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UNICEF Urges Bangladesh to End Child Poverty
Source: southasia.oneworld.net
Source Date: Friday, October 22, 2010
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: Bangladesh
Created: Nov 01, 2010

UNICEF confirmed that over three crore children live below the poverty line in Bangladesh, while launching a survey report on the progress of children in the country recently. Stating child poverty as a major obstacle to development, it urged the government to raise budgetary allocations for the welfare of children.

Over 3 crore children of Bangladesh live below the poverty line, said the Unicef yesterday urging the government to raise the allocation for the disadvantaged.

Extreme poverty and economic difficulties are forcing Bangladeshi children to seek work to help their families/ Photo credit: Reuters Investments targeting the poor and the disadvantaged children should be made and age-based projects implemented, which would help cut the cycle of poverty, the Unicef said while launching a survey report on Progress of Children: Achieving the MDGs (millennium development goals) with Equity at a national seminar in the capital.

The Unicef and Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA) jointly organised the seminar on poverty reduction by mitigating socio-economic inequalities.

The report termed the government budgetary allocation too inadequate to improve the scenario of the children.

According to the survey funded by the UN, children constitute 45 percent of the country's population. Of them, 46 percent live below the poverty line with their one-fourth being extremely poor. And poverty compels these children to work, the report said.

Statistics show that nearly 36 lakh children between the age of 7 and 14 were employed in fiscal year (FY) 2005-06 whereas the number of children working in the cities alone will go up to 11.20 lakh by 2011.

Unicef also said about 64 percent of the country's children do not have access to sanitation and 59 percent to right to information while 41 percent of them are deprived of housing and 35 percent of ample food.

Citing a study by the UK Department for International Development, it said government spending can directly contribute to the child's welfare.

For the current FY 2010-11, the government has allocated around Tk 19,497 crore, 14.75 percent of the national budget, to 80 social safety net projects. But only 16 of these projects with an allocation of Tk 1,900 crore will be implemented for the children.

The government should reduce the socio-economic inequality by increasing the funding for the disadvantaged to improve the overall poverty situation, the report said.

It also said the increase in the government investment will reduce the national poverty rate which now stands at 40 percent.

The report points out that the poverty of children is one of the major obstacles to the development of the country's human resources.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Unicef representative Carel De Rooy, among others, were present at the function.
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