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22 February, 2020 00:00 00 AM
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Reduction of urban poverty

With rapid urbanisation in Bangladesh during the last few decades, poverty has increasingly been urbanised by way of transfer of the rural poor to urban areas. But manifestation of urban poverty is often more terrible than that of rural poverty. According to a survey by Household Income and Expenditure Survey of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the incidence of poverty is 31.5 per cent at the national level, whereas 21.3 per cent in the urban areas.

Most of the urban poor live in slums and squatter settlements characterised by substandard living conditions. Majority of those living in slums are very poor. According to a report of Center for Urban Studies (CUS), nearly 80 percent of the households have income below the upper poverty line and more than 50 percent of the slum dwellers earn less than half of the poverty line income while about 25 percent of them are in extreme poverty and misery. The distribution of both income and consumption is highly skewed in urban areas, and this inequality is rising over time.

Urban poverty is invariably associated with poor quality housing, often in overcrowded unsanitary slum settlements without any environmental services – water, drain clearance, solid waste disposal system, and with ill health which is related to the spread of infectious diseases.

The slum dwellers are constantly under threat of exposure to environmental hazards such as mosquito infested drains, and fires and floods, which could destroy their homes altogether. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that infrastructure and services cannot be extended to most of these slums as these are considered as illegal settlements and therefore the slum dwellers are in constant fear of eviction or relocation.

To be effective, urban poverty reduction initiatives should be broad-based and integrate mutually reinforcing components so as to provide for a healthy and safe living environment for the poor, improve their access to  income  and  assets, and promote the integration of  less fortunate citizens including disadvantaged groups and the disabled within the community.  Public representatives and others concerned need to think about ways and means on how to formulate a joint action plan to free the poor and extreme poor communities from the vicious cycle of poverty and hunger.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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