Two-thirds of people belonging to the poor section of society think that prices of essential commodities rise as an impact of announcement of the national budget while 17 per cent of them do not have any idea about the budget, according to a recent survey report.
World’s largest non-government organisation Brac, Unnayan Shamannay and Infolady Social Enterprise Limited (iSocial) jointly conducted the survey among 4,800 poor and ultra-poor households across the country.
‘The poor and ultra-poor community of society considers the budget as an annual negative event and, so, it has, in general, a detrimental effect,’ iSocial chief executive officer Ananya Raihan said while presenting the findings of the survey at a press conference held at the CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka on Tuesday.
The people surveyed do not have any special expectation from the budget as they consider it as a negative event but they have identified some priority areas for the budget, he said.
Sixty-four per cent of the respondents want higher budget allocation for education so that their children can get better education, according to the survey.
Around 49 per cent people want more allocation for health, 38 per cent seek more support for agriculture in the form of subsidy and 30 per cent want higher allocation for creating employment, it said.
The survey also found that around 20 per cent of the beneficiaries of the country’s social safety net programme were rich and only 54 per cent of them were found below poverty line.
Raihan said that the government should withdraw the proposed additional supplementary duty on mobile talk time, value-added tax on edible oil and power milk as these three items were essential goods and services for common people.
Unnayan Shamannay chairperson Atiur Rahman, also a former governor of Bangladesh Bank, demanded introduction of universal pension scheme for organised labour such as readymade garment industry to secure their livelihood after retirement.
He also demanded an increase in allocations for education, health and agriculture sectors in line with people’s expectation.
Regarding rising income inequality, he said that income inequality was rising in the country due mainly to a sharp rise in the number of ultra-rich people.
No one asks about the source of their money, he said, adding that income inequality was not so high if this group was excluded.
At the briefing, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies senior research fellow Nazneen Ahmed said that more programmes should be taken to ensure education and enhance technological skills of poor people to minimise inequality between the poor and the rich.
BRAC director KAM Morshed said that the three organisations had taken an initiative to conduct a research on impact of budget on the poor and find out the required changes in the budget for socio-economic development of the group.
The survey has been conducted under the research programme which will develop a big data modelling to support the government in policy formulation, he said.
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