Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday directed the speedy expansion of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) with introduction of new technologies to provide financial benefits to vulnerable sections in all parts of the country.
Addressing a ceremony organized by Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) here to hand over life insurance certificates and cheques to women and people affected by bomb blasts, he said the
BISP programme is a real reflection of dreams of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto for the poor people of Pakistan. He said BISP is an important step of the government for the social protection of poor people and it is a matter of pride that the programme has become the centre of hopes of people due to its transparency, objectivity and performance. The World Bank has also accepted the credibility of BISP as in a period of three years it has reached four million families which is a big success, he noted.
He praised Chairperson BISP Farzana Raja for taking forward the mission of Benazir Bhutto. Benazir Bhutto wanted to make Pakistan a truly welfare state and she always deeply felt for the pain of the deprived sections and poor people, he remarked.
The Prime Minister stated that BISP was playing an important role in alleviation of poverty and to empower women besides providing facilities of life insurance, vocational training and interest free loans so that women can start their own businesses under Waseela-e-Haq.
More than 7000 families have benefitted from the Waseela-e-Haq Programme, he added. Prime Minister Gilani said the efforts of development partners and international community supported the government in bringing revolutionary changes in lives of deprived sections of society by continuing BISP.
He expressed the hope that the development partners would help in making BISP programme more effective and efficient. The Prime Minister said the government will ensure that the deserving families are provided health facilities under Waseela Sahet Programme. He said BISP is also providing financial assistance to families of citizens affected by acts of terrorism and has started imparted training to one member of a needy family under BISP’s Waseela Rozgar Scheme, which will make people productive citizens of society.
He assured the terrorism affected families that the government would stand by them in their hour of difficulty. The Prime Minister mentioned poverty survey through which till now poor have been identified in 85 percent of the country. The poverty survey is conducted according to international standards and with a poverty card, the poor and deprived sections will be provided assistance in a transparent and impartial manner and without any political discrimination, he added. The Prime Minister said the government policy is to bring the backward areas at par with the developed areas of the country by providing them with basic amenities of life and bringing them into the national mainstream.
Poverty survey has been started in FATA and on its completion, the government can better formulate policies for the social sector, he added. Prime Minister Gilani said the government will ensure that the national wealth is used for the welfare of people through direct assistance. He mentioned the introduction of mobile phone banking and Benazir Smart Card for speedy and transparent transfer of money to female beneficiaries.
The Prime Minister instructed the Finance Ministry to devise a way to provide relief to poor families on electricity and gas bills.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Farzana Raja said BISP distributed Rs.54 billion through opposition parties which proves that money is not distributed for political reasons. While mentioning the accusations made by some politicians regarding use of BISP funds during the elections campaign in AJK, she said that the factual evidences are entirely different as Rs. One billion have been distributed among the 30 thousand families identified by legislators of Muslim Conference and allied parties while less than 500 million have been distributed among 15 thousand families identified by legislators of Pakistan People’s Party in AJ and K. She said that opposition for the sake of opposition is of course not a sign of mature politics.
She lauded the leadership qualities of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and said the government is committed to continue to reach out to poor through targeted subsidies.
Farzana Raja said BISP is the vision of Benazir Bhutto and it is part of the PPP manifesto to raise living standards of the poor. She said leader and workers of PPP will not let the blood of Benazir Bhutto go waste and will continue to follow in her footsteps. She said that BISP would keep striving to achieve the objective of making Pakistan a social welfare state as it was envisioned by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the Secretariat of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Shah, Minister for Petroleum Dr. Asim Hussain, Minister for Textile Makhdoom Shahabuddin and members of parliament attended the ceremony.
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