Under a scheme called the National Social Security Strategy (NSSS), the government plans to bring 3.57 crore of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens under social safety nets. The comprehensive programme, supposed to take off in the next fiscal year, targets children below the age of 4, school-age children, working-age population, the elderly and people with disability. It is supposed to be implemented in three phases going beyond 2026.
NSSS seems carefully tailored to benefit the poor in the long term. For instance, the children’s programme involves handing out Tk 800 monthly for healthcare and nutrition. The programme for school-age children involves providing each child (5 to 18 years) with Tk 300 a month for primary school feeding. Several studies show that investment in nutrition is a good investment in human development.
Implementation of the programme will require Tk 37,100 crore in fiscal year 2015-16. Oftentimes, such programmes targeted at the poor are poorly managed, underfunded, and left to wither. According to a study, 27 percent of the benefits of many programmes are enjoyed by the rich. The NSSS aims to ensure proper spending of government funds and reach out to the neediest.
Theoretically, the scheme looks spot on. Now, the government needs to ensure transparency and accountability in carrying it out.