583Published on March 23, 2022
Dr. Pranab Kumar Pandey:
The welfare state is meant to provide services to citizens, especially those living below the poverty line. That happens in developed states but not often in developing countries like Bangladesh.
Prior to 2008, no government in Bangladesh took up programs to provide a social security net for the poor. That changed after the Awami League (AL) came to power in January 2009. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government in the last 13 years has tried to create a social security net for the poor and succeeded to a great extent.
As many as 130 assistance programs are being implemented across the country through various ministries under the social security net. The proposed expenditure for all these programs for the financial year 2021-2022 has been estimated at Tk1,07,614 crore, which is 17.83 percent of the total budget (Tk6,03,681 crore) and about 3.11 percent of the total GDP. In the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2020-21, the expenditure on social security was estimated at 16.83 percent of the total budget, which was later increased to 17.75 percent in the revised budget. That indicates how much the government has prioritized the creation of a social security net for the poor and testifies to the government's pro-poor focus.