LAHORE – The government showered major portion of the BISP on the Sindh province, the stronghold of PPP, during the last six months of the financial year 2012-13, while the poverty-stricken Balochistan and the most populated Punjab received less.

The province-wise Rs 14 billion distribution out of the Benazir Income Support Programme funds shows that Sindh with 17 per cent of the country’s population received almost one-third, Rs 4.5 billion while Punjab with more than 50 per cent of the total population got nearly Rs 5.5 billion. The funds disbursement, compared with population ratio, shows that each person got Rs 75 on an average in Punjab while Rs 150 in Sindh.

The BISP’s claim that the programme aims at covering people below the poverty line again proves false as the money disbursement was calculated on the basis of poverty-standards. The data reveals that each person in Balochistan where 52 per cent people live below the poverty line received Rs 75 and the amount was distributed in Fata with the same ratio. The militancy-hit province with nearly four per cent of the country’s total population received Rs 611 million — 4.3 per cent out of the amount disbursed by the BISP so far.

An Islamabad-based think-tank – Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)— in its recent report has stated that Balochistan is the poorest of all the provinces with 52 per cent population living below the poverty line, followed by Sindh with 33 per cent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 32 per cent and Punjab with 19 per cent.

The study reveals that 20 districts in the country have an acute poverty of which 16 are located in Balochistan where the BISP paid no attention. The Benazir Income Support Programme distributed Rs 24 billion out of the 2012-13 budget allocation of Rs 70 billion in the four provinces, Gilgat-Baltistan, FATA, the federal capital and AJK. The Nation has, however, carried out calculations of the amount of Rs 14 billion disbursed in the first quarter as information regarding Rs 10 billion installment of the 2nd quarter of FY-2012-13 was not available. According to an official, the distribution process of Rs 10 billion has also been completed.

The PPP-led coalition government distributed Rs 128 billion of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in the last four years. The allocation for the financial year 2012-13 is Rs 70 billion to provide cash assistance to 5.5 million families, which, according to the BISP, constitute almost 18 per cent of the entire population. ‘Thus the programme aims at covering 40 per cent of the total population below the poverty line,’ says a BISP spokesperson. Out of Rs 4.5 billion disbursed in Sindh, a major chunk of Rs 113.25 million was given in the shape of Waseela-e-Rozgar, Rs 0.14 million to bomb blast victims, Rs 80 million in the shape of Waseela-e-Haq and the rest of around Rs 4 billion in the form of cash transfer (Rs 1,000 per month among its beneficiaries.

The KPK with almost 10 per cent of the country’s population received Rs 2.90 billion, 10 per cent of the total disbursed amount, which means an individual in the province got Rs 160 on an average.

The FATA received Rs 214.50 million, Gilgit Baltistan Rs 113.72 million, AJK around Rs280 million and the beneficiaries in Islamabad were given around Rs 29 million. The total amount in terms of Rs 1,000 per month given to the beneficiaries touched the figures of Rs 13 billion while Rs 6.46 million were given to bomb blast victims all over the country. As many as Rs 685 million and Rs 227.47 were distributed among all areas in terms of Waseela-e-Haq and Waseela-e-Rozgar, respectively.