Bangladesh : Social Welfare & Human Development

Social Welfare

Since poverty alleviation is a major goal of the Government, thrust is being given on socio-economic development of the underprivileged groups. The main emphasis here is on adoption of integrated and comprehensive approach taking the family as the basic unit for social services programs with emphasis on family and group development rather that individual development.

The government has been implementing the following programs in the Social Welfare sector:

  • (a) Urban and rural community development program.
  • (b) Development services for the physically and the mentally disabled.
  • (c) Development services for children.
  • (d) Welfare services for the juvenile and the distressed women.
  • (e) Welfare services for the aged and the infirm.
  • (f) Rehabilitation program for the addicts.
  • (g) Social welfare services for the beggars.
  • (h) Social welfare services by non-government organizations

Rural Development

More than 50% of the country's GDP comes from the rural sector. Development of this sector is thus crucial for national development.

The Rural Development and Cooperatives Division of the Government is responsible for planning implementation. monitoring and evaluation of rural development programs. Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BROB), the Department of Cooperatives and the Academies fur Rural Development at Comilla and Bogra play important roles in environmental efforts for rural development. Major functions of the rural development agencies include employment and income generation, provision of credit and institutional support to rural target groups, vulnerable group development, formation of rural cooperatives, provision of health care, sanitation, safe drinking water, education etc.

Alongside the public sector, the NGOs also play a key-role in rural development efforts. Organizations like the Grameen Bank and BRAC have earned world-wide acclaim in the field.

Labour and Employment

The present government has undertaken various measures to expand the opportunities for domestic and overseas employment. Remittances from Bangladeshis working abroad have marked a steep rise during the nineties due to a massive outflow of workers from Bangladesh. As an export item, manpower exports currently occupy the second position with an annual inflow of over 1 billion U.S. Dollars. The Middle Eastern countries along with Malaysia, South Korea and Japan are the principal destination for Bangladeshi workers.

The Labour Policy of the present Government embodies creation of an environment conducive to improved Labour-Management relations in order to provide higher wages through higher productivity, Tripartism. productivity, provision of incentives, Labour welfare. employment generation, earnings according to work, and a healthy growth of trade Unionism have been emphasized for ensuring basic needs of all and a balanced economic growth.

Vocational training institutes across the country produce skilled manpower both for domestic and overseas employment. Because of rapid population growth, human resource development and generation of employment opportunities have been attached topmost priority by the government.

Women and Children Affairs

The government is trying hard to integrate the womenfolk of the country into the mainstream of the development process which is one of the main strategies for overall 50cm-economic development. Poverty, malnutrition, hunger, illiteracy, etc. are largely concentrated around womenfolk, and as such women can act as uniquely suitable agents for elimination of these socio-economic maladies. Attainment of reasonable growth rate, alleviation of poverty through generation of production employment opportunities and increased self-reliance are inextricably linked with increased participation of women in development efforts.

The Department of Women's Affairs with a countrywide network and Jatiya Mohila Sangstha - an organization with branches all over the country promote women's rights, interests and soclo-economic opportunities. Appropriate laws have been framed, especially during the nineties, to stop repression and discrimination against women. The government reconstituted the National Women's Development Council in January, 1997, to provide overall guidance on women's development issues.

The National Women's Development Policy announced by the present government aims at improving the lot of the neglected womenfolk of the country, ensure equality of men and women in all spheres of national life including state, society, family, politics, administrative and economic arena, ensure security and empowerment of women, groom up women as educated and efficient human resource, eliminate discriminations and repression on women and girl-child, establish human rights of women, alleviate their poverty and above all ensure their participation in the development process. Appropriate strategies have been devised to realize these goals.

Children's welfare has also been a priority of the government. Bangladesh was one of the first signatories to the UN charter on children's rights. Vigorous efforts are being undertaken by the government at national, regional and International levels to promote health, nutrition, education and socio-cultural interests of children Bangladesh Shishu (Children's) Academy with a countrywide network is engaged in 50cm-cultural programs for children. A 25-member National Children's Council has been reconstituted by the government for children's development and protection of children's rights. A national action plan is also being drawn up for children's development.

Youth Development

The youths are potentially the most productive force in Bangladesh. They constitute 36% of the total civilian labour force. Recognizing the fact that a disciplined and, organized, trained and educated youth community can make significant contribution to the development process, the government has taken up various programs for their socio- economic uplift. The Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Department of Youth Development are entrusted with the responsibility of providing unified direction and coordination to the youth development process.

The main objective of the youth development program is to organize and mobilize the youth community for enabling them to participate effectively in national development. Some of the specific objectives are as follows increase the participation of females in youth development, alleviate poverty through increased sell-employment opportunities among the youth community, equip the youths with working skill and suitable training in technical, vocational and professional fields and organize youth groups and motivate them to assist in community development through voluntary youth organizations

The major programs of the government for youth development include:- rural youth development, skill development training, sell-employment program and community development program. The youth development program is now being expanded through increased training and credit facilities.

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