Covid-19 has negatively impacted the livelihood of the country's marginal population. Lots of people working in informal sector have lost their jobs and incomes during the pandemic period. Poor people became extreme poor. According to a survey conducted by BRAC, the number of 'new poor' in the country stood at 24.5 million, or 14.7% of total population, due to the fallout of Covid-19. To reverse the trend, the country needs to adopt employment-oriented economic policies that are capable to create more jobs and reduce poverty and inequality.
However, a news story published in a vernacular daily yesterday rekindled a ray of hope for ultra-poor people. It is that the government is likely to undertake a 1,000-crore taka project to create jobs for the vast number of the ultra-poor in different districts. The establishment's decision to transform the lives of the ultra-poor is, no doubt, a praiseworthy initiative. But, its proper implementation is a must. Earlier, allegations of massive irregularities, corruption, mismanagement and lack of coordination in distribution of money of corona stimulus packages were raised from different corners against the implementers.
Patronage of influential individuals including public representatives and institutions within or outside the government remained a pre-requisite for becoming eligible for receiving the money.
In some cases, the entire amount was grabbed by the influential quarters which is shameful for a nation that won independence at the cost of blood of three million martyrs.
So, without transparency and accountability, the government's welfare-oriented programme will never be successful. The administration should bring integrity to succeed its ambitious plan. Adopting a policy of zero tolerance against corruption, the policymakers should take a tough stance against the perpetrators to make the poverty reduction programme successful.