Lahore: Punjab government has launched the first and unique programme in the history of the country, ‘Punjab Khidmat Card’ for providing interest free loans, free technical training, rehabilitation and welfare and financial assistance to deserving persons.
This historic programme was inaugurated by Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif during a function held at Chief Minister’s Office, here today. He formally launched Punjab Khidmat Card’ Programme by pressing a laptop button and personally distributed Khidmat cards among the deserving disabled persons by going to their seats.
Speaking on the occasion, Shahbaz Sharif that ‘Punjab Khidmat Card’ Programme has initiated to make disabled persons active and useful members of the society and this programme has been launched throughout the province. He said that a sum of Rs.2 billion has been allocated for the first phase of the ‘Punjab Khidmat Card’ Programme and two lakh deserving disabled persons will benefit from this programme in the province.
He said that under this programme, an amount of Rs.3600 will be given to the deserving persons on quarterly basis and a dignified procedure has been evolved for the payment of financial assistance so that self-respect of the recipient is not hurt. He said that deserving persons can receive this amount from the branches of bank of Punjab or ATM machines.
The Chief Minister said that disabled persons are also Pakistanis and have the spirit to serve the country instead of being a burden on the society. He said that disabled persons are an important segment of the society and it is responsibility of the state to provide help to them.
He said that ‘Punjab Khidmat Card’ Programme has been launched throughout the province keeping in view this noble cause. He said that dignified ceremony has been arranged today in honour of that segment of society which has the spirit to do something for the society. He said that disabled persons can become useful and active members of the society if they are equipped with technical and special training.
Shahbaz Sharif said that through ‘Punjab Khidmat Card’ Programme, the government is trying to enable disabled persons to stand on their feet and earn their livelihood through provision of financial help and technical training. He said that it will increase respect of disabled persons in the society and they will be able to play their role for progress of the country.
He said that due care of disabled persons will be taken through ‘Punjab Khidmat Card’ and they will be extended all out cooperation. He said that this programme has been launched in 9 divisions and 36 districts of Punjab at the same time and through this programme, financial assistance will be extended to disabled persons in a highly transparent manner.
The Chief Minister said that committees have been constituted at district level for payment of financial help to the deserving disabled persons through ‘Punjab Khidmat Card’ and this entire process will be highly transparent and will be fully monitored. He said that this programme has been launched in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to serve humanity.
Referring to Punjab Education Endowment Fund, Shahbaz Sharif said that it is revolutionary programme of Punjab government for providing educational opportunities to poor but talented boy and girl students and the volume of this fund has reached 15 billion rupees. He said that from the income of this fund, thousands of children are receiving higher education and a number of the deserving students benefitted from the Educational Fund has reached one lakh.
He said Dr. Amjad Saqib has promised that number of deserving boy and girl students will be taken from one lakh to two lakh during the next one year. He said that an important element of educational fund is that not only students of the Punjab but also of all federating units are benefitting from it.
Shahbaz Sharif said that with the help of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund, talented students of poor families are getting education in local and foreign educational institutions and becoming doctors, engineers, teachers and bankers.
Referring to provision of interest free loans to deserving persons under self-employment scheme, the Chief Minister said that lakhs of people are benefitting from this revolutionary programme of Punjab government. He said that interest free loans of 16 billion rupees have been distributed among 8 lakh families so far and their repayment rate is 99.9 percent. He said that such programme reflects the courage, determination and national approach to overcome all problems for the achievement of the objectives through hard work and struggle.
Shahbaz Sharif appreciated the efforts of Provincial Finance Minister, her team, Chief Executive Officer, Social Protection Authority and concerned officers with regard to the launching of ‘Punjab Khidmat Card’ Programme and said that it is the result of their tireless efforts.
Provincial Finance Minister Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha while addressing the function threw light on the aims and objectives of ‘Punjab Khidmat Card’ Programme. She said it is the first time in the history of the country that splendid programme has been launched for the provision of all out facilities to the disabled persons.
She said that this programme will help in making disabled persons respectable, independent and important members of the society. She said that with this programme, vocational training will be imparted to the disabled persons while they will also be given interest free loans.
Health Advisor Kh. Salman Rafique said it is historic day that a splendid programme has been launched under the leadership of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for the proper care and provision of financial assistance to disabled persons.
He said that a center for rehabilitation for disabled persons has been set up at Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital Muzaffargarh while a similar center has also been established at Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Hospital Badian Road, Lahore. He said that Punjab government will also set up such centers in other cities.
Provincial Minister for Zakat & Usher Nadeem Kamran said that Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif deserves appreciation for launching a big programme for the assistance of handicapped persons. Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme Marvi Memon welcomed launching of ‘Punjab Khidmat Card’ Programme for disabled persons of Punjab and assured cooperation in this regard.
She said that other provinces should also emulate the example of Punjab government led by Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif so that disabled persons of those provinces will also benefit from this facility. Provincial Minister for Zakat & Usher Malik Nadeem Kamran, Minister for Finance Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Advisor on Health Kh. Salman Rafique, Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme Marvi Memon, Provincial Ministers, Members Assemblies, Chief Executive Officer Punjab Social Protection Authority, secretaries, disabled persons and their families were present on the occasion.