The government will bring 400,000 more people under the old age allowance programme in the Social Safety Net scheme in next fiscal year (2018-19).
"The government is providing 35 lakh elderly people with Tk2100 crore under the Social Safety Net programme while 400,000 more people will be brought under the programme in the next fiscal year," said Social Welfare Ministry Additional Secretary Ali Noor.
He said every senior citizen is getting Tk500 per month under the programme and the number of the beneficiaries is increasing every year.
The government is implementing the programme to ensure dignity, medical treatment and other facilities of the elderly people of society to make their mental health stronger, he said, adding that different committees have been formed at the national, district, city, upazila and union levels to supervise the programme.
Social Welfare Ministry Joint Secretary Sayeeda Naem Jahan said the number of old age allowance recipients was only 430,000 when the programme was introduced in 1997-98. The number stands at 35 lakh now and it is increasing every year.
Non-government organization Prabin Bandhu Executive Director Dr Mohsin Kabir Limon said at present the number of elderly people in Bangladesh is around 13 million, while it will stand at 18 million in 2025, around 45 million in 2050 and 55 million in 2061.
Nearly 20 percent of the total population will become senior citizens by 2050 and the number of children will stand at 19 percent, he said, adding the number of elderly people aged above 80 is fast increasing.
Limon said the average life expectancy is now 72 years. By 2050, the ratio of elderly people and children will be equal.
He urged the government to extend the circumference of old age allowance further to bring the elderly people under the Social Safety Net Programme to attain the sustainable development goals (SDGs).