They urge the government to form an advisory committee for the small ethnic groups of the plains
Leaders of the ethnic communities of the hill tracts and the plains have demanded special financial incentives in the upcoming budget to overcome the Covid-19 fallout.
They made the demand at a webinar titled "Specific and Inclusive Budgets for Ethnicities" organized by Manusher Jonno Foundation, said a media statement on Sunday.
Planning Minister MA Mannan was the chief guest of the event when ethnic minority leader Sanjeev Drong presented the keynote speech.
Sanjeev said that the budget allocation for the small ethnic groups should be done in proportion with their population.
According to the 2011 census, there are 27 ethnic groups with a population of 1.6 million people. However, the Ministry of Culture Affairs in 2019 published a gazette listing the names of 50 such groups in Bangladesh.
The keynote speaker alleged that due to the lack of participation from the ethnic communities as local representatives, there had been no development in the life of the indigenous people for a long time.
He also asked the government to reinstate the separate section, previously kept in the budget proposal for the small ethnic groups, this year.
He said that the budget reflected the state's thoughts, support and attitude towards the people.
Even though the budget allocation for the social security sector was increasing every year, Sanjeev said that there was no guideline or policy referring to the ethnic minority groups.
He demanded that the government establish an advisory committee or a board to look after the interest of the ethnic groups living in the plains.
Nirupama Dewan, former member of the National Human Rights Commission; Raja Devasish Roy, chief of the Chakma Circle; Mosammat Hamida Banu Begum; CHT affairs ministry secretary; and lawmakers Pir Fazlur Rahman Mezbah and Rashed Khan Menon also spoke at the webinar as special guests while Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation, presided over the event.