost their commonsense”, said Hasan adding that different leaders of BNP are delivering speeches everyday without standing beside the countrymen during this catastrophe situation.

“We, Bangladesh Awami League, however, remain besides the people,” he said, urging all to come forward with suggestions to take the country ahead shunning the criticism.

At the beginning of his speech, the information minister greeted the countrymen as well as all journalists on the occasion of the Bangla New Year.

AL Office Secretary Biplob Barua, Health Affairs Secretary Dr Rokeya Sultana and Deputy Office Secretary Sayem Khan were present on the occasion.

BSS/SAH/KU/2323 hrs