In face of growing demand from the freedom fighters, the government is going to increase the monthly allowances of the war heroes.
Freedom fighters’ monthly allowances might be increased by Tk 2,000 to Tk 12,000 in the upcoming budget for the next fiscal year, according to finance ministry officials.Presently about two lakh enlisted freedom fighters get Tk 10,000 each as monthly allowances from government. They have been receiving the amount from October 2017.
Finance ministry officials said other benefits like two festival allowance, Victory Day allowance and Bangla New Year festival allowance will remain intact alongside hike in the monthly benefits.
The hike in the monthly allowances will increase the government expenditure by Tk 480 crore in the 2019-20 fiscal year, sources informed.
The war heroes have been demanding an increase in their monthly benefits citing higher cost of living.
A section of freedom fighters at a rally in front of the National Press Club earlier this week demanded that their allowances should be raised to Tk35,000 per month.
Every year, freedom fighters get Tk 5,000 each as Victory Day allowance for which the government allocation is Tk 65 crore.The government spends Tk 400 crore for providing two Eid bonuses to the war heroes, while another Tk 40 crore is spent for giving Tk 2,000 Pahela Boishash (Bangla New Year) allowance.
During ongoing 2018-19 fiscal year, the government set aside Tk 3,800 crore for providing allowances to the freedom fighters, which will increase to Tk 4,280 crore in the new budget after accommodating Tk 480 crore extra cost of Tk 2,000 hike in the monthly benefits.
The government allocated Tk 400 crore in 2018-19 fiscal to support insolvent war-wounded and sick freedom fighters or their spouses, children or grand-children.
The allocation was proposed under the social protection coverage in the current fiscal year.
Moreover, Baishakhi allowance and Victory Day allowance were also introduced from current fiscal year.
This year, allocation for the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs increased by Tk 412 crore to Tk 4,261 crore.
A new law titled ‘Bangladesh Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust Act, 2018’ has been enacted for the welfare of all civil, military, martyred, titled and wounded freedom fighters through the Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust.
Freedom fighters from the 1971 Liberation War and their dependents have been given a major boost with the passage of new legislation to safeguard their welfare.
The new law replaced the existing Bangladesh Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust Order, 1972 (President’s Order 94 of 1972).
The new act was put in place to ensure that all freedom fighters get the honorarium whereas the earlier ordinance had no such scope.
Members of military, police, Ansar and other working forces, who have other sources of income, are covered under the law.
In absence of freedom fighters, their wives or husbands will get the benefits and in absence of freedom fighter’s spouses, parents will get the benefits.
If the parents are absent, the benefits will pass over to the freedom fighters’ children.
In absence of all, the above persons mentioned, the siblings of the freedom fighter will be entitled to get the benefits.