Pension schemes for all citizens should be ensured that make guarantee of social protection, Dr. Rashid –E- Mahbub, an eminent social activist said during discussion held on Demilitarisation and social protection on April 24, 2017 in Dhaka. Institute for Environment and Development (IED) organized the event with media personnel to trigger the issues of demilitarisation and social protection discourse at large level in the society.

Dr. Rashid E Mahbud presided over the meeting. Mr. Jyoti Chattopadhyay, project coordinator of IED, read out the concept note titled on demilitarization and social protection in his preamble speech. Numan Ahmed Khan, executive director of IED spoke in the meeting. During the topic wise discussion, journalists from various print media like Rafikul Islam Azad of Daily Independent, Nikhil Bhadra of Daily Kalerkantha, Gazi Shahnewaj of Pratidin, Ratan Chandra Balo of Alokito Somoy, Arifur Rahman of Daily Amader Arthonity, Habibur Rahman of Daily Inqilab and Shahnewaj Molla of Bangla discussed on the event.

IED prepared this paper with cooperation of regional network called SAAPE formed by various development organizations, academic, trade union and community based organizaton (CBO). Eminent researcher and social worker Mangal Kumar Chakma prepared the country position paper. Discussants of the meeting said, “To form democratic and citizen friendly government in true essence, need to establish rule of law, forming and strengthening democratic institutions and rule the country through elected representatives & civil administration. Till now, large number of population remains poor, hence, special efforts should be made to ensure social protection for all citizens and military budget should take under national budget and approve it through parliament.”

They also said,”We got democratic constitution and country is governed accordingly afterwards the independence promoting democracy and good governance. But the country slept away to direct military governance from democratic system, killing its founder president within three and half years of its independence.”

In the meeting, discussants spoked, “During this period, military government destroy democratic governance system & institutions and to sustain their rule, they recognize religion based political parties and introduce religion in politics. Civil government creates new polarization in politics to rule the country keeping the army beside them.”

They also discussed,”Bangladesh has achieved significant progress in economy. Despite important progress made in social and economic sector, there are many challenges and problems ahead of the country regarding sustainable development. Now we are in the way to implementing SDGs. The 5 & 10 number goals of SDGs states social protection issues. To ensure social protection of all citizens, introduction of pension scheme for all citizens is needed.”

The discussants highly acclaimed the contribution of armed forces in developing and protecting the country. Even though, military budget should be included under national budget rather than separate one. Armed forces implement many development programs such as business, medical college, university, and housing business etc which directly fall under authority of civil administration and sectors. In doing so, originality and self image of armed forces are being demolished.

The meeting also addressed that special attention to be given to women, indigenous peoples, dalit and other backward section of the society for social protection. Besides, efforts should be made for empowering poor people to access the food security.