Bangladesh has the highest number of social protection schemes in the world. There are 145 social protection schemes which are thought to be highest in number in the world.
The Government of Bangladesh is strongly committed to reducing poverty, improving human development and reducing inequality. This commitment is reflected in Vision 2021, the Perspective Plan 2010-2021 and in the Sixth Five Year Plan FY11-FY15. The Government seeks to build on past progress with poverty reduction and further deepen this progress by both addressing the root causes of poverty as well as by lowering the impact of risks faced by the poor and vulnerable population.
The Government appreciates that notwithstanding the past impressive progress with poverty reduction, there is a substantial population that remains exposed to poverty owing to various vulnerabilities. This includes the population that remains under the poverty line and those that are just above the poverty line but could easily fall below the poverty line because of these vulnerabilities. Evidence shows that the poor and vulnerable group cannot cope with all the downside risks and shocks with their own resources.
Current safety net programmes reflect the Government’s response to support the poor and the vulnerable population manage those risks. Household Income and Expenditure Surveys (HIES) shows that the coverage of these programmes for the poor and vulnerable households has increased and they have helped lower poverty. But data also suggest that a large proportion of the poor and vulnerable households do not have any access to these programmes. The average benefit of safety net programmes is low and in many cases falling in real terms. There is considerable leakage of allocated funds and a significant percentage of household beneficiaries are non-poor. Consequently, the impact on poverty reduction from the amount of money spent in these programmes is much less than is possible with a better social protection system.
In recognition of these concerns, the Government of Bangladesh has embarked upon the formulation of a comprehensive National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) that seeks to streamline and strengthen the existing safety net programmes with a view to achieving better results from money spent, and to broaden the scope of social protection from the more narrow safety net concept to include employment policies and social insurance to address the emerging needs of a middle income Bangladesh in 2021 and ahead. By broadening the scope and coverage and by improving
By broadening the scope and coverage and by improving programme design the NSPS will help lower income inequality and contribute to higher growth by strengthening human development. The NSPS draws on the past experience with social protection programmes in Bangladesh and good practice international experience. To facilitate the preparation of the NSPS ten background papers, prepared by a team of international and local experts, were commissioned on the various issues relating to the NSPS.
The social protection schemes of Bangladesh are as follows.
The Finance Division (FD) of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has undertaken the Strengthening Public Financial Management for Social Protection (SPFMSP) Project, with the assistance of UK DFID and Australian DFAT, to follow through on the Value for Money (VfM) commitment.
The SPFMSP Project also is linked to the DFID-funded Strengthening Government Social Protection Systems for the Poor (SGSP) Programme which is aimed at supporting the Government to establish policies, budgets and plans for a more effective and efficient social protection system. Other parts of SGSP are being delivered by four implementing partners: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Bank (WB) and the Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF).
The major objective of the SPFMSP Project is to enhance the capacity of the FD and six major social protection (SP) expenditure managing Line Ministries (LMs) to draw evidenced based budgets that respond to VfM, improve targeting, prevent leakages, avoid duplication, bring efficiency in delivery systems and establish an efficient SP expenditure monitoring system.
The six LMs associated with the FD in the implementation of the Project are:
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