Update November 8, 2015

Dhaka 4-41 am, 23-September, 2020

BIDS: Middle-class people to reach 33% by 2030

Sumel Sarker


BIDS: Middle-class people to reach 33% by 2030

08 November 2015, Nirapad News: The middle-class group is expected to stand at 33% of the country’s total population by 2030, says Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

Over the last two decades, the country witnessed a remarkable rise in middle class group, it said, adding that if the trend continues, the country is expected to add 25% of its total population by 2025.

It said only 9% of the population belonged to this category decades back and in 2010, this group accounted for 20%.

BIDS Research Director Binayak Sen revealed the information in his keynote paper on “Size and Growth of Middle Class in Bangladesh” at the BIDS dissemination event on presentations from the BIDS Research Almanac 2014-2015, at BIDS yesterday.

He said currently, there is no specific definition of middle-class. Generally, if someone’s income increases to $3 from $2 is fallen into the middle class.

“Pro-middle class growth would be an important policy agenda along with “Pro-poor Growth” as Bangladesh moves into the next stage of development underpinned by upper middle income target and SDGs, said Sen.

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal laid emphasis on more research on improving life of marginalised people.

“We need to work for upgrading marginal people’s life to the middle-class. For this, area-based project should be taken,” he said.

He said there are about two crore people mainly from Haor areas and from socially excluded communities like Bede (gypsy), Jele (fishermen), Hijra (transgender). “We cannot think of any sustainable development keeping these people outside the mainstream economic activities.”

BIDS Senior Research Fellows Rushidan Islam Rahman and Monzur Hossain also presented two key note papers on “Employment and Labour Market: Structural Change and Real Wage Growth” and “Capital Flows to LDcs: Lessons for Bangladesh” respectively.

Rushidan in her paper focused mainly on the presence of surplus labour in the form of unemployment or under underemployment.

According to his paper, employment growth has been lower during 2010-13 as compared to the previous five-year period.

Additional domestic employment generation per year during the period (2010-13) was only 1.3 million, which was much lower than the projections of the Sixth Five Year Plan.

During the period annually 0.5 million workers have been absorbed through overseas employment.

“This shows a high dependence on foreign employment with associated uncertainty and other repercussions,” said Rushidan.

The shortfall in generating additional employment has been due to lower GDP growth achieved during these years as compared to targets set by the plan, she said. In addition, the growth of less labour-intensive sectors has contributed to the sluggish employment growth.

The underemployment rate, according to the paper, increased from 16.6% in 1996 to 24.5% in 2006 and decreased slightly in 2010 when it stood at 20.31%. A further decline of underemployment occurred during 2010-13, especially among the female workers.

Monzur in his paper said commitments made by donor countries to disburse 0.2% of their gross national income (GNI) as official development assistance (ODA) remain unfulfilled.

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