Don’t get dependent on safety net allowance Says PM while inaugurating National Social Welfare Day

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her administration is providing various allowances under the social safety net programme so that no one is left starving but the programme is not to make people dependent on allowances.

“We have a goal to provide allowances, but no one has to be dependent on it… capable persons should earn his or her own livelihood…,” she said.

The premier said this while inaugurating National Social Welfare Day and Social Welfare Fair at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC).

She said capable persons can work and increase his or her income. “This will contribute to our socio-economic development, we’ve fixed the amounts of the allowances keeping that in mind,” Hasina said.

Criticising a section of civil society members who are cynical about the amount of the social safety net allowances, the PM said they hardly think practically as their thoughts are centred on hypothetical grounds.

“They see everything only with their hearts but never see anything practically; I heard some of them saying that a family cannot be run with the allowance being given. But, this is not the responsibility of the government to run all the families. Everyone has to run his or her own family,” she said.

Hasina mentioned that it is the responsibility of the government to take care whether one is left starving and neglected. “I’m formulating a system so that no one is left starving and neglected,” she said.

“We don’t want to see building an idle nation… we’re focusing on utilising everyone’s skill and work potential.”

The government has undertaken a “Cash Transfer Modernisation (CTM)” project so that the beneficiaries can receive their allowances electronically from their homes by the year 2021.

She said a “Lifecycle Base” programme has been undertaken based on the principle of “equality of rights”, which enables a person concerned to avail social security from the state from the beginning of life up to death.

Hasina elaborated various steps of her government, including providing allowances for the welfare of elderly people, widows and women abandoned by husbands, and insolvent disabled people.

Hasina said her government, since taking office in 2009, has been implementing various programmes to infuse dynamism into the rural economy and ensure durable social safety.

She said the government is giving the elderly allowance to 35 lakh people at a rate of Tk 500 every month in the current fiscal year, while the widow allowance (Tk 500 per month) is being provided to 12.65 lakh women.

She mentioned that the government is providing Tk 759 crore in this sector every year, and said her government has framed various laws to ensure the rights and welfare of the poor.

Hasina mentioned that “Disability Information System Software” has been developed to preserve their information and said her government is giving National Identity Cards to the disabled persons. Newly registered disabled persons will also be provided identity cards, she added.

She said over 15.41 lakh disabled persons have so far been identified and a survey on disability identification is on. Transparency has been ensured alongside taking social services to the doorsteps of people aiming to empower disabled persons in the private sector under registered organisations.

Putting emphasis on inclusion of the distressed children into their families, she said a project titled “Child Sensitive Social Protection in Bangladesh” was implemented in 20 districts from 2012 to 2016, while the second phase of the project is awaiting approval for the next five years.

Later, she inaugurated the “social services fair” arranged at the Department of Social Services compound at Sher-e Bangla Nagar through a videoconference from the BICC.

State Minister for Social Welfare Ministry Nuruzzaman Ahmed, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Welfare Ministry Dr Mohammad Mozammel Hossain and Social Welfare Secretary M Zillar Rahman also spoke at the event.