Kafalat for poor

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PRIME Minister Imran Khan on Friday launched Ehsaas Kafalat programme for poor women under which 2,000-rupee per month stipend will be paid to the most deserving and poorest women across the country through a digital payment system based on transparent mechanism. Speaking on the occasion, he pledged that the State will take responsibility of the underprivileged as Pakistan never saw the scale of progress it should have seen because the underprivileged “were left behind” to serve an elitist agenda.
This is yet another programme aimed at socio-economic empowerment of women and improving quality of life of most vulnerable sections of the society. Though initially the programme would be implemented in some selected districts but gradually its scope would be expanded to seventy districts where survey is underway for registration of the families. A total of seven million most deserving women across the country will be enrolled in the Ehsaas Kafalat Programme to provide cash assistance of Rs. 2000 monthly, interest-free loans up to Rs. 75,000 and other facilities gradually in phases. It is pertinent to note that the survey is being conducted in a somewhat transparent manner in the backdrop of reports that thousands of people including Government servants and their spouses fraudulently registered themselves as deserving people under BISP cash stipend programme. There is no doubt that two thousand rupee is not a big amount especially in view of the skyrocketing prices of almost all items including necessities of life and staple food but at least this would suffice for an average family of five to manage procurement of wheat flour for about a month. It is also hoped that the scope of the programme would be expanded to include more families as latest estimates reveal that 24% of Pakistan’s population lives below the national poverty line; which includes 31% in rural areas and 13% in urban areas. Again, the most productive use of the cash grants or interest-free loans should be to help deserving and needy people stand on their own feet. They should be trained in skills relevant to their regions and areas and provided finances to initiate their own businesses.