Catering to the Vulnerable: Need for Overhauling of Social Security in Bangladesh

07.30.2020 | Articles | Dr. Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir

Introduction

Women and marginalized communities are proving to be the most vulnerable to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic costs of the ongoing lockdown as the pandemic spreads across Bangladesh. Since these communities are dependent on informal employment, and because most of them are in poor and crowded living conditions which make social distancing and access to sanitation exceedingly strenuous, they are distinctly vulnerable to the virus. The government has allocated 3.78 billion USD of the proposed fiscal year 2020-21 budget to social security. This accounts for a real change of 2.5% than the budget of the previous fiscal year. Under the circumstances, this low social security budget will struggle to cover the increased number of vulnerable groups.[1]

However, a striking observation has been made which posits that this allocation also includes unrelated expenditures such as pensions and stipends, excluding which the real value reveals a fall from a 9% to a 7.6% share of the budget compared to FY 2019-20.[2]  Those newly marginalized due to the pandemic are the least prepared.

[1] Unnayan Onneshan 2020

[2] The Business Standard. The social protection budget continues to elude. Accessed on June 21, 2020