The planning division of the finance ministry contradicted a news item published in the FE July 30 under the headline "Support to Monitoring Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) and MDGs in Bangladesh".
As the report was creeded by news agency UNB, the FE has nothing to say about the authenticity of the contents of the news. The planning division termed the news item motivated, fictitious and imaginary.
About the deadline for submitting applications for MS and PhD, it said there are many instances involving donor-sponsored programmes where applicants are given less then 10 days for submitting applications.
It is not true that the Planning Commission gave emphasis on the higher study components only. The steering committee of the project recently approved the work plan putting due emphasis on all components of the project.
The selection process of choosing the applicants has been one of the most rigorous and transparent ones, it added.
The planning division said there is no way that a PhD candidate can take all full funds in one year, as funds will be disbursed based on performance of each semester following the existing rules of UNDP.
It said two candidates were selected for MS programmes because one candidate has high score in TOFEL/IELTS and another has confirmed admission offer for MS in development economics from Williams College, USA.
It is also not true that the total budget for the project, which is US$5.0 million, is to fund the PhD and MS programme only. In fact, the UNDP is to provide US$2.5 million for the project and the remaining amount will have to be arranged from other donors.