Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari today said that being the Peoples’ own Government, peoples’ welfare and improvement in their standards of living was the top priority of the Government. He also advised the people of Pakistan to have faith and hope in their future.
This he said during launching ceremony of the mobile phone banking for BISP beneficiaries of North Punjab, as well as another draw of Waseela-e-Haq besides distribution of Life Insurance Certificates amongst BISP beneficiaries at Aiwan-e-Sadr today.
Addressing the gathering, the President said that the Mobile phone banking would ensure that money was paid to the most deserving in a speedy and transparent manner and hoped that very soon every beneficiary of BISP across Pakistan would be receiving cash grants through mobile phones. The President said that the deserving would get their full share of assistance without any fear of leakage or misappropriation.
He said that the launch of mobile banking was well-timed to pay homage to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto whose birthday celebrations were about to commence and on whose vision the whole program was based. The President said that Shaheed BB lived and laid down her life for the empowerment of the poor and downtrodden particularly women. He said that the birth anniversary of Shaheed Mohtarma was an appropriate occasion to launch new initiatives for the poor and the needy. It reflects the feelings she had for the poor and vulnerable sections of society, he said.
The President said that the way in which the BISP Programme has progressed and was blossoming into a comprehensive social safety net was a matter of pride. He complimented BISP for reaching out to more than 4 million families in less than three years. He said that more than 6500 beneficiaries have benefited from Waseela-e-Haq so far.
The President said that initially when the Program was launched, few people had reservations and doubts about its implementation especially in the tribal areas. But it was heartening to note that the Program was being successfully implemented in all areas including the tribal areas of the country.
He said that BISP has helped the beneficiaries to break out of the poverty trap in which they were trapped for generations. He said that BISP was not merely for poverty alleviation. “It is designed to be much more.” he said. He said that BISP was a comprehensive social protection scheme and a platform for women empowerment adding that it would cover programs for health and accident insurance, vocational training and interest free financing for self employment.
According to prepared text of speech, the President said that after the introduction of Benazir Smart Card and Poverty Scorecard Survey, the Mobile Phone Banking was another step by BISP reflecting that the Program has progressed into a comprehensive social safety net.
The President said that Life Insurance under Waseela-e-Sehet and Vocational training for BISP beneficiaries under Waseela-e-Rozgar schemes were already underway.
BISP has introduced pilot phase of Mobile Phone Banking for Cash Grants Beneficiaries launched by the President on 26th December, 2010 at Larkana and Layyah, where more than 68,000 free mobile phones have been distributed. Currently, Mobile Phone Banking is being implemented in 8 districts across the country. These districts are Larkana, Layyah, Barkhan, Battagram, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Poonch and Gannche whereas more than 300,000 free mobile phone sets are being provided to BISP beneficiaries. Group Life Insurance is another intervention of social protection which covers the breadwinner of each of the beneficiary family. Under this scheme the dependents of the deceased would be compensated for Rs 100,000/- in case of natural or accidental death of the breadwinner. Till date State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan has enrolled one million BISP beneficiary families whereas 1.2 million more beneficiary families will be enrolled in the current year.
The President said that the international community has appreciated BISP program for its transparency, objectivity and efficiency.
He complimented Chairperson Ms. Farzana Raja and everyone in the BISP for their efforts in making the Programme a great success. The President also thanked the international community and development partners for their help in this initiative.
The President said that he was personally monitoring the progress of the Poverty Scorecard Survey and said that he was pleased to learn that the national roll out of Poverty Scorecard survey was progressing well. The President said that we have to be very vigilant in ensuring that the public money was directly and transparently paid to the most deserving.
He hoped that the implementation of the other Initiatives of Benazir Income Support Programme like Vocational Training and Health Insurance would also be expedited.
The President also emphasized that all the resources must be mobilized to reach out to the poor and needy in all parts of the country.
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