LAYYAH: In line with his promise of transforming Pakistan into a welfare state, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday launched Rs15 billion Ehsaas Amdan Programme – an anti-poverty initiative aimed at creating opportunities for respectable livelihood for the most disadvantaged people.
Addressing the launching ceremony, the prime minister said, “So far, the country has witnessed the pro-rich development that instead of benefiting the poor, widened the gap in society.”
Ehsaas Progamme Chairperson Dr Sania Nishtar, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, the provincial cabinet members and a huge number of the residents of the Southern Punjab city attended the event.
Also on the stage were Kulsoom Bibi and Nokar Hussain – the two beneficiaries of the Amdan programme who also spoke highly of prime minister's anti-poverty initiatives to make them live an independent and respectable life.
Foundation of welfare state laid: PM Imran
Under the Rs15 billion programme, the government would give away small assets to the people living below the poverty line to make them earn a living and come out of the shackles of poverty.
The assets include livestock (goats, cows, buffaloes and poultry), agricultural inputs, body of auto rickshaws, and inputs for small retail outlets and enterprises.
Launched in 375 rural union councils of 23 districts of Pakistan, the programme would feature transferring around 200,000 assets to the deserving households with 60 per cent women and 30 per cent youth beneficiaries.
Premier Imran told the gathering that the state of Madina has taken the responsibility of its poor people, adding that China too has become a great nation by steering its 700 million people out of poverty. "This is our dream about Pakistan too," the prime minister said, distributing assets, including agriculture tools, a cotton ginning machine, cattle and rickshaws, among the poor people.
He said the Ehsaas Programme was an effort to uplift the people as it consisted of Kafalat Card for the weakest segment, Amdan programme to increase income, health insurance cover for six million families, loan scheme for small business and 50,000 scholarships for the youth.
'Deserving beneficiaries to stay on BISP list'
Imran said the government would provide interest-free loans to around 80,000 every month.
Moreover, he said the government has already set up 180 shelter homes and would widen the project countrywide to ensure that no poor has to spend the night in the open and that too without food.
Besides, the government is promulgating a law for provision of legal services to the people who cannot afford a lawyer to contest the case in court, he added.
The prime minister said the government is in the process of introducing a uniform education curriculum with no discrimination among rich and poor or seminaries and government and private schools.
"This is more difficult. This is not easy. During the last 70 years, we have destroyed our education system and it will take time to rectify it," he remarked.
Moreover, a carrot and stick policy would also be introduced for the teachers and the habitually absent teachers would be replaced with efficient and punctual ones.
He appreciated the new Inspector General of Punjab Police Shoaib Dastgir who had started the police reform and was apprehending notorious criminals who earlier used to enjoy protection.
The prime minister told the gathering that Pakistan has come out of the difficult time with 75 per cent reduction in current account deficit, appreciating rupee, improving stock market and increasing foreign direct investment. “In the coming days, the people will get more good news,” he added.
(With additional input from app)