Publish: 14 Apr 2020, 01:30 pm
The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has proposed providing Tk 8,000 a month for two months to each of the 1.9 crore families, near to the lower poverty line, as the COVID-19 pandemic has placed poor people in danger.
The civil society think tank suggested Tk 30,000 crore direct cash transfer to 1.9 crore households as financial support.
This will be around 1% of GDP, said the CPD, mentioning that this can be achieved by offering Tk 8,000 per month for each individual, near to the lower poverty line, to a family of four members at current prices today.
Vulnerable populations and disadvantaged societies are increasingly more vulnerable to the possibility of a COVID-19 pandemic, CPD said in a media release.
Many of them do not get any social protection benefits, it said.
Daily wage earners and informal sector workers are critically affected by economic slowdowns, the CPD said, adding that a comprehensive stimulus package, particularly for vulnerable households, is required in this context.
The CPD shared the proposal through a virtual media briefing on “COVID-19: CPD’s Initial Assessment of Public Policy Interventions and Proposals for Food and Income Security of the Marginalised” on Monday.
The media briefing was organised under CPD’s flagship programme Independent Review of Bangladesh’s Development (IRBD).
Towfiqul Islam Khan, its senior research fellow, made the keynote presentation at the media briefing on behalf of the IRBD research team.
He noted in his presentation that a lack of good governance has been undermining the government's various initiatives to support the citizens during this national crisis.
An in-built technology-induced mechanism can be put in place to implement the proposed cash transfer programme, Towfiqul said.
It will help the government reduce leakages and avoid selection bias and control corruption, he said.
The lists of people in need which are being prepared by the local administration and local government machinery will be helpful, the CPD said.
This proposed programme should have an in-built mechanism where the vulnerable citizens can apply for inclusion, it said.
Hotline numbers need to be designated where citizens can call and apply for inclusion in the programme, the think tank said.
The ‘local rapid action committee’ will need to be set up involving local administration, local government representatives, local police and an appropriate number of NGO representatives and volunteer organisations (including community-based organisations) working in that particular region who will approve these applications within 24 hours, according to the CPD.
Besides, for a transparent implementation of the incentive programmes, the lists of beneficiaries should be disclosed through government websites which can be facilitated by Access to Information (A2I), the CPD paper emphasised.
Dr Fahmida Khatun, CPD executive director, noted that ensuring transparency is a must for the effectiveness of the incentive programmes announced so far.
She urged the government to come up with a realistic allocation for disadvantaged people so that they can withstand the COVID-19 crisis.
Prof Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow, and Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research officer, were also present at the event and expressed their views by reacting to media questions.
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