Dhaka, Bangladesh
A testimony to govt commitment to destitute women

A testimony to govt commitment to destitute women

That 30 kilograms of rice will be provided to 10.4 lakh women per month for two years in 2021-22 under government's Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) programme to ensure food and nutrition security for destitute rural women yet again speaks of a commitment to the welfare of poor people in general and marginalised women in particular. According to a report published in The News Today on Wednesday, the state minister for women and children affairs unveiled the plan while presiding over a meeting of the 'VGD Central Coordinating Committee' at the Secretariat on Tuesday. Moreover, declaring strict action against any irregularity in the programme, the state minister urged the union and upazila committees to complete the selection process of VGD beneficiaries without any bias so that the genuine needy women get the help. She has also said that her ministry is working on rehabilitation of street children in line with the instruction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. It may be worth noting that the Women and Children Affairs Ministry is currently providing maternity leave to 7.7 lakh mothers and 2.75 lakh lactating mothers with allowance. Besides, the total number of beneficiaries of social security from the ministry is 20.85 lakh, and the total number of beneficiaries of VGD from 2001-02 to 2019-20 financial year through this ministry is 71.80 lakh. There is no reason to disagree with the state minister when she says that VGD is helping extremely poor rural women to become self-reliant by alleviating poverty. Through VGD, these women have been able to successfully overcome food insecurity, malnutrition and economic insecurity. What is more encouraging is that all of these government social- security programmes are running uninterrupted amid the pandemic situation. Cash has been provided to helpless and destitute women through mobile banks, which is a major social- security activity for the development of food nutrition and socioeconomic status of women and children in Bangladesh. It is all the more so as millions of people lost their livelihood because of the pandemic, among whom the extreme poor are the most vulnerable groups as they have nothing but the physical labour to earn bread. That apart, there are thousands of poor women in the country who are either widows or forsaken by their husbands and thus have to bear the responsibility of the entire family along with children. In the absence of any job amid the pandemic, they have to live on alms. The government project in question will be a great help for these women. Social-security programmes, including VGD, had earlier earned, in many cases, bad repute for irregularities in selecting the beneficiaries in particular. It is expected that, as the state minister has declared, the VGD selection process this time will be monitored round the clock by the ministry and the department.

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