Islamabad: Poverty is an evil without boundaries and a trans-national issue. Reduction in poverty can end extremist trends in the society which can lead towards a more peaceful world. Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has served people throughout Pakistan without any discrimination and thus achieved uniform results in every nook and corner of the country.
This was said by Madame Farzana Raja, Chairperson BISP during her address from a seminar “Poverty and Vulnerability in the Mountain Areas of Pakistan” held in collaboration of BISP and ICIMOD, a regional knowledge development and learning centre amongst eight member countries namely Pakistan, China, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan.
Madame Farzana Raja while acknowledging the need to pay special attention towards poverty reduction in mountain areas of Pakistan said that BISP is primarily focused on brining the vulnerable segment of hard terrains like Baluchistan, FATA, Gilgit Baltistan and AJ and K in national mainstream by providing them ample and equal opportunities.
She said that by employing transparent technology based systems, unconventional thinking mechanism and corporate style of working, BISP is ideally bringing in sustainable socio-economic changes in the lives of 6 million beneficiary families. Chairperson said that the trust of the people in the programme has helped near completion of nationwide poverty census and successful continuation of service delivery.
Madame Farzana Raja said that BISP, over a span of three years, has developed into a comprehensive socially safety net by introducing projects like interest free micro-financing, vocational and technical training, health and life insurance whereas education facility is on the horizon.
She said that international donor organizations have shown their confidence in the programme whereas Secretary General UN Mr. Ban Ki Moon has declared it a role model for developing countries. She also gave reference to USAID’s recent report which has declared accuracy of BISP’s cash transfers to be 98.6%. Towards the end, Chairperson BISP acknowledged the sound work being carried out by ICIMOD and assured of her and Government of Pakistan’s cooperation.
Earlier, Dr. David Molden, Director General ICIMOD emphasized on the concentrated efforts to address poverty in mountain areas. He appreciated Madame Farzana Raja’s role in turning BISP into a successful role model for poverty alleviation. Dr. Eklabya Sharma, Director Programme Officer ICIMOD in his address highlighted the need for knowledge sharing and a collective strategy to tackle poverty issues in less privileged mountain areas of the Himalaya.
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