It is good news that Bangladesh’s poverty rate came down to 21.8 per cent in 2018 as reported by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) on Tuesday. Experts are of the opinion that poverty continues to decline in Bangladesh at a slower pace since 2010 though the country has recorded more than 6.5 percent economic growth annually during the period. According BBS, between 2010 and 2016, the percentage of poor people dropped to 24.3 percent of the population, registering a decline at a yearly rate of 1.2 percent. On the other hand, the country saw an accelerated GDP growth rate since 2013, and the GDP growth rates in recent years are the highest in the country’s history. However, such an inconsistency indicates that the benefits of accelerated and high economic growth are unable to reach the poor as per expectations. This is certainly a big concern for Bangladesh towards being a developed country within the stipulated time.
Gone were the days when poverty and Bangladesh were synonymous for many years to the international community. The scenario has changed quite convincingly, and the country’s efforts against poverty are now very well recognized and admired throughout the world. Over the last ten years, Bangladesh has achieved remarkable success in poverty reduction, thanks to the relentless efforts of the present government for prioritizing poverty reduction in its development agenda. There is no denying that poverty has almost been diminished even though three crore people currently live below the poverty line. Moreover, around 11.8 per cent people in the country live in extreme poverty.
The remarkable development that the country has gained over the last ten years of Awami League regime has instilled the confidence into people that becoming a developed nation is very much possible. Bangladesh started its journey in 1971 with a poverty rate of 80 to 90 per cent. Since the inception of this country, the basic principle of the different governments toward development was poverty alleviation and to this day this continues. Though we have achieved huge success in poverty alleviation in recent times, the rate of poverty reduction is not adequate compared to the country’s striking growth rate.
It is common that any kind of social or financial crisis hits the poor harder. Hence poverty alleviation is not just the responsibility of the government; it is also our collective responsibility. Though the government has integrated allowance for the poor and needy, the amount is not sufficient.
Therefore, apart from giving allowance, it is high time to involve the poor in income-oriented jobs. Also the government and policymakers should give more priority to inclusive and micro-level development than economic growth only.