Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday announced that the 1971 war veterans will get allowance from January next.
"We've decided to provide allowance from January 2018 to those who fought for the country's independence from different forces, including the armed forces, Police, Ansar-VDP and Border Guard Bangladesh (formerly known as East Pakistan Rifles)," she told a reception arranged marking the Armed Forces Day 2017.
The Prime Minister accorded the reception to gallantry award-recipients freedom fighters and their successors at the Army Multipurpose Hall at Dhaka Cantonment in the morning.
Sheikh Hasina said the members of the forces who had joined the Liberation War were not given allowance as they were in-service at that time. "All of them have gone on retirement by the time and their families are now in serious miseries ...we will start providing allowance to them from January next InshaAllah," she said.
The Prime Minister mentioned that the demand is raised every year when she meets everybody on the Armed Forces Day. "So, we’ve decided to give it," she said.
Pointing out that her government did whatever necessary for the valiant freedom fighters, the Prime Minister said, "Within our limited capacity, we're trying to recognise those who had taken part in the Liberation War and those embraced martyrdom."
Principal Staff Officer of the Armed Forces Division (AFD) Lt Gen Md Mahfuzur Rahman delivered the welcome address at the function.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, PM's Security Advisor Major General (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddiq, Chief of Army Staff General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Haque, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmad and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Abu Esrar and high civil and military officials were present.
At the reception, Sheikh Hasina presented honorarium cheques, and gifts including mobile phone and tabs to the successors of seven Birshreshthos as well as other gallantry-award recipients.
The Prime Minister also handed over ‘Shantikalin Padak’ (peacetime medals) to 12 armed forces members and ‘Osamanya Seba Padak’ (outstanding service medals) among 14 armed forces officers in recognition to their heroic role during the war and peacetime.
The Prime Minister said today each and every force and institution of the country has been enjoying the benefits of development and the Bengali Nation has now been established as a dignified nation in the global arena.
"We've attained that the capacity and strength to face any challenge and we'll have to maintain its continuity," she said adding that the Bengali Nation is a victorious nation and it will not bow down to anyone.
Mentioning that the country got the hard-earned Independence through the blood of millions of martyrs, she said, "This country cannot lag behind, this blood cannot go in vain and we won't let it happen. Bangladesh will be built in light of the spirit of the War of Liberation and we'll build Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Father of the Nation."
Turning to the inclusion of Bangabandhu's historic 7th March Speech in the ‘World Documentary Heritage’ by Unesco, the Prime Minister said history cannot be erased. "This has been proved now."
Describing the Liberation War as the greatest episode in Bangladesh history, Hasina said the country has got the identity of an independent and sovereign state on the world map with this war. "The freedom fighters presented an independent and sovereign country with their supreme sacrifice.”
Spelling out her government's various steps for the welfare of the freedom fighters, the Prime Minister said their monthly honorarium has been enhanced to Tk 10,000 from Tk 900, while the number of allowance recipients has been increased to two lakh from one lakh.
She said the monthly allowance for Birshreshthos has been increased to Tk 30,000, for Biruttam to Tk 25,000, for Birbikram to Tk 20,000 and Birpratik to Tk 15,000.
Hasina said the monthly state honorarium for the war-wounded freedom fighters and the families of martyred freedom fighters has been enhanced to highest Tk 45,000 and the lowest Tk 25,000.
She said the allowance-recipient freedom fighters are being provided with various facilities like education allowance, wedding allowance, festival allowance and medicare facilities at home and abroad.
Hasina said her government is also pledge-bound to preserve the glorious history and tradition of the Liberation War. "It's our national responsibility to keep alive the invaluable contributions of the valiant Freedom Fighters towards achieving independence."
At the beginning of her speech, the Prime Minister extended her heartiest congratulations to the members of Bangladesh Armed Forces on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day.