ISLAMABAD - Senate Functional Committee on the Problems of Less Developed Areas (PLDAs) was Tuesday informed that the Benazir Income Support Programme was facing problems in conducting surveys due to shortage of funds and staff, as 2,047 posts out of total 4,133, are lying vacant in the BISP.

Senate Functional committee Problems of Less Developed Areas (PLDAs), which met with Senator Usman Kakar in the chair, directed the BISP authorities to fill the vacant posts by December 2018 and provide a detailed report to the committee. The committee discussed the performance of BISP, budget allocation and utilisation, survey conducted by the BISP and employees in the programme.

The committee was informed that the total sanctioned posts of Grade 1 to 21 are 4133 in the BISE but due to the embargo on appointment and absence of service rule hiring is facing a delay. Out of the total sanctioned posts, 2,086 are lying vacant, 347 employees are working on deputation for the past ten years while 11 are working on the contract basis.

Briefing the committee, Secretary BISP Omer Hamid Khan said that billion of rupees were given to the benefices of less-developed areas in last three years. He told the committee that since its inception in 2008, the BISP distributed Rs589.8 billion among the beneficiaries.

Agreements have been signed with 15 different companies for the improvement of living standards and eradication of poverty among the BISP beneficiaries. Under the Waseela Taleem programme started by BISP, 205 million children of age 4 to 12 will be able to get primary education by 2020. Waseela e Taleem programme was started in October 2012 and so far 2.3 million children have been enrolled which cost Rs8 billion. Besides to make the womenfolk educated, a programme to provide free-education till graduation has been launched and work on the phase-I is in progress.

The committee was briefed about the previous three years’ allocation and utilisation of BISP and was informed that in 2015-16 out of the total allocation of Rs102 billion, Rs101.99 billion were utilised, in 2016-17 Rs110.88 billion were utilised of Rs121 billion allocation while Rs4.12 billion were returned, in 2017-18 Rs121 billion were allocated while Rs112.70 billion were utilised and the remaining amount were returned.

The committee proposed to take the provincial representatives on board for research purpose as they are well aware of the problems and geography of their areas. The committee also proposed to make it compulsory to provide representation to provinces in the BISP board and include technical people.

Regarding poverty survey, the committee was informed that in 2008 survey was started and initially in less-developed areas 8,000 forms were provided to the MNAs and 1,000 to the senators. In 2010 through NADRA door to door survey was conducted. The committee, while showing reservations over the survey, have declared the facts and figure wrong and said that majority of poor and deserving people are still deprived of their rights.

Chairman of the Committee while expressing reservations over the previous poverty survey said the women of remote areas of Balochistan, KP and Sindh were not getting any amount from BISP.

The BISP official informed that it was the first survey and due to lack of awareness among the people some mistakes were made. However since June 2017, the entire system has been converted to biometric and there will be no chance of irregularity. The chairman committee recommended to include local parties, parliamentarians and members Zakat in the upcoming survey.

The committee also directed to enrol maximum deserving women of the less-developed areas in the poverty survey of the BISP.

The functional committee showed displeasure over not carrying out survey in the less-developed areas and directed to complete the survey in these areas immediately.  Secretary BISP Omer Hamid BISP was facing problems in conducting surveys due to the shortage of funds.

Senator Usman Kakar recommended that BISP should also appoint people of Balochistan on higher posts. The committee suggested that BISP should fulfill the vacant posts as soon as possible. The committee recommended that BISP includes representation from each providence in its Board of Governors.

Secretary BISP told the committee that 90 per cent funds were provided by Government of Pakistan while 10 per cent by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

The committee was attended by the Senators Molvi Faiz Muhammad, Gianchand, Qurat ul Ain Marri, Fida Muhammad, Muhammad Ayub, Haji Momin Khan Afridi, Kalsoom Perveen, Sardar Muhammad Azam Khan Musakhel and officials of the Benazir Income Support Programme.