• Friday, Jul 10, 2020
  • Last Update : 07:43 pm

Social Safety Net: Existing programs to expand, include 1.7m more people

  • Published at 10:41 pm June 2nd, 2020
Social Safety Net
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In the coming budget, the allocation will be Tk76,000 crore while it was Tk74,367 crore in the outgoing budget

The government is going to expand the purview of schemes providing the country’s social safety net, aiming to provide coverage to close to 10 million citizens in the coming budget for 2020-21. The coming budget will most likely try to address the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis in Bangladesh. 

According to sources, the budget allocation for the country’s social safety net will be increased by Tk1,633 crore and the number of beneficiaries will increase to 9.8 from the existing 8.1 million.

In the coming budget, the allocation will be Tk76,000 crore while it was Tk74,367 crore in the outgoing budget.

Finance Ministry sources said that generally each year the government does expand the number of beneficiaries of various social safety net programs by 10% .

But this time the government anticipates that the number of distressed people in the country will increase unusually  with stagnant economic conditions for a couple of months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"So, the government has taken the initiative to increase the number of beneficiaries by up to 20% in the upcoming budget, and plans to allocate Tk76,000 crore for this purpose," a senior official of the Finance Ministry said. 

However, the amount of money any person gets under the various social safety net programs will not increase but the number of people under each scheme will see a rise. 

"Beneficiaries will get the same amount of money they are getting now," the Finance Ministry official added.

The poverty alleviation strategy paper of the government points out some 14 sectors.

Currently, some 0.2 million freedom fighters are getting Tk12,000 per month as honorarium, Tk10,000 as festival allowance, Tk2,000 as Bengali New Year allowance, and Tk5,000 as Victory Day allowance.

Some 4.4 million people are getting Tk500 per month. Around 1.7 million widows/women persecuted by husbands are getting Tk500 per month, about one million insolvent disabled persons are getting Tk700 per month and at different levels, about 0.1 million disabled students are getting money at different rates. The number of these beneficiaries will be increased.

The National Economic Council (NEC) has already approved the Annual Development Programme (ADP) of Tk205,145 crore for the fiscal year 2020-21,  giving importance to the transportation, education, health, and agriculture sectors.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal will present his budget proposal on June 11 to parliament, which is likely to be around Tk580,000 crore for the next fiscal year. .

Meanwhile, the government has so far in 19 packages allotted some Tk103,117 crore which is 3.7% of GDP, to offset the Covid-19 shock to various sectors of the country, and to minimize the sufferings of people hit hardest by the 2-month long shutdown.

Among the packages, Tk2,503 crore has been allotted for free distribution of food materials, Tk1,258 crore for distributing cash to  target communities who lost their jobs in the shutdown, Tk815 crore for expanding the coverage of allowance programs, and Tk2,130 crore for building houses for homeless people.

Earlier on May 14, the government launched the disbursement of Tk1,250 crore in cash assistancethrough mobile financial services (MFSs) to 5 million poor families (Tk2,500 for each family) hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic ahead of Eid.

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