Social Welfare Minister Rashed Khan Menon addresses the inaugural session of the conference at BICC auditorium in the capital on Sunday. Photo: PID

Social Welfare Minister Rashed Khan Menon Sunday hoped that more than five to seven percent of the country’s poverty would be cut by 2020 from the existing 24.3 percent as various poverty alleviation programmes are being implemented successfully.
“Bangladesh has achieved a marked progress in poverty alleviation over the last 10 years…social safety net (SSN) programmes are playing a vital role in eradicating poverty,” he said, reports BSS.
The Social Welfare Minister was addressing the inaugural session of the three-day national conference on social security programme review at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city.
Speaking as the chief guest, Menon stressed increasing the coverage of the SSN programmes as the country’s poor people can live with identity. “The amount of the allowances for the poor is not much, but it gives them identity in the society,” he added. He urged the authorities concerned to launch unemployment allowance for the jobless educated people for keeping them away from social disorders.
At the session, Menon unveiled the ‘National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) Action Plan’ and inaugurated the three-day ‘Social Security Fair’.
State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan attended the session as the special guest while Australian High Commissioner in Dhaka Julia Niblett, UNDP Country Director of Bangladesh Sudipto Mukerjee and Country Represen­tative of the Department for International Development (DFID) Bangladesh Jim McAlpine were present.
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam chaired the session while Coordination and Reforms Secretary of Cabinet Division NM Zeaul Alam briefed on the action plan. Mannan said the government is working relentlessly to eradicate poverty as it is the main goal of the Awami League-led government.
He asked the officials concerned to implement the SSN programmes properly by distributing the allowances to real beneficiaries.
The objectives of the conference are to enhance visibility of the government initiatives to reform social protection system.
The action plan is prepared for coming five years till 2021, when most of the major reform proposals of the NSSS are expected to be attained. Over the next five years after 2121, the reform initiatives will continue before making transition to a lifecycle-centric social security system mainly coordinated by the Ministry of Social Welfare. Now, the challenge is to ensure meaningful coordination and monitoring to implement the action plan as prepared and agreed by the line ministries and divisions.
All implementing agencies of social security programmes and leading NGOs in the similar field are taking part in the National Social Security Fair.