BD should focus on social safety net building
Poverty is a particular situation of human life. It is related to the standard of living and the socioeconomic aspects of living. Though apparently it seems that the concept of poverty is mainly tied to money income. Rapid and sustained poverty reduction requires a pace and pattern of economic growth that helps poor women and men to participate in, contribute to and benefit from it -- in short, pro-poor growth. Actually, it has many non-income dimensions.
The issue of poverty is closely related to the overall growth and development of a country. With the increases, income, poverty diminishes and in the reverse case, poverty increase. In poor and developing countries, poverty alleviation has become synonymous with the overall economic development. The 2016/17 HIES and the official annual poverty rate -- released on October 17, End Poverty Day -- interviewed four times as many households as the previous HIES, allowing Bangladesh to produce poverty estimates at quarterly intervals and the district level for the first time.
Although poverty is still high, Bangladesh has continued to make impressive progress in reducing poverty. Measured against the international extreme poverty line, poverty fell from 18.5 per cent in 2010 to 13.8 per cent in 2016, and the country is on track to reach the first Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030. Progress on reducing poverty measured by the national upper poverty line has been equally strong. In 2010, almost one third of the country's population lived in poverty; by 2016 this had fallen to less than one-fourth. Since 2010, 8 million Bangladeshis moved out of poverty.
Despite accelerating growth, the pace of poverty reduction has slowed. The pace of economic growth has increased since 2010 with GDP growing at a rate of 6.5 per cent on average per year between 2010 and 2016. In contrast, the pace of poverty reduction slowed. The national poverty rate fell by 1.2 percentage points annually from 2010 to 2016 compared to 1.7 from 2005 to 2010.
Recent years have seen a perceptible increase in interest in social safety nets within developing countries including Bangladesh. Historically, public safety net efforts in Bangladesh have clustered around the twin themes of food rations and post-disaster relief. The third cluster has been informal safety nets at family and community levels to address issues of demographic and social shocks. There has also been pension scheme for state employees. In recent years, however, safety nets have transcended these historical moorings and have graduated to a mainstream social and developmental concern. Bangladesh should focus on creating a safety net for all aligned with poverty reduction plan.