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Govt set to expand social safety net in upcoming budget

  • Published at 06:20 pm May 31st, 2021
Social Safety Net
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The budget will set aside Tk3,420 crore for elderly persons

The government is set to expand the social safety net in the upcoming budget as the Covid-19 has pushed at least 25 million people below the poverty line. 

In the forefront of the beneficiaries are the elderly persons, women left by husbands and widows, said sources at the finance ministry and national board of revenue.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is scheduled to place the national budget for 2021-22 in the parliament on Thursday.

The budget will set aside Tk3,420 crore for elderly persons, up from Tk2,940 crore in the current fiscal. Some 9.7 million people will get the benefits, an increase by 800,000 from the running year.

Similarly, allowances are being increased for widows and women left by husbands.

The allocation for this purpose would be Tk1,237.50 crore from existing Tk1,230 crore.

Some 1.8 million insolvent disabled, 770,000 poor pregnant women and 275,000 poor lactating mothers would be put under the social safety net program, said the sources. 

Transport workers who are affected by the pandemic would be included in the social safety net program.

An amount of Tk2,500 crore has been earmarked for the affected transport workers. 

Social welfare ministry sources said other social safety net programs would be expanded and the ministry is working on it. 

In the new budget the number of transgenders and underprivileged beneficiaries will be increased to 95,000. 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already provided financial assistance to some 3.6 million families who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and recent natural disasters.

The families include 3.5 million low-income ones engaged in different occupations including affected transport workers. The remaining one lakh are farmers affected by recent natural disasters.

Each of the 3.5 million families got Tk2,500, while Tk5,000 was given to each of the 100,000 farmer families.

The amount of allowance for the valiant freedom fighters of the country would also increase.

The prime minister has already announced the allowance would be raised from Tk12,000 to Tk20,000 for the general category.