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The ‘new poor’ should not have been forgotten in budget

Readers’ corner 2021-06-05, 10:07pm

Poverty and its dimensions - World Bank Group-414af6c1230678754a1837561e35ef881622909233.jpg

Poverty and its dimensions - World Bank Group

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said, as reported in the press, in the post-budget press conference over a virtual platform that he did not make provisions in the budget for the ‘new poor’ because he did not have the statistics on this category of people.
The minister also said that he would ask the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) to prepare data and information on them.
It is to be noted that non-government think tank Policy Research Institute (PRI) and the Institute of Governance Studies have through research said that the percentage of poor people has increased from about 20 percent before the Coronavirus pandemic to about 50 percent now.
These ‘new poor’ people are the owners and employees of the informal sectors, day labourers, artisans, rickshaw pullers, wayside shopkeepers,  transport workers, small workshop employees, hairdressers, tailors, dental clinic owners and employees, middlemen who work for these small and micro-enterprises. They can neither tell others of their poor economic conditions nor beg, but silently suffer going hungry and minimizing living expenses. Thousands of such families have left cities and towns for their village homes to survive by minimizing expenses.
Before the passage of the budget, the Finance Minister should have a close look at their state and make allocations to ameliorate their sufferings.