Govt to spend additional Rs 8.6 bn under Ehsaas Kifalat program: Nishtar

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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection and Chairperson BISP Dr. Sania Nishtar has announced that government has increased the quarterly cash grant for 4.3million beneficiaries of Ehsaas Kifalat Programme of BISP from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 5,500.

This increase would mean that the Government will provide Rs. 8.6 billion more for cash transfers to the poorest of the poor. This pro-poor decision was taken in cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister on Tuesday, she said. She further added that BISP has now 4.27 million active beneficiaries after delisting 0.82 million undeserving beneficiaries.

Dr. Nishtar said that the increased stipend will be given to only the deserving beneficiaries from the 2nd quarter of the 2019-20 i.e. October – December 2019 quarterly cash grant. Referring to the ongoing disbursement to the beneficiaries, the SAMP said that BISP has already started the disbursement of cash grant for the 1st quarter through partner banks on the new Ehsaas Digital payment system.

She said that this system is completely biometric and payments are only made after verification of thumb impressions by NADRA. The present government continues to bring about significant governance improvements for creating a welfare state modeled on Riasat-e-Madina, she said. She stated that the increase in the stipend amount would mean that the money saved from delisting 820,165 beneficiaries will be used for existing and truly deserving beneficiaries. The Chairperson said that BISP being the country’s largest social safety Programme is in the process of bringing more initiatives and programs in education, health and nutrition for the welfare of the poor and marginalized segments of the society. She added that the Government has already decided to enhance the cash transfer amount for mothers of girls to Rs. 1,000 per quarter. This amount is in addition to the quarterly cash transfer of Rs. 5,500 and is paid to the mothers if the girl child attends a primary school. This programme is now being expanded to 100 districts with expenditure increased to Rs8.2 billion on this account.

She also said the details of the 14,730 government employees out of total 820,165 undeserving beneficiaries of Benazir Income Support programme (BISP) identified in a recent move to make this programme more transparent will be sent to their relevant departments for further legal action.

She said that her division will also take necessary action against all the undeserving beneficiaries. Sania Nishtar informed that majority of the cases (33.81 percent) of undeserving beneficiaries were found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa followed by 29.67 in Punjab, 22.32 in Sindh, 5.52 in Balochistan, 5.0 in erstwhile FATA, 2.12 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 1.01 and 0.26 percent in Gilgit Baltistan and Islamabad respectively.

In her tweet, she has also elaborated that a total of 277,266 beneficiaries belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were declared ineligible, including 243,380 from Punjab, 183,042 from Sindh, 45,280 from Balochistan, 43,445 from FATA, 17,361 from Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 8,297 from Gilgit Baltistan and 2,094 from Islamabad.

Digital payment mechanism with bio-metric verification is in place now for the BISP beneficiaries that will reduce the chances of identity theft and fraudulent withdrawals, she said.

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