President Asif Ali Zardari Monday tasked the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to make plans for generating overseas jobs for 150,000 youth and trained them in different trades and vocations. The president directed that the task should be accomplished in consultation with the Ministries of Overseas Pakistanis and Foreign Affairs.

He was addressing the graduating ceremony of Waseela-e-Rozgar scheme of BISP whereby 10,000 youth have been equipped with vocational skills to enable them making their own living in a respected manner.

He also asked Ms. Farzana Raja, Chairperson Benazir Income Support Program, to expand the BISP to cover not only more areas in the country but also to launch new initiatives under its umbrella.

The ceremony held here at the Bilawal House Karachi was attended among others by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Ms. Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, Ms. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, federal and provincial ministers, parliamentarians and others besides the beneficiaries of Waseela-e-Rozgar scheme.

The President congratulated the boys and the girls who had completed training in different trades and said the skills acquired by them will help them earn decent living and become productive citizens.

The President said it was part of the strategy of the government to provide jobs to the people and to take the poor people out of the generational poverty traps.

Complimenting Chairperson BISP Ms. Farzana Raja, the Board Member of the Program and all other involved with the Program, the President said every system and all programs take time to fully develop.

He said the BISP has developed into a comprehensive social safety net with the flux of time. He termed it a flagship program of the government for reducing poverty and empowering women.

The President said it was a matter of pride that the program was progressing and has become a comprehensive social safety net.

He said it has attracted worldwide appreciation for its transparency, objectivity and efficiency and was reaching out to over seven  million families in a short span of four years. He termed it a major achievement and felicitated the Chairperson BISP and all those who made it a success story.

The President said that it was very rare that a program which was designed locally keeping in view the indigenous requirements of the population has gained acceptability and recognition not only at national level but also at the international forums due to its objectivity, fairness, outreach and effectiveness.

He said that BISP has achieved significant progress in reaching out to the poorest of the poor and extricating people from generational traps of poverty, however, in view of the booming population much more needs to be done as the program has a great scope to be further expanded and strengthened.

The President said that Benazir Income Support Programme was a realization of the dream of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. He said that the vision of the Shaheed leaders continues to guide us to make Pakistan a truly welfare State.

According to the prepared text of his speech, the President also thanked the international community and partners for their help and support. Their support, he said, has enabled bring about a revolutionary change in the lives of the poor and dispossessed.

The President said that he was personally monitoring the progress of the Poverty Scorecard Survey and other initiatives of the BISP. He expressed satisfaction that the national roll out of the survey was progressing well.

He said it was a countrywide program and has already been completed in Balochistan. The President said that the poverty score card was a transparent and impartial survey of the poor through an internationally recognized procedure.

The President said it will be ensured that public money was transparently utilized for the welfare of the most deserving. For this purpose, he said, the BISP has introduced the mobile phone banking.

He expressed satisfaction that Benazir Smart Card based payment system has made good progress in a number of districts. The mobile phone banking, he said, will make payments to the BISP family even easier. Noting the commencement of Life Insurance under Waseela e Sehat scheme, the President urged BISP team to also implement the Health protection services for its beneficiaries at the earliest across the country.

The President said that the Vocational training program will go a long way in helping the poorest of the poor come out of poverty trap. He said that with the addition of Waseela-e-Taleem to BISP’s initiatives, now every poor can fulfil the dream of sending his children to school and become better, responsible and self reliant citizens of Pakistan.

The President said the addition of free social services like health, accident insurance, vocational training and interest free financing for self employment will InshAllah make the BISP the most productive initiative of this government.

Expressing satisfaction over the progress made so far by Waseela-e-Haq scheme, the President said that provision of interest free financing was meant to help the BISP beneficiaries to start their own businesses.

Giving to the poor what is their due is the best was to pay tribute to Shaheed Bibi today, the President said. He said keeping the promises of Bibi Shaheed, women of the BISP family will get cash assistance for setting up their own business for earning livelihood.  These benefits, will InshAllah, be passed on to all beneficiaries very soon, said the President.

The President also complimented BISP for playing commendable role in providing relief to the flood victims.

He advised the people of Pakistan to have faith and hope in their future. He said peoples’ welfare and improving their lot was government’s foremost priority.

Urging BISP for speedy implementation of all the initiatives under its umbrella, the President remarked that the children going without proper nutrition, basic education and health services and the families trapped in poverty cannot wait for long. He said that it was their right and all resources must be mobilized to complete the coverage of each and every deserving Pakistani family under the Programme.

He wished BISP all the success in its endeavors.

Earlier the President also made a computerized draw of Waseela-e-Haq Program and distributed vocational training certificates among the beneficiary graduates of Waseela-e-Rozgar scheme.