Islamabad: Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) is first ever initiative in Pakistan which proves to women and the poor of this country that State is like a mother for them. At present 44 such programmes are in operation in different countries of the world whereas BISP has been termed one of the best among them.
Federal Minister and Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Madame Farzana Raja said this during her address to the participants of the seminar “BISP making difference in the lives of the people”, held here at BISP Secretariat Tuesday.
Besides others, Mr. Rachid Bin Masood, Country Director the World Bank, Mr. Iftikhar Malik, Senior Social Protection Specialist, the World Bank, a visiting Delegation from Ministry of Planning Cambodia and representatives from academia, journalists, students and members of civil society also participated in the seminar.
Madame Farzana Raja said that with the patronage and supervision of the President and continued encouragement and support of the Prime Minister, BISP has become a torch bearer of change and is making difference in the lives of the people. It is also a major program in the country, which is striving for the economic and social empowerment of the women.
Besides, she said BISP has become a programme for the empowerment of youth and families as well. She said that within a short time, BISP has achieved what many organizations and programmes around the world have not achieved in decades.
Mr. Rachid Bin Masood, World Bank’s Country Director in Pakistan also spoke on the occasion and said that the Poverty Scorecard Survey conducted by BISP was a unique exercise of its kind in South Asia and one of the best in the world.
He said that the data collected by survey would be beneficial for various other projects in social and financial sectors. He said that BISP has introduced modern delivery mechanisms i.e. Mobile Phone banking and Smart Cards to ensure transparent and effective disbursement of financial assistance among the beneficiary families.
He said that various measures of BISP are proving as catalyst for socio-economic change as well as economic and socio- political empowerment of women in the country. He said that the World Bank would keep supporting BISP in the future as well for its efforts regarding poverty alleviation from the country on long term basis.
Chairperson BISP on the occasion made an announcement that the families with any disable person across Pakistan would have a special exemption in poverty scorecard so that they may be able to enrol themselves with BISP.
She said that considering the transparency and efficacy of the Programme, multilateral financial institutions and international donors like World Bank, Asian Development Bank, USAID and DFID are providing both technical and financial support to BISP and we are thankful to them for this kind support.
She informed the audience that keeping in view the transparent mechanism of BISP and its effectiveness; many developing countries of the world are considering replicating BISP, which is a huge achievement for us.
She urged civil society, media, academia and other segments of society to lend their support and cooperation to BISP in its effort to serve the vulnerable and marginalized men, women, and children of the country. She said that this programme is practical manifestation of the slogan “roti, kapra aur makan, ilm roshni sab ko kaam’ of Pakistan People’s party. She said that a significant decrease in poverty is expected during next ten years as a result of BISP.
Madame Farzana Raja said that BISP intends to share its data gathered by poverty survey with other provinces and institutions so that a cohesive strategy in the social sector could be evolved. She said that BISP is also providing assistance to provinces pertaining to Waseela-e-Taleem. Chairperson BISP said that the government of Sindh has recently requested BISP to share its data with it so that a programme for youth, replicating Waseela-e-Haq, at provincial level may be initiated.
While responding a query, Madame Farzana Raja said that the administrative cost of BISP is only 3 to 4 % which is a distinctive feature of the programme. She said that the poverty survey in Bajor and Kurram Agencies of FATA has been completed while its being in progress in the other agencies. She said that BISP is an asset for 5 million marginalized families of Pakistan and these very people would protect and safeguard their programme.
Mr. Iftikhar Malik, Senior Social Protection specialist, the World Bank said that a third party validation of nationwide poverty survey and transparent disbursement of monthly cash grants among millions of beneficiary families have already been made. He also said that results of these third party validations are extremely encouraging. Mr. Ahsan Ali Mangi, Director General Operations BISP presented three-year progress report on the occasion.
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