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Allocate more for social safety net in next budget: Debapriya

Staff Correspondent
17 May 2022 00:00:00 | Update: 17 May 2022 01:18:17
Allocate more for social safety net in next budget: Debapriya

Citizen’s Platform for SDGs has urged the government to bring at least 10 per cent of the 6.69 lakh people of the country’s unemployed youths under the government’s safety net program as they become marginal in the adverse economic impact/inflation due to the pandemic.

The platform has proposed setting all types of social safety allowances at a minimum of Tk 1,000 to help the marginalized cope with the rising prices of essential commodities.

Convener of Citizen’s Platform for SDGs Debapriya Bhattacharya in a media briefing on Monday said this in light of socio-economic situation of Bangladesh and expectation of Covid-19 pandemic-hit people in the national budget.

Professor Mostafizur Rahmani, a core group member and another special fellow of CPD, presided over the function and also presented a key note paper at the briefing held at the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital.

Action Aid, Bangladesh Environment and Climate and Green Economy Country Director Farah Kabir and professor of Dhaka University Dr. Rumana Haque took part in the discussion. Prominent people including Anisatul Fatema Yusuf, Coordinator, Citizens’ Platform, gave an introductory speech.

He said the government’s inflation calculation at 6.22 per cent does not match with the reality at all.

This information is not scientific even, the inflation rate may be 12 per cent or more and trend will continue in the coming days, the platform said.

Debapriya Bhattacharya said the rate of inflation of essential commodities is much higher. For example, the prices of edible oil and palm oil have risen above 61 per cent. Prices of products like flour have also gone up by 56 per cent.

However, the price of coarse rice has not increased. But the price of medium or fragrant rice has gone up a lot.

Debapriya Bhattacharya also thanked the government for increasing the allocation of the social safety net program in the current fiscal budget, but he expressed frustration pointing out its poor implementation.

The platform gave some recommendations including increased allocations to address pandemic fallouts like child marriage, child labour, school dropouts, keep a certain portion of local government budgets to support non-MPO school teachers, introduction of an Education Credit Card for students with a yearly limit of Tk1 lakh, additional and specific allocation for the education of minority groups, more human capacity for agricultural extension services, effective pricing and processes for paddy and rice procurement Prices fixed by the government for fertilizer and hybrid seeds need to be enforced.