Thursday, 2 December, 2021
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For proper distribution of welfare fund

For proper distribution of welfare fund

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A large segment of the country's population is either poor or vulnerable to poverty. Social safety net schemes have been an essential component in the fight against poverty. The country has a patchwork of safety net programmes like cash and in kind transfers, micro-credit schemes and conditional cash  transfers  for  widows,  the  disabled,  blind,  orphans and  the  aged et cetera. However, coverage  of  these safety  nets  is  very  low  and  reaches  a  very  small  part  of  the  targeted needy  population. At the same time, the multiple programmes often serve the same beneficiary and their benefits go to those who do not need them.

Following widespread allegations with regard to the number of beneficiaries of the social safety net schemes, the government moved to use the digital technology to find out loopholes in the list of beneficiaries. Through digital technology, some 87,000 fake and missing recipients of the government allowances have been detected. As to why, an amount of Tk 3.41 billion allocated under social safety net scheme remained unspent and the Ministry of Social Welfare sent back the unused money to the Ministry of Finance. Well-functioning  safety  nets  are  an  important  element  of  the  social  protection  strategy. 

A World Bank study suggests that Bangladesh can cut poverty rate by one percentage point more if it can implement its social security schemes properly. As to why, it is imperative on the part of the government to do the needful to ensure better and accelerated results on the ground by addressing service delivery efficiency and transparency. The efficiency with which government resources are used requires immediate improvement.

So, the government should adopt a policy of zero tolerance against corruption. Stern measures should be taken against the UP members and public representatives who pursue corrupt practices in preparing the list of poor people. Initially, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had initiated the programme for rural people such as rural social welfare activity to change the fate and livelihood of people. The incumbent government after coming to power has taken up the unfinished schemes of Bangabandhu and is now working for welfare of the disadvantaged. It must be ensured that the benefits of the safety net scheme go to them who need it most.