3m children to be enrolled in four years: Farzana Raja
28 February, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Chairperson Farzana Raja on Wednesday said that three million children aged 5 to 12 years in the beneficiary families would be enrolled in schools during the next four years to secure their future.
"Under this initiative, up to three youngest children of each deserving family will be supported through an additional quarterly cash transfer of Rs 600 per child subject to at least 70 percent attendance," Farzana Raja said.
The initiative has been taken under 'Waseela-e-Taleem' programme with the assistance of British government, as nine million BISP beneficiaries' children are unable to attend primary education due to financial constraints, she told APP.
This programme would initially be launched in 20 districts of the country, she said adding, four districts from each province and two each from Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and other districts will be added gradually.
She said, "The BISP conducted poverty survey across the board and no discrimination was made on the basis of creed, caste, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic status."
The BISP chairperson said that 99 percent of the nationwide poverty survey had been completed, which aimed at registering seven million families comprising 40 million people and from 20 to 22 percent of entire population, including 450,000 families from Balochistan and 200,000 families from FATA.
"The BISP symbolises Shaheed Benazir Bhutto's dream of transforming Pakistan into a welfare state," she said, adding that it had accomplished 15 years' work in just four years.
The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has facilitated 145,474 beneficiaries by its Mobile Phone Banking Service throughout the country to help marginalised segments of society at their doorsteps.
"Mobile Phone Banking has been introduced for the first time in the history of country for transparent transfer of BISP benefits to the poorest of the poor," she said.
It would further eliminate any manual involvement in disbursement of cash to the deserving, she stated.
Another innovation by the BISP is the use of Benazir Card for payments to recipients, she said, adding, "So far, 183,488 cards have been distributed amongst recipients."
This initiative is now being extended to the whole of the country in the modified form ie Benazir Card (Debit Card), Farzana informed.
Benazir Smart Card holder could only withdraw his or her money through franchises, while recipients using Benazir Debit Card could use ATMs as well as franchises to withdraw their money, she said.
The card had so far been launched in 99 districts and till now approximately 2.5 million cards have been distributed among the recipients and an amount of 11.4 billion has been disbursed through them, Farzana said, adding that until the end of this fiscal year, the card would be delivered to more than four million beneficiaries.
Farzana Raja stated that the international community had enthusiastically responded to the initiatives taken by Pakistan to bring into social safety net the poor and neglected sections of society.
"The BISP has received technical and financial support from the World Bank, USAID, DFID and ADB; and many foreign countries like India, Bangladesh and Mongolia have shown their eagerness to implement similar programs for the poor in their countries," she said.