IN Bangladesh, basic needs of some 17.5 million poor are not being provided for. The figure is equivalent of 13% of the total population. They have a per head income of a meagre Tk. 32 per day. Not clearly enough to make both ends meet.
In this context, performance under the ongoing 102 or so social safety or security schemes needs to be brought under the scanner and revisited. Approximately, 24 million people, remain outside the pale of receiving adequate assistance according to a Planning Commission report.
The safety net programmes which the government prides itself on need close monitoring to plug the holes in them. There is considerable leakage of allocated funds and a significant percentage of household beneficiaries are non-poor. The finance minster has reportedly stated that the numbers covered by safety net programmes have increased and the poor people are drawing benefits. However, in the face of the shortfall in the coverage and the adequacy of what is delivered to them leaves room for improvement.
We congratulate the Planning Commission for formulating a draft national social protection strategy for reducing poverty, improving human development, and reducing inequalities. We believe it will include plans to streamline and strengthen the existing safety net programmes with an aim to achieving better results from money spent, and broadening the scope of social protection so that more people below the poverty line can be reached.