The government will increase monthly allowance for persons with disabilities under the social security programme in the next budget for fiscal 2022-23.
More protection will be given to the disabled people in the next budget with both monthly allowance and coverage increased, officials of the Ministry of Finance told Bangladesh Post.
Although the allowances of the elderly, widows and other beneficiaries have not been increased, the number will be increased, they added.
At present the monthly allowance of persons with disabilities is Tk 750, they said, adding that, in the next budget it will be increased to Tk 850.
Now 20 lakh disabled people across the country are getting regular monthly cash allowance from the government. In the next fiscal year, 3 lakh new ones will be added. As a result, a total of 23 lakh disabled people are coming under the social security net.
On the other hand, more than 14 million beneficiaries across the country, including the elderly and widows, are presently receiving monthly allowances under the social security programme.
Another 11 lakh will be added in the new budget. A total of 1.15 crore people will come under social security.
According to the proposed budget data, a total of about Tk 6,500 crore has been estimated for all of them in the budget of 2022-23.
This time, the Ministry of Finance has not accepted the proposal from the Ministry of Social Welfare to increase the amount and coverage of the allowance.
Later, it was decided to increase the coverage of other beneficiaries only by increasing the allowance of the disabled. The coverage has been increased with keeping the allowance unchanged for the last three years.
However, the government's goal was to bring the 'deserving beneficiaries' of all upazilas of the country under social security within three years.
To this end, 112 upazilas were brought under the allowance in the first year and 150 in the second year.
There are 262 upazilas left. In the coming 2022-23 fiscal year, the government wants to add all the remaining upazilas under the social security net, but due to lack of funds, it has been decided to give allowances to 100 eligible upazilas this time. The remaining upazilas will be added later.
Currently, there are eight types of programmes under the social security programme, including the elderly and widows, who receive regular cash monthly allowances. The Ministry of Social Welfare oversees these programmes.
The largest of these programmes is the old age allowance. At present 57 lakh elderly people in the country are getting an old-age allowance. Each of them is getting Tk 500 every month as an allowance. If 11 lakh more people are added to the scheme in the next financial year, the total number of beneficiaries will stand at 68 lakh.
Besides, at present about 25 lakh widows and other women abandoned by their husbands are also getting the allowance monthly. One of the best initiatives of the government is the allowance being provided to different types of beneficiaries under a social security programme.
People with disabilities are in the third position with 20 lakh. 90 percent of the total beneficiaries belong to these three categories.
This is a financial programme of the government. Through this programme the government is providing financial assistance to the elderly, destitute, unemployed and low-income people.
According to the sources concerned, in the new financial year, the allocation for the social security sector may be increased to Tk 1.10 lakh crore in the next fiscal year against the Tk 1.07 lakh crore in the current 2021-22 fiscal year.
However, the initial size of the next budget is set at Tk 677,864 crore, up Tk 74,000 crore over the current fiscal’s and the target for revenue income is Tk 431,657 crore.
In the context of the proposed budget Dr Shamsul Alam, state minister for planning said, “Social security programmes must be increased to eradicate inequality and poverty. Adequate allocation should be given in this sector. It is still allocated less than 2 percent of GDP. It should be raised to at least 3-4 percent.”