Poor and expectant pregnant women now receive their allowances under the social safety net programme through mobile phone. This has cut down on the hassles they had to face before. However, there are still certain challenges in receiving this digital payment. While the allowance is very small, there are certain fraudsters ready to cheat the beneficiaries of their money. The beneficiaries need to be tech savvy enough to avoid such scams. These matters were raised on 12th March, 2020 at a round-table organised at the Prothom Alo office in Kawran Bazar of the capital city.
The roundtable on ‘Providing social security allowance: Use of digital methods’, was organised by Prothom Alo with support from World Vision Bangladesh and USAID.
National Project Manager of SWAPNO was present on the round-table session. He quoted, “The ‘SWAPNO’ project is implemented by the Local Government Department in collaboration with UNDP. There are two more private sector partnerships in this project. One is Marico International, the other is Bangladesh Steel Re-Rolling Mills (BSRM). They also provide us with regular financial support. I will say it from two angles. It would be wrong to say only in terms of digital payment. Because, various problems have come up in the discussion. Being able to properly identify the beneficiaries is a big challenge. Many projects did not properly identify the beneficiaries. In the SWAPNO project, we have so far reached out to about 10,000 beneficiaries. In this case, the rate of identifying our right beneficiaries is 96 percent. It is said that the union council does not allow the beneficiaries to be selected properly. In our project, the Union Parishad and the Standing Committee on Women and Child Welfare select the beneficiaries in resolving family disputes. We used to pay first through the bank. Then I saw that a beneficiary had to walk about 10 kilometres to reach the bank. Then digital payment method was followed. So far the coverage of bKash is the best. If you order payment today, it will reach the beneficiary’s hand within 14-15 hours.”
Read the full article below published by Prothom Alo (both in Bengali & English).