Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has virtually inaugurated the disbursement of allowances to the elderly people, widowed and divorced women, and indigent, disabled and handicapped students, through mobile financial service bKash.
This is the first of its kind initiative under Social Safety Net program of the Ministry of Social Welfare, says a press release.
Around 2 million beneficiaries in 24 districts across the country will receive the allowances through G2P (government to person) system.
Beneficiaries can easily cash out the money across the country through the most extensive agent network of bKash without any additional cost. The government will bear TK7 of each cash out transaction charge while bKash will bear the rest.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the premier said the G2P system has been introduced so that the social safety net allowances reach the beneficiaries directly without the need of any middleman.
Presided over by Social Welfare Minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed, the programme was attended by State Minister for Social Welfare Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru as special guest.
Chief Secretary to the PM, Dr Ahmed Kaikaus conducted the event while Mohammad Zainul Bari, the social welfare secretary gave the welcome speech.
Kamal Quadir, CEO of bKash and Major General (retd) Sheikh Md Monirul Islam, chief external and corporate affairs officer of bKash, among others, were present on the occasion.
At the event, the prime minister spoke to the beneficiaries through video conference. The beneficiaries from Lalmonirhat and Pirojpur who are getting allowances through bKash, shared their experiences.
Lily Begum, a beneficiary of widow allowance from Lalmonirhat told the prime minister, "After my husband died five years ago, I was in a lot of trouble with my son and daughter. This allowance saved me from that disastrous situation. However, I used to go to the bank and get the allowance after standing in long queues for two or three days subsequently. Now I will get the allowance in my bKash account sitting at home."
Lily Begum thanked the prime minister wholeheartedly for taking such initiative.
Sufia Begum, another beneficiary of widow allowance from Pirojpur, expressed similar feelings.
Recently, bKash, the leading mobile financial service provider signed an agreement with the Ministry of Social Welfare to facilitate the beneficiaries.
After forming the government for the first time in 1996, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina introduced this allowance at the rate of TK100 per person in fiscal year 1997-98.
The present government has gradually increased the per capita allowance to TK500 in the fiscal year 2016-2017.
However, people with disabilities get allowance of BDT 750 each.
Prior to this event, allowances have been disbursed among the beneficiaries under a pilot project through G2P system. bKash has successfully completed the disbursement of allowances in that pilot project.