Based on long sociological tradition, Coleman (1988) defined social capital as inhering in the structure of inter-personal relations, yielding value by enhancing individuals' abilities to further their interests. Social capital is embedded in society rather than in any one individual, but is given value by the individuals and organizations that use it to further their individual or collective interests. He also explicit that social capital is valuable in facilitating certain actions may be useless or even harmful for others.
Robert Putnam who drew the concept from Cloeman defined social capital as "those features of social organization such as networks, norms and social trust that that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated actions (Puntam, 1993) or as " features of social life- networks, norms and trust that enable participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives (Puntam, 1995).
Social capital is a mechanism of economic growth. Traditionally, the concept of capital has included natural, physical—or produced—and human capital as the main building blocks of economic development and growth. It is now recognized that these three types of capital determine only part of the process of economic growth, because they overlook the way in which the economic actors interact and organize themselves to generate growth and development. The missing link, in other words, is social capital (Grootaert, 1997).
According to Uphoff (2000), social capital can be understood in terms of two distinguishable but interrelated categories: structural and cognitive. The structural category, broadly speaking, is associated with social organization of various kinds and particularly with roles and rules, while the cognitive category is based on mental processes and psychology in the domain of ideas and includes particularly norms, values, attitudes, and beliefs.
That means social capital of a society includes the institutions, the relationships, the attitudes and values that govern interactions among people and contribute to economic and social development. By the consideration of above discussion we can say that social capital is an asset, created by trust, social norms, networks, solidarity and social cohesion embedded in individuals of a community.
Social capital with regard to development of welfare policy in Bangladesh:
Bangladesh is the most vulnerable of the South Asian economies in view of its extremely high population density and high incidence of natural disaster. Poverty has been assigned as the number one problem for development of Bangladesh. Though the country is making significant progress in the socio-economic field, poverty reduction is rather slow. This is mainly because of its high population size of 130 million (population...