Government Initiatives in Poverty Reduction of Bangladesh

Bangladesh has achieved outstanding development in poverty alleviation during the last decade as a result of the dedicated efforts of the government and the proper and effective implementation of various public and private development activities. According to the household income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) 2016, the poverty rate declined to 24.3 percent in 2016, which was 40.0 percent in 2005. The Government has been working diligently to adopt and implement bold, strong, people-centric and inclusive policies for poverty reduction. Bangladesh’s success in poverty reduction through the pursuit of appropriate poverty reduction strategies, such as expanding social safety nets for people vulnerable to poverty, financial incentives, encouraging micro savings, effective disaster risk reduction programmes and building resilience against the effects of climate change, etc. has attracted the attention of global poverty alleviation experts. Besides, different government and non-government institutions, autonomous bodies carry out various activities including providing microcredit to accomplish the government’s efforts of poverty reduction. In addition, the government offers allowances for widows, destitute women, old aged people and so on. In FY 2020-21 a total of TK. 95,683 crore has been allocated in the revised budget to ensure the poor population's social safety. The stagnation, though temporary, caused by the ongoing corona pandemic in global economic activity, including that in Bangladesh, has brought challenges to progress in reducing poverty reduction. A sum of TK.2,500 each has been provided to protect the selected 35 lakh poor families nationwide who faced sudden unemployment and income loss due to the pandemic. Therefore, the poverty situation in Bangladesh did not worsen to a scale of catastrophe during the pandemic. On the other hand, the government is also taking effective and deliberate steps to address the potential impact of the recent second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country's poverty situation (Bangladesh Economic Review 2021).

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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Bangladesh

The United Nations declares ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the 2016-2030 period. It is also known as ‘Agenda 2030’. A Chief Co-coordinator of SDGs Affairs has been appointed in the Prime Minister’s Office in order to have an effective review of this agenda. The General Economics Division (GED) of the Planning Commission plays the secretarial role in all types of SDGs programmes. For effective implementation of SDGs, GED has published ‘Mapping of Ministries by Targets in the Implementation of SDGs aligning with 7th Five Year Plan’. According to this publication 40 Ministries/Divisions including PMO and Cabinet Division have been identified as leading Ministries/Divisions to 169 targets of SDGs. Another book ‘Data Gap Analysis for Sustainable Development Goals’ has been published with a view to collecting information for proper monitoring and evaluations of SDGs.

A book titled ‘SDG Financing Strategy: Bangladesh Perspective’ has been published to estimate the resources needed for implementing SDGs. In addition to that, ‘National Monitoring and Evaluation Framework of SDGs: Bangladesh Perspective’ has been formulated for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of SDGs. Moreover, ‘National Action Plan of Ministries/ Divisions by Targets for the Implementation of SDGs’ has been published by GED. The plan will act as a guideline for the Ministries/ Divisions to determine the types of projects/ programmes which will be needed to achieve the targets of SDGs during the 7th FYP and until 2030. The latest publication about SDGs is Sustainable Development Goals: Bangladesh Progress Report-2018’. This book is the first formal report on the implementation progress of SDGs in Bangladesh. In this report, the goal wise progress has been described. On the contrary, the challenges in implementing the targets have been identified with a way forward.

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Ongoing Social Safety-net Programmes

The government has been continuing the social safety net programmes with a view to alleviating poverty through the improvement of the socio-economic condition of the ultra-poor. The government has adopted the life cycle approach of the social safety net. In FY2019-20 a total of Tk. 74,367 crore has been allocated for social safety net programmes. The allocation is 14.21 percent of the budget and 2.58 percent of GDP of the same fiscal year.

The government has been implementing some general safety net programmes such as ensuring food security, distribution of free food, food for work and test relief and so on. Apart from this, the government has also implemented some special projects for instance ‘Aktee Bari Aktee Khamar’ (One House One Farm), ‘Ashrayan’, Grihayan,’ ‘Ghore Phera’ in order to make a hunger and poverty-free country. In addition, the government offers allowances for widows, destitute women, old-aged people, etc. The Palli Sanchoy Bank (Rural Savings Bank) has already encouraged rural savings. Its utilisation government has formulated the ‘National Social Security Strategy (NSSS)’ to reform the prevailing social security system ensures the efficiency and effectiveness of safety-net programmes.  According to this strategy, Bangladesh's ongoing social security programmes have been classified into five schemes based on the life cycle approach. These are: (a) schemes for children; (b) schemes for the labour force; (c) pension for old aged people; (d) programmes for disabled people and (e) small and special programmes.

Ministries engaged in implementing social safety-net programmes have been grouped into five clusters, each with a lead co-coordinating ministry. The thematic programme clusters are (1) social allowance, (2) food security and disaster assistance, (3) social insurance, (4) labour/livelihood interventions and (5) human development and social empowerment. Implementing ministries have the responsibility of designing and effective implementation of programmes. The implementing ministries will have to coordinate with other ministries in their own cluster.

Cash Transfer under Social Safety-net Programmes

The government provides cash transfers under the social safety-net programme along with food assistance, food for work, OMS and so on. In FY 2020-21 an amount of Tk. 33191.15 crore has been allocated in the revised budget for Various allowances programmes. Some selected cash transfer programmes under the overall social safety-net programmes are described in brief below:

Old Age Allowance Programme

This programme is initiated in 1997-98. 5 men and 5 women per ward were paid Tk in the beginning. 100 the number of beneficiaries and allowance rate has been increased gradually. Poor and risky elderly people, in case of men who are 65 and in case of women who are 62 will be under this programme. The number of beneficiaries has been increased from 40 lakh to 44 (lakhs) in the FY2019-20, who will receive Tk. 500 as monthly allowance. Among the 44 lakhs Beneficiaries half of them are elderly women.

Allowance Programme for Widow, Deserted and Destitute Women

In order to protect and empower the poor, risky and disadvantaged women, the government of Bangladesh introduced the 'Widow and Husband Deserted Women Allowance' programme in 1998-99. Initially, under this programme, 4.03 lakh women received Tk. 100 as a monthly allowance. The number of beneficiaries has been increased from 14 lakhs people to 17 lakhs in FY2019-20, who are receiving Tk. 500 as monthly allowances.

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Maternity Allowance for Poor Mother

This programme was introduced as a social safety-net programme in FY2007-08 in order to provide financial assistance to the poor mother. It gives allowance facilities and arranges different types of awareness building training related to health and nutrition. Earlier, a poor mother gets Tk. 500 each month under this programme. From the FY2018-19, the allowance increases into Tk. 800 per month. In addition, the term of the allowance extends to 36 months from 24 months. The number of beneficiaries increases to 7 lakh 70 thousand in FY2019-20 from 7 lakh in FY2018-19.

Working Lactating Mother Assistance Fund

This programme started since FY2010-11 to provide financial assistance to the urban poor working lactating mothers. Earlier, a poor lactating working mother receives amount of Tk. 500 per month up to 24 months. From FY2019-20, the amount and duration has been increased. Now, a lactating mother gets Tk. 800 per month for 36 months. Currently, the programme is restricted to lactating mothers in Dhaka, Narayanganj, and Gazipur garments areas and all city corporations/ municipalities of the country. In FY2019-20, 2.75 lakh poor lactating mothers have been provided under this programme.

Allowance for the Financially Insolvent Disabled Citizens

The Government of Bangladesh is implementing a multi-faceted programme under the Social Security Programme through the Ministry of Social Welfare to establish the constitutional rights of persons with disabilities and to implement the national and international commitment. In continuation of this, the Insolvent Disability Allowance Programme was introduced in the FY2005-6 Under this programme, an allowance was given at the rate of Tk. 200 to 1 lakh 4 thousand 166 disabled people. The number of beneficiaries has increased from 10 lakh to 15 lakh 45 thousand in the FY2019-20, who are receiving 750 Tk. as monthly allowance.

Stipend for the Disabled Students

With the aim of ensuring education for children with disabilities that they can participate in national development through higher education, the Government launches the 'Education Scholarship Programme for Students with Disabilities through the Ministry of Social Welfare in the FY 2007-08. Initially, Under this programme allocation was for 12,209 people, stipends are being provided at the primary, secondary, higher- secondary and higher levels at monthly rates of Tk. 750, 800, 900 and 1300. The number of beneficiaries is 1 lakh in the FY 2020-21.

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Capitation Grant for Non-government Orphanage

The government allocates capitation grants for non-government orphanages. A capitation grant is provided for up to a maximum of 50 percent of orphans in a private orphanage registered by the Department of Social Services. A grant of Tk 120 crore is provided to 1 lakh residents during FY 2020-21.

Development of the Living standards of the gipsy community

During the period 2012-13, the programme started to improve the standard of living of the people of Gypsy, Dalits and Harijans by transforming them into skilled manpower. The programme was implemented in seven districts of Dhaka, Chattogram, Dinajpur, Patuakhali, Jessore, Naogaon and Habiganj districts as a pilot project, respectively. Now, this programme is being implemented in 64 districts. The amount allocated in FY2019-20 is about 9.23 crore. The total number of beneficiaries in the FY2019-20 is 10,000 thousand.

Development of the Living standards of the backward community

The present government has taken various activities to improve the quality of life of the backward people to integrate them into the mainstream of society. From the FY2012-13 to the next FY2018-19, development programmes of the Gypsy and the backward people were two together. The programme is separated from the FY2019-20 and is being run as a ‘Living standards development programme for the backward people’. In FY2019-20, a total of Tk. 57.87 crore has been allocated for this programme.

Programme for Improving the Livelihood of Transgender (Hizra) People

The government works for the transgender (Hizra) people, the neglected community of society. In FY2012-13, the government started this programme in seven districts on a pilot basis. Now, the programme is executing the whole of the country. In FY2019-20, a total of Tk. 5.56 crore has been allocated for this programme. It is estimated that 7,650 transgender people directly benefited from this programme.

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Programmes under Food Assistance Initiatives

Food Friendly Programme

In 2016, the branding program of Honorable Prime minister ''Food Friendly Programme'' was launched. Under this programme, 50 lakh ultra-poor families (Widows, elderly, women-led families, women-led downstream poor families) living at the union level are enlisted. The families enlisted in this programme are distributed 30kg of rice per month in the workless month/lean season at Tk. 10/kg. In the current FY 2020-2021, 4.87 lac MT of rice have been distributed under this programme.

Open Market Sale (OMS)

This programme is initiated to ensure the food security of low-income people. As a result, people of low and limited income can purchase flour and rice. In FY2019-2020 (February 2020), 0.08 lakh rice and 2.03 lakh MT of flour were distributed.

Food For Work (Kabikha) and Taka For Work (Kabita) Programmes

Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief conducts these programmes. This programme has been operating for rural infrastructure renovation. A total of Tk. 1498.65 crore has been allocated for this programme in the FY2019-20.

Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) Programme

Generally, this assistance is provided to the families affected by the disaster after the disaster has been restored. This assistance is provided to every family for 20 to 40 kg monthly 2 to 5 months. Besides, the fishermen who are abstaining from mother hilsa and jatka are also getting VGF assistance. Poor people also get VGF help at various religious festivals. In FY2019-20, 1,49,980.90 MT food grains have been distributed for this programme.

Test Relief (TR) programme

In FY2019-20, an amount of Tk. 1,530 crore has been allocated under this programme. Out of this, a total of Tk. 88,157 crore in the first phase and Tk. 51,804 crore in the second phase has been allocated.

Gratuitous Relief (GR) Programme

Under GR (rice) programme food assistance provides to the disaster vulnerable poor, distressed and helpless people affected by various natural calamities. In FY2019-20, a total of Tk. 98.95 crore has been distributed under this programme.

Employment Programme for Ultra-Poor

In FY2009-10, the activities started in the whole country by giving preference to the poorest and workable people of rural areas. The objective of the programme is to: (a) Increase employment and purchasing power for the poorest unemployed people in Bangladesh; (b) Create wealth for the population and the country in general; and (c) Improve infrastructure and communication development, proper maintenance and development of environment. In FY2019-20, allocation of Tk. 821.38 crore has been received.

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Ongoing Programmes/Projects under the Social Safety-net

A total of 54 projects/programmes are implemented in FY 2020-21 for poverty reduction under the social empowerment sector. Among these 47 are running projects/ programmes, the rest 7 are new projects/ programmes. An amount of Tk. 12,276.01 crore has been allocated to implement these projects. Brief descriptions of some projects/ programmes of the social safety net are given below:

Ashrayan-2 (Poverty Alleviation and Rehabilitation) Project

Ashrayan project was commenced in 1997 for rehabilitating the landless, homeless and rootless families. A number of 1,54,238 landless, rootless and homeless people have been rehabilitated through the Ashrayan project through the construction of barrack houses. A number of 1,43,777 houses have been built on one’s own land. A total of 2,98,249 families have been rehabilitated through the Ashrayan project. According to future plan a massive work of constructing houses for the landless and homeless families will be started just after the list of landless and homeless families are finalfinalised

Grihayan Tahabil

Grihayan Tahabil was launched in FY1997-98 considering the housing problem along with reducing poverty of homeless poor and low income rural people. Bangladesh Bank coordinates the whole activities of the programme. Grihayan Tahobil provides Tk. 1,30,000 as housing loan for each house. Bangladesh Bank allows loan to the implementing NGOs at a simple interest rate of 1.50 percent and the NGOs provide loans to the beneficiaries at the rate of 5.50 percent interest. The recovery period is 3 to 10 years. 616 NGOs are executing this programme at 404 upozilas of 64 districts. Up to February, 2021, Tk. 417.24 crore has been disbursed under this programme. In total 88,105 houses have been built and 4,40,525 rural poor people have directly benefitted through this programme.

The project constructs homes for homeless people and finances to build a dormitory/ hostel for female workers, especially garment workers. A 12 storied hostel for the poor female workers has been constructed at with a cost of Tk. 24.61 crore at Ashulia, Savar through financial assistance of Grihayan Tahabil. As many as 744 women workers will get the residential facility in this hostel. Moreover, Grihayan Tahabil has sanctioned Tk. 2.00 crore to the „Ghore Phera Kormosuchi’ implemented by Bangladesh Krishi Bank. Meanwhile, Tk. 25 crores is sanctioned in favour of the Ministry of Labor to construct Labor Hostel/Dormitories by the Department of Labor. Moreover, a total of Tk. 29.92 crore has been donated from this programme among the disaster affected loan receivers.

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Poverty Alleviation Activities of Rural Development and Co-operative Division

The Rural Development and Cooperative Division (RDCD) has prepared short and medium-term action plan for poverty reduction. These are formulated according to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper guidelines, 7th FYP and the ‘National Rural Development Policy, 2001’. Activities of a few projects related to poverty alleviation and social safety-net as well as actions of a few Departments/Foundations under the Rural Development and Co-operatives Division are discussed describe below:

Amar Bari Amar Khamar

‘Amar Bari Amar Khamar’ (My House My Farm) is a permanent poverty model. The project is being implemented to build every home as a centre of economic activity. People with land up to 50 decimal, those who live in the hilly/char/backward localities with a maximum of one acre of land are the project's target group. The objective of sustainable development goals is to reduce all types of poverty everywhere, as part of SDG’s ‘Mission-1 and ‘Mission-2’ to free from hunger, food security and improved and expansion of sustainable agriculture and 'Mission-5' 'Gender Equality, Empowerment of women and girls. The project is being implemented in every ward of all unions of all the country's districts.

The special feature of the project is to increase agricultural and non-agricultural production, income and employment opportunities by the beneficiaries and their sustainable use of sustainable capital. Up to February 2021, 12,0465 Village Development Organizations (VDOs) have been formed under this project. Almost 56.79 lakh poor people have directly or indirectly benefitted through these VDOs. As a result of the successful implementation of this project, the project will play a vital role in promoting poverty-free, middle-income countries, by 2021, by ensuring permanent and sustainable poverty reduction of 56.78 lakh poor families of 2.83 crore beneficiaries.

The government has established and set up Palli Shanchoy Bank (PSB) to manage and mobilise the funds developed by the Village Development Organizations earlier formed under the ‘Amar Bari Amar Khamar’ project. Banking operation is being conducted through 485 branches of 485 Upazilas of the country.

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Comprehensive Village Development Programme (CVDP) 3rd Phase

The project “Comprehensive Village Development Programme (CVDP)-3rd phase” is being implemented under Rural Development and Cooperative Division to reduce the level of poverty and improve the quality of life of the people in the poverty-stricken area of rural Bangladesh. During the project period (January 2018 to December 2021), a total of 14,30,163 members of the cooperatives (both men and women) will be trained for a different duration. Targeted output/physical targets of the project are respectively: number of Society formation 10,035 and number of member enrolment 14,50,000 Till February 2021, about 7,845 Societies have been formed and 7,08,497 members have been enrolled. A total of 1,49,412 people have become self-employed under this project.

Department of Co-operatives

Cooperative is a worldwide tested and recognised for poverty alleviation and economic development. At present, the total number of registered cooperatives in the country is 1,93,750. Among them, the number of primary co-operative societies are 1,92,528, the central cooperation number are 1,200 and the national association has 22. The total number of members of the cooperative societies are 1,15,38,665 people, the share capital is about Tk. 1,801.39 crore, the savings deposit amount is Tk. 8,444.88 crore and the working capital is Tk. 14,473.14 crore.

Bangladesh Co-operative Insurance Limited is established to ensure the economic development and security of the members of the cooperative societies. At present, the number of members of this association is 501. With a view to making co-operative activities fruitful and dynamic in the country, the Department of Co-operative implements different projects/ programmes from time to time. At this moment two projects titled 'Improved Breed dairy farming for livelihood development of disadvantage women' and 'Expansion of Dairy Co-operative in Gangachara Upazila for employment generation through milk and meat production is implemented by the department.

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Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB)

Poverty alleviation through the development of the rural economy is one of the pledges of the present government. To achieve this goal, Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB) is working on a rural development programme. BRDB has successfully implemented 118 projects/ programmes. At present, BRDB is operating 5 ADP listed projects/ programmes regarding poverty alleviation and social empowerment. These are: (a) Participatory Rural Development Project-3, (b) Employment Guarantees Scheme for the Poor of Northern Region (UDKONIK)-2nd phase; (c) Comprehensive Village Development Programme; (d) Poverty Reduction through high valued nutritious Minor Crops production and Marketing programme and (e) Gaibanda Integrated Rural Poverty Alleviation Project. In addition, BRDB implements 15 projects/programmes related to poverty reduction, women empowerment and microcredit through its own fund. Up to February 2021, BRDB cumulatively disburses Tk. 18,561.08 crore. On the contrary, a total of Tk. 16,966.18 crore has been recovered in the same period.

Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD)

Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD) Cumilla is the pioneer institution for training, research, action research and innovation for rural development in Bangladesh. Since its inception up to February 2021, BARD has conducted 8,697 training courses where 2, 96,368 participants participated. From its inception in 1959 to December 2021, BARD has been carried out 739 types of research. At present BARD has been implemented 14 projects regarding poverty alleviation, microcredit, women's education, nutrition development, agricultural development and technology transfer.

Rural Development Academy (RDA)

Bogura Rural Development Academy (RDA), Bogura established in 1974. The academy's mission is to provide training, conduct research, action research and offer advisory services. The academy arranges training courses on modern technology transfer, skilled development and human resource development. From March 2020-February, 2021, RDA has accomplished training for 121 batches and a total of 5,996 participants attended the training. From inception to February 2021, the academy has been organorganisednded by 5,74,873 participants.

Palli Daridro Bimochon Foundation (PDBF)

PDBF operates 403 offices in 357 Upazilas in 55 districts. In order to create self-employment and increase financial capacity through income-generating activities, loan assistance of Tk. 12,866 crore has been provided to the beneficiaries. PDBF's activities have directly and indirectly provided employment to approximately 22 lakh people and about 65 lakh people have been benefited. About 97% of the beneficiary members of PDBF are women.

Small Farmers Development Foundation (SFDF)

The Foundation commenced in 2005 but started its activities in February 2007. At present the activities of the Foundation and its project are being implemented through 173 upazila offices of 36 districts of the country. At the end of the month of February, 2021 a total of 2,14,235 members have been enrolled through the 6,841 village centres of SFDF where women members are 94 percent. The enrolled member is providing Microcredit and Microenterprise loan and trade-based training to strengthen their income-generating activities. As SFDF provides strong monitoring, loan and training support the beneficiaries are coming out from the poverty level. Among the members an amount of Tk. 1,247.94 Crore has been disbursed cumulatively as collateral-free credit support and against that an amount of Tk. 1075.00 Crore has been recovered through weekly and monthly installment basis during the period. The recovery rate of credit stands to 97 percent. The weekly savings of the enrolled beneficiaries of the Foundation have been accumulated at Tk. 92.80 Crore as their own capital.

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Bangabandhu Academy for Poverty Alleviation and Rural Development (BAPARD)

Bangabandhu Poverty Alleviation Training Complex was established at Kotalipara upazila of Gopalgonj district in 1997. The mission of the complex is to improve livelihood by getting rid of the poverty of rural people especially living in the southwestern part of the country. Later on, it was renamed `Bangabandhu Academy for Poverty Alleviation and Rural Development (BAPARD)‟ in 2012. BAPARD mainly conducts training and research and arranges training programmes for government and non-government officials. It organorganisesshops, conferences and seminars related to rural development and poverty alleviation as well. Moreover, BAPARD executes training on various income generating activities on farming and off-farming sector for self-employment of small and marginal farmers and landless unemployed people. BAPARD conducted training for 43,372 participants of stakeholders as well as officials from its inception on FY 2001-2002 to till FY 2020-2021 (up to February, 2021).

Bangabandhu Youth Credit programme

'Bangabandhu Youth Credit' programme has been adopted to generate employment opportunities and to poverty alleviation on the occasion of the birth centenary of the father of the nation the great Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has termed the 'Bangabandhu Youth Credit' programme as a startup programme. Under this programme, a detailed action plan has been adopted and is being implemented to provide loans to 2.00 lakh trained unemployed youth in 2020 and 2021. Under this programme, an amount of Tk. 685.97 crore have been disbursed in favor of 45,281 entrepreneurs till February, 2021.

Social Protection Activities to combat COVID-19

To protect the poor from the adverse effects of Coronavirus, as part of the stimulus programme, the government has expanded the scope of Social Safety Net by increasing the number of beneficiaries of old-age allowances, widow and divorce allowances and disability allowances by 11 lakhs. Alongside, to protect the ultra-poor who have become jobless and lost their income due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, the government is providing direct cash transfer of Tk. 2,500 each to 50 lakhs beneficiary families.

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Own Loan Programme of the Bank

Under the own loan programme, up to February 2021, the bank distributed an amount of Tk. 6,081.97 crore among 5,96,096 beneficiaries. On the other hand, Tk. 5,984.37 crore has been recovered during this period.

Microcredit Programme for Selfretired/Retrench Worker/Employees of Mills/Industries and Establishment

According to the memorandum of an understanding signed by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Karmasangsthan bank operates this programme for reemployment of self retired/retrenched workers/ employees of mills/ industries. Up to February 2021, a total of Tk. 111.03 crore has been distributed among 20,008 beneficiaries At the same time, the Tk. 102.18 crore has been recovered.

Employment Programmes of Karmasangsthan Bank

The government established Karmasangsthan Bank in 1998 to create self-employment opportunities for unemployed youths especially, educated unemployed youths. The bank provides loans to the youths with a view to involving them in productive and income-generating programmes. At present, the bank runs its activities through 255 branches across the country.

Credit Programme for Agro-based Industries

With the financial support of the Ministry of Finance, Karmasangsthan Bank has been conducting this programme. An amount of Tk. 69.04 crore has been disbursed among beneficiaries till February 2021. As a result, 2,393 entrepreneurs who are involved in the agro-based industry directly benefited.

Bangladesh Bank Loan Programme

Karmasangsthan Bank has been operating this programme with the loan assistance of Bangladesh Bank since FY2015-16. Later on, from FY2016-17, the bank commenced milk production and artificial insemination refinance scheme. Up to February 2021 Tk. 771.75 crore has been distributed among 33,545 young entrepreneurs under this programme.

Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF)

Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) works for poverty alleviation, social safety-net and women empowerment in 1990. The foundation executes activities all over the country through its 278 Partners Organisations (POs). Nearly, 91 percent members of the POs are female. In the first six months of the current financial year, PKSF disbursed BDT 2,179.09 crore to its Pos for various financial services. At the same time the borrowers level of financial services of the POs amounted to BDT 27,368.71 crore. Up to December 2020, cumulative financial assistance from PKSF to POs and POs to borrowers is BDT 40,792.50 and 4,31,796.10 crore respectively. PKSF approaches poverty eradication and beyond poverty development in a manner that essentially invokes the basic tenets of the UNadopted sustainable development approach.

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Microcredit for Women Self-employment

Micro-Credit activities for self-employment of poor and distress Women programme is one of the important safety net programme of the present government. To create the opportunity for women in employment sector or in productive role, this programme is well recogrecognisedpracticing in the country. This programme is continuing from FY 2003-04 to FY 2020-21 up to January 2021 the total allotment is 53.53 crore taka only and total Tk. 144.59 crore has been distributed from the revolving fund among 1,42,174 poor women of 489 Upazila Women Affairs offices in 64 districts.

Microcredit Programme Monitoring through Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA)

The Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA) was established in 2006. The prime responsibility of the authority is to ensure transparency and accountability of the microfinance institutions of the country. It also regulates the microfinance institutions which are operating their activities in the country. MRA provides permission to run microcredit activities. It also collects and preserves information regarding microcredit programmes of all government and non-government organisations signal Database of micro BRAC BRAC, the largest NGO in the world has a great contribution to the socio-economic development of Bangladesh. It is the biggest microcredit providing NGO in the country. It operates different types of programme through microcredit. The activities which are being implemented by BRAC relate to economic and social development, health, education, human rights and legal services, and disaster management. In addition, Up to December 2020, BRAC disbursed an amount of Tk. 2,86,879.81 crore. During this period in total 8,127,942 people have been benefited out of which 84 percent are female and credit is going to be prepared in order to modernise the activities of MRA. Up to February 2021, MRA issued licenses to 880 institutions to carry out microfinance activities. On the other hand, the authority has cancelled the certificate of 134 institutions for their failure to do satisfactory functions. Up to June 2020, the amount of loan and outstanding savings of these institutions are Tk. 888.64 crore and Tk. 373.9 crore respectively.

Ref. Bangladesh Economic Review 2021 (Chapter 13, Poverty Alleviation)

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