National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) of Bangladesh

In recognition of the existing concerns in the social protection programmes such as under-coverage, low benefit amount, leakages and improper targeting, the Government of Bangladesh has embarked upon the formulation of a comprehensive National Social Security Strategy (NSSS). The Cabinet meeting held on 10th September 2012 entrusted the General Economics Division (GED) of the Planning Commission to prepare the National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) under the guidance of a Central Monitoring Committee (CMC) for the Social Safety Net Programmes Chaired by the Cabinet Secretary. The CMC provided the terms of reference and overall guidance to the formulation of the NSSS. A Framework Paper was prepared by GED, endorsed by the 11-member Sub-committee of CMC led by Cabinet Division and approved by the Ministry of Planning. A strong process of regional and national consultation helped shape the contents and recommendations of the NSSS. In this regard, the NSSS is fully home-grown and based on the political, social and economic realities of Bangladesh.

The core of the National Social Security Strategy, which has now been approved by the Cabinet, is programme consolidation along life cycle risks, with programmes for children, working age people – including specific focus on youth and vulnerable women – the elderly, and persons with disabilities. The life cycle approach also addresses current gaps in coverage of early childhood needs. The Strategy puts emphasis on reaching out to a range of socially excluded population groups that face various kinds of social discrimination. The Government will ensure that these groups have similar access as the rest of the population to all social security programmes. In addition, programmes tailored to the special needs of socially excluded groups will be implemented.

The NSSS builds on the past rich experience of Bangladesh and seeks to streamline and strengthen the existing safety net programmes with a view to achieving better results from money spent. It also broadens the scope of Social Security from the narrow safety net concept to include employment policies and social insurance to address the emerging needs of a middle income Bangladesh in 2021 and ahead. By broadening the scope and coverage and by improving programme design the NSSS will help lower income inequality and contribute to higher growth by strengthening human development. While the NSSS reflects the realities of Bangladesh, to the extent relevant it also draws on good practice international experience. To facilitate the preparation of the NSSS ten background papers, prepared by a team of international and local experts, were commissioned on the various issues relating to the NSSS.