ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed his special assistant on social protection and poverty eradication to bring present and future policy action under the purview of the Ehsas programme on priority basis in order to streamline the government’s welfare initiatives.
The premier, while chairing a cabinet meeting in the federal capital on Monday, also directed the social security division to play a central role in the coordination between federal and provincial institutions on welfare issues.
Ehsas, which means compassion, was launched by the prime minister in March this year with the objectives to reduce inequality, invest in people, and lift lagging districts.
Under the programme, 2 per cent quota in government jobs reserved for those with physical disabilities would be implemented. Furthermore, two per cent quota has also been fixed for those with special needs in the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme.
As part of the initiative for the uplift of marginalised groups and those with physical and intellectual disabilities, directives have been issued for the procurement of support equipment. This includes hearing aids, wheelchairs, walking canes, and other tools. Furthermore, those with special needs will be issued a health insurance card.
According to details, the premier has also instructed Dr Nishtar to ensure due consideration to the needs of those with special needs in the construction of public places and buildings.
Emphasising the importance of assisting the needy and the downtrodden, the premier said those with special needs deserve special attention.
“Unfortunately, the state did not perform its responsibilities towards those with special needs,” he noted, adding that incumbent government would give priority to the projects for the security and welfare of those with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Govt rest houses
PM Imran Khan has said that all rest houses in the country will be classified so that the process of utilising them for tourism purposes can be ensured.
He said this while chairing a meeting to review the progress of opening of government rest houses in the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to the public in order to promote tourism.
“By opening these government rest houses to local and international tourists, we will not only earn income but also use the revenue for the maintenance and protection of these rest houses,” he said, adding that the historical aspects of these sites will be preserved for the benefit of posterity.
The premier asserted that the conversion of these rest houses into places of public lodging was part of the government’s policy to boost tourism and better utilise available resources.
“We will not tolerate any obstacles in the implementation of this policy,” Imran said, warning government officers of strict action in case of failure to comply.
Punjab tourism minister Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz, K-P tourism minister Muhammad Atif, K-P chief secretary Muhammad Saleem and other officers participated in the meeting during which the two provincial tourism ministers apprised the meeting of the progress in utilising the rest houses for public and tourism.
The Punjab tourism minister informed the meeting that 177 rest houses of various departments have been opened for use by the public.
Meanwhile, the K-P chief secretary said 157 rest houses in the province are owned by the agriculture department, forestry department, police department, and other departments. “Work on handing over these rest houses to different departments is under way,” he said.
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