Dhaka, Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Poverty and per capita income

Poverty and per capita income

People all over the world have to pay compensation for the COVID-19 pandemic. Bangladesh also has to deal with the pandemic. The global COVID-19 pandemic has not only devastated public health, but also the economy. It has also put pressure on the country's economy. Ordinary people including day-labourer and other low-income groups are the worst sufferers of the pandemic.

As a result of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, 19.54 per cent or 3.5 crores people of the country have become poor, according to a recent survey conducted by The Power and Participation Research Center (PPRC) and BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD).

PPRC executive chairman Hossain Zillur Rahman said the new poverty rate was estimated at 21.24 per cent in June last year. In March this year, it decreased to 14.75 per cent. However, due to the second wave of COVID-19 that started in April, the poverty rate increased again in August this year.

The second wave hit when people started to turn around after managing the first wave of the COVID-19. In this situation, the task of eradicating poverty has become more difficult. Bangladesh has shown success in alleviating poverty before the pandemic. The question is, why this success has not become sustainable. The government needs to adopt policies and development strategies that will lead to sustainable poverty alleviation. To alleviate poverty, the gap between town and village has to be minimized.

The per capita income has exceeded two and a half thousand US dollars. According to the latest data of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the country's per capita income is now 2,554 US dollars. For the last 15 years, the economy has been growing at an annual rate of 6 per cent. Even a decade ago, Bangladesh's per capita income in FY 2010-11 was 825 US dollars. As such, the country’s economy has undoubtedly come forward a long way.

Bangladesh has surpassed many countries in terms of growth. However, there are questions about how much the common people is getting the benefits of it. In reality, the income of the common people is declining. The condition of the majority of the people has not improved except for a handful of classes. They remained in the same position where they were in. Inequality is growing in such a way that the benefits of GDP growth are not reaching the common people properly.

The prices of all necessary commodities in the market are going up. General people are struggling just to meet their daily expenditures. Now the question is, if the per capita income increases, why are they experiencing hardship lives. This unveils that not everyone is getting the benefits of increased per capita income. Of course, there are some shortcomings in ensuring it.

The government has to ensure that everybody must get what they need. There are allegations that the work of balanced income distribution is not going well. We need to find effective ways to reduce income inequality. We hope that the government will be able to identify its hidden barriers and take necessary action accordingly.