Removal of BISP beneficiaries

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SPECIAL Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection
and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar has defended and PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has criticized decision of the Government to exclude over 800,000 people from amongst the beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) after describing them “undeserving”. Bilawal has claimed that the move amounts to an attack on the economic empowerment of poverty-ridden women while Sania Nishtar said that really poor people would be enlisted in the BISP.
BISP was meant for poorest of the poor and there is every logic to ensure that the funds allocated for the cause of poverty alleviation and empowerment of women are judiciously utilized for the purpose. Whether those removed from the list of beneficiaries were eligible or not has much to do with the procedure adopted or criteria fixed to determine the eligibility. According to Dr. Sania the screening was done through forensic analysis and these beneficiaries could not fulfil the criteria fixed for getting income support from the social safety net. There were, of course, complaints that many names were added to the list of beneficiaries through political intervention, favouritism or absence of proper scrutiny. Such people had no right to claim what legitimately belonged to others really deserving people elsewhere in the country who could not get their names included for lack of awareness or some other reason. There is also justification to review the list of eligible people after regular intervals to strike down names of ineligible people and include deserving ones. However, the procedure adopted for the purpose should be fully transparent. Dr. Sania also claimed that survey for enlistment of more people would be completed in January but we apprehend that many deserving people would be left out because of lack of publicity. Establishment of permanent registration centres in every district would be a step in the right direction.