Rs15b Ramazan package approved

Cabinet okays Rs2,000 each for 7.8m families for subsidised atta

Our Correspondent March 22, 2023


The Sindh cabinet on Tuesday approved a multibillion-rupee Ramazan package for the low-income families for the purchase of subsidised wheat flour.

Under the whopping Rs15.6 billion package, Rs2,000 each will be transferred to more than 7.8 million families for the purchase of 30kg wheat flour at the rate of Rs65 per kg.

The provincial cabinet, which met with Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in the chair, also amended a law to increase the penalty on retailers who fail to display the official rate list of commodities and charge exorbitant prices.

“The cash transfer to the targeted low-income families would be made through Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for which eligible families would receive a message on their cell phones and those who do not receive such a message and their average income is less than Rs50,000 per month can send a message/CNIC number on Toll-Free 8171 Facility for inquiring about eligibility for the subsidy,” CM Shah said and added that approximately 7,810,482 families with BISP’s Proxy Means Test (PMT) score in the range of 1 to 60, for cash transfer of Rs2,000/family under the relief scheme.

According to Shah, the total outlay of subsidy, taking 30kg wheat flour per family at Rs130/kg as a base, would translate to Rs15.62 billion. The Food Department, while briefing the cabinet, said that out of a total of 7,810,482 eligible families, Hyderabad region has 2,185,122 families, Karachi 2,296,998, Sukkur 831,975, Larkana 1,202,984 and Shaheed-Benazirabad 773,163.

Price control law

In order to control prices, particularly the price hike during the month of Ramazan, the cabinet approved amendments to the Sindh Essential Commodities Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act-2005.

The fine for failure to display price list has been increased from Rs50,000 to Rs100,000 for producers or dealers, Rs20,000 for retailers other than pushcart vendors, and Rs10,000 to Rs20,000 for pushcart vendors.

Similarly, the fine for retailers’ failure to declare stocks of essential commodities has been increased from Rs50,000 to Rs100,000 and the fine for sale of commodities at a higher than officially notified price has been increased from 50,000 to Rs100,000.

Bachat Bazaars

The chief minister directed the chief secretary to ensure the establishment of Bachat Bazaars, one in each taluka, where provision of wheat flour, sugar, ghee, and other essential edible items at subsidised rates would be ensured. The cabinet decided to launch a drive against profiteering and hoarding.

The Industries Department was directed to ensure availability of stocks of sugar, vegetable oil, and other items, and the district administration, Bureau of Supply and Prices to ensure availability at the notified rates. The Utility Stores Corporation (USC) has 113 outlets in the division, and they will provide 19 items at subsidised rates.

Rescue 1122

The Sindh cabinet decided to establish Sindh Emergency Service Rescue 1122 for which a draft bill was presented. The cabinet was told that Sindh did not have a dedicated emergency response service and only relies on charitable organisations/NGOs. The functions of Rescue 1122 include ambulance service, water rescue, firefighting, urban search & rescue, building safety, motorbike rescue service, community safety, training of community/govt institutions/schools etc, certification for basic life support (CPR, fire drills, safety standards, etc). The cabinet approved the draft bill “Sindh Emergency Rescue Service-1122” and referred it to the assembly.

Institute of mother and
child health

The cabinet also approved a draft bill for the establishment of an “Institute of Mother and Child Health” at Shaheed Benazirabad. It would be as an autonomous body to be made functional through its independent board of governors. It also green-lighted the Sindh Resettlement and Rehabilitation (P&R) Policy 2023.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2023.


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