The Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of the ‘Bangladesh Journalists Welfare Trust Bill, 2013’ subject to the vetting of the Law Ministry to ensure greater welfare of the insolvent, poor, sick and wounded journalist, and family members of the deceased journalists. The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said the Cabinet approved the proposed law to give the existing Insolvent Journalists Assistance Allowance/Grants Policy 2012 a legal shape as well as to give it a permanent institutional shape. He said that under the proposed law, a Trust would be constituted and it will be a statutory body with a Managing Director as its chief executive officer. The Managing Director will be appointed by the government. To supervise the Trust, there would a 13-member Trustee Board headed by the Information Minister while the Information Secretary will be the Vice Chairman of the Board. The highest number of the Trustee Board members will be appointed from the journalist community apart from government officials, Principal Information Officer, PMO official, Finance Division official, BFUJ president and secretary general. Besides, three journalists would be nominated as member of the Board by the government while the MD would be the secretary of the Trustee Board. The Trust would provide financial support to the insolvent, poor, sick and wounded journalists, take up and implement projects for their welfare, arrange medical treatment of the sick journalists, provide stipend for the special contribution of the journalists, and award stipend to the meritorious children of the journalists.
Government will be the main source of fund for the Trust while it could mobilize fund from the local authority like city corporation, private source or individual, even take foreign grant after taking approval from the government. The government will formulate the rules of the Trust while the Trust could formulate its regulations taking government’s approval. The day’s Cabinet meeting also approved in principle the draft of the ‘Formalin Control Bill, 2013’ keeping provision of maximum 10 years imprisonment or Tk 5 lakh fine for violating the law to check the unscrupulous and rampant use of formalin. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said the proposed law kept provision of maximum ten years or minimum 3 years imprisonment or maximum Tk 5 lakh fine for violating the conditions of license or possessing of formalin without license. He said the Cabinet suggested the Commerce Ministry to further scrutinize the proposed law so that it does not conflict with the Food Safety Act. The Cabinet Secretary said that the proposed law aims to control the misuse of formalin, improving licensing system in its production, import, stocking, sale and use.
The Cabinet also gave nod to the draft of the ‘Integrated Policy on Early Childhood Care and Development of the Children, 2013’ to ensure proper care of the children from prenatal to 8 years of age.
Under the policy, early childhood has been defined to different stages. Various Ministries and Divisions are interlinked for implementing the policy as it will deal with child health, child education, cultural flourishing of children, meeting children’s nutrition.
The policy also defined what would be the role of different NGOs and the private sector regarding early childhood while the National Council of Women and Child Development would monitor its implementation.
The Cabinet adopted a thanksgiving motion on the recent brilliant 3-0 ODI series win by Bangladesh against New Zealand and congratulated the players of national cricket team, coach, officials and employees of BCB for this success. Cabinet members, advisers to the Prime Minister and State Ministers concerned attended the meeting while concerned secretaries were present.