An overwhelming number of people, both in the formal and informal sectors, have lost their jobs in Bangladesh as a result of pandemic, but unfortunately the government lacks any data on using the number of people and also require been impacted. Although the Labour Policy 2012 says that the federal government will take steps to keep detailed information on employed personnel based on each firm and sector, it would appear that no such initiative has been bought out the last eight years to generate a comprehensive database of employees in the country. Informal estimates suggest there are between 1.3 crore to 5 crore personnel who've been unemployed because of this of the pandemic.
When The Daily Star contacted the Department of Labour (DOL), Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment (DIFE) and Bangladesh Labour Welfare Foundation (BLWF) enquiring about a set of unemployed workers, not only were these departments unable to provide any satisfactory answers, however they also seemed to lack any plan of how to help these persons tide through the difficult times. With out a comprehensive list, it could be difficult, if not impossible, to design interventions that provides systematic support to unemployed workers. For instance, the labour ministry has formed crisis management committees at the district level, who are tasked with the duty of earning lists of affected employees and submitting them to local administration for food aid. However, a large number of unemployed employees have not received anything yet and there's no guarantee if, or when, they will receive any support.
Workers in the informal sectors, who constitute an impressive 85 percent of the working population, have already been the worst hit by the pandemic, lacking any social or legal protections or employment benefits. Labour leaders explain that there surely is a Tk 400 crore fund create beneath the Bangladesh Labour Welfare Foundation Act 2006 to aid personnel in the informal sector, but thus far, no initiative has been taken up to use a few of this fund to alleviate the sufferings of these who are actually on the brink of starvation.
We urge the government to immediately make a comprehensive list of unemployed both in the formal and informal sectors so that it could come up with a holistic plan and allocate enough funds to support them, if need be, by exploring untapped resources, such as the Tk 400 crore welfare fund.