Isamabad - Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate interest free loan programme for the unemployed people this month, said BISP Chairperson and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar.

She added that the 3rd pillar of the Ehsaas Program is the provision of employment for the poor people and the first scheme in this regard will be launched by the Prime Minister in June.

She was addressing a press conference here on Sunday. While elaborating various efforts launched by the present government for the social protection and welfare of poor people, overseas Pakistani labourers, labour force in informal sector and employment generation for the poor people, Dr Sania Nishtar said that preliminary work has been initiated on almost all the programs. She said that there were several challenges and corruption in the awarding of public sector contracts is the root cause of problems.

The government is trying its best to make the whole process transparent. The first thing the government will do is to make procurement and awarding contract transparently and new policies are being introduced to empower the government to give small contracts at railway, parks, airports etc. The policy is not only bring transparency but also the poor should get their share.

Similarly to ensure that recruitment in town committees, market committees and tehsil committees should be done on merit and not on political basis, she said. The government will also ensure that in case high rise building in Kacchi Abadi are erected the residents of those Kacchi Abadis should get their share. Despite financial crisis allocation of funding for the social protection which is the second pillar of the Ehsaas program will be doubled in next budget.

Dr Sania says corruption in awarding public sector contracts is the root cause of problems

The government has already started to start one window operation for the social protection.Work on one window operation for the social protection was initiated in April and it will be started on limited scale in August. The BISP system is being completely overhauled, she said.

“We have withdrawn all the discretionary power including deputation, procurement and contracts,” she said. Regarding the transfer of funds to the BISP beneficiary, she said that from 2nd January 2019 reforms have been started for the transfer of money to the beneficiary and by October it will be introduced.

She said that crackdown on fake SMS senders have been started and will continue. She said, “Most of the culprits have been punished and the crackdown will continue. Two new programs of Kifalat and Tahafuz have ben launched under Ehsaas. Under Kiflat seven million women will be enrolled who will not only get quarterly stipend but there saving bank accounts will also be opened. Besides, under Mobile hand set policy the government is planning to give more mobil and mobile phones comes into the hands of poor women or poor family it opens up a lot of venues for the economic autonomy. Through bank account and mobile set the beneficiary will be able to take advantage of the reforms being introduced under the 3rd pillar of Ehsas called solution and innovation policy. It will be an important transformation in the lives of seven million of the poorest families.”

However she said that it will be incomplete to provide bank accounts and mobile set to the poor families without giving them financial literacy and education about its use. With the help of State bank of Pakistan and other private banks we are working that along with the saving accounts and mobile these women should be provided with the education of how to use banks accounts and how to get benefit from it. Once this system executed then the government will be able add more services to it. In October this year the process of bank accounts opening will be started while mobile hand set policy will also be initiated this year, she maintained. The process of financial literacy will also be started soon, she added.

The second program is Tahafuz shock oriented precision safety net which is designed for those people who are confronted with mishap such as disease, calamity, death, or court case. Implementation of the program will be started by September. Under the program a needy with the help of a single SMS will inform government of Pakistan about his problem. Any one eligible will be provided help through SMS within 48 hours. In phases it will be extended to various cities and villages.

She said that under Tahaffuz programme, in September this year, wheelchairs and other disability related equipments will be provided to the disable people. She said that for the first time under the social protection policy poor old people, homeless people were included in the policy and the establishment of shelters is the part of this policy. The welfare and social protection of Overseas Pakistanis laborer is being made part of the policy, she added.

“You have seen illustration of this last week in shape of the aircraft that carried laborer from Malaysia last week. A lot of policies related to the welfare of overseas laborer are part of the Ehsaas programme. It aims to increase the number of protector of immigration offices and enhance the number deputation of community welfare attaché in our embassies,” she said. 

She said, on 27th March the prime minister had approved subsidy on the air tickets for the overseas Pakistan who had not come home during last seven years. The policy in this regard will be announced through aviation division soon. Taxes levies, insurance pre departure briefing The social protection of laborer, construction workers, house maid, self-employed, people working in agriculture sector and artisan is also being guaranteed under Ehsaas program. This is an informal sector and PM has directed to start registration of this sector, she noted.

“We are evaluating that how the people working in this sector will get benefit from EOBI and employees social security institute. The work has already been started in various streams Another pillar of the Ehsaas programme is to generate quick employment opportunity for the poor people. The first scheme in this regard will be inaugurated by the PM in June. The scheme is to provide interest free loan to the unemployed people. These are the people who are sitting unemployed. The programme also include small asset transfer to the beneficiaries which includes livestock, agriculture equipments etc,” she said.