ISLAMABAD: The government has increased budget allocation for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to Rs400 billion from the earlier Rs250 billion in an effort to expand its scope and include more deserving families.

The step has been taken keeping in view the regular rise in prices of daily use commodities and unemployment pushing more people below the poverty line.

A meeting was held here at the BISP headquarter to review progress of the initiatives that have been taken in order to provide relief to the poor.

Minister for Poverty Alleviation Shazia Marri chaired the meeting. Participants were informed that during the last one year, the government has increased budgetary allocation of the Benazir Income Support Programme from Rs250 billion to Rs400 billion which is a 60 percent increase in this budget.

The raise was given in the mini budget presented by the incumbent government about two months back.

The BISP Secretary Yusuf Khan and director generals of the programme briefed the minister on the progress of various initiatives. The meeting was informed that Rs70 billion was disbursed among 2.8 million flood-affected families at the rate of Rs25,000 per family. Moreover, Rs16.7 billion were also given as fuel subsidy among several families at the rate of Rs2000 per family.

It was also highlighted that the government has increased Benazir Kafaalat funds by 25pc for deserving people of the country.

These quarterly stipends have been enhanced from Rs7,000 to Rs8,750. Currently, Rs8,500 is being disbursed against the quarterly instalment of January to March, while Rs9,000 will be paid for the April to June instalment.

The number of beneficiaries of Benazir Kafaalat have also been increased from 7.6 million households to 9 million households.

Similarly, the total number of students under the Benazir Taleemi Wazaif Programme has reached 7.1 million. Regarding Benazir Nashonuma, the meeting was told that the initiative has been expanded to every district of Pakistan under which 510,000 pregnant and lactating mothers and newborn babies across the country are receiving benefits through 472 centres.

Transgender persons have also been included in the Benazir Kafaalat Programme.

The new Dynamic Registry initiative has been launched which will update the existing beneficiary data and also enable new, eligible families to register themselves for financial assistance in the programme.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2023

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