23.1 Introduction


23.1.1 Traditionally, social service programmes assist and empower socio-economically disadvantaged people like the poor, the landless, the assetless, the unemployed and the distressed men and women, children in specially difficult circumstances, the old and the disabled and the vagrants and orphans. The Ministry of Social Welfare has shifted its policies and focus towards community-based sustainable programmes from institutionalised and temporary rehabilitation programmes. Services are created for the socio-economically disadvantaged classes to improve their quality of life and rehabilitate them in the society. Focus is being given to community based programmes. The social welfare programmes are designed and implemented to ensure effective participation of these disadvantaged groups in the national development process both as contributors and beneficiaries rather than being recipients of relief and charity. It is the policy of the government to create necessary development programmes and appropriate facilities for balanced socio-economic development both in urban and rural areas. The programmes are concerned with the active participation of the target population through establishment of village-based institutions. Moreover, in the implementation of a new approach "Social Security Programme for Old and Shelterless people", the involvement of local government at the grass root level will be encouraged. With this approach these segment of people will be rehabilitated in their own area which will ultimately minimise their migration to urban area.


23.2 Review of Past Plans


23.2.1 During the First Plan (1973-78), an attempt was made to give due emphasis on the role of social welfare sector in the overall socio-economic development of the country with some programmes for the benefit of those who were unable to find a place for themselves in the society. Against the proposed total outlay of Tk.122.80 million for both on-going and new programmes in the social sector during the Plan period almost all the amount was fully utilised. An allocation of Tk.136.00 million was made under the Two Year Plan (1978-80) to complete the on-going projects of the First Plan. In the Second Plan (1980-85) an amount of Tk.590.00 million was allocated of which Tk.391.00 million was utilised to implement 32 projects. During this Plan period, Rural Social Service Programme (RSS) that was initiated in 1974 was undertaken to promote comprehensive rural and social development with special emphasis on the disadvantaged groups like school drop-outs, unemployed distressed youth, women and the landless in order to develop their potentials through education and skill. The programme covered 104 upazilas and established 196 community centres. Another project for the development and welfare of the urban poor and disadvantaged people including children and women initiated during the 1960s under Urban Community Development Programme (UCD) was undertaken during this plan period.


23.2.2 A total of Tk.750.00 million was allocated in the Third Plan for social welfare. The expenditure during the period was Tk.630.00 million representing 84 per cent of the allocation. The programmes undertaken during the Third Plan period emphasised provision of institutional services for the rehabilitation of the orphans and the physically handicapped aiming at development of their socio-economic potentials and imparting new skills.


23.2.3 The major theme of the Fourth Plan was poverty alleviation and human resource development. A number of programmes/projects were undertaken of which four were community based comprehensive development programmes aimed at alleviation of poverty. The most important project of Social Welfare Department, "Rural Social Service" (RSS) included group organisation, skill development training, income generation through financial supports in the forms of interest free loans (revolving capital), promotion of self-supporting funds, motivational programmes for family development and population activities, social forestry, social education, etc. Approximately 1.5 million people benefited from this project. In the urban areas of 5 cities of the country (Dhaka, Narayanganj, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Khulna) a programme for welfare of the children in specially difficult circumstances was initiated through which about 15,000 children were benefited. Under institutional services, 11 projects were undertaken for the welfare of 4,000 orphans, 400 disabled, 150 juvenile delinquents, 2,700 vagrants and destitutes. Eight projects were implemented by the NGOs working for welfare of the disabled, diseased and distressed. The number of beneficiaries were about 1.00 million.


23.3 Resource Allocation and Utilisation During Fourth Plan


23.3.1 During Fourth Plan an amount of Tk.1100 million was allocated to implement 23 projects of which 11 projects were completed. Tk.1,317.55 million was allocated through the ADPs and an amount of Tk.1,149.90 million was spent. Almost all the projects that were completed during the Plan experienced cost and time over-runs.


23.4 Two Years Between Fourth and Fifth Plans (1995-97)


23.4.1 During 1995-97, a total of 30 projects were undertaken, of which 13 projects were spill-over from the Fourth Plan. An amount of Tk.395.00 million was allocated during 1995/96 and Tk.389.64 million was spent. During 1996/97 an amount of Tk.578.20 million was allocated out of which Tk.509.90 million was spent.


23.5 Issues and Constraints Related to Previous Plans


23.5.1 In the implementation of the past development projects, the following problems were identified.


  1. inadequate funding as per physical and financial schedule of projects;
  2. absence of district offices of the Department of Social Services in 42 new districts hindering timely and smooth implementation of the projects;
  3. unusual delay in executing construction works by the Public Works Department;
  4. lack of specific principles of social welfare projects involving private sectors;
  5. inadequate community support; and
  6. weak local government institutions.


23.6 Objectives of Fifth Plan


23.6.1 The major objectives of the social welfare programmes during the Fifth Five Year Plan are to:

a. alleviate poverty and promote human resource development by creating gainful activities for the disadvantaged people, both men and women;

b. improve functional, managerial and organisational capabilities of the poorest group through formation of groups and participation in rural/urban development programmes in respective areas;

c. provide medical care, education, skill development training and revolving fund through institutional services to orphans, destitutes, physically and mentally handicapped and shelterless children to make them self-reliant and active citizens;

d. create facilities through community-based preventive programmes with a view to providing treatment, care and rehabilitation to disabled juvenile delinquents and drug addicts;

e. provide special/integrated education to physically handicapped and mentally retarded children and other persons with disabilities;

f. motivate and encourage local people to lead more integrated community life and promote skill development training and income generating activities;

g. improve existing rehabilitation programme of vagrants for their rehabilitation in the society through skill development training and other facilities;

h. promote gender balance by implementing different programmes for poor women and encourage their participation in all development processes;

i. rehabilitate families affected by cyclone, river erosion, devastating flood and fire;

j. create more centres for helpless old age people with facilities for geriatrics;

k. undertake special programmes for the socio-economic development of female headed families (widow, divorced and deserted women);

l. prevent prostitution and provide programmes for the prostitutesí rehabilitation through skill development training with provision of loan for self-employment;

m. initiate special programmes for socio-economic development of ethnic groups and tribal people of hill districts; and

n. undertake social security programmes for persons who are under extremely difficult circumstances due to old age, shelterlessness, unemployment, disability, widowhood, divorce, abandonment and violence.


23.7 #9; Strategies of Fifth Plan


23.7.1 To meet the aforesaid objectives the following strategies will be adopted:


a. basic services will be provided to the target groups through appropriate mechanism. Major focus will be on provision and strengthening of support facilities so that the disadvantaged groups can make necessary arrangements for self-help. In this regard, the main thrust will be directed towards motivational and organisational activities where family will be the unit of development;

b. linkages will be established with other Ministries/Departments/Agencies for promotion of skill development, employment generation and marketing of products made by the participants of different programmes;

c. community-based rehabilitation programmes will be given greater emphasis in relation to the physically disabled, the orphans, the beggars and other disadvantaged groups. The services will be made available to these groups in their own community environment which will work as a substitute for institutional programme of service. Local bodies like Union Parishads, Upazila Parishads and Pourashavas will be encouraged to support these programmes;

d. facilities will be created for development of children in specially difficult circumstances including the orphans, the destitutes and the socially handicapped to make them self-reliant and productive citizens;

e. curative measures will be taken for rehabilitation of the victims of drug abuses both in urban and rural areas through the continuing community-based programmes;

f. provisions will be made for prevention of juvenile delinquency problems through the continuing community based and institutional programmes;

g. special programmes will be implemented for better standard of living for the poor people living in hill districts;

h. follow-up measures for the Vagrantsí Homes and other institutional programmes will be taken up for proper rehabilitation of the target beneficiaries;

i. more emphasis will be given on community-based programmes through the establishment of village-based institutions (VBIs) as an instrument for poverty alleviation in Rural Social Services (RSS) setting; in order to sustain the programmes, the VBIs will have organisational frame works of their own;

j. private sector participation in implementing social welfare programmes will be encouraged;

k. social security programmes will be undertaken with community participation; and

l. religious trusts will be encouraged to participate increasingly in social welfare programmes.


23.8 Programmes to be Undertaken During Fifth Plan


23.8.1 Keeping in view the above objectives, the following programmes during the Fifth Plan will be undertaken:

a. urban and rural community development programmes;

b. development of services for the physically and mentally disabled children;

c. development of programmes for orphans and distressed children;

d. welfare services for juvenile delinquents and youth offenders;

e. integrated approach (package programme) for poverty alleviation in community setting through micro-credit;

f. development of rural and urban poor women including female headed families (widow, divorced and deserted women);

g. Community-based rehabilitation programme for the elderly and disabled people;

h. management, planning and development of department of social services;

i. development of appropriate income generating programmes to discourage gambling and prostitution;

j. development programme for the vagrants, the destitutes and the socially handicapped;

k. socio-economic development for ethnic and tribal people of the hill districts;

l. welfare services for the aged and the infirm;

m. establishment of village-based institutions for the rural poor and disadvantaged people;

n. providing opportunities for income generation, health service and housing for the urban poor;

o. development of social welfare through NGOs/voluntary organisations for poverty alleviation; and

p. social security programmes for persons who are under extremely difficult circumstances;