Concept Note on Pilot Study on Universal Old Age Allowance (OAA) in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is rapidly advancing towards an aging country. The speed at which Bangladesh is likely to transition from the “aging” to the “aged” stage in 18 years is faster than in Asian advanced countries and rich European countries (Khondker 2021). Importantly, Bangladesh will likely experience this demographic transition at a lower stage of economic development compared to Asian advanced countries and European high-income countries, where transitions took place at significantly more advantageous stages of their development.

As of 2020, over 13.1 million people living in Bangladesh are aged over 60 which is 8 percent of the country’s total population (Figure 1 & Figure 2). The proportion of older people is expected to double to 21.9 percent in 2050 with 36 million people aged over 60. This means that for every five Bangladeshis, one will be a senior citizen.

An aging population increases the demand for health services. Older people suffer from both degenerative and communicable diseases due to the aging of the body’s immune system. The leading causes of morbidity are infections, while visual impairment, difficulty in walking, chewing, hearing, osteoporosis, arthritis, and incontinence are other common health-related problems. Together with a higher incidence of disabilities, the elderly is disproportionately exposed to covariate and idiosyncratic shocks. The Covid 19 Pandemic is the living testament of elderly people’s disproportionate vulnerability to a global health crisis.

The 7th and 8th Five Year Plans of Bangladesh set the objective to achieve zero extreme poverty by 2030. Given the projected growth of Bangladesh’s older population, the country’s goal to eradicate societal poverty cannot be achieved unless measures are taken to end poverty among this fast-growing segment of the population

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