Some 1.1 million people have been brought under the social safety net programmes in 112 upazilas as part of the government’s efforts to protect the most vulnerable populations from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The beneficiaries include senior citizens, widows, abandoned woman and persons with disabilities. All the eligible beneficiaries from those vulnerable groups will start receiving the benefits from October this year.The 112 upazilas has been selected as per the poverty maps of Bangladesh-2010 of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
Each senior citizen, widow and abandoned woman will get Tk 500 while the differently able individuals will receive Tk 750 per person/month under the safety net programmes.
The upazila administrations have been working to prepare the beneficiary lists as per a notification of the social welfare ministry issued on July 25.
The notification asked the authorities concerned of the 112 upazilas to prepare the list to bring those persons under cent per cent allowance benefit.
Earlier on April 5, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina hinted of increasing the number of allowance holders in 100 upazilas to tackle the coronavirus crisis.
According to the criteria set by the ministry, elderly men over 65-year and woman over 62-year would avail old-aged allowance except those are enjoying pension and other allowance from the government. Well-off persons of those upazilas will not get any allowance.Besides, abandoned women, widows and people with disability of any age of these areas would get allowances. Social safety net programme director M Sabbir Imam told the Daily Sun that they have been working on it in accordance with implementation policy of the government.
“We have received sufficient allocation from the finance ministry to bring those 112 upazilas under 100 per cent allowance coverage for those specific vulnerable groups. The list is expected to be finalised by August,” he said.
Ministry sources say they are preparing the list of potential beneficiaries through verifying the data. The opening of bank accounts of the beneficiaries will be completed by August.
The government has allocated Tk 95,574 crore in the social safety net programmes, which is 16.83 per cent of the total budget and 3.01 per cent of GDP in FY 2020-21.
According to the ministry, 500,000 elderly, 350,000 widowed and deserted, and 256,000 disabled persons would get allowance effective from July this year.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Bhandaria upazila in Pirojpur Najmul Alam Nobin has told the Daily Sun that it is a significant move of the government to bring more people under social safety net programmes.
According to the sources, some 4.4 million elderly, 1.7 million widowed and deserted, 1.6 million people with disability are getting allowances under the social safety net programmes.
Usually, all allowance holders get their payment once in three months in 5000 unions across the country.
The safety net programs have been contributing to the reduction of poverty and vulnerability by addressing a range of vulnerable groups through different forms of assistance.
These include the provision of income security for the elderly, widows and persons-with-disabilities, generating temporary employment for the working-age men and women and supporting the healthy development of young mothers and children.