The World Bank revised its GDP growth projection for Bangladesh upward to 3.6 percent for the current 2020-2021 fiscal as the economy is expected to continue to recover gradually. Earlier in January, the Washington-based multilateral lending agency forecast 2 percent gross domestic product growth rate for Bangladesh for the year against the government's target of achieving the growth rate at 8.2 per cent. "Following a sharp GDP growth deceleration in FY2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy started recovering in the first half of FY21, as movement restrictions were lifted and international buyers reinstated export orders," the WB said in its latest South Asia Economic Focus (Spring 2021).

On the demand side, growth was primarily supported by private consumption, underpinned by a recovery in labour income and remittance inflows, it said. Going forward, a gradual recovery is expected to continue, particularly if the government's COVID-19 recovery programmes are implemented swiftly, the report titled 'South Asia Vaccinates' said. The WB, however, said that there was a significant uncertainty pertaining to both epidemiological and policy developments in the economy.

A total of 11 cases were filed in connection with the destruction carried out by Hefazat-e Islam activists in Brahmanbaria over three days protesting the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka for the celebrations surrounding the country's Golden Jubilee of Independence and the Mujib Centennial last week. Over 10,000 people were made accused in the cases, according to Officer-in-Charge of Special Branch of Brahmanbaria District Police, Mohammad Imtiaz Ahmed. So far, 21 people have been arrested in connection with the cases, the police officer said.

Clashes involving Hefazat left at least nine people, including a 14-year-old boy, dead in in police firing in Brahmanbaria during the period. Among the arrestees, 18 were arrested by Sadar police while three by Ashuganj police, police control room said. At least 3,000 people were accused in cases that were filed in connection with similar, concurrent incidents in Chattogram, where 5 people died in police firing, and Mymensingh.

A 19-year-old boy landed in jail after a Bangladesh Chhatra League leader sued him under the Digital Security Act for making a music video featuring photos of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The accused is Md Rabiul Islam Robi, son of Golam Mostafa of Rahimabad Uttarpara under Bogura's Shajahanpur upazila. Rabiul was a peon of Bogura Rainbow Community Hospital and Diagnostic Center.

Golam Gauch Limon, joint secretary of Shajahanpur upazila unit Chhatra League, filed the case against Rabiul under the DSA. Abdullah Al-Mamun, officer-in-charge of the Shajahanpur Police Station, said, "The case was filed around 9:00am and we arrested him [Rabiul] within one hour today [Wednesday]. We have presented him to the court and the court sent him to the jail."

The Bangladesh Bank exempted the troubled Padma Bank, formerly Farmers Bank, from maintaining statutory liquidity ratio for 26 months with retrospective effect. The bank waiver was given for the period from October 31, 2017 to December 31, 2019. As a result of the waiver, the bank would automatically get relief from paying a penalty amounting to Tk 89 crore that was applicable to the bank for its failure to maintain 13 percent of their net demand and time liabilities in the forms of liquid assets like cash, gold and treasury bills.

The central bank granted the exemption to Padma Bank after receiving opinions from the Finance Ministry. The exemption was offered to Padma Bank under section 121 of the Bank Company Act, 1991 that authorises the BB to offer exemption to banks from any particular clause for a particular period of time.

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