ISLAMABAD - Government has decided to enhance the quarterly stipend of BISP beneficiaries from Rs5,000 per quarter to Rs5,500 and increase the stipend of Girls of programme beneficiaries from Rs750 to Rs1,000 from the next year.

The annual budget of BISP under Ehsaas programme is Rs110 billion and BISP is using unconditional cash transfer intervention with Rs5,000 per quarter to 5.7 million poorest of the poor families, State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar said in his budget speech.

The previous government of PML-N had earmarked Rs124.7 billion in the fiscal 2018-19 for BISP but the incumbent government has reduced the allocation to Rs110 billion.

Keeping in view current inflation level, government is going to enhance the quarterly stipend from Rs5,000 to Rs5,500, said the minister. National Socio-economic targeting data is being updated and expected to be completed by May 2020 with coverage of 32 million households and 200 million population.

Similarly, he said that 3.2 million children of BISP beneficiary families in 50 districts are receiving conditional cash transfer of Rs750 per quarter helping government to reduce the drop-out ratio. The government is planning to expend the program to further 100 districts, he maintained. The minister further said that government plans to enhance stipend amount for girls from Rs750 to Rs1,000 from the next year.

Regarding Ehsaas program the minister said that a new Division of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety has been established to design and implement social safety programmes in the country.

The beneficiaries of Ehsaas programme are extreme poor, orphans, widows, the homeless, the differently abled, medically challenged, and the jobless.

Talking about the future program under Ehsaas the minister said that a new ration-card scheme shall provide nutritious food to 1 million deserving people. Special nutritious food will be provided for infants and mothers. Besides 80,000 deserving poor to be provided interest free loans each month and  6 million women to get stipends in their saving accounts and increased access to mobile phones. It is planned that 500 Kifalat centres to be provide online access to free courses to women and children, said the minister.

He said that wheelchairs, hearing aids and related provisions shall be provided to differently abled persons, Special incentives will be provided for parents to send their children to schools in lagging districts.

The minister said that work on build ‘Ehsaas homes’ for the elderly has already started.

Regarding Sehat Sahulat the minister said that this program is a health insurance scheme for the poor. The recipient of this scheme is entitled free of charge healthcare to indoor health care services worth Rs720,000 per year from any of the 270 selected hospitals across Pakistan. As a first step, the program has been launched in 42 districts of Pakistan addressing the health needs of 3.2 million poor families. The program shall be gradually expanded to cover 15 million poor and vulnerable families in all districts of Pakistan which includes all families of merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, District Tharparkar and disabled individuals and their families.