A big number of people has lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis. As per the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, poverty rate had come down to 20 per cent a few days back, but now it has risen to 35 per cent due to the pandemic. And this may go higher if this deadlock continues for long.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has recommended that the government should provide 40 per cent of the population, which is over 66 million, Tk 2,100 each. This will mean the government would have to spend Tk 14 billion . They recommended that the scheme should be continued for the next few months.
On Thursday, the UNDP launched its report titled 'Temporary Basic Income: Protecting Poor and vulnerable People in Developing Countries. The report said 2.7 billion people in 132 developing countries need such help.
The top bosses of the government have also agreed with the recommendations. Planning minister MA Mannan said, "We may differ with the number. We have many people working in the informal sector who lives on daily wages. There is no denying the fact that they need help.
If the government considers the recommendation, there comes a few questions. Who would implement the project? The government says it has the ability to provide the funds. But how will the money be distributed? Previously the government has undertaken a plan to give 5 million family Tk 2,500 each, but they could only disburse funds to 1.6 million yet. There had been big scale anomalies while preparing the list of extreme poor as well. As a result, many who are in dire need of funds, did not get any money.
When they could not handle disbursing funds to 5 million people properly, how will they manage things for 66 million? Because most of the people in the chain are corrupt or not capable.
If the government plans to implement the UNDP recommendation, it will be a challenge to ensure transparency at every sector. Experts have recommended taking the help of the NGOs to eliminate the chances of nepotism and irregularities while making the list.
If the government has the political will and the people concerned have the skill, executing the plan won't be impossible.