It is our duty to do provide for and protect the ones most affected by the pandemic
So far, the government has done a terrific job of disbursing stimulus packages -- worth over Tk100,000 crore -- targeting the most vulnerable groups, from farmers to RMG workers, so that their livelihoods are protected and to ensure that the coronavirus pandemic is kept under control in our country.
At this point in time, casting a wide social security net is absolutely crucial and it is commendable that the government has acted swiftly in this regard.
However, these disbursements will be of little use if corruption and incompetence are allowed to affect their implementation, thereby negating the scope of these stimulus packages and wasting thousands of crores of taxpayers’ money in the process.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what we have seen in many instances -- as soon as relief was provided by the government, there were reports of relief supplies being stolen by influential parties and cash incentives being assigned to well-to-do relatives of public officials.
Such behaviour is absolutely inexcusable and must be punished to the full extent of the law.
Lest we forget, the coronavirus pandemic has, predictably, affected the underprivileged amongst us the most, leaving millions of people across the country without a source of income and millions of others with a severely reduced income, leading to immense suffering.
We must also remember that their vulnerability is not limited to their finances as, for many, maintaining social distancing is not an option and the nature of their work necessitates leaving their homes.
As such, to steal from the most vulnerable in this manner is an act most unconscionable and the authorities cannot allow this to continue.
It is our duty to do provide for and protect the ones most affected by the pandemic. To that end, we must ensure that the stimulus packages reach those who most need them.