Ghareeb ka Ehsas – International Day for Eradication of Poverty

(Amna Shabbir, )

On this International Day for Eradication of Poverty, the first thing that strikes one’s mind is the admirable passion of the Premier with which he announced Ehsas stating“I launched the Ehsasprogram, the objective of which is to reduce inequality, invest in people, and lift lagging districts.”

The program’s principles and approaches center on tapping whole-of-government multi-sectoral collaboration for solutions; ensuring joint federal-provincial leadership; and mainstreaming the role of the private sector through an approach which will provide a level playing field on the one hand and foster locally-relevant innovation on the other, to create jobs and promote livelihood in quick-win areas. The program’s premise is grounded in the importance of strengthening institutions, transparency and good governance. The strength of Ehsas Programme lies in its immense dimensions covering all aspects of poverty and indigence along with its remarkable inclusivity.Ehsas is the biggest and the boldest program for the poor, ever launched in Pakistan. The government intends to work with all stakeholders—public, private, civil society, philanthropists, and expatriate Pakistanis—to keep the promise of lifting millions of people out of poverty and build a strong foundation together for a stronger, safer, and successful Pakistan. The Ehsas program was developed by the Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council after extensive consultations, chaired by Dr. SaniaNishtar.

In this context I would like to highlight the recent one off tranche, under auspices of Ehsas, wherein Rupees one thousand each was disbursed to 5.7 million BISP beneficiaries i.e. the poorest of the poor strata of households in the country.

Benazir Income Support Programme is an integral part of the bigger Ehsas paradigm. Its clientele is the poorest of the poor households in the country comprising 5.7 Million female beneficiaries across the country with 2.2 Million pertaining to Punjab Region of the BISP. Unconditional cash transfer amounting to the tune of rupees 5000 per beneficiary per quarter is disbursed to the beneficiaries with conditional cash transfer of rupees 750 per child of beneficiary that is sent to school/ enrolled under Waseela-e-Taleem Programme of BISP.

BISP does not stop here. It tends to extend all its care and support to its beneficiaries with short term initiatives to compliment the main goal of graduation out of poverty. At BISP we realize the strange correlation between poverty and disease. Hence, the main initiatives of BISP in this context are Free Medical Camps for the beneficiaries, Nutrition and Hygiene seminars / trainings, Vocational trainings leading to small businesses. BISP is also highly focused on mother and child health, stunted growth issue and interventions regarding nutrition and immunization.

It is very heartwarming to realize that both these flagship programmesof the Government are in perfect consonance with the message of Quran in surah e Fajr and Surah e Maoon where proper ownership, look after and provision of sustenance for poor, orphan and indigent segment of society is emphasized repetitively.

This International Day of Poverty Eradication, I would like to pay a tribute to each and every individual who is putting in heart and soul into the flagship programmes of the current government Ehsas and BISPand I sincerely wish that our journey in this directions meets destination sooner than possible.
The writer is a civil servant, currently posted as Director HQs at BISP Punjab.

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