Expansion of BISP

GOVERNMENT has decided to expand the scope of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to all districts of the country and the target is to be achieved by March 2018. Under the plan, not only coverage of programme would be expanded but budgetary allocations would also be enhanced during next three years.
Pakistan has tested a number of poverty alleviation programmes during last several decades but none of them could survive with change of governments that launched them. BISP was initiated by PPP government but it was retained by its successor, PML(N) government, which substantially increased its budget during the last four years. This is because of its scope and potential, which has also been acknowledged and appreciated by international donors. Cash grants provided under the programme are negligible compared with average requirements of a family and that is why questions have been raised about fuller efficacy and impact of the programme. There have also been objections to the criteria fixed for recipients of the cash grant besides the fact that survey to determine eligibility was conducted years ago and thousands must have graduated from folds of the genuine deserving families and thousands might have entered the threshold of the poverty that forms criteria for eligibility. There are also numerous complaints about transparency of the disbursement process with many deserving people complaining that they do not receive their stipend for months. There is, therefore, dire need to review and revamp the programme to ensure that recipients stand on their own feet and the assistance is provided through a transparent mechanism so that we don’t end up wasting billions of rupees of this poor country.

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