ISLAMABAD: Taking into account the prevailing situation in the country, the government has planned to expand the scope of the social safety net Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) and increase the number of beneficiaries to 10 million, said said Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Welfare Shazia Marri.
The Minister said that currently eight million people are registered as recipients of financial assistance under Benazir Kafalat and other programs. One million will be included this year and another million in next year’s budget.
She said the BISP program is the largest social protection program not only in Pakistan but in all of South Asia. This is the reason why the government has increased the budget allocations of the Poverty Alleviation and Social Welfare Division to Rs 372.32 billion which is 43.2% more than the previous budget.
Out of the total, Rs 364 billion has been allocated to BISP while Rs 6 billion will be used for Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal programs, she told a press conference.
Ms Marri said an additional 500,000 people from Balochistan would be included in the BISP, which would cover 65-70% of the province’s population. She said more BISP centers would be established in the province.
Speaking of other social welfare schemes, she said around three million children were receiving Benazir scholarships which would soon be increased to five million, while budget allocations were increased from Rs20bn to Rs36bn.
About the Benazir Nashonuma program, Shazia Marri said that such welfare centers will be established in all districts of the country this year to address the problem of malnutrition among children.
To a question, Shazia Marri replied that the previous government had changed the name of BISP to Ehsaas without completing the legal formalities for the sole purpose of scoring political points.
Posted in Dawn, July 5, 2022