Social safety nets in Bangladesh: an analysis of impact of old age allowance program
AuthorUddin, Md. Ansar
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Older people are known as ‘senior citizens’ of the society, respected by the family, society and even by the nation. But due to various socio-economic reasons, the traditional values and customs are not maintaining properly. Due to degradation of moral values, the younger population considers the experience and knowledge of the elders to be obsolete. The elder people thus become more vulnerable in the society. The Old Age Allowance Program was introduced by the government of Bangladesh to protect the vulnerable elder people from insecurity during 1998. The main purposes of this program are to strengthen the mental force of the aged persons, increase their status in the family and society, and bring back their sense of security in the society through government interventions. This study has been undertaken to examine the impacts and implications for the old age allowance program for selected beneficiaries in the study area and to identify the factors influencing the operations and performance of the program. In the study mixed method (both quantitative and qualitative method) was used in collecting data from the field. Primary data were the main source of information to understand the performance of the program. Primary data were collected through questionnaire survey and case study. For this study two unions, Dakua and Galachipa of Galachipa Upazila were selected. The study area has been chosen considering disaster risks and vulnerability. To gather information, program beneficiaries and key informants of two Union Parishads were contacted. Secondary data were collected from different sources including implementation guidelines of the program, books, journals and websites related to the study. The empirical evidence shows that the program has a positive impact on the food accessibility of the beneficiaries. It is revealed from the field survey that both the quality and quantity of food of the beneficiaries has been improved after receiving the allowance than before. The beneficiaries of the program can also fulfill their minimum requirement of necessary medicine by the allowance during illness. The observations of the key informants and the respondents’ information exhibit that the beneficiaries of the program can meet their minimum basic requirements (foods, clothes and medicine) after receiving the allowance. Study also shows that the status of the beneficiaries have increased in terms of family members are taking more care than before and the older people get involvement in decision-making in the family. Thus, it could be said that the quality of life in terms of fulfillment of basic needs of the respondents has improved considerably.