AS published in a leading Bangla daily, a study brought out by the General Economic Division of Planning Commission, poverty has reduced to 24.47 per cent. That still leaves an estimated 40 million people living in poverty. While it is claimed that the substantial social safety net programmes of the present government contributed to this success, significant problems remain. It is argued that while such programmes are good in the short run, it is skills development working hand in hand with state investments and social safety net programmes that can bring about long term change in poverty reduction.
The historical data presented point to a gradual reduction in poverty over the last decade. There is however some speculation as to how far this scenario is a reality, when we take into account the fact that, according to the same Planning Commission, about 64 percent of poor people remain outside the purview of social safety net programmes. This data would put the number of poor people at around 24 million.
Data discrepancies aside, there has been impressive reduction of poor people living in Bangladesh. We would perhaps have a better picture had specific information been available as to exactly how many people are benefitting from social safety net programmes. Despite this, from the latest survey published by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in 2010, at least 24 per cent of all households in the country have access to at least one type of social safety net programme.