FY21 budget: Special schemes recommended for vulnerable people
Published : Monday, 1 June, 2020 at 7:33 PM Count : 187
Special scheme for the most vulnerable people has been recommended in the national budget of the fiscal 2020-21 (FY21) as the Bangladesh’s economy as well as development are at a critical juncture in the wake ofCOVID-19.
The recommendation was made today at an online media briefing on a study titled ‘COVID-19 and national budget 2020-2021: Rethinking strategy for bottom of the pyramid (BOP)’.
BRAC, DataSense and UnnayanShamannay, under a joint initiative, worked to generate evidence-based recommendations for the national budget focusing on the BoP population and how the national budget, as an essential policy instrument can ensure pro-poor and inclusive development.
As per the study, they informed that at present 100.22 million people are facing high risk of economicand health vulnerabilities.
The average family income loss was around 74 per cent during March and May. Over 1.4 million migrant workers havereturned or are on their way back to home due to job loss.
Former Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Atiur Rahman joined the media briefing as the chief guest while noted economist, chairman of Power and ParticipationResearch Centre (PPRC) and chairperson of BRAC Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman presided over the event.
BRAC senior director KAM Morshedmoderated the event while chief executive officer ofiSocial Dr AnanyaRaihan presented the survey report.
Senior research fellow of the Bangladesh Institute of DevelopmentStudies (BIDS) Dr Nazneen Ahmed and executive director of BRAC Institute ofGovernance and Development (BIGD) Dr Imran Matin were present as panel speakers.
Dr Atiur Rahman said medium, small and micro enterprises need help as 60 percent of them will be out of business.
“We can allocate Taka20,000 crore for this sector. The amount needs to be refinanced by theBangladesh Bank. Banks are not interested to give loans to MSMEs which theydon’t know. Refinance line has to be increased so that risk sharing by bank ispromoted,” he added.
Dr Nazneen Ahmed said fuel subsidy to transport operators can be provided sothey will not require increasing fares.
Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman said instead of making new listsit is best if existing lists can be used. “Instead of BDT 100, BDT 500 per head maybe allocated as stipend for 7.8 million primary students. That way we can ensuresupport reaches to the right people,” he added.
Based on the study findings, a number of recommendations were made toinclude in the national budget of FY2020-21 that include the following.
Introducing cash transfers for COVID-19 positive patients for income loss and 3-year cash support if any income earner of the extreme poor and poor householdsdies due to COVID-19.
Introducing universal unemployment benefit scheme, starting with extreme poorand poor by FY21 and for other unemployed groups from FY21.
Introducing a universal identification system of citizens (irrespective of age) forenabling citizens to access services and receive benefits within FY21.
Including all citizens into universal digital services for getting benefits of socialprotection schemes, credit, savings and insurance services through public-privatepartnership.
Launching a special programme for returnee migrants at home and migrant workersin destination countries as well to compensate income loss, create jobs and helpthem get out of debt trap and social stigma.
Introducing access to individual digital devices and internet connectivity to allBangladeshi citizens above 16 years old to ensure access to livelihood,education, health and safety.
Allocating maximum resources for fighting COVID-19 and enforcing public-private-NGO collaboration and coordination.
Also to minimise health risks, a mix of work-from-home and work-from-office hasbeen proposed. Besides, six-hourly workdays with up to three shifts for officesand factories have been recommended to reduce traffic on the road, maintainsocial distancing at the workplace and public transport.