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Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to help empower poor women economically

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Ms Shazia Marri on Tuesday said Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) would help empower poor women economically.

“The government through BISP is striving to address vulnerability of women by empowering them through income support from the poorest of the poor families,” Ms Marri said in a meeting with Dr Luay Shabaneh, representative of United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA).

While briefing the UNFPA representative on BISP’s initiatives, Ms. Marri said that this income support programme was started in 2008 and it is now extending an annual Rs28,000 financial support — Rs 7000 quarterly installments — to around nine million families.

She said that the government has decided to increase this amount of income support by 25pc. Now the quarterly installment will be Rs9,000.

Ms Marri further briefed Dr Shabaneh about other initiatives including Benazir Nashonuma under which the government extends help to mothers and their children with nutrition right from pregnancy up to two years age. She also talked about Benazir Taleemi Wazaif Programme under which nine million children are getting funds and this has helped increase enrolment and addressed the dropout issue.

Dr Luay Shabaneh appreciated the welfare programme for marginalised and underprivileged segments of the society, especially women by providing them a comprehensive social protection net.

He acknowledged that the vision and interests of BISP are closely associated with UNFPA and hoped to build a strategic partnership with the social safety net.

He also highlighted some of the goals of UNFPA including ending preventable maternal deaths; ending the unmet needs for family planning; ending gender-based violence and harmful practices. He highlighted efforts of gender equality and said that UNFPA would be happy to work with BISP to achieve these goals.

In the end, Chairperson BISP and UNFPA representative agreed to find ways to work together towards achieving the shared objective of poverty alleviation and extending social safety to the poorest of the poor. Secretary Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Ghufran Memon and Secretary BISP Yusuf Khan also attended the meeting.

Source: Dawn