Government needs empathy for nongovernment teachers

Update:

The question arises naturally whether the government can truly understand the day-to-day hardship of the retired teachers and employees of nongovernment schools and madrasas who do not receive retirement allowances and welfare benefits. Had the government realised their sufferings, realistic and effective initiatives would have been taken by now. People, who have dedicated their lives to make good citizens for the nation, are now suffering at this stage of their lives. This is a matter of shame for the entire nation.

The report, published in Prothom Alo, shows these teachers and staff have been facing difficulties in receiving their retirement benefits and welfare allowance. The sum of money they receive as benefits is debited from their salaries. They have to wait at least two and a half years to get that money. It is impossible to get the welfare allowance before one and a half year. The teachers and employees of the private educational institutions have to visit the offices of Non-Government Teacher Employee Retirement Benefit Board and the Welfare Trust office over and over for the benefits.

According to the rules of the retirement benefit board, teachers and employees of MPO (Monthly Payment Order) schools receive two types of benefits after retirement. One is a retirement benefit, another is a welfare benefit. The amount of retirement benefits is higher. According to the rules, private teachers and employees retire at the age of 60 years or after 25 years of service. However, the family receives a fixed amount of money if anyone dies before retirement. Again, a teacher or employee gets the deposited money with interest in case of going for voluntary retirement after 10 years of service.

Retired teachers were paid the retirement benefits till June 2017. As many as 19,732 applications of the retired teachers and staff are in the pipeline currently while there are 15,100 applications submitted for welfare benefits. Applicants are not paid the money because of fund shortage.

Earlier, four and two per cent of the basic pay was debited for retirement and welfare benefits. Later it was increased to six per cent and four per cent respectively. After deducting money at the rate of six per cent for retirement benefits, the government collects about 600 million taka every month. But it needs 800 million taka to provide retirement benefits in a month. That means there is a deficit of 2.40 billion taka a year. Now against all the applications the government needs nearly 20 billion taka to pay retirement benefits at a time.

On the other hand, the welfare benefit sector collects 400 million taka per month whereas the department needs 500 million taka in a month to pay off benefits. The deficit is 1.20 billion taka a year. For the welfare benefits the department requires 8.5 billion taka to provide welfare benefits. Although the government has allotted 3.6 billion taka in various fiscals, it is not enough. An additional 1.20 billion is needed every year to resolve the crisis.

The government's 2019-20 fiscal budget target was fixed at around Tk 5.25 trillion. So it would not difficult to provide funds for these retired private teachers. It is expected that the government will take steps to settle the retirement allowances and benefits for all the nongovernment teachers.

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