The ‘ekShop,’ an innovative initiative by Aspire to Innovate (a2i), has been honored with the United Nations ‘SDG Digital GameChangers Award’ for its remarkable contribution to bridging the gap between rural and urban areas in Bangladesh through e-commerce services.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) jointly presented the award to ‘ekShop’ in the ‘Game Changer for Prosperity’ category. The accolade was received by a2i representatives at the UN Headquarters in New York during the dedicated SDG Action Weekend.
The SDG Digital GameChangers Award recognizes individuals and organizations that leverage digital solutions to accelerate progress towards global goals, spanning categories such as People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Pioneer.
The ‘ekShop’ initiative, Bangladesh’s pioneering rural-assisted e-commerce platform, empowers small and medium-sized businesses, refugees, and individuals facing digital disparities, particularly in less-developed regions. It serves as a digital public good, significantly contributing to bridging the digital divide.
This achievement not only showcases Bangladesh’s success but also serves as an inspiration for the development of sustainable economic systems aligned with the SDGs worldwide.
The ‘ekShop’ connects over 12,000 rural artisans with customers, facilitating the delivery of essential products to doorsteps. To date, it has successfully delivered more than 8 million products across the country via cash on delivery.
Sellers interested in using the platform can easily join ‘ekShop’ and display their products for sale on associated e-commerce sites. Additionally, the platform offers a delivery management system, which has become especially vital during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling e-commerce organizations and entrepreneurs to efficiently deliver products to customers.
The ‘ekShop’ initiative aims to reduce digital disparities not only within Bangladesh but also in underdeveloped countries. Its model is being replicated in South Sudan, Yemen, Turkey, Somalia, and the Philippines, with the support of the United Nations.
‘a2i,’ a government program implemented by the ICT Division and Cabinet Division with the support of UNDP Bangladesh, plays a pivotal role in promoting citizen-friendly public service innovations and advancing the government’s efforts to integrate new approaches to achieve the SDGs.
Eid-e-Miladunnabi: A Day of Spiritual Significance and Reflection
The revered occasion of Eid-e-Miladunnabi, commemorating both the birth and passing of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SM), will be observed nationwide today with the utmost religious reverence.
This decision was formalized during a meeting of the National Moon Sighting Committee convened at the Islamic Foundation (IF) Conference Room within the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque on September 15. The meeting was presided over by Md. Abdul Hamid Jamaddar, Secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, as per an official press release.
The announcement explained, “As the moon of Rabiul Awal of 1445 Hijri was not sighted in the sky of Bangladesh today, the holy month of Rabiul Awal will commence on September 17 (Sunday).”
On this auspicious day, which corresponds to the 12th of Rabiul Awal in the Hijri calendar, the Prophet Muhammad (SM) was born in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, in the year 570. His birth brought divine blessings and messages of peace for humanity, and it is also the day he passed away.
This day holds the status of a public holiday in recognition of its spiritual significance.
To mark the holy Eid-e-Miladunnabi, the Islamic Foundation has arranged a series of vibrant programs spanning four nights.
The State Minister for Religious Affairs, Md. Faridul Haque Khan, inaugurated these programs as the chief guest at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque.
Before this, the minister also inaugurated a month-long Islamic book fair in the south chattar (courtyard) of the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque following Asr prayers.
The Islamic Foundation has organized various other events, including Qur’an Khani and doa-mahfil (prayer gatherings), a 15-day Waz (religious discourse), milad (celebrations of the Prophet’s birth), and doa-mahfil at the mausoleum of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in Tungipara, Gopalganj.
Additionally, there will be seminars, Islamic cultural competitions, Arabic sermon writing competitions, Qirat-mahfil (Qur’an recitation gatherings), Hamd-Naat (religious hymns), and poetry recitations. The festivities will also feature an Islamic calligraphy exhibition, a month-long Islamic book fair, and the publication of special memorabilia and supplements.
Furthermore, numerous programs have been arranged across all divisional and district offices of the Islamic Foundation, 50 Islamic Missions, and seven Imam Training Academies in honor of the holy Eid-e-Miladunnabi.
In conjunction with this significant occasion, the Cultural Centre of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Dhaka will host a discussion on ‘Prophet of Islam (SM) as the Axis of Islamic Unity’ at the Kabi Sufia Kamal Auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum. The event is scheduled for 3:30 pm on Friday, September 29.
Md. Faridul Haque Khan, MP, State Minister for the Ministry of Religious Affairs, will preside as the chief guest, and esteemed guests including the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Bangladesh and the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Islamic Arabic University, Dhaka, will be in attendance.
Kendrio Bangabandhu Shishu Kishore Mela will also organize a Hamd-Naat and Qirat competition involving students from schools and madrasahs at the Tungipara upazila auditorium to celebrate the holy Eid-e-Miladunnabi. The event will be graced by Sheikh Tozammel Haque Tutul, Mayor of Tungipara Municipality, as the chief guest.
Justice Obaidul Hassan Sworn In as 24th Chief Justice of Bangladesh
Justice Obaidul Hasan has been sworn in today as the 24th Chief Justice of Bangladesh, with the president administering the oath at 11 am in the Darbar Hall of Bangabhaban. The ceremony was attended by prominent figures including the president’s wife, Cabinet members, former chief justices, judges from both the Appellate and High Court divisions, heads of the armed services, the principal secretary to the prime minister, the attorney general, and Supreme Court lawyers, including leaders from the SC Bar Association. Cabinet Secretary Md. Mahbub Hossain presided over the proceedings.
The appointment was made in accordance with Article 95 (1) of the Constitution, following the retirement of the outgoing chief justice on the same day. Justice Obaidul Hassan, a distinguished senior judge of the Appellate Division, was officially appointed as the chief justice on September 12.
Justice Hassan’s journey in the legal realm began in 2009 when he was appointed as an additional judge in the Supreme Court’s High Court Division. His dedication and competence earned him the confirmation as a permanent judge in 2011. His ascent continued as he was elevated to the position of judge in the Appellate Division on September 3, 2020.
Born on January 1, 1959, in Chayashi village under Mohanganj upazila in Netrokona district, Justice Obaidul Hassan is the son of Dr. Akhlaqul Hossain Ahmed and Begum Hosne Ara Hossain.
Notably, Justice Hassan also served as the chairman of International Crimes Tribunal-2 from March 25, 2012, until September 15, 2015. During his tenure, he pronounced 11 verdicts.
Justice Obaidul Hassan is married to Nafisa Banu, who currently holds the position of Member (Finance) on the Board of Directors of Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority. The couple has a son named Barrister Ahmed Shafquat Hassan.
His younger brother, Sajjadul Hassan, serves as a Member of Parliament (MP) representing Netrokona-4 constituency and has previously held the position of senior secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Before embarking on his legal career, Justice Obaidul Hassan obtained graduate and postgraduate degrees in economics from Dhaka University. He later transitioned to the field of law and initiated his practice in the Dhaka District Court in 1986, subsequently gaining enrollment in the High Court in 1988. He became an Appellate Division lawyer in 2005 and also served as an assistant attorney general and deputy attorney general for a cumulative period of 5 years from 1996 to 2001.
Throughout his illustrious career, Justice Obaidul Hassan actively participated in various international legal conferences in countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Netherlands, and Argentina. He represented Bangladesh at an international crimes conference in Buenos Aires in 2015 and engaged in dialogues with judges from the International Crimes Court and the International Crimes Tribunal in The Hague during the same year.
Justice Obaidul Hassan is not only a jurist but also an author, having penned several books, including titles such as ‘Obornonio Nirmomotar Chittro Ekatturer Buddhijibi Hotyakando O Onnanya,’ ‘Bangabandhu Bangladesh Ekjon Juddho Shishur Golpo O Onnanya,’ and ‘Bangabandhu, Rabindranath O Oshamprodayeek Bangladesh.’
Govt Mandates Nov 30 Deadline for Tax Return Submissions
The government has instituted a mandatory requirement for tax return submissions by November 30, as outlined in the Income Tax Act of 2023. This new law, which received presidential approval on June 22, replaces the Income Tax Ordinance of 1984.
To inform stakeholders about this development, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has initiated public hearings. In alignment with this effort, Tax Zone-2 organized an event today at its commissioner’s office in the Segunbagicha area of the city, with the participation of representatives from various autonomous bodies.
During the event, income tax officials emphasized that self-assessment returns are now obligatory under the new law. They stressed the deadline for filing income tax returns as November 30, noting that failure to meet this deadline would result in the denial of expected rebates and the imposition of late charges.
Income Tax Officer Md. Zakir Hossain highlighted that for individuals with an annual taxable income of less than Taka five lakh, a one-page income tax return must be submitted. He also mentioned that the NBR has introduced a one-page form tailored for low-income taxpayers.
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