Safety net for 3cr poor launched
The government has launched a new National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) that will bring more than three crore poor people under various social safety net programmes for their entire life.
The scheme was unveiled yesterday by the planning ministry, the Department for International Development (DFID) of the British government and the United Nations Development Programme.
Shamsul Alam, member of the General Economics Division of the planning commission, presented the plan in depth at a programme at the National Economic Council auditorium in the capital.
The goal of the NSSS over the next five years is to ensure more efficient use of resources, strengthen delivery system and progress towards a more inclusive form of social security that tackles life cycle risks, prioritises the poorest and most vulnerable members of the society. The first phase of the new scheme will start in the current fiscal year and end in fiscal 2019-20.
As per the plan, Tk 33,710 crore will be required in fiscal 2015-16 to implement the programme, which is 1.96 percent of the country's gross domestic product. The core life cycle programmes will take up Tk 18,410 crore of the sum.
In the last year of the first phase (fiscal 2019-20), Tk 51,610 crore would be required, which is 1.80 percent of GDP. Of the amount, Tk 32,210 crore would be spent on the core life cycle programme.
Alam said they would implement 60 percent of the programme's target in the first year, 80 percent in the second year and 100 percent in the third year.
Currently, there are 145 social safety net programmes, being implemented by 23 line ministries at a cost of Tk 30,800 crore, according to the strategy paper.
Some programmers overlap and are considered too small to make any real headway in reducing poverty.
Against this backdrop, the government has embarked on the formulation of the NSSS to coordinate and consolidate the existing safety net programmes to achieve better efficiency and results from the money that is being allocated.
The NSSS will stop the leakages by bringing in all 145 social safety net schemes under a comprehensive programme, Alam added. The comprehensive programme will be implemented in five big clusters, which will cover the entire life cycle.
The clusters are: children's progra-mme (for those below the age of 4), programme for school-age children, programme for working-age population, comprehensive pension system for the elderly and programme for people with disability.
The government plans to bring around 60 percent of the 3.57 crore beneficiaries under NSSS in the first year alone.
Of the 3.57 crore beneficiaries, 55 lakh would be covered by the pension scheme, 10 lakh by the disability programme, 75 lakh by the children's programme.
Some 1.79 crore people will be covered by the school-age children programme and more than 32 lakh by the working-age programme.
While approving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the UN has said the countries will have to increase their own financing to meet the targets outlined, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury told the inauguration ceremony.
At present, about 12.5 percent of the revenue budget is being spent on social safety net programmes, she said.
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the government is going to implement the plan to help the ultra-poor cope with the vagaries of their lives.
Sarah Cooke, country representative of DFID Bangladesh, and Pauline Tamesis, country director of UNDP, also spoke.