Digitisation of the government aid and safety net allowance disbursement is directly helping in attaining social and financial inclusion of the marginalised people across the country.
This digitisation of the aid disbursement has come with a path-breaking innovation of the mobile financial service (MFS) wing of Bangladesh Post Office, Nagad. This has taken the availability of such funds to the next level with accuracy of reaching target beneficiaries.
The beneficiaries - from Harun Khan, a person with special needs, to Safura Khatun who has crossed 65 years of age, - have expressed how this new way of receiving funds has eased their lives.
"In the earlier process I had to go to the bank, fill up forms and queued in line for hours. It was very difficult for me as one of my hands does n't work. After the new system is introduced, it's all about a one hand click with my Nagad account," said Harun, a resident of Hemayetpur in Savar adjacent to the capital, who is a beneficiary of allowance for specially challenged person under social safety net programme.
Under the programme, Nagad has disbursed 75 percent of the funds under four categories - old-age allowance, widow allowance, allowance for unprivileged people with special needs and students with special needs.
Through this initiative Nagad, also a disruptive mobile money player, has streamlined the government's disbursement process that further ensures efficiency.
Safura Khatun, a residence of the same area of Savar, said she receives Tk 750 a month as old-age allowance which, she felt, has raised his importance in the family.
"Now with this money I can spend as I wish. Also I learn new things in mobile phone which is fascinating at this age," she said with a smile on her face.
Among the MFS operators, Nagad has pioneered in distribution of different government assistance such as the Prime Minister's Eid gifts, social safety net allowance, primary students' stipends, and Covid-19 cash support.
Renuka Mandal, a widow from Dhamrai, has found herself empowered with the money she receives as allowance that helps her to take care of her children.
"Being a widowed woman is always a challenge in our society and this allowance surely empowers me. With the Nagad money system, I no longer need to go to other people and depend on their mercy to avail it," she said.
In January last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued an order asking all ministries and government agencies to distribute their allowance and financial assistance through Nagad.
The MFS service started in the country10 years ago, but disbursement of public funds started with Nagad and it has channelled nearly 80 million government payments to 25 million unique beneficiaries only in the fiscal 2020-21.
Nagad's Managing Director Tanvir A Mishuk said, "We believe the day is not far away when Nagad will digitise the entire government financial allowance service and the beneficiaries will enjoy their deserved money with ease. We hope the government will continue to disburse the social safety net funds through Nagad this year."
"Moreover, if the social safety net funds are disbursed through MFS, it helps digitisation of financial sector and strengthens socioeconomic factors," he added.