ISLAMABAD – President Asif Ali Zardari will inaugurate Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) today (Thursday) designed by the federal government for the poor strata of society for which Rs 34 billion had been allocated in the money bill 2008-09.
Briefing the media in a press conference about the contours of programme, Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Sherry Rehman said that under Benazir Shaheed Income Support Card, Rs 2,000 financial assistance would be given to around three million families after every two months, each of income group below Rs 6,000 per month.
She said that the financial assistance would be given to the poor and deserving people through housewives. “Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari have fully supported this project by taking personal interest therein,” she added.
“It would be the utmost endeavour of government that only deserving families should benefit from this programme,” she held, adding that the government had evolved such a system of verification and identification through parliamentarians, union councilors and NADRA under which any chance of corruption stood ruled out.
“Production of NADRA computerised card will be mandatory to benefit from this programme and after necessary verification from parliamentarians and union councilors, NADRA would have authority to reject any form after 15 days of scrutiny,” she underlined.
Information Minister said that the people would have the right to appeal against rejection of their forms by NADRA.
“This is revolutionary step of the government to extend financial assistance to housewives of 3 million families which constituted 14 per cent of total population,” she said and added, “Preference would be given to deserving people from Balochistan, Chitral, Waziristan, Kohistan and other backward areas”.
Rehman said that the NADRA would put the list of verified forms on its website and the male members would be entitled to this aid in the families where there would be no female member. “Disabled persons, widows and patients falling in the income group of below Rs 6,000 will also be eligible to receive the assistance,” she added.
“It is the third largest allocation in the current budget and constitutes 0.3 per cent of GDP,” she said, adding that it would cover up to 12-14 per cent of the population in low-income bracket in the entire country, including FATA, Northern Areas and Azad Jammu & Kashmir. “For families earning Rs 5,000 per month, the Rs 1,000 payout will amount to a 20 per cent increase in their current purchasing power,” she elaborated. The minister said that according to current flour prices, the additional Rs 1,000 a month amount would be sufficient to finance 20-25 days of flour needs for a 5-6 member low income family.
She said that the disbursement of financial assistance would be made through Pakistan Post, delivered by postal Money Order at the recipient address, to save people from the cost of obtaining the amount. She further said that work was under way to develop a ‘smart card’ system that would ultimately become the medium for disbursement for the Programme as well as for other supports the Government was contemplating to launch in due course.
Source: The Nation