Speakers at a webinar on Thursday underscored the need for developing an integrated and updated database for effective distribution of relief among the poor badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
They said there is a lack of aggregated national-level database which is required for effective distribution of various government supports provided to the poor and the vulnerable people.
These observations emerged at a national dialogue titled “Relief Supports to Cope with Corona: How Effective Were They?’ held virtually.
The dialogue was organized by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Oxfam in Bangladesh in association with Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh.
In a keynote presentation, Prof Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of CPD, mentioned that higher allocation, both in terms of coverage and the amount of support provided to the affected population, is necessary for any emergency situation such as the ongoing pandemic.
Higher unemployment, income erosion, switching to new jobs with lower pay, and new dimensions of vulnerability such as the emergence of “new poor” during Covid type emergencies, should guide both targeting and allocation.
He further stated that a massive awareness campaign about the relief support hotlines should be launched at the earliest.
“Adequate preparations should be there to avoid delays in delivering transfers or benefits,” he said.
State Minister of Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman, speaking as the chief guest, said relief supports are being distributed and there are no complaints of people suffering from hunger.
He also stated that more emphasis will be given to making the relief distribution process more transparent.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief AB Tajul Islam, speaking as the special guest, commented that both service providers and recipients need to take a moral high ground so that it becomes possible to distribute the relief supports to the most deserving.
MP Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary, member of the Standing Committee on Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, recommended that the relief distribution be done based on the poverty scenario of each district.
Access to Information (A2I) Program Policy Advisor Anir Chowdhury, and Nagad Managing Director Tanvir A Mishuk delivered special comments at the dialogue.
Chowdhury highlighted the need for innovative ways to create awareness among the mass people about the relief programs.