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Showing posts with label BISP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BISP. Show all posts

Monday, April 22, 2019

BISP set to speedily undertake measures to tackle poverty: Sania Nishtar

BISP set to speedily undertake measures to tackle poverty: Sania Nishtar

BISP set to speedily undertake measures to tackle poverty: Sania Nishtar 


ISLAMABAD: Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Dr Sania Nishtar has said her organisation would speedily implement a range of social protection measures in coming months to boost the government efforts to reduce poverty and create new opportunities for vulnerable sections of society.

Talking to this agency here, she said the new Ehsaas programme launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan on March 27 was a priority poverty reduction measure and will focus on four areas and 115 policy actions to reduce inequality, invest in people, and uplift lagging districts. The programme is aimed at helping the downtrodden and vulnerable segments of society, including the poor, orphans, widows, homeless, disabled, undernourished and jobless.

She told that Benazir Income Support Programme will execute two new social protection programmes Kifalat and Tahafuz. The programme of Kifalat will ensure financial and digital inclusion of around 6 million women through the one woman one bank account policy.

There will be an inflation adjustment in the size of the cash transfers to the women. Five hundred digital hubs will be set up at the tehsil level under Kifalat where government’s digital resources will be made accessible as a public good and will include information systems, online curricula and one window social protection interfaces to create opportunities for poor families to graduate out of poverty.

BISP will add Rs80 billion to the social protection spending in the forthcoming budget of 2019-20 and in the next budget 2020-21 there will be a further increase and incrementally the amount would be enhanced to Rs120 billion or at one per cent of the GDP with federal and provincial contribution.

The government has recently created Ministry of Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Coordination to address current fragmentation of its organizations.

Benazir Income Support Program, Baitul Mal, Zakaat, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Trust for Voluntary Organizations, the SUN Network, Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and secretariats of the Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council and Labour Expert Group will be under this ministry.

According to BISP, about 38.8 per cent of people in Pakistan suffer from poverty in one form or another and 24.4 per cent do not have enough money to satisfy their basic food and non-food needs.

The government needs to identify the poor precisely to make government subsidies, targeted. Dr Sania said her organization will update the National Socioeconomic Registry along with multiple validations of the registry through follow up review surveys and use of big data analytics to correctly and precisely identity the real poor.

Later it will be turned into a live registry with constant updates. She said Tahafuz will be the other programme to protect the poor and vulnerable against financial shocks and will involve one time financial assistance in the face of catastrophic events.

It will also give assistance to poor widows who don’t have any earning children. The programme will provide legal aid and in partnership with non-governmental organizations will upscale successful programmes for orphans, street children, seasonal migrants, transgender, victims of abuse, bonded labour and daily wage workers.

The programme will include building of Ehsaas homes for 10,000 orphans, shelter homes in several major cities and housing scheme for the poor including landless farmers through interest free loans.

She informed that a new community and nutrition initiative will be undertaken to address stunting in children. Dr Sania said a need based system will be introduced in the National Finance Commission Award to improve the allocation formula instead of keeping it limited to the factor of population.


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Monday, December 24, 2018

USAID, BISP team up to elevate status of marginalised  - skills-based training for self-employment of BISP beneficiaries launched

USAID, BISP team up to elevate status of marginalised - skills-based training for self-employment of BISP beneficiaries launched

USAID, BISP team up to elevate status of marginalised  - skills-based training for self-employment of BISP beneficiaries launched  

MULTAN- Deputy Commissioner Multan Mudassir Riaz Malik inaugurated the launch event of exclusive skills-based trainings for self-employment of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) beneficiaries, here at Arts Council Multan on Saturday. 

Organised by the USAID-Punjab Youth Workforce Development Project, these technical and vocational trainings are intended, especially for underprivileged women of selected districts of Multan, Muzaffargarh, Lodhran and Bahawalpur, and will help complement the joint objective of Govt of Pakistan and USAID-PYWD Project to focus on the development of female youth, ensuring at least 35% female inclusion in training and entrepreneurship opportunities.



Ashfaq Ahmed Hiraj, Divisional Director, Benazir Income Support Programme Multan said, “BISP is now the largest single cash transfer program in the country’s history. Today’s event’s highlights a successful example of public/private partnership between BISP and USAID-PYWD Project, which will go a long way to achieve the Federal Government’s goal of eradication of poverty and elevating the status of marginalized and under-privileged sections of society, especially women by imparting technical and vocational market-driven skills and enabling them to stand on their own feet through self-employment and empowerment”.

The USAID-Punjab Youth Workforce Project and Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) inked an MoU to collaborate in eradication of poverty and elevating the status of marginalized and under-privileged sections of society, especially women by imparting technical and vocational market driven skills and enabling them to stand on their own feet through self-employment and empowerment to ensure sustainable positive change in the lives of persistently overlooked and deprived families here at Multan arts council on Saturday.

With reference to this MoU, the project will identify, screen and select marginalized youth from the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) database of the beneficiary families in 4 focus districts of Multan, Muzaffargarh, Lodhran and Bahawalpur as per BISP data sharing protocol. Furthermore, the project will facilitate the BISP beneficiaries to get technical and vocational training imparted though its public and private training providing partners, leading to access self-employment opportunities by having toolkits.

The USAID-Punjab Youth Workforce Development Project is geared to help achieve the desired goals by transforming the youth bulge into an economic dividend, and it further complements Pakistan’s Vision 2025, aimed at significant human and social capital development. Aligned with the Government of Punjab’s policy to provide skills development opportunities to the youth, the three-year PYWD project sets forth an example of a significant initiative by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in southern Punjab districts of Multan, Lodhran, Bahawalpur and Muzaffargarh.

The project collaborates with public-private partner organizations and the business community to provide skills trainings to 10,000 youth (including 35% females), aged 16 to 29 that lead to employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. Besides contributing to the overall economic growth in the selected districts of southern Punjab, the project is also fostering socially constructive attitudes among marginalized youth for increased stability and improved livelihoods. Project Director, Mr. Qaisar Nadeem while addressing the participants said that the purpose of this event is to showcase the successful public/private partnership model by launching exclusive skills-based trainings for self-employment of BISP beneficiaries, especially for underprivileged women of selected districts of Multan, Muzaffargarh, Lodhran and Bahawalpur.

The event was arranged by PYWD project under the auspice of Divisional Director BISP, Multan, and wwas helped complement the joint objective of Govt of Pakistan and USAID-PYWD Project to focus on the development of female youth and seeks to ensure at least 35% female inclusion in training and entrepreneurship opportunities. The event will be attended by relevant public/private partners/stakeholders, representatives of training providers, community, Civil Society and NGOs interested to know more about and synergize the efforts of USAID-PYWD Project and BISP for increased stability and improved livelihoods.

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BISP to redesign payment mechanism; will strengthen the BISP: Dr Sania Nishter

BISP to redesign payment mechanism; will strengthen the BISP: Dr Sania Nishter

BISP to redesign payment mechanism; will strengthen the BISP: Dr Sania Nishter


ISLAMABAD   -  BISP Chairperson Dr Sania Nishter has said that several reforms in the Benazir Income Support Programme including redesigning the payment mechanism are underway.

“I plan to move ahead on two fronts quickly before 2018 ends. First, putting organisational governance in order by making sure the new board is effectively and meaningfully engaged; and secondly, initiating processes to plug critical systems gaps”, said Dr Sania in a statement issued here on Sunday.

“It has been over a month since I accepted government’s invitation to chair the BISP, Pakistan’s largest safety net institution, which currently runs a Rs125 billion income-support programme for 5.7 million poor women with an envisaged impact for over 37 million individuals, nationally” , she said.

Inviting an apolitical person to lead the organisation is evidence of the government’s intentions to depoliticise this institution. It is deeply humbling to have responsibility for accruing benefits to millions at the lowest rung of poverty, Dr Sania Nishter added.

While I believe in the importance of the institution and appreciate the contributions of the management and many stakeholders, I am also conscious of the imperative of reform and have, therefore, taken careful stock of the situation, she said.

She said, “My immediate priority is to strengthen the BISP as a safety net”.

BISP has many legacy issues, which successive managements have strived to address. Several gaps have been plugged, but many critical gaps remain to be closed. BISP’s payment mechanism needs a redesign. There is need to strengthen fiduciary systems, financial management and procurement systems, internal controls, and capacity and systems for planning. My priority is to institutionalise risk management and assurance, transparency, and a culture of evidence-based decision-making. I am deeply conscious that those that benefit from the programme are voiceless, which is why beneficiary empowerment and respect is also high on the list of priorities. In this regard, I will work with the board and management to reform BISP’s systems pillars, Dr Sania added.

Once critical gaps are plugged, the existing safety net system can be expanded, and the adequacy of the benefits can be increased as per government’s policy, especially with regard to complementary investments for human capital development (conditional cash transfers for nutrition, health, and education) and graduation programmes. In addition, demand-side safety net instruments can be introduced for protection against crises and catastrophic shocks — a salient safety net feature, she said.

Going forward, I envision BISP as a dynamic digital social protection ecosystem for the future. In such an ecosystem, it will be possible to develop targeted policy interventions, and deliver precise means tested benefits to the poor and vulnerable by employing big data analytics and by tracking real-time information about the evolution of the beneficiary status, to make social protection adaptive. This will enable time-bound support for income stabilization and protection against catastrophic shocks on the one hand, and the creation of economic opportunities to decrease welfare-dependency, through relevant partnerships, on the other. In addition, this will also move Pakistan closer to delivering on its global commitment to Sustainable Development Goal, which entails developing nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all. A strategic planning process will commence at the forthcoming board meeting on December 24, with a view to commencing action in these areas, she said.

“I look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that we deliver on our promise of lifting millions of women and their families out of poverty” the chairperson BISP said.

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Friday, November 23, 2018

PTI govt approves wheat export at subsidised rate : $82.6 million to Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and $50 million to the BISP

PTI govt approves wheat export at subsidised rate : $82.6 million to Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and $50 million to the BISP

PTI govt approves wheat export at subsidised rate : $82.6 million to Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and $50 million to the BISP

ISLAMABAD: The federal government deferred on Tuesday a decision on providing $82.6 million worth of foreign loan to the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) as a grant for distribution under the social safety programme – a job that can easily be performed without involving the PPAF.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) linked approval of the $82.6 million loan with the consent of Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to finance ministry officials.

Headed by Finance Minister Asad Umar, the ECC approved export of 500,000 tons of wheat at a subsidised rate of $105 per ton. It also decided, in principle, to reduce gas prices for roti tandoor (bread oven) connections.

The ECC put off the decision on disbursing $82.6 million to the PPAF six months after the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) turned down the PPAF’s request for its registration in order to qualify for the foreign aid, according to EAD documents.

The PPAF had applied for the EAD registration to avail the $82.6-million loan of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). “Foreign funds for all current projects submitted by the PPAF for the purpose of registration with the EAD have not been approved,” said the EAD’s March 2018 intimation to the PPAF.



The EAD had informed the PPAF that it may apply for a fresh registration in case it secured foreign funding for some new projects. It is not clear whether the PPAF has applied for a fresh registration.

The request had been rejected on the basis of adverse reports of the Ministry of Interior, according to sources in the EAD.

The Ministry of Finance on Tuesday tabled the summary in the ECC, requesting it to exempt the PPAF from the relending policy of the government for funds to be provided as grant to the PPAF. In November last year, the IFAD signed an agreement for providing $82.6 million to Pakistan for the National Poverty Graduation Programme being administered by the PPAF.

The graduation programme is aimed at providing Rs50,000 to each beneficiary for earning livelihood instead of living on monthly stipends of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

The IFAD had agreed to give the soft loan on the condition that Pakistan would provide the money as grant to the PPAF for onward distribution among those BISP beneficiaries who would graduate for the programme.

The government was asked to relax the relending policy in order to meet the IFAD condition to provide a huge chunk as grant.

The IFAD’s other condition was that Pakistan would also provide $50 million to the BISP through the PPAF for distribution among the BISP beneficiaries. The IFAD’s decision to give money through the PPAF instead of directly giving to the BISP would increase the administration cost as the PPAF charges a high fee for its services.

The finance minister directed that the matter should be placed before the prime minister whether a loan should be given to the PPAF as grant. He directed that in case, the PM did not approve the request, the matter should be taken up with the IFAD to change the terms of the loan.
 beneficiaries by taking foreign loans instead of providing the entire money from the budget. The PPAF’s involvement in the exercise would significantly increase the cost of the graduation programme that the BISP administration can do without the involvement of any other party.

In the past 10 years, the BISP has disbursed Rs618 billion among 5.7 million beneficiaries.

Wheat export

The ECC discussed the proposal submitted by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research regarding export of surplus wheat.

The committee gave approval for the export of 500,000 tons of wheat by Passco and provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh, according to a statement.

It was decided that any financial support for freight charges, as requested for the purpose, would be provided by the respective provincial governments. The federal government would pick up such costs in the case of Passco only, it added.

Furthermore, a committee comprising senior officials of commerce, finance and food security ministries will review the situation in two weeks and make recommendations for further exports, if required.

The ECC was informed that the country had a surplus stock of 10.2 million tons. The quality of local wheat is comparable to the hard red winter wheat but due to the procurement process its quality deteriorates.

Against the local wheat cost of $292.7 per ton at existing exchange rates, the international price is $218 per ton. The provinces and Passco had requested the provision of subsidy in the range of $75 to $105 per ton to cover the difference and bear the freight cost.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2018.




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