Steps taken by the Government for reduction in poverty under poverty alleviation program
According to the information made available to the National Assembly by the Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization, (Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar), the Government has taken the following steps to alleviate poverty in the country:
1. Increase in allocation of Cash Support Programme: The government has increased the allocation for the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) from Rs. 44.00 billion for FY 2012-13 to Rs. 75.00 billion for FY 2013-14. Further, disbursement to each beneficiary has also been enhanced from Rs.1,000 to Rs. 1,200 per month. The number of beneficiaries will increase from 4.85 million to 5.70 million during the current financial year.
2. Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) was set up under section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 1984 as a Ďnot for profití institution to reduce poverty at the grass root level in 1997. Total funds available with PPAF as of December 31, 2013 are over Rs. 25 billion as per following breakup:ó For Microcredit: Rs.18.0 billion For Grants: Rs. 7.6 billion As of December 31, 2013, Rs. 17 billion (out of available 18 billion) have been deployed for access to microcredit. Since commencement of operations in April 2000 to December 31, 2013, PPAF has disbursed Rs. 90 billion for microcredit in 5.6 million cases. Grant funds are provided to Partner Organizations (POs) for small scale water and infrastructure schemes; health and education interventions; social mobilization; livelihood enhancement and disaster management, etc. A total of Rs. 7.6 billion available with PPAF at present will be used for these activities for which commitments have already been made.
3. Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) For the current financial year, an amount of Rs. 2.00 billion has been allocated for Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal to undertake different programme for the poor and the disadvantaged.
Following new programmes have been launched/are being launched by the government:
i. Small Business Loans Scheme: With a view to enable youth to start their own businesses, small business loans will be made available through the banking system. Under the scheme, loans ranging from Rs. 100,000 to Rs. 2,000,000 will be available at a mark-up of 8%. The remaining cost will be borne by the Government. In the first year of the scheme, 100,000 loans will be offered. This scheme has been launched recently.
ii. Skills Development Programme: Under this programme 25,000 young people up to the age of 25 and with minimum qualification of middle, will be imparted training in a number of trades across the country. Six months training will be given for which fee will be paid by the government. Emphasis will be placed on such trades as are in demand abroad or will enable graduates to become self-employed.
iii. Micro-Finance Scheme: To enable our men and women to undertake micro-enterprise activities, the government has allocated Rs.3.5 billion to launch a scheme of Qarz-e-Hasana (loans without mark-up). At least 50% of these loans will go to women.
iv. Youth Training Program: This Programme will allow Masterís degree holders to work in a private sector organization on a stipend of Rs. 10,000 per month paid by government. This programme will enable these youth to gain experience and improve their chances to find a job commensurate with their qualification.
v. Provision of Laptops: To promote access to information and communication technology, laptops will be provided to distinguished student pursuing higher education.
vi. Fee Reimbursement Scheme for Less Developed Areas: under this scheme, education at Masterís and Doctorate levels will be imparted free of tuition cost to students from underdeveloped areas, which include the entire Balochistan, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan, Interior Sindh, Multan, Bahawalpur and D.G. Khan Divisions of South Punjab; and Malakand, Kohistan, and Dera Ismail Khan areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Note: The above information is based on the question & sessions of the National Assembly of Pakistan. Please visit the official website of the National Assembly for details.
About National Assembly: The National Assembly of Pakistan is the country's sovereign legislative body. It embodies the will of the people to let themselves be governed under the democratic, multi-party Federal Parliamentary System. The National Assembly makes laws for the Federation in respect of the powers enumerated in the Federal Legislative list. Through its debates, adjournment motion, question hour and Standing Committees, the National Assembly keeps as check over the Executive and ensures that the government functions within the parameters set out in the Constitution and does not violate the fundamental rights of citizens. Only the National Assembly, through its Public Accounts Committee, scrutinizes public spending and exercises control of expenditure incurred by the government.
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