Mannan for further expanding coverage of social safety net programmes

DHAKA, Jan 30, 2021 (BSS) – Stressing the need for further expanding the coverage of the different social safety net (SSN) programmes, Planning Minister MA Mannan today said that efforts would be there to further raise the allocations in these programmes to effectively address poverty.

“The coverage of the social safety net programmes should be further expanded along with allocations of those. Hefty Allocations are there in the 8th Five year Plan against social safety net programmes and we’ll try to further raise these allocations,” he said.

The planning minister was addressing a webinar titled “COVID-19: social safety net programmes and health rights” today as the chief guest.

Organized jointly by the Development Journalist Forum of Bangladesh (DJFB) and Action for Social Development (ASD), senior research fellow of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Dr Naznin Ahmed presented the key-note paper.

Chief of the General Economics Division (GED) of the Planning Commission Mofidul Islam, ASD executive director Jamil H Chowdhury, DJFB President Humayun Kabir, NGO organizers Shah Mobin Jinnah, Momtaz Ara Begum, SM Harun Or Rashid Lal, Dr Zahid Masud, Rabeya Binte Karim spoke, among others, at the webinar moderated by DJFB executive committee member Sushanto Sinha.

Terming the cash support under various social safety net programmes as a ‘good work’ among many good endeavors of the government, Mannan said these programmes act as ‘weapons’ towards eradicating poverty.

Underscoring the need for further raising the amount of various social safety net allowances from the present level of Taka 500 to Taka 700, the Planning Minister said if the allocations against these programmes could be raised further, then it would be possible to address poverty in a ‘much better way’.

He said although there were some misdirection in the early stage of the social safety nets, he said such trend has now come down significantly as the public representatives as well as the government are now selecting the beneficiaries of the social safety net programmes cautiously.

The planning minister also hinted that those who became eligible for receiving the allowances under social safety nets due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be included in the lists.

The speakers at the webinar demanded of the government to further raise allocations against different social safety net programmes since many people have come below the poverty line due to the pandemic.

They suggested for preparing a database as early as possible so that the eligible people could be enlisted in the social safety net programmes.

They also demanded for raising the budgetary allocations against these social safety net programmes up to 4 percent of GDP.

Presenting her key-note paper, Dr Naznin Ahmed many said people have come below the poverty line due to the pandemic situation and there is a need to include them in the social safety net schemes.”For this, there is a need to further raise allocations against these schemes.”

She also underscored the need for preparing a database to ensure access of the eligible social safety net beneficiaries and thus ensuring good governance in operations of those.

According to official data, the social safety net programmes witnessed an allocation of Taka 95,574 crore in the current fiscal year (FY21) which is around 17 percent of the national budget as well as 3 percent of GDP.



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