Monday, 2 October, 2023

Govt moves to rehabilitate pandemic-affected people

The government has moved to rehabilitate and improve the livelihoods of people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, who have faced significant challenges during this unusual crisis. 

As part of this initiative, neglected, underprivileged, and unemployed individuals will receive limited-scale government support.

The planning commission has proposed a project called "Rehabilitation and Livelihood Development for the Neglected, Underprivileged, and Jobless People in the Context of the Global Pandemic," according to commission sources.

The Department of Social Welfare and the non-government organization Nari Unnayan Forum will collaborate to implement the scheme.

Nari Unnayan Forum's president, AD Shawkat Hossain, stated that rural extreme poor people will undergo training in income-generating activities and will be provided with agricultural equipment to foster entrepreneurship.

Additionally, income-generating training will focus on rearing improved variety cows and providing practical training in demonstration farms to enhance skills.

Recently, the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) held a meeting at the commission, chaired by Socio-Economic Infrastructure Division Member Abdul Baki, to scrutinize the project proposal.

Mohammad Ashraful Islam, Joint Chief of Socio-Economic Infrastructure Division, explained that the project aims to provide limited-scale government support to a non-government initiative focused on rehabilitating and improving the livelihoods of the pandemic-affected underprivileged and jobless individuals.

The estimated cost of the project is Tk 244 million, with Tk 195.2 million in grants from the state coffer and a $48.8 million donation from the implementing NGO.

Once approved, the scheme is expected to be implemented from July 2023 to June 2025.

The proposed project will be implemented in 14 upazillas across six districts of Dhaka and Khulna, creating self-reliance opportunities for approximately 3,000 impoverished people.

Project activities include leasing land and ponds, supplying agricultural inputs as donations, as well as providing cattle rearing and sewing machines.

During the PEC meeting, it was revealed that a feasibility study has been conducted by an NGO. However, the selection of project beneficiaries remains a crucial issue that could impact project implementation.

To address this, the meeting emphasized the need to conduct a survey based on BBS data from the Department of Social Welfare and attach a list of selected beneficiaries in the DPP.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented economic and social crisis in Bangladesh, risking the substantial progress made in household income and poverty reduction over the past few decades.

A study report disclosed that the pandemic has led to job losses for about 3 percent of the country's labor force, resulting in approximately 16.38 million new poor.

Day-laborers working in construction, informal services, and transport, numbering about 1.08 million, were particularly affected by job losses.

The report further predicted that small and medium enterprises and the informal sector would experience the highest number of job losses by the end of 2021.