Social safety net scheme helps poor tackling COVID-19

By Engr Mamun Islam

RANGPUR, Jan 21, 2021(BSS) – Implementation of massive social safety net
programmes (SSNPs) in expanded forms is effectively helping the poor in
tackling the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic situation in Rangpur division.

Officials said thousands of poor families are leading a better life
overcoming economic vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic after getting
assistance under the SSNPs, one of the ten special initiatives of Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina.

“The government has expanded the periphery of SSNPs and implemented those
to ensure food security of the poor during the pandemic,” Divisional
Commissioner Abdul Wahhab Bhuiyan told BSS.

The SSNPs include employment generation, general and test reliefs, food for
work and work for money, VGD, VGF, Amar Bari- Amar Khamar, Asrayan Prakalpa,
various allowances and other programmes.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has distributed 20,059
tonnes of rice and Taka 12.33 crore as special assistance among over 20.75
lakh poor, distressed destitute and marginalised families in the division,”
he said.

Besides, thousands of homeless families rehabilitated in ‘Asrayan Prokalpo’
and Cluster Villages are engaged in various income generating activities
(IGAs) to earn well and lead better life after getting necessary assistance
from different government departments.

“Apart from massive regular SSNPs, the government is providing special
assistance to the poor, including those living in former enclaves, so that
everyone could lead a better life even during the COVID-19 pandemic in the
division,” Bhuiyan added.

Chairman of Northbengal Institute of Development Studies Dr, Syed
Samsuzzaman, said successful implementation of massive SSNPs in expanded
forms is playing a vital role to help the poor in overcoming the COVID-19
pandemic situation.

“The IGAs with support of SSNPs have improved the living standard of the
poor bringing them out of the poverty cycle in the last 12 years in the
division where special assistance of the government helped them in leading
better life during the pandemic,” he added.

Rehabilitated couple Abu Bakar and Dulali at Chengmari-2 Asrayan Prakalpa
in Gangachara upazila of Rangpur told BSS that they are leading normal life
even during the pandemic situation with their own incomes and government’s
special assistance.

Rehabilitated people Masud Rana, Nurul Amin, Anwarul Islam, Mariyam,
Mofizul Islam and Shekel Banu there said they are continuing various IGAs
with government assistance under SSNPs to earn well and lead better life even
during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All rehabilitated families at Chengmari-2 Asrayan Prakalpa have cows,
goats, poultry birds, homestead garden, kitchen, sanitary latrine and many
other facilities,” said Nurul Amin.

Rangpur District Coordinator of Amar Bari, Amar Khamar (ABAK) project
Jahadul Islam said over 1.50 lakh poor families have improved livelihoods
through IGAs utilising training, assistance and micro-credits under the
project in the district.

Beneficiary of the ABAK project Alifa Begum of Kursha Balorampur village of
Sadar upazila said she purchased heifers, goats and sheep after getting
interest-free loans Taka 10,000, Taka 15,000 and Taka 30,000 in various
phases since 2012.

“I have 11 cows, 15 goats and 20 sheep, two acres of cultivable land taken
on lease along with other assets worth Taka ten lakh to lead a solvent life
now with my family members even during the COVID-19 pandemic situation,”
Alifa said.

Deputy Director of the Department of Youth Development Md. Dilgir Alam for
Rangpur said his department provided training to unemployed youths on various
trades and disbursed loans to make them self-reliant in the last 12 years.

“Over 5,000 trained youths have become self-reliant through various IGAs
under the government’s SSNPs in the district,” Alam said, adding that all of
the beneficiaries are leading normal life even during the COVID-19 pandemic


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