The government plans to widen its social safety net in the budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021 to include 16.15 lakh more poor people under state protection.
The number of beneficiaries will rise by 20 percent this time, with intent to provide more poor people with allowances in tackling the coronavirus impact. But the amount of the monthly allowances will remain unchanged.
Finance ministry officials said the government will be allocating Tk6,438 crore for safety net programmes for the next fiscal year, up from Tk5,393 crore this fiscal year.
Mohammad Jainul Bari, secretary of the social welfare ministry, told The Business Standard that the Finance Division has allocated Tk1,044 crore more for safety net programmes in the next budget, with 16.15 lakh more poor people being brought under it.
Currently, around 80 lakh impoverished people get different allowances. The number will go up to 96 lakh in the next fiscal year. But the amount of the allowances will remain unchanged, he said.
Elderly people get a lifetime amount of Tk500 per month, widows and women deserted by their husbands get Tk500 per month, and disabled people get Tk750 per month. There is an allocation of over Tk5,055 crore for 76.45 lakh beneficiaries in the current fiscal year under the three programmes. In the next fiscal year, some 96.60 lakh recipients will get Tk6,096 crore.
Each year the number of beneficiaries in the social safety net programmes is increased by 10 percent but this year the allocation has been given to increase the number by 20 percent, from fears that more people will go down the poverty line because of coronavirus, said a finance ministry official seeking anonymity.
The rates of allowances will not be hiked with a view to bringing more people under the net, he added.
Mohammad Ismail, additional secretary in the social welfare ministry, told The Business Standard some 44 lakh people are getting Tk500 each as old age allowance per month in the current fiscal year. The allocation for the scheme is Tk2,640 crore. In the 2020-2021 fiscal year, some Tk3,156 crore will be allocated for allowances to 52.60 lakh older people.
Some 17 lakh widows and women whose husbands have abandoned them are getting Tk500 each per month from the Tk1020 crore allocated for this fiscal year while 22 lakh such women will receive the allowance at the same rate in the upcoming fiscal year, the allocation being Tk1,320 crore.
In similar manner, 15.45 lakh disabled people are getting Tk750 per month this fiscal year. The allocation for the programme is Tk1350.5 crore. In the upcoming fiscal year, the number will be increased to 18 lakh with the monthly amount remaining unchanged. The allocation for the scheme will be Tk1620 crore.
Mohammad Ismail said all insolvent people with disabilities in the country will be brought under the social safety net. They will get relief facilities side by side with allowances.
Transgender students get monthly stipends of Tk700 at primary, Tk800 at secondary, Tk1000 at higher secondary and Tk1,200 at higher levels. Besides, impoverished and disabled transgender people aged 50 and above get monthly Tk600 each in special allowances. There is an allocation of Tk5.56 crore for the current fiscal in this programme, which will remain unchanged for the next fiscal year as well, sources have said.
This year, 5,767 beneficiaries from the transgender community have received such facilities.
The recipients of stipends for disabled students are 1 lakh this fiscal year. The allocation is Tk95.64 crore. The rate is Tk750 for primary level students, Tk800 for secondary level students, Tk900 for higher secondary level students and Tk1,300 for higher level students.