KARACHI: Four officers have been dismissed from service on charges of corruption as they got their wives enrolled as Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) beneficiaries fraudulently, said BISP chairperson Dr Sania Nishtar at an open kutchery organised in Malir on Saturday.
A large number of BISP beneficiaries were in attendance at the event.
Speaking at the gathering, Dr Nishtar, also Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, said four Grade-17 BISP officers had been dismissed from service on charge of corruption and misconduct as they got their wives enrolled as BISP beneficiaries fraudulently, using their position in BISP. Inquiries were under way against two others.
The government, she said, had recovered Rs440,196 as part of Ehsaas integrity and anti-corruption drive.
“The government is not taking out the needy from the BISP list of beneficiaries but taking steps to ensure transparency in the programme. It plans to increase its monthly stipend from Rs5,000 to Rs6,000 which would be given in instalments. Every beneficiary would now have a bank account and can withdraw the amount through an ATM card as well,” she told the audience.
Monthly stipend to be raised to Rs6,000
The government, she said, was committed to uplift of the poor.
“You are important for the government, that’s why I am here to listen to your problems so that we can devise an effective strategy to alleviate your sufferings,” she said, adding that the prime minister was serious about poverty alleviation and wanted to take steps in that direction.
About those excluded from the BISP list of beneficiaries recently, she said she personally involved herself to get first-hand information about the social status of BISP beneficiaries.
“Often, I wear burqa and go out in and around Islamabad to look into the lives of beneficiaries,” she said, adding that the government had launched a crackdown on corrupt elements.
Highlighting how the funds were being misused and the steps the government had taken so far to ensure transparency in the programme, she said 140,000 government employees of various grades were among the BISP beneficiaries including the staff of Pakistan Post Office.
“The government has started taking disciplinary action against these officials. In cases where such officials are working under provincial governments, their lists have been sent to the chief secretaries of respective governments.”
Dr Nishtar urged women to come forward, support the government and avail the opportunities being offered under the Ehsaas Programme, one component of which was Kafalat Programme that could benefit women a lot.
“The government is making procedures easier and improving the BISP to benefit the poor. Earlier, the beneficiary couldn’t know that she had received the stipend but now they can get this information. In addition, they could now open a bank account with a thumb impression and [make] savings,” she said.
Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2020