Hijras, ethnic groups to get SME loans

Bangladesh's hijra community voices outrage Thursday after nearly all those appointed to government jobs set aside for transgenders are disqualified after an official medical test deemed them fully male. Star file photo.

Hijras, differently abled persons, and ethnic groups of Bangladesh will receive bank loans for setting up their own business from now on.

The central bank today issued a notice to all scheduled banks notifying them to take steps to bring these underprivileged sections within the SME activities.

The move to encourage the underprivileged population for small and medium enterprises (SME) comes a year after the Bangladesh government recognised Hijras as the third gender.

People belonging to ethnic groups including the Rakhine, challenged persons and “underprivileged women entrepreneurs” will also come inside the SME activities, the notice said.

Previously, there was no legal framework in this regard.

Now, the above mentioned populace will be eligible to take the loans directly or via a non-government (NGO) linkage inside the SME loan activities of the apex bank.

The circular, dated today, was signed by Swapan Kumar Roy, general manager of Bangladesh Bank, and forwarded to chiefs of all scheduled banks and financial institutions.


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