Give Tk 8,000 to 19mn households each for two months: CPD

Dhaka, April 14 – The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has proposed providing with Tk 8,000 per month for two months to each of 1.9 crore households, close to the lower poverty line, as COVID-19 pandemic put the poor people in trouble.The civil society think tank has proposed Tk 30,000 crore direct cash transfer for 1.9 crore households as financial support.
This will be about 1 percent of the GDP, said the CPD mentioning that this can be done by providing with Tk 8,000 per month for two months to each household, close to the lower poverty line, for a family of four members in today’s current prices.
The vulnerable groups and marginalised communities are relatively more exposed to the threat of COVID-19 pandemic, CPD said in a media release.
Many of them do not get any social protection benefits, it said.
Daily wage earners and workers of informal sectors are critically suffering from the economic slowdown, the CPD said, adding that in this context it is necessary to bring in a comprehensive stimulus package, particularly for vulnerable households.
The CPD shared the proposal through a virtual media briefing on “COVID-19: CPD’s Initial Assessment of Public Policy Interventions and Proposals for Food and Income Security of the Marginalised” on Monday.
The media briefing was organised under CPD’s flagship programme Independent Review of Bangladesh’s Development (IRBD).
Towfiqul Islam Khan, its senior research fellow, made the keynote presentation at the media briefing on behalf of the IRBD research team.
He noted in his presentation that lack of good governance has been undermining the government’s various initiatives to support the citizens during this national crisis.
An in-built technology induced mechanism can be put in place to implement the proposed cash transfer programme, Towfiqul said.
It will help the government reduce leakages and avoid selection bias and control corruption, he said.
The lists of people in need which are being prepared by the local administration and local government machineries will be helpful, the CPD said.
This proposed programme should have an in-built mechanism where the vulnerable citizens can apply for inclusion, it said.
Hotline numbers need to be designated where citizens can call and apply for inclusion in the programme, the think tank said.
The ‘local rapid action committee’ will need to be set up involving local administration, local government representatives, local police and appropriate number of NGO representatives and volunteer organisations (including community-based organisations) working in that particular region who will approve these applications within 24 hours, according to the CPD.
Besides, for a transparent implementation of the incentive programmes, the lists of beneficiaries should be disclosed though government websites which can be facilitated by Access to Information (A2I), the CPD paper emphasised.
Dr Fahmida Khatun, CPD executive director, noted that ensuring transparency is a must for effectiveness of the incentive programmes announced so far.
She urged that the government come up with concrete allocation for the vulnerable groups so that they can survive during the COVID-19 crisis.
Prof Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow, and Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director, were also present at the event and shared their views through responding to questions from the media. – UNB