Before the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr, the government is likely to provide stipends for the second installment (July 2020 to December) to 14 million primary level students.
The Department of Primary Education will adopt a special strategy to prevent fraud, as various fraudulent schemes allegedly took money from numerous recipients after the disbursement of the first installment through the postal department's digital service 'Nagad' in February this year.
According to the stipend project officials, the distribution of the second installment stipend is expected to start before Eid. All other options except 'cash out' will be closed in the 'Nagad' service of the recipients for 15 days. That is, all other options including 'send money', will be ceased.
It is learnt that, after the first installment sent to 'Nagad' in February, the fraudsters collected the contact numbers affiliated to that digital banking service and started calling the parents (recipients) of students of different schools in the country. They took disguise, sometimes as a Nagad agent, sometimes as an education officer or a headmaster and asked them for various information like the PIN number, one time password (OTP). The recipients were also told that more money would be sent to their account. Therefore, many parents unknowingly provided those information to fraudsters. The culprits then stole money from the parents' mobile accounts.
When the discussion and criticism started, the officials of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, the Department of Primary Education, the stipend scheme and the organisation distributing the stipend met in stages to stop the frauds. A meeting was held with the authorities concerned of the Ministry of Finance and Bangladesh Bank on this issue. Therefore, it was finalised to close the option other than cash out for 15 days.
Yusuf Ali, Additional Secretary and Project Director to Primary Stipend project said, "New strategies have been adopted to prevent fraud. After the money goes to the guardian's mobile, they can only cash out the money for 15 days. All options to send money to someone else will be closed. This will reduce the fraud to almost zero quota."
He added that parents will be encouraged to cash out money within this period. That is why awareness programs and scrolls will be broadcast on various television channels including Bangladesh Television. In addition, the Department of Primary Education will send an instruction to teachers to make parents aware in this regard.