Monday, February 27, 2017

Bangladesh Poverty

 According to the statistics of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the reduction in poverty has slowed down to 5.9 percentage points during the period of 2010-2014 from 8.5 percentage points of the years 2005-2010, and from 8.9 percentage points of the period 2000-2005. The government approximates that 25.6 percent of the population lives below the so-called poverty line as of 2014. It is also difficult to find causation between deliberate policy of government and reduction in poverty. Economic growth in Bangladesh is mostly consumption-based which can also otherwise be called "auto-pilot rate of growth". The underemployed people in rural areas, who either migrated to cities or abroad and fuelled consumption through remittances, largely contributed to Bangladesh's reduction in poverty. 

There has been much said about economic growth, yet the process in Bangladesh has not matched with jobs. Evidently, a considerable number of people have entered into the labour market with wages below the requirement for graduating out of the so-called poverty line — people who can be termed as "working poor." According to the BBS' latest labour force survey for the calendar years of 2014 and 2015, the country generated only 600,000 employments (300,000 per annum) out of two million eligible to enter the job market on an annual basis. Youth unemployment rate also rose sharply to 9.5 percent in 2015 from 8.1 percent in 2013. The unemployment rate is high amongst educated youth. The number of underemployed increased by over 10 million between 2011 and 2013 and reached 21.5 million in 2014. A World Bank-ILO report states that about 41 percent of Bangladeshi youth were NEET (not in employment, education or training) in 2013. 

The fruits of economic growth have not been shared fairly, and that the current economic crisis has further widened the gap between the rich and the poor. According to BBS estimates, nominal wage indices have increased by 24.7 percent during the period 2010-11 to 2014-15 while the consumer price index (CPI) grew by 32.6 percent during the same period, implying labourers have lost 7.9 percent of the real wage income they used to earn in 2010-11. The degree of income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, has increased from an average of 0.38 in the 1980s to 0.44 in the 1990s and further to 0.46 in the 2000s, meaning the gap between the rich and the poor is still widening. Bangladesh is being run by a ruling class which is interested only in securing wealth by any means. Over the years, through the actions of successive regimes, aspirations of equality, human dignity and social justice have been supplanted by a completely different kind of aspiration for the power elite - primitive capital accumulation.

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