Cash Distribution

Dhaka div tops list of fake aid seekers

Shakhawat Hossain  | Published: 23:56, Aug 08,2020 | Updated: 09:20, Aug 09,2020


The presence of fake aid seekers is highest in Dhaka division, at 40 per cent, and the lowest in Mymensingh division, at 5 per cent, on the list that had been prepared under the cash distribution programme to help the jobless amid the COVID-19 crisis.

About 15 lakh invalid identities have been found on the list prepared under the much-talked-about Tk 1,250 crore cash distribution programme.

The finance ministry officials said 12,16,000 jobless from the Dhaka division comprising districts such as Dhaka, Faridpur, Gazipur, Gopalganj, Kishoreganj, Madaripur, Manikganj, Munsiganj, Narayanganj, Narsingdi, Rajbari, Shariatpur and Tangail sought Tk 2,500 cash assistance each.

Among them, 4,93,783 were found invalid on the grounds of duplication and discrepancies in cell phone, mobile bank account and  national identity card numbers against the valid 7,22,217 entries in the country’s top administrative division.

Besides, while scanning the entries, the ministry of finance found the presence of duplication with a single entry over 200 times and even the government pensioners, saving certificates holders over Tk 5 lakh were on the list, people who are not eligible for the cash assistance.

The ministry of finance has prepared the comparative picture of the beneficiaries in the county’s eight divisions as the programme has come to an end with distribution of cash assistance of Tk 879.58 crore to around 35 lakh people, 15 lakh short of the targeted 50 lalk.

Additional secretary Md Habibur Rahman of the finance division said they would send the programme update to the Prime Minister’s Office soon.

The ministry of disaster management and relief and ICT Division with the help of the field administration had sent the list to the ministry of finance.

There were widespread criticism and allegations of corruption since the inauguration of the programme by the Prime Minister’s Office on May 14.

Under the programme, aid-seekers were given cash assistance through mobile banking services which economists termed an essential programme against the backdrop of the widespread job loss among the informal sector workers.

But the selection process by the unskilled public officials tainted the programme, said Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies research director Binayak Sen. 

In a report released in July, Transparency International Bangladesh detected partisan political considerations in preparing the lists of beneficiaries for distributing relief in 82 per cent of the selected areas amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The finance ministry officials said they found lowest 5 per cent fake aid seekers in Mymensingh division as the number of fake aid seekers was 13,868 among the 2,67,000 applicants.

The presence of fake aid seekers was 2,53,132  in Barisal division, second highest at 39 per cent after the Dhaka division. The presence of fake aid seekers in Khulana was 27.38 per cent. The division is slightly ahead of Chittagong (27 per cent) and Rajshahi (26.19 per cent).

The presence of fake aid seekers in Rangpur and Sylhet was 24.84 per cent and 24.48 per cent respectively.

According to the finance ministry calculation, almost half or 17,88,533 was day labourers among the beneficiaries.

The ministry also found 4,51,252 farmers, 3,55,744 workers, 2,26,803 house helps, 1,63,335 motor mechanics and 5,71,684  other aid seekers on the list.

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