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'BISP instrumental in empowering women'

15 February, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has helped 2.5 crore women in Pakistan to get their computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC), Farzana Raja, Federal Minister and Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) told the delegate of women journalists of South Asian Women in Media (SAWM), which visited the BISP headquarters on Thursday.

"BISP symbolises Shaheed Benazir Bhutto's dream of transforming Pakistan into a welfare state" she said adding that due to guidance and keen interest of President Asif Ali Zardari, BISP has accomplished the work of 15 years in just 4 years. She said BISP conducted poverty survey across the board and no discrimination was made on the basis of creed, caste, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic status. Biometrics system for verification of beneficiaries due to cultural sensitivities in most parts of the country.

The federal minister said 9 million of BISP beneficiaries' children are unable to attend primary education primarily due to financial constraints of their families. "BISP is striving to reach out to the 20 to 22 percent of Pakistan's poorest of the poor in a view to improve their socio-economic conditions," she said BISP has recently initiated a primary education programme for the enrolment of children, aged between 5-12 years, of the beneficiary families.

"A cash payment of Rs. 200 per child/per month up to 3 children per beneficiary family will be provided to the families ensuring minimum 70% attendance of the child/children in schools every month. This initiative will support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals related to primary education," she said. Responding to a question Farzana Raja said the international community has enthusiastically responded to the initiatives taken by Pakistan to bring into social safety net the poor and neglected sections of the society.

"BISP has received technical and financial support from World Bank, USAID, DFID and ADB; and many foreign countries like India, Bangladesh and Mongolia have shown their eagerness to implement similar programmes for the poor in their countries," she said.

End.

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