Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said her government has been working to turn the autistic and persons with disability into assets of the nation instead of a burden on society.
The Prime Minister stated this in her introductory speech at her meeting with senior officials of the Social Welfare Ministry at the Bangladesh Secretariat.
Hasina said the main goal of her government is to build a welfare state for the development of huge number of disabled, orphan, distressed, poor, helpless, and least developed people.
She said that to achieve the goal, her government adopted and implemented massive development programmes in the social welfare sector during its 2009-2013-term overcoming the standstill situation left by the previous BNP-Jamaat governemnt.
The Prime Minister said that her government, for the first time introduced various allowances for the needy people during its 1996-2001-term following the footprints of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
She mentioned that soon after the independence, Bangbandhu had taken up various programmes through the Social Welfare Ministry to rehabilitate the oppressed and distressed people including acid survivors and people with disability.
Many developed nations are now taking programmes similar to those that Bangabandhu had taken after the independence, she said.
Hasina said that the present government as part of its election pledge has undertaken two new programmess to enhance the living standard and to ensure social security of the marginal people, hermaphrodite, repressed and least developed people.
Her government for the first time recognised the hermaphrodite as third gender, she added.
The Prime Minister said that her government enacted the Child Protection Act 2013 to protect children and ensure their welfare, which was one of the main election pledges of the government.
The government is running child training and rehabilitation centres across the country, she said.
Hasina said that her government enacted the Rights and Protection of Disabled People Act 2013 and the Neurodevelopmental Disabled Protection Act 2013 and also established a Neuro-developmental Disabled Protection Trust.
The government is providing services to the disabled people through 73 Disabled Services and Cooperation Centres and Autism Corner in 64 districts and these services will be expanded up to upazila level, she announced.
Talking about autism, the Prime Minister said the mothers are being accused of giving birth to autistic children. This is quite unfortunate.
She said the society and the state have responsibility to the autistic children, and keeping this in mind, her government established a Centre for Neurodevelopment and Autism in Children at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University. Besides, similar facilities have been created in all medical college hospitals for the autistic children.
Hasina said the government introduced blind children education programmes in 64 general schools of 64 districts, and 28 new hostels had been built for blind children.
She mentioned that the construction of a multipurpose complex at Mirpur in the capital has begun for the physically handicapped people, and land has been allocated for a multipurpose Sports Complex in Savar and said the measures of the government for the disabled people have been acclaimed at home and abroad.
The Prime Minister asked the officials and employees of the Social Welfare Ministry and its affiliated organizations to stand beside the deprived people including the hapless, poor elderly people, widow, children, orphan, and autistic and disabled people.
She also laid emphasis on more devotion of the officials and employees to implement the vision 2021 and 2041 of the government through highest application of their acquired experience and knowledge.
Social Welfare Minister Syed Mohsin Ali gave the welcome address on the occasion.