The Old Age Allowance Program, which has received wide attention from policy makers. Substantially expanding coverage, the program bears immense value to the country's poor older people by assisting them in meeting their basic needs, enhancing their status at home, and improving their psychological well-being, through providing a reliable source of income. It also has some spillover effects to other household members as well as macro impacts. It has a few weaknesses; it is means tested and so does not cover all poor older people. Nor has it been effective in reaching the target population. Some main causes are abuse of power, malpractices, and political bias of locally elected representatives. Also, the benefit size is very small (around $ 4per month). The selection process could be greatly improved through closer involvement of civil society---particularly the older people themselves--in program implementation. Most of the program's weaknesses, including selection bias, can be overcome if the program is scaled up to a universal one. Estimates suggest that such an upgrading with a reasonably benefit size, is possible ---given the political will.
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Mr. Md. Sultan Ahmed
Assistant Secretary (Programme-1)