A new proposal to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh

[This has been cross-posted at Drishtipat here]

Please download the Rickshaw-Development-proposal.pdf

The challenge was to propose an idea which would have the greatest impact on poverty alleviation in Bangladesh. After nine months of living and working in the country as volunteers, my colleague Thomas Wipperman and I realised that the answer was all around us. There are many marginalised groups in Bangladesh; indigenous people, farmers afflicted by the Monga famines, HIV sufferers – but they compromise a tiny minority in a country of over 145 million. When the purpose of intervention is to reach as many people as possible at the lowest end of the social scale, the stand-out constituency is the rickshaw pullers. Rickshaw pullers are the essential cogs in Bangladesh’s machine. And they deserve better.

 

Therefore, through the nationalisation and rationalisation of non motorised urban transport, we propose to incorporate the two million rickshaw pullers in Bangladesh into the formal economy as public workers within a sustainable, pollution-free, low cost urban transport network. If the rickshaw industry were nationalised, passengers would not simply be paying someone to cycle them around, they would be contributing to Bangladesh’s biggest public service, a bigger transportation economy than Biman and the Railways combined. By formalising this enormous economy – 6% of Bangladesh’s GDP – we believe it would be possible to bring economic and social uplift to rickshaw pullers, bring better public transport to Bangladesh’s cities, and reach nearly 15% of the total population. Our proposal is sweeping in its scope but efficient in its implementation. It is a feasible and equitable way of bringing positive change to some of Bangladesh’s most marginalised communities

 

If an intervention wishes to make as large a social impact as possible then taking account the combination of the community size, and its economic and social contribution and position, targeting the conditions of rickshaw pullers has to be a priority. As bideshis, it seems to us that considering their importance to Bangladesh’s economic, social and cultural life and how hard they toil towards this, the scarcity of reward enjoyed by rickshaw pullers, their lack of rights and lowly status is astonishing. Our proposal would aim to raise their social status, increase their income and ensuring that this is secure, and rationalise the transport of Bangladesh so that it can be more efficient and effective, which is essential for any country’s wider development.

 Crucially, the behaviour of users will have to change very little, and the economic cost to them of the change will be zero. Service users would simply find that what was once a private service is now a public one, and they would need to purchase tokens from local retailers, a viable and already tested system for other services. At the same time, every single person who uses a rickshaw in Bangladesh – almost the entire population will become a stakeholder; will directly contribute to the alleviation of poverty, disadvantage and inequity amongst the people of Bangladesh. The beauty of our proposal lies in its simplicity, and economic sustainability. After living and working here it is obvious that Bangladesh, despite the challenges it faces, has some of the hardest working, most patriotic and determined people in the world. It also has wealth, a fluid cash economy – but like most countries, too much cash ends up concentrated in tiny minority. We have tried, therefore, to devise a scheme that can harness that passion, commitment, and surplus capital with the minimum disruption to the cultural fabric of the nation. Nationwide approximately $4.1 million flows in to the rickshaw economy every day. $2.9m remains the property of the rickshaw pullers. The excess $1.2m is therefore money that, were the rickshaw sector nationalised, could flow back every day in to the Bangladeshi state – $529m per year. Given that the Bangladeshi national budget for 2007-2008 totalled $12.63 billion, with $3.83b allocated under the Annual Development Plan (ADP), our project would effectively introduce an increase of 14% to the ADP. And the cost of implementing our proposal? We estimate this to be around $160m, which set against guaranteed annual revenue of over $500m, is certainly justifiable. 

This proposal’s five main objectives are designed to have as wide an impact as is possible without causing disruption to this vital transport network. It will bring economic security to the rickshaw puller with the creation of a regular income stream; it will facilitate the raising of rickshaw pullers’ social status by making them formal public workers with rights and responsibilities; it will generate substantial, sustainable capital for investment into upgrading rickshaw garage infrastructure, bringing health and other social benefits to rickshaw pullers; it will incorporate rickshaw pullers into society by making their garages centres of development activity and education; and it will improve the standard of public transport in Bangladesh’s urban centres.

 

Whilst an intervention of this scale would require careful management and meticulous organisation, we believe that it is far from utopian, or unrealistic given the challenges faced by the government of Bangladesh. On the contrary, an intervention on this scale could only be managed by an authority with the scope and power of the State, and the political incentives to the government for pursuing an eminently realisable goal are obvious. The legitimacy of any government, especially in a democratic system rests on how it manages the welfare of the people under its charge.  We believe that our proposal clearly would make a huge positive contribution to the welfare of nearly 15% of Bangladeshis, specifically those who need it most, and the benefits of adopting our proposal outweigh any potential difficulties.

 

Our proposal aims to not just improve the educational standard and the physical well-being of the rickshaw puller and their families and dependents, but also socially and psychologically empower the rickshaw puller. They would be freed from their dependency on their mechanical master, the rickshaw, currently their only source of survival and also what entrenches their social immobility. Instead they would be lifted to the level of full Bangladeshi citizens, enjoying rights and benefits, providing a service and carrying responsibilities, paying taxes, and aiding the collection of a vast previously untapped revenue for their nation and its people. By empowering the rickshaw puller and also providing them with material and educational assistance, you are providing them with the opportunity to not only take pride in their work and their status, but also to change it.

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31 Responses to “A new proposal to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh”


  1. 1 Pedro September 27, 2007 at 11:51 am

    First of all, Congratulations for the blog!!! It is great!
    I think the idea is creative, and very interesting.

    But as living in Bangladesh you know that this economy is extremely market efficient. And that most of the rickshaws are NOT owned by the pullers. They are from a middle man that owns an lends the rickshaw for usually a very high fee. These are few and have some power in the society.

    On the other hand the government is the most inefficient and corrupt entity in the whole BD economy and society. So Nationalizing it, could be just creating one more huge sector that in the end does not work.

    Personally, I understand the concept of Nationalizing the rickshaw sector envisioning the well being of the pullers and uplifting of the welfare of the society. I would say that the solution is more related with regulation. But even this is a hard solution for a country that most of its economy is truly non formal.

    Anyways, even being very skeptic I challenge you to give me the first measures towards this nationalization. 😉

    Anyways as I started GREAT BLOG, GREAT EXPERIENCE! STAY TUNED!
    Pedro

  2. 2 sowula September 29, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Dear Pedro,

    Thank you for your comment. We agree that obviously the challenge of nationalising the rickshaw industry is a big one for the Bangladesh government, but we do not think that it is unrealisable. Nearly all of the necessary infrastructure already exists. And if the government can run the army, which is a far more complex institution, then it can run a rickshaw industry.

    Tim

  3. 3 Bola Aroyewun-Khostly May 5, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    A very good proposal for poverty alleviation.

  4. 4 Hussein Fasasi esq. May 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Hello,
    Your proposal about alleviating the suffering of the Banglandeshi people makes an interesting reading.The benefits of your proposition to the richshaw pullers and the society at large are not in doubt. However, Nationalization of any industry entails that the law makers and the executive must have the political will and determination to effect the change.How will you get the government interested in Nationalising such an industry? Besides, how will you ensure that adequate compensation is paid to the richshaw owners? My understanding is that most pullers are not owners.

  5. 5 Alfonzo Akre October 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Excellent, keep doing you hot the idea

  6. 7 Tapash June 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Invitation to visit for village wise Information and technology project of SBUS

    Dear sir,
    On behalf of Gobindaganj Dabaloy Biggan club, congratulation to you for Digital Bangladesh. This club is established in 2005. and Obtained registration in 2009, Under the ministry of science , technology and commutation Department, so this club dedicated for poor people and distributed a lot of elements to educate among illiterate people , more over our weekend magazine “Digitaler Bijoy” has published every week and created revolution o conscious the people, Digitaler Bijoy is the preface of North Bangal the frustrated and negal people can speak about their right and can establish their dream , So It can invent the talent and merits from the rural level, thus It brought revolution , more over, the Editor and the publisher of the Digitaler Bijoy, Professor Tapash Kumar Dev , Delivered his valuable speech on the importance and use of information technology in the fair of “Digitaler Udvabani mela at Gaibandha district at sadhinata pargar dated 16 and 17 February 2012. at 4 pm. thane were present some people of local District government So, kindly visit our village wise information and technology operation project , Our project expresses different opinions about hou to stop early marriage . Remove illiteracy, and establish 171 learning centre, on the other hand 51(learning centre) belongs under rose project. So if you visit our country and our institution then according to your suggestion opinion, proposal. We will continue this project, so, according to your direction Gobindaganj Dabaloy Biggan club and SBUS will help and establish the frustrated decaying people and make them very skillful worker and turned into them as an human assists of Bangladesh .thank you again for your kind consideration.

    You’re faithfully
    Professor Tapash Dev.

    Debaloy
    Gobindagonj Debaloy Biggan Club (GDBC) is a non-government science and technology aspired organization has been working for the rural poor and disadvantaged people in Gaibandha District establishing in 2005. It obtained legal registration from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Communication of Bangladesh Government during 2009.
    Now a day’s information and communication technology itself has been playing a vital role in development. Due to globalization and the government’s special encouragement people become interested to sink with science and technology for their own development. Following the democratic government declaration GDBC welcome all type and class of people to implement the “Vision 2021” that ultimately way out the establishment of a resourceful and modern country by 2021 through effective use of information and communication technology. The Club believes modern philosophy of effective and useful use of information and technology in terms of implementing the promises in education, health, job opportunity, poverty reduction etc. Therefore, the Club has been working with people with the major objectives includes changing people’s attitude, enabling environment and technical supports, profitable and innovative ideas for creation, production, preservation as well as marketing.
    Science and technology sector within Gaibandha district are properly not in advance. People remain in ignorance and darkness from the usefulness of information and technologies. They neither know nor try to get the update what are going on. They only know to survive with the world by their hard labour. Due to inadequate literacy rate, superstition as well as religious beliefs and thoughts are the majors hinders in the way to development of science, information and technology in a whole. Women and girls in remote and tribal areas belonged fully illiterate and they are the victims of early marriage, polygamy, divorces, dowry, rapping and many other kinds of physical torture as well as domestic violence still now due to economical deprivation along with influence of religious bound and prejudice of the society more far from science, information and technology.
    Under such circumstances, Gobindagonj Debaloy Biggan Club (GDBC), a non-government science based club comes close to the poor people with particular emphasis to bring out positive changes in their life and livelihoods through utilizing IT skills, information and technology for development. GDBC realized that proper supports incorporating technical education, training, campaign, skills exchange, sharing, massive awareness and especially women empowerment are very prior to develop the situation.

    SBUS-

    With the objective to transfer human being into human resources, SBUS has established during 1998 facing different types of ups and downs. During 2000 it has registered with the Social Welfare Department of Bangladesh government as a local voluntary development club. Gradually it has been reformed as NGO in course of time as well as in course of demand local people crossing various obstacle and social struggle. The reflection of changing as NGO during April 17, 2005 by confirming SBUS as implementation organization of Ananda School under Primary and Mass Education Ministry of Bangladesh government for the first time in Bangladesh. The first Ananda School established at Hirokpara under Gobindagonj municipality. It was disheartening to mention, due to evil conspiracy of some local NGOs, political people and officials, the school has been cancelled although Hirokpara Ananda School was legally permitted to open.
    At the next step, SBUS didn’t stop there. It has started its programs again during 2006 by establishing 03 Saisab Bikash Kendra (Early Development Center). During 2007 it established more 17 Saisab Bikash Kendra by the pressure of local elite persons and mass people. During 2008 it started survey activities for the disabled people living in Gobindagonj upazila of Gaibandha district. By the approval of Deputy Director of Social Welfare Department, Gaibandha, it established 18 SBUS Disabled School.
    But due to evil conspiracy of similar local NGOs, political people and officials, the working Deputy Director of Social Welfare Department, Gaibandha has postponed the whole programs of SBUS on 26th June 2008. Again during 2009, as a result of long investigation of the government and continuous pressure from mass people of Gobindagonj Upazila, responsible honorable Minister of Social Welfare of Bangladesh has provided the permission to start the programs accordingly. After such types of obstacle, SBUS has been working with full dedication to change the present society incorporating science, information and technology. Now it has been implementing education programs through 120 Ananda Schools and learning centers to the success of returning of school dropouts, deprived & neglected children in education to increasing literacy rate ensuring quality education where 4200 drop out student imparting education, 62 POSBP centre also on going within the working areas. This year about 55 thousands children got a total of 28 sets materials including books have been distributed among the poor children.
    The Program Report is equivalent to our Annual Report covering the period July 2009-June 2011 as we have to face some barriers to continue our programs. This is the first time we are going to publish our Program Reports which certainly have some mistakes and error for which we are looking forward for your kindness. I like to convey my gratefulness and thanks to those people includes development consultant, staff members, well wishers so on who are involved to bringing out the Program Report for the first time for Sabuj Bangla Unnayan Sangstha (SBUS).With the objective to transfer human being into human resources, SBUS has established during 1998 facing different types of ups and downs. During 2000 it has registered with the Social Welfare Department of Bangladesh government as a local voluntary development club. Gradually it has been reformed as NGO in course of time as well as in course of demand local people crossing various obstacle and social struggle. The reflection of changing as NGO during April 17, 2005 by confirming SBUS as implementation organization of Ananda School under Primary

    Profile
    Of
    Professor Tapash Dev

    Mailing address
    Professor Tapash Dev
    Hirokpara, Gobindagonj, Gaibandha
    Mobile: 01813639267
    E-Mail:dabaloybu@gmail.com

    1. Permanent Address : Vill:, P.O., Gobindagonj PS: Gobindagonj
    Dist: Gaibandha
    Bangladesh

    2. Present Office Address : Vill:, P.O., Gobindagonj PS: Gobindagonj
    Dist: Gaibandha
    Bangladesh

    3. Age : Forty EightYears (Date of Birth 14.06.1965)

    4. Work Experiences : 26 Years

    5. Academic Qualifications : M.S.S Sociology
    University of Rajshahi, 1987. Bangladesh.

    B.A (Hons), Sociology
    University of Rajshahi, 1986. Bangladesh.

    6. Specialisation as a career researcher, trainer, teacher and development practitioner : Social Mobilization and Motivation, Public Relations, NGO Activities and Community Mobilization, Community Awareness, Development Administration with specialization in Social services Planning and Management, research and study, Leadership Management, Entrepreneurship Management,

    Teaching career began in 1991 as Principal at Sohorgasi Adarsha Mohila College, Gobindagonj, and Gaibandha and from 1994 Lecturer in a non-government College, Mohimagonj, and Gobindagonj Gaibandha. As trainer and resource persons in various formal and non-formal training, workshop, seminar and symposium. Preaching and teaching to Development Activists ranging from illiterate villager, local govt leader, NGO worker and grass root level beneficiary to high level development professionals.

    As an development activist, most of the contributions were made in the in broader field of NGOs development, Institutionalization of community participation, poverty alleviation, grassroots level groups, Organizing development activities, coordination of GO and NGO activities, capacity development of public sector agencies in designing and implementing community level projects.

    7. Current Assignment (January 2008 onward). : • Advisor, Economic Empowerment and capacity building for the grassroots level organizations especially for HAPSO and Sucker Nir Bangladesh
    • Executive Director of Sobuj Bangla Unnayan Sangstha (SBUS) from August, 2001 to till now.

    8. Linkage at National and International Level
    : • Linkage with DFID, USAID, Feed the Minds, Ifad, Unicef, Action Aid, , WHO ,OXFAM-GB ,Save the Children USA for information and concept exchange and research study
    • Linkage with Hunger Project, ECDRC, Ghat, Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), Poribesh Andolon, Sisu Konna Advocacy Forum, Jatio Prothibondhi Forum etc

    8.1

    Sociologist and Institutional Expert:
    : Providing all sorts of technical assistance regarding social and institutional aspects of a development sector project being implemented in several districts of Bangladesh. Research, evaluation, planning and organizing training courses, organizing publicity liaison among LGIs, local administration and NGOs, conflict mitigation and public relations are also some of the key responsibilities associated with the position.

    8.2 Lecturer, Mohimagonj Degree College, Gobindagonj, Gaibandha
    Department of Sociology from 1994-2008 Course teacher of the courses such as, marriage and family, race, kingship, institution, social structure, social stratification, social problems constitution and administrative law, local Government structure, Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation, Public and Private Sector Development Administration and Planning and Management of Social mobilization/Services.

    8.3 Principal, Sohorgasi Adarsa Mohila College respectively from 1991-1994 at Gobindagonj, Gaibandha : College establishment, Girls rights by opening the opportunity for the backward women, college administration, social structure, constitution and administrative law, local Government structure, Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation, and Management of Social mobilization/Services.

    8.4

    Sociologist, Advisory Technical Assistance to Grassroots level organization As Executive Director
    Initiate Family and Early Childhood Development at the roots level, piloting people’s capacity building tools as BCC change, improved way of attitude and characterize to contribute the country as social human being, assisted staff for enhancing capacity building, leadership skill development through providing actual and appropriate instruction and suggestion. Assisted local government, public-private partnership management, networking and linkage with national and international level donor and service oriented organization.

    As Adviser and Resource Person
    Provide need based and right based advisory tool and tips to the Executive Bodies of various development oriented non-government organizations irrespective to policy and administration development as well as to resource mobilization through fund raising mechanism. Besides, participated in numerous governments and non-government organizational training, seminar, orientation, dialogue and symposium.

    As Social Researcher
    Hands on experience in conducting research study on different social contradictive phenomenon especially on family development through early childhood development, behavioral change communication and counselling and monitoring, Published several publications on fundamental rights including health, education, socialization process.

    As Editor and Reporter
    Worked as reporter at Juger Alo, published at Rangpur during 1990, Dainik Uttaranchal Bogra during 1994, Dainik Ajker Kagoj, Dhaka since 1995 to till now. Brought out education newsletter namely College Bichitra and Digitalar Bijoy as Chief Editor. Wrote several articles and research study through reporting and media.

    9. Involvement with Different Organizations as Activist

    Chairman
    Gobindagonj Artha Samajik Unnayan Parishad, Gobindagonj, Gaibandha

    Chairman
    Gobindagonj Consumers Association of Bangladesh KAB, Gobindagonj, Gaibandha

    Chairman
    Gobindagonj Sangbadik Parishad, Gobindagonj, Gaibandha

    Advisor – HAPSO and Shaker Nir

    Secretary, Citizen for Good Governance (SUJAN), Gobindagonj, Gaibandha

    Secretary, Gobindagonj Press Club, Gobindagonj, Gaibandha

    Chairman
    Gobindagonj NGO Frurum, Gobindagonj, Gaibandha

    10. Publications

    • Awareness -1
    • Awareness -2
    • Maa, Mati. Manus and Jonmovumi

    11. Interest
     Poverty Alleviation
     Disability Development
     Campaign to stop Violence Against Women

    Signature
    (Professor Tapash Dev)
    Executive Director
    Hirokpara, Gobindagonj,
    Gaibandha
    Mobile: 01813639267

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  1. 1 FYSE Blog » Blog Archive » BOP Innovations: Rickshaw’s Trackback on January 26, 2010 at 11:26 am
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