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Three million children would be enrolled in schools:Farzana Raja

Islamabad: Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Farzana Raja on Wednesday said three million children aged 5 to 12 years in the beneficiary families would be enrolled in schools during 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 Chairperson BISP apprised 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 symbolizes 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 marginalized 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 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 i.e. Benazir Card (Debit Card), Farzana informed. Benazir Smart Cardholder 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
apprised. 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, till 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 the
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.

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