ISLAMABAD: Keeping in view the widening gap between the rich and the poor, the government in its budget 2020-21 has planned to extend the social safety net programme to 12 million poor from the existing 4.3m. The government also enhanced the monthly financial assistance to Rs3,000 per month from Rs2,000 per month presently being paid to the BISP beneficiaries.
The pro-poor measures include provision of special cash assistance of Rs3,000 per month for four months to 4.5m registered low-income groups under the Kafaalat Programme; emergency cash assistance of Rs3,000 per month for four months to 4m beneficiaries from updated National Social Economic Registry (NSER) of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP); and emergency cash assistance of Rs3,000 per month for four months to 3.5m beneficiaries to be identified by the district administration. An amount of Rs398.65m has been allocated BISP in the budget.
According to the Annual Development Plan 2020-21, social welfare systems should enable the society to advance the well-being and security of their citizens by protecting them from vulnerability and deprivation so that they can pursue a decent life.
Rs900bn economic relief package for people affected by Covid-19
This is particularly important for socially-excluded population and deprived segments of the society especially after the ongoing pandemic. This population includes the poor, persons with disabilities, migrants, refugees, internally displaced people, slum-dwellers, women and children.
These groups, the document notes, have fewer opportunities for economic, social and human development and remain caught in a vicious cycle of poverty; therefore, economic growth needs to be equitable for improving the living standards of all strata of the society.
The ADP also lays out the multi-dimensional aspects of Covid-19 response, with a clear strategy to mobilise technical and financial resources to define and implement safeguarding and protecting social needs of the most vulnerable people through social welfare interventions under the Ehsaas Programmes.
Apart from this, the government has also approved a Rs900 billion economic relief package for the welfare of people affected by Covid-19. Of this, a total of Rs200bn was allocated for low-income groups, particularly labourers while an amount of Rs100bn has been allocated for the support of small industries and the agriculture sector, the annual plan states.
Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2020