UNB: The government is set to expand the social safety net in the upcoming budget as the Covid-19 has pushed at least 2.5 crore people below the poverty line.
In the forefront of the beneficiaries are the elderly persons, women left by husbands and widows, said sources at the finance ministry and national board of revenue.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal will place the national budget for 2021-22 in the Parliament on June 3.
The budget will set aside Tk. 3420 crore for elderly persons, up from Tk2940 crore in the current fiscal. Some 97 lakh persons will get the benefits, an increase by eight lakh from the running year.
Similarly, allowances are being increased for widows and women left by husbands.
Their number will be 24.75 The allocation for this purpose would be Tk 1237.50 crore from existing Tk 1230 crore.
Some 18 lakh insolvent disabled, 7.70 lakh poor pregnant women and 2.75 lakh poor lactating mother will be put under the social safety net program, said the sources.
Transport workers who are affected by the pandemic will be included in the social safety net program.
An amount of Tk 2500 crore has been earmarked for the affected transport workers.
Social welfare ministry sources said other social safety net program would be expanded and the ministry is working on it.
In the new budget the number of transgenders and underprivileged beneficiaries will be increased to 95,000.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already provided financial assistance to some 36 lakh families who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and recent natural disasters.
The families include 35 lakh low-income ones engaged in different occupations including affected transport workers. The remaining one lakh are farmers affected by recent natural disasters.
Each of the 35 lakh families got Tk 2,500, while Tk 5,000 was given to each of one lakh farmer families.
The amount of allowance for the valiant freedom fighters of the country will also be increased.
The prime minister has already announced the allowance will be raised from Tk 12,000 to Tk 20,000 for the general category.
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