Govt to help poor with cash aid

The government has decided to provide financial aid to around 40 lakh poor families affected by the ongoing strict lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19. 

Despite the inconsistencies that took place in distributing cash aid last year, and yet to be fully addressed, the government is planning to help the vulnerable households this year as well. 

Under this incentive package each family will receive cash assistance of Tk 2,500 before the Eid-ul-Fitr according to the initial plan. The incentive money will be distributed through the Government to Public (GTP) system and sent directly to the beneficiaries through mobile financial services to ensure direct transaction. 

The announcement of this new incentive package of Tk1, 256 crore may come soon, the Finance Ministry sources said. 

According to a senior official at the Finance Division, a proposal has been prepared and sent to the prime minister for her approval. After getting her approval, the aid will be disbursed to beneficiaries before Eid through the mobile financial services bKash, Rocket, Nagad and SureCash.  

Last year on May 14, 2020, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the fund disbursement of over Tk1,200 crore cash aid for five million poor families who were affected most by the pandemic. Rickshaw-van pullers, day labourers, construction workers, agriculture farmers, shop employees, small business employees and poultry labourers were included in the beneficiary list.

The government has been able to distribute a total of Tk902.16 crore so far to 3.6 million families from that fund. 

The government stopped the distribution of the rest of the incentive as names of solvent people were detected on the list of beneficiaries.  

The financially insolvent families hit hard by the pandemic who received cash from the government as an Eid gift from the prime minister during last year's lockdown will get the same amount of financial aid before Eid this year as well.