ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan said yesterday that no society can develop where elites prosper at the expense of a sea of poor people.

“Social welfare programmes of the incumbent government transform Pakistan into a country where social equality prevails. No society can develop where elite prospers at the expense of a sea of poor people,” the prime minister express these remarks while formally launching the Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme to financially empower seven million most deserving women across the country in three phases, at a ceremony held here.

He said the government was taking steps to make Pakistan a welfare state on the pattern of state of Madina.

The PM added the PTI government had so far given health cards to six million families who could now avail medical treatment of up to over Rs 0.7 million.

Imran Khan hoped that loans being given under the Ehsaas programme would promote entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises of the country.

He said that around Rs200 billion had been earmarked for Ehsaas programme to help uplift the weaker segments of society.

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The premier said under the “Kafaalat programme” opening bank accounts of women would help stop theft of their money and also enable them to purchase essential items from Utility Stores Corporation outlets.

Imran Khan also appreciated giving smart phones to programme recipients that would open a whole new world for them and their families.

“New programmes of Ehsaas will be coming soon, under which other social welfare measures would be given to poor people. Stunting and malnutrition are two major issues facing the poor people,” the premier added, appreciating the Special Assistant Dr. Sania Nishtar on working hard and developing proper system to distribute money among the most deserving people of the country.

The prime minister also distributed Kafaalat cards among the deserving women.

Earlier, Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar said under the programme deserving women would be given cash stipends of Rs2000 per month.

She said that identifying the deserving persons was a big task as the data of BISP was ten-year-old. The Sapm continued the government used Nadra records and surveys to identify the persons who really deserve, so that unscrupulous elements do not take advantage of the scheme. She said process of desk registration of deserving persons had been started at the Tehsil level.

“Agreements have now been made with two banks to open biometric ATMs to facilitate the receiving of money under Ehsaas Kafaalat program. Every recipient woman will have a saving bank account. Smart phones will be provided to the recipients in order to facilitate them on financial transactions and to gain access to other useful projects under Ehsaas initiatives,” she added.

The PM’s aide maintained that seven million households were being brought into the fold of Kafaalat, which also included four million households of Benazir Income Support Programme.

Kafaalat has been opened in 70 districts across the country while schedule of remaining districts will be issued soon.