Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar has said that the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) would save about Rs 60 billion annually due to exclusion of undeserving beneficiaries from the list.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, she announced that names of 820,165 undeserving beneficiaries were struck off from the list as their standard of living was above the criteria set for the poor people. She said that more deserving people will be included in the list after fulfilling the criteria.
Dr Sania Nishtar said that the decision to remove the names from the BISP list had been taken after the approval of the federal cabinet. During the criteria review, she said that some aspects were looked into, for example, it was ascertained whether the family of a beneficiary had any motorcycle or car or whether a spouse was a government employee.
Out of the total 820,165 beneficiaries removed from the BISP database, 14,730 were the government employees, including employees of railways, post office and BISP despite the fact that the facility was not meant for the people working in the government departments. According to the data, 127,826 were those whose spouses were the government employees or employees of the above mentioned departments.
Dr Sania Nishtar said that 153,302 were those who travelled abroad once and 195,364 were those whose spouses travelled abroad once. The number of beneficiaries who travelled abroad more than once stood at 10,476. Similarly, 166,319 spouses travelled abroad more than once.
The BISP removed 692 people from its database because they owned one or more than one vehicle, while 43,746 were removed from the list because their spouses have one or more than one car. A person who can pay monthly telephone bill of Rs1,000 is not eligible to get monthly stipend from the programme, she said.
Therefore, she said that 24,546 people were removed for falling into this category. Similarly, 155,767 persons were excluded from the database as their spouses paid Rs1,000 or more mobile phone bill. For applying for passports via executive centres, 666 beneficiaries were excluded and 580 were removed as their spouses did the same.
ACTION AGAINST BISP EMPLOYEES
A total of 36,970 people were expelled from the BISP list because three or more than three members of their family paid executive fees for obtaining computerized national identity cards. The prime minister’s aide said that her department had initiated the action as per rules and laws against the BISP employees who enlisted themselves in the beneficiaries list.
As per the approval of the cabinet, Dr Sania Nishtar said that women living on the Line of Control in Azad Jammu Kashmir and having CNIC would be provided financial assistance under the Kafalat programme. She said that the financial assistance under BISP had been linked with the rate of inflation.
In future, the special assistant said that the registration of the deserving people in the beneficiaries list of the programme would continue. She said that the registration centres would also be established in every district of the country to facilitate the deserving people for enlisting them in list of the Benazir Income Support Programme.