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Social safety net beneficiaries to rise to 77.47 lakh in next budget

  • Published at 11:39 pm June 10th, 2019
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Around 1,345,100 low-income people will come under the social safety net coverage from the upcoming fiscal year

Social safety net coverage is expected to be expanded in the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2019-20, increasing the number of beneficiaries to around 7,7 47,600 from the existing 6,402,500.

Around 1,345,100 low-income people will come under the social safety net coverage from the upcoming fiscal year, officials told BSS on Monday.

“The number of the beneficiaries is rising gradually as per Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directives as the government is working relentlessly to free the country from poverty and hunger,” an official of the Department of Social Services (DSS) said.

The government is also increasing the allocation for the program by Tk970.57 crore to Tk5,052.37 crore in the upcoming budget from the current budget of Tk4,081.80 crore, according to the social welfare ministry.

In the current fiscal year, the government kept Tk2,400 crore for 44 lakh old-aged, Tk 840 crore for 14 lakh widowed, deserted and repressed women, Tk 840 crore for 10 lakh insolvent disabled and Tk 1.80 crore for 2,500 transgender (Hijra) people across the country.

The amount of allowances will also be increased in the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2019-2020.

“Poverty in Bangladesh has dramatically reduced following inclusive growth strategy under the bold and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” the official said.

The government has been implementing 145 programs under the social safety net initiative of different ministries. The Awami League government introduced social safety net programmes for the first time in fiscal year 1996-97.

Of the total allocation of Tk5,052.37 crore, the government would disburse Tk2,640 crore as allowances among 44 lakh old-aged people and Tk1,020 crore among 17 lakh widows or women repressed by husband.  Tk1,390.50 crore would be disbursed among 16.45 lakh insolvent disabled people and each of them would receive monthly allowance of Tk750.

The government has decided to bring all insolvent people, who are physically challenged (disabled), under the social safety net programs, the official said.

According to World Bank (WB), Bangladesh’s safety net programs have shown to be effective at reducing poverty and improving gender outcomes. Despite Bangladesh’s remarkable progress of lifting 16 million people out of poverty in the past decade, to support the poor and vulnerable, the government of Bangladesh implements a number of public social safety net programs.

The Department of Social Services is also working to prepare a central database under the Management Information System (MIS) to identify the real extreme poor under the social safety net program.

The government has achieved tremendous socioeconomic development in the last 10 years with reducing more than 15 percent poverty rate. In 1996-97 fiscal, the government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, introduced senior citizens allowance with providing Tk100 per head to some 4,03,000 beneficiaries.

Now, the government is providing old-age allowance, widow allowance, allowances for divorced women, disabled allowance, distressed women allowance, poor pregnant women’s allowance, and remuneration for financially insolvent freedom fighter.

It is also running the Vulnerable Group Development (VGD), Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF), Test Relief (TR) and Food for Work programs.