Dhaka,  Friday
19 April 2024

‘No one ever thought about Universal Pension Scheme’

Sarkar Mazharul Mannan, Rangpur Bureau

Published: 03:40, 19 August 2023

‘No one ever thought about Universal Pension Scheme’

Photo : TDM

In a groundbreaking move towards securing the welfare of citizens, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Universal Pension Scheme on Thursday. The inauguration ceremony took place virtually from Ganabhaban. The PM inaugurated the universal pension scheme in Gopalganj and Bagerhat apart from Rangpur.

One of the highlights of the event was a warm interaction between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Iftekhar Azad, a farmer from the Mahiganj area of Rangpur city who participated from the conference room of Rangpur DC virtually. In the event expressing his gratitude, Iftekhar Azad stated "Assalamu Alaikum, honorable Prime Minister. We do agricultural work. Farmers don't get pension. But the prime minister also made it possible."

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina showed empathy and encouraged Iftekhar Azad to share his thoughts without hesitation. Iftekhar Azad went on to express his relief, stating, "I feel relaxed. I don't want to work in my old age. If there is pension, I don't have any worries. Thank you, honorable Prime Minister." 

The Prime Minister, with a warm smile, responded, "It will take long for you to grow old. It’s not going to happen so quickly," eliciting smiles from all those present.

She also said, "Do your job properly. Stand on your own feet and get this protection in old age." 

Before Iftekhar Azad’s heartfelt interaction, the Rangpur District Commissioner introduced him to the Prime Minister, shedding light on his role as the sole breadwinner for his family as his father is disabled and as a contributor to the Universal Pension Scheme.
After talking to the Prime Minister, Iftekhar Azad told reporter, "I am proud to have been chosen for talking to the Prime Minister. I was able to speak directly with the Hon'ble Prime Minister and told her my thoughts. She is doing a lot for poor people like me. I am a farmer who will get a pension. No one ever thought about that. I can't express in words how great it was to talk to the Prime Minister."

Rangpur district administration joined Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina virtually in the inauguration ceremony of universal pension service. Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Administration, Rangpur-5 Constituency MP and Awami League Central Committee Treasurer HN Arshikur Rahman, City Mayor Mostafizur Rahman Mostafa, Divisional Commissioner Habibur Rahman, Range DIG Abdul Baten, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Md Moniruzzaman, Deputy Commissioner Mobassher Hasan, Police

Superintendent Ferdous Ali Chowdhury, metropolitan and district Awami League leaders and other administration officials participated virtually. At this time, farmer Iftekhar, a subscriber of universal pension scheme, spoke to the PM online.

Meanwhile, the DC said, "With the inauguration of the Universal Pension Scheme, Bangladesh takes a momentous stride towards securing the future of its citizens and upholding the principles of prosperity and progress outlined in its journey of development.”

Rangpur Divisional Commissioner Habibur Rahman said, “From today anyone aged 18 to 50 years can be included in the pension program. People above 50 years of age can also get pension under special consideration. But for this he has to pay subscription for 10 consecutive years. Thereafter, the pension will start from the age he attains.”

He also said that there are four schemes in the Universal Pension Scheme Rules. These include Probash Scheme (for expatriate Bangladeshi citizens), Pragati Scheme (for private sector employees), Surokkha Scheme (for self-employed citizens) and Samata Scheme (for self-employed low-income citizens). Expatriate citizens who do not have national identity cards, can also participate.