Social Security and Social Services Programs in Bangladesh

What is Social Security?

Social Security (SS): Social Security is a program in which the government provides money to people who cannot work because they are old, disabled, or unemployed.

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According to Wikipedia- "Social Security may refer to the action programs of government intended to promote the welfare of the population through assistance measures guaranteeing access to sufficient resources for food and shelter and to promote health and well-being for the population at large and potentially vulnerable segments such as children, the elderly, the sick and the unemployed".

According to Professor M. A. Ghafur- "by social security we understand – a programme of  protection provided by society against those contingencies of modern life- sickness, unemployment, old-age dependency, industrial accidents and ………..against which the individual cannot be expected………."

According to International Labor Organizations- "Social security is the protection that a society provides to individuals and households to ensure access to health care and to guarantee income security, particularly in cases of old age, unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity or loss of a  breadwinner."

The online free dictionary defined social security as a government program that provides economic assistance to persons faced with unemployment, disability, or agedness, financed by the assessment of employers and employees.

Thompson has said- "SS has been defined as the protection given by the society to its members or various categories of them, through a series of public measures from the economic distress that otherwise would be caused by the stoppage or substantial reduction of earnings resulting from sickness, maternity, unemployment, injury, invalidity, old age, and death; for providing medical care to these groups in the populations and also for subsidizing families containing several children". 

Read: Theoretical Perspectives to Social Problems

Read: NGOs in Bangladesh


What are the Social Security Programmes in BD

Some SS programs in Bangladesh include Maternity Benefit,  Medical Benefit, Workmen Compensation, Pension, Gratuity, Provident Fund, Old age allowance, Widow allowance, freedom fighter allowance, relief, daycare centre, Juvenile development centre etc.

Key Statistics of Social Security Programs

¢  Only one in five people has adequate social security coverage.
¢  More than half the world's population lacks social security protection.
¢  In sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, only an estimated 5% to 10% of the working population has some social security coverage.
¢  In middle-income countries, social security coverage generally ranges from 20% to 60% of the population.
¢  In most industrialized countries, coverage is close to 100%, although increasing formalization of work results in lower levels of coverage, especially in countries in economic transition.
¢  Europe is the region with the highest level of social security expenditure at nearly 25% of GDP, followed by North America at 16.6%. Africa has the lowest level at 4.3% of GDP.
¢  The HIV/AIDS pandemic threatens the financial viability of social security systems in many developing countries.
¢  Lack of social security coverage is primarily concentrated in the informal economies of the developing world, which are generally a more significant source of employment for women than for men. Impact of Social Security The ILO and Social Security


Types of Social Security Programmes

Types of Social Security: Commonly, there have three types of SS programs, which are social insurance, social services and social assistance. 

Social Insurance (SI)

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Social insurance is a public insurance program that provides protection against various economic risks (e.g., loss of income due to sickness, old age, or unemployment) and in which participation is compulsory. Social insurance is considered a type of social security, and in fact, the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

According to ILO- "SS is a scheme of providing benefits for persons of small earnings granted as of right in amounts that combine and contribute efforts of the insured with subsidies from the employer and the state".

According to Wikipedia- "Social insurance is any government-sponsored program with the following four characteristics:
  1. the benefits, eligibility requirements and other aspects of the program are defined by statute;
  2. explicit provision is made to account for the income and expenses (often through a trust fund);
  3. it is funded by taxes or premiums paid by (or on behalf of) participants (although additional sources of funding may be provided as well); and
  4. The program serves a defined population, and participation is either compulsory, or the program is subsidized heavily enough that most eligible individuals choose to participate.
Social Insurance Programs in Bangladesh
ü   Provident Fund, Pension, Group Insurance, Gratuity, Benevolent Fund etc.

Social Assistance

According to Friedlander – "it may be provided by payments based upon economic and social needs of the applicants which are determined by a means test, or they may be granted as a flat rate of allowance legally fixed with the guard to recognized average needs of families of a specific size".
  • Social assistance - benefits paid to bring incomes up to minimum levels established by law
  • Social assistance can be divided into two sides – a) General Assistance, b) Special assistance
Some Social Assistance in BD
ü  Relief in flood or any natural disaster-affected area, a Rehabilitation program in the disaster-prone areas etc.

Social Service (SS)

According to Professor Dr Abdul Hakim Sarker- "the programmes that are not included in social insurance and assistance but necessary for the well-being of society is called social service".

According to Wikipedia- "Social services are a range of public services provided by governmental or private organizations. These public services aim to create more effective organizations, build stronger communities, and promote equity and opportunity. Social services include the benefits and facilities such as education, food subsidies, health care, job training and subsidized housing, adoption, community management, policy research, and lobbying. Not all public services are social services.

Some Social Service Programs in BD
Old age allowance, widow allowance, freedom fighter allowance,  aftercare service, daycare centre, hospital social service etc.


The success of Family Planning Programmes in Bangladesh

The concept of governance had existed as a process of running a government or an organization. Still, in the late 1980s, 'Governance' emerged by the intellectual as a representation of economic and social development concepts. Governance means power, relationships and accountability, such as who may influence decisions, how citizens and other stakeholders express their opinion and how these decisions make accountable. Governance may also refer to the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country's affairs. The concept of 'Good Governance' was established in the 1980s by the aid organizations such as International Finance Institutions (IFI), the World Bank, the IMF, UNDP, and OECD. They acknowledged good governance when institutions and principles are worked well entirely. In the mid-1990s, transparency, accountability and participation were also added to the excellent governance characteristics.
Bangladesh is a typical developing country in South Asia with a large population, and low per capita income. The government has dominated the agriculture-based economy, which moved into the market-based economy in the mid-1970s and received aid under the program of the World Bank, IMF, and other donor agencies. The latest 2011 census of Bangladesh estimates a population of 149 million for the country, implying an increase of 19 million since the census of 2001. In 1901, the area that is now Bangladesh supported a population of roughly 25 million, and population growth was negligible. Historically, in the mid-1970s, a Bangladeshi woman had more than six children on average, in combination with poor nutrition and lack of access to quality health services; this high fertility rate jeopardized the health of both the woman and her children. Beyond the health impact, high fertility and rapid population growth represented a significant constraint to the country's economic development and social progress.

During this period, Bangladesh has taken the initiative of family planning from 1976 to reduce the birth rate, maternal mortality ratio, and the under-five mortality rate. Bangladesh has shown great success in reducing the average number of children per woman of reproductive age. According to the Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey 2011 (BDHS-2011), the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in Bangladesh is 2.3, a massive decline from 6.3 in 1976. Bangladesh currently has the lowest TFR in South Asia. On the other hand, the Bangladesh mortality survey shows a drop of 40 percent in maternal mortality rate between 2001 and 2010.
Infant mortality declined by 44 percent in the same period and child mortality by 35 percent. There is a positive relationship between the declination of maternal mortality and the successful delivery of family-planning measures, integration of maternal and child health with family planning, promotion of safe delivery measures, tetanus vaccination, and other healthcare services. According to UNICEF, Bangladesh's child mortality rate was 139 per 1000 live births in 1990, reduced to 38 in 2015.

It can be said that the spectacular success in family planning explicitly is a result of good governance. The same characteristics of good governance are implicitly observed in family planning activities with the involvement of all sectors of the country. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is the primary governmental organ to drive this initiative. With the help of the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), other international donors and national stakeholders, the government of Bangladesh formulated policies and processes to achieve the objective of family planning. Participation of civil society, local leaders, and both female and male counterparts of a family has been ensured. Bangladesh's NGOs are among the most active in the world. NGOs increased their level of family planning services provided through the encouragement of the Bangladesh Government. Private-public partnerships experiences ensure good governance and are the main element of the success of the Family Planning sector. 

Family-planning programs had also recognized in the mid-1960s when Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan. The early programs could not work because of the government's little attention to maternal and child health. At that time, policymakers focused only on the use of contraceptives. The government of Bangladesh learned from the failure and has taken a holistic approach that considers many other things in addition to the use of contraceptives with the support of WHO, NGOs and the state cooperation in bringing immunization to the entire country. Health-focused NGOs in Bangladesh regularly organize immunization camps to create awareness and more involvement of people at the grassroots level. The government supplies the vaccines, and NGO staffs immunize pregnant women and children. Most of our country's women are aware that the tetanus vaccine provides them with protection against this deadly disease, so the overwhelming majority of women have had their vaccination. Many display a great eagerness to have their infants and young children immunized, and some even show up before the actual immunization dates. Many of them convince their neighbours of how vital the vaccination is. This is an excellent picture of an effective, efficient and responsive system- the primary component of good governance.

Promoting family planning concepts all over the country was not an easy task. Television channels, Radio, newspapers, and NGOs played a significant role to establish a positive consensus towards family planning in a society consisting of ninety per cent Muslims and where oppression of women is perennial. The voice of men and women is equally treated in the process of implementation of activities of family planning. The most important thing is that the government and NGOs cooperated coherently. In fact, Islam does not prohibit the use of birth-control measures, albeit it forbids infanticide. Since women's and children's health and the costs of raising children are important factors, Muslim clerics in Bangladesh did not oppose the promotion of birth control. That is true both at policymaking and the grassroots level. In 1976, the government started delivering family planning services through family welfare assistants. The government recruited people to reach out to the village women at their doorsteps.

The approach followed the example set by the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research (ICDDR). Every two weeks, they sent out health workers to deliver messages about contraception, distribute contraceptives, and motivate mothers to use them. The health workers addressed the women's fears and discussed the possible side effects of contraceptive use. They also provided healthcare services when needed. The approach proved successful, and evidently, the family-level support was crucial. 

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