FAISALABAD: The provincial government has introduced several welfare projects for the uplift of marginalised segments of the society, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said at a seminar to raise awareness about the Punjab Khidmat Programme on Monday.
The seminar was organised at the TMA Hall by the Punjab Social Protection Authority, the Punjab Information Department and the district administration. It was attended by MPA Fatima Fareeha, PSPT Programme Officer Naveed Akbar, Revenue Additional Commissioner Khadim Jilani, Assistant Commissioners Bilawal Abru and Rafia Haider, and several representatives of NGOs.
Addressing the participants, Sanaullah said that the Khidmat Card programme was the first of its kind. It targeted differently-abled members of the society in order to provide them financial assistance, interest-free loans, free technical training and assistance in procuring artificial limbs, he said.
The minister said the idea was to enable this segment to become productive members of the society. More than 200,000 differently-abled people in the province have been targeted in the first phase of the programme and Rs2 billion has been allocated for this phase.
“The amount reserved for this programme will increase every year,” Sanaullah said. “The government is committed to rehabilitate the differently-abled.”
He said the Khidmat Card programme was being fully monitored and transparency had been ensured at every step.
Speaking about the Punjab Education Endowment Fund, the law minister said the programme was a revolutionary one. “We aimed to provide educational opportunities to financially underprivileged, but talented, students… The fund for this programme has now crossed Rs1.5 billion.” He said almost a hundred thousand children had benefitted from the fund so far.
“Now the provincial government has introduced a law to end bonded labour and child labour in the province,” the minister said. He said strict action had been taken against scores of brick kiln owners who had hired children. The government has introduced a far-reaching welfare programme to put these children in schools, he said.
Sanaullah said it was important to hold awareness seminars and thanked the media for cooperating with the government in this regard.
Punjab Social Protection Authority Programme Officer Naveed Akbar gave a short presentation on the Punjab Khidmat Programme and highlighted its salient features and importance. He said under the programme, Rs3,600 would be given to differently-abled people on a quarterly basis. He said a dignified procedure had been evolved for the disbursement of financial assistance so that the recipients’ dignity was not hurt.
He said those who had cards could collect the amount from Bank of Punjab branches or ATMs. He said the differently-abled could become active members of the society if they had the right technical and special training.
MPA Fareeha Fatima also spoke on the occasion. Later, Sanaullah distributed Khidmat Cards among several differently-abled persons.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2016.