Research shows BISP is ‘biased, misused’

Published June 14, 2014
BISP has been under criticism since long. — File photo
BISP has been under criticism since long. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: Although Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has started Waseela-i-Sehat’s pilot programme in Faisalabad and is planned to start in three more districts of different provinces, a research study shows that not only grants of BISP are distributed on basis of nepotism but they are not being spent on mothers and newborns.

Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO), a non-government organisation, interviewed 6,200 people from Faisalabad, Nowshera, Badin and Quetta and launched the research report on Friday.

Report says that majority of the people complained that the BISP forms are distributed on political basis to garner votes.


Know more: Media campaign highlighting the BISP cost Rs 3.15 billion.


It is pertinent to mention that Waseela-i-Sehat comprises health insurance and group life insurance programmes, provides the extreme and chronic underprivileged with basic income support measures to access health care and to cope with a variety of health shocks.

It also insures the life of the breadwinner of a family to compensate dependents of the deceased with Rs100,000 in case of a natural or accidental death.

The report says that during the survey in Faisalabad, it was learnt that although Waseela-i-Sehat was for women and children, most of the recipient women spent it on their male family members.

It has been suggested that there should be a condition that ensures that only mothers and children benefit from the programme, directly. Moreover, the report also reveals that the hospital staff treats the beneficiaries of the programme as second-grade citizens.


A study by an NGO says that the assistance to households not spent on mothers, children


SPO Technical Adviser Ayaz Kiyani, while sharing recommendations of the report, said the programme should focus on mother and neonatal health (MNH).

“Civil society organisations should be involved in the programme because BISP has no setup to ensure transparency at district level. Transparency and complaint redress system should be fully functional and legislation should be passed to resolve errors in programme,” he said, adding that merit needs to be ensured while selecting the beneficiaries.

“Health workers and staff appointed at programme-designated hospitals should be trained to deal with the patients, because they usually misbehave with patients having Waseela-i-Sehat cards,” he said.

Mr Kiyani said all interviewees were selected from the database of BISP and out of them 3,100 were those who applied for financial assistance but failed to get it.

SPO Chief Executive Naseer Memon said the main objective of the research was to compare unconditional and conditional cash transfer programmes, with focus on MNH.

Some civil society activists criticised the report and said that it was nothing but a waste of money and time. Naheed Aziz said that legislation could not be done to resolve issues of the Waseela-i-Sehat programme.

She said a bill regarding reproductive health was passed by the National Assembly during the tenure of the former government, but was rejected by the Senate.

“Civil society should try to resubmit the bill with amendments, because only that is how the issues of MNH can be addressed,” she said.

Human rights activist Tahira Abdullah said the minuscule format of the report had made it difficult for the people to read.

“Recently, Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) was published but it seems that no one bothered to see the DHS before preparing this report. Survey based on four districts can not present the real picture of the Pakistan,” she said.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2014

Opinion

Editorial

KP’s ‘power struggle’
Updated 21 Jun, 2024

KP’s ‘power struggle’

Instead of emboldening protesters, CM Gandapur should encourage his provincial subjects to clear their due bills and ensure theft is minimised.
Journalist’s murder
21 Jun, 2024

Journalist’s murder

ANOTHER name has been added to the list of journalists murdered in Pakistan. On Tuesday, Khalil Jibran’s vehicle...
A leaner government?
21 Jun, 2024

A leaner government?

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb has reiterated his government’s ‘commitment’ to shutting down ministries...
Kindness needed
Updated 20 Jun, 2024

Kindness needed

This year’s World Refugee Day theme — solidarity with refugees — includes keeping our borders accessible and addressing the hurdles they face.
Fitch’s budget note
20 Jun, 2024

Fitch’s budget note

PAKISTAN’S ongoing economic crisis is multifaceted. At one end, the government must pursue stabilisation policies...
Cruelty to animals
20 Jun, 2024

Cruelty to animals

TWO recent incidents illustrate the immense cruelty many in this country subject voiceless animals to. In the first...