• Thursday, Feb 02, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Distribution of cash aid for daily wage earners facing delay

  • Published at 01:56 pm May 7th, 2020
poor daily earner
Representational photo Bigstock

Cash aid likely to be disbursed between May 12 and May 18 as Eid bonus and each person is likely to get Tk2000 to Tk2500 - Finance Division

The government is facing several setbacks in handing out cash aid as Eid bonus to five million daily wage earners across the country who lost their means of livelihood due to the general holidays since March 26.

In an address to the nation on April 13, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina rolled out a Tk760 crore scheme for people who were hit the hardest amid the countrywide shutdown to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“Instructions have already been given to list day labourers, rickshaw pullers, transport workers, construction workers, newspaper hawkers, restaurant and hotel staff, and others who have lost their jobs due to the general holiday or partial lockdown,” she said.

Following the instructions, concerned officials from the Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Division, Finance Division, and Disaster Management and Relief Ministry held a series of meetings in this regard but could not reach an agreement on the details of the payment process.

According to the Finance Division, cash relief is likely to be disbursed between May 12 and May 18 and each person is likely to get Tk2000 to Tk2500.

However, Shirajun Noor Chowdhury, joint secretary of the Finance Division said: “Allocation of cash aid and the number of beneficiaries have increased.

“Our plan is to deliver monetary aid through mobile banking, but there are some challenges as many of these people do not have mobile phones. On the other hand, we are thinking of using NID numbers to identify people but many do not have NID cards as well,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

“But everything will be settled by next week following a meeting with the Prime Minister,” he added.

Development of the database of low wage earners is underway by the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry with the support of the field administration and Information and Communication Technology Division.

“We are preparing a database incorporating details of 5 million people under 64 districts. Each family will get one relief card,” said Faizur Rahman, additional secretary of Disaster Management and Relief Ministry and member secretary of the database preparation committee.

Disaster Management and Relief Ministry will gradually incorporate additional data of 10 million people into the list to bring discipline to the distribution of relief following the same process.

Database preparation facing setbacks

Disaster Management and Relief Ministry sources said database preparation is delayed due to field administration officials across the country missing their deadlines. 

However, field administration claimed that several changes in the instructions and data entry form have interrupted the process. Political influence in the process may be another cause of the delay.

“We have collected data using a format at first but within days that was changed. As per the format, mobile number is a must but many people do not have mobiles,” said a deputy commissioner of a district under Barisal division seeking anonymity.

The Relief Ministry has guided the field administration officials to collect data by forming committees at district, upazila, and union levels while following a prescribed format.

According to the format, it is mandatory to incorporate four local political persons at each district, upazila, and union levels to help collect the data. 

The politicians will be selected by the committee led by the deputy commissioner, upazila nirbahi officer, and upazila chairman.

“When a political group submits a list, another group opposes that, creating chaos,” said an Upazila Nirbahi Officer, seeking anonymity.

“Yesterday [Tuesday] was the last date to upload data to a software, but a maximum number of districts have failed to meet the deadline. Now the deadline is reset to Thursday so far,” said Faizur Rahman.

The Relief Ministry has fixed the number of each district beneficiary group. They have no chance to put additional data beyond the requirement.

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