The spokesman for the Benazir Income Support Programme has issued a clarification regarding certain unfounded statements made by speakers at a seminar reported in The Express Tribune on June 9, ‘When every paisa counts, the post office takes its pound of flesh.
On the alleged irregularities by the staff of the Pakistan Post while delivering cash grants to beneficiary families, the spokesman elaborated that the task was initially assigned to Pakistan Post as there was no alternate mechanism available to distribute the cash grants among the families, most of who live in inaccessibly parts of the country where only the postal service is available.
The spokesman said that the BISP is a nationwide initiative aiming to help the poorest of the poor in a transparent and effective manner. It was in this context that BISP launched the Benazir Smart Card and mobile phone banking, based on state-of-the-art technology to address complaints about the way the money was delivered.
In order to ensure transparency and accountability, the programme made it mandatory for the women to have a computerised national identity card (CNIC). BISP’s targeting and payment management information systems (MIS) have been developed with NADRA to link registration of beneficiary families with NADRA’s national ID registry so that there is more credibility in the beneficiary selection and payment. BISP surveys even those households where not a single member has a CNIC and if they are declared eligible they start receiving their benefits as soon as they get their CNICs. BISP even launched a campaign which enabled almost 10 million women in the country to get CNICs.
The spokesman said that cash grants should not be confused with income, as their primary purpose is to allow families to cope with the increases in the costs of food and fuel.
Thus, for a family whose monthly income is Rs5,000, the cash grant increases the income by 20% which is equal to the prevailing rate of inflation. Besides monthly cash grants, BISP is also expanding the scope of its “graduation” initiatives ie Waseela-e-Haq, Waseela-e-Rozgar and Waseela-e-Sehet (life and health insurance). press release
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2011.
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