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.
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.