2mn beneficiaries will receive allowances through bKash | The Asian Age Online, Bangladesh

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the disbursement of allowances to the elderly, widowed and divorced, indigent disabled and handicapped students through mobile financial services for the first time on Thursday virtually.

Around 2 million beneficiaries in 24 districts across the country will receive the allowances through G2P (Government to Person) system. Beneficiaries can easily Cash Out the money from any part of the country through the most extensive agent network of bKash without any additional cost. The government will bear 7 Taka of each cash out transaction and bKash will bear the rest.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday virtually inaugurated the disbursement of allowances to the elderly, widowed and divorced, indigent disabled and handicapped students through mobile financial services for the first time under Social Safety Net program of the Ministry of Social Welfare. The Prime Minister said, the G2P system has been introduced so that the social safety net allowances reach the beneficiaries directly without the need of any middleman.

Nuruzzaman Ahmed, Minister for Social Welfare presided over the function. Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru, State Minister for Social Welfare was present as a special guest. Chief Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Ahmed Kaikaus conducted the event and Mohammad Zainul Bari, Secretary of the Ministry of Social Welfare gave the welcome speech.Kamal Quadir, CEO of bKash and Major General Sheikh Md Monirul Islam (retd), Chief External and Corporate Affairs Officer of bKash were present at the event.

At the event, Prime Minister spoke to the beneficiaries through video conference. The beneficiaries from Lalmonirhat and Pirojpur who are getting allowances through bKash, shared their experience. Lily Begum, a beneficiary of widow allowance from Lalmonirhat told the Prime Minister, “After my husband died five years ago, I was in a lot of trouble with my son and daughter. This allowance saved me from that disastrous situation. However, I used to go to the bank and get the allowance after standing in long queues for two or three days subsequently. Now I will get the allowance in my bKash account sitting at home.”

Lily Begum thanked the Prime Minister wholeheartedly for taking such initiative. Sufia Begum, another beneficiary of widow allowance from Pirojpur, expressed similar feelings.Recently, bKash, the country’s largest mobile financial service provider signed an agreement with the Ministry of Social Welfare to facilitate the beneficiaries.

After forming the government for the first time in 1996, present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina introduced this allowance at the rate of BDT 100 per person in fiscal year 1997-98. The present government has gradually increased the per capita allowance to BDT 500 in the fiscal year 2016-2017. However, people with disabilities get allowance of BDT 750 each. Prior to this event, allowances have been disbursed among the beneficiaries undera pilot project through G2P system.

bKash most successfully completed the disbursement of allowances in that pilot project.Following the successful experience of distributing stipends at secondary level, bKash will disburse these allowances efficiently. The use of technology in the distribution of allowances will play a vital role in ensuring transparency, speed and security.

Since 2016, bKash has successfully handed over financial aid of various government projects to more than 7 million beneficiaries of various government projects. They can easily cash out the money from 240,000 agent points spread across the country as well as easily use it from their own bKash account for various services including send money, mobile recharge, pay bill, merchant payment and so on.

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