The Election Commission will hold all postponed elections, including a by-poll for the Laxmipur-2 constituency, the first phase of Union Parishad, and the sixth phase of municipality polls, on June 21. The EC also announced the schedule for the by-elections to Sylhet-3, Dhaka-14, and Cumilla-5 constituencies, slating the voting date on July 14. EC Secretary Humayun Kabir Khandaker divulged the details after the commission's latest meeting on Thursday.

Humayun said health guidelines for coronavirus would be strictly followed at the poll centres. According to the election schedules for by-polls to the Sylhet-3, Dhaka-14, and Cumilla-5 constituencies, the deadline for submitting nomination papers is June 15. Returning officers will examine the papers on June 17, and the last date for the withdrawal of candidature is June 23. On April 1, the commission postponed all the elections that had been announced earlier, with just ten days left for the by-election to Laxmipur-2, polls to elect 371 Union Parishads and 11 municipalities.

The unemployment rate in Bangladesh increased by 1.1 percentage points in 2020 due to the labour market crisis created by the Covid pandemic, according to an International Labour Organisation report. The ILO report titled 'World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021' showed that Bangladesh's unemployment rate in 2020 increased to 5.3 percent from 4.2 percent in 2019. It showed that the global unemployment rate in 2020 increased to 6.5 percent from 5.4 percent in 2019.

Most other countries in the region experienced similar slumps in the jobs market, from Pakistan's 0.7 percent rise in unemployment to Bhutan's 1.4 percent flanking Bangladesh. India, which has been ravaged by Second Wave worthy of the Mahabharata. Employment growth will be insufficient to make up for the losses suffered until at least 2023, the ILO assessed. The ILO report estimated that weekly working hours in Bangladesh decreased by 3.5 percentage points to 25.1 percent in 2020 from 28.6 percent in pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Banks' lending through their agent banking wings reached the Tk 2,500-crore mark at the end of March, thanks to the marked shift in how people are managing their money in the new post-Covid 19 reality. Bangladesh Bank's latest report on agent banking for the period of March-April of 2021 showed that the lending of nine banks through their agent banking wings increased to Tk 2,501 crore at the end of March 2021, from Tk 673.91 crore a year ago. Of the nine banks, lending through the agent banking wing of BRAC Bank was the highest Tk 1,565.76 crore.

Banks have fetched Tk 17,822.39 crore in deposits so far through agent banking wing, up 108.81 per cent or Tk 9,287.34 crore on Tk 8,535.04 crore at the end of March 2020. In March, the number of agent banking accounts reached 1.1 crore from 64.97 lakh a year ago. Of the 1.1 crore accounts, 95.57 lakh accounts were opened in rural areas.

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