A parliamentary panel has recommended the government to effectively launch and monitor the poverty alleviation programme in far-flung areas of the country.

The recommendations were given by the Senate Standing Committee on Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety which held here under the chairmanship of Senator Jehanzeb Jamaldini.

The chairman committee asked the Chairperson Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) Dr Sania Nishtar to fill the vacant positions in BISP on immediate basis in far-flung areas of Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir so that the benefits of the social protection programs can be extended to the marginalized people of the most backward areas of the country.

Nishtar further said that the government has allocated Rs 180 billion to BISP program under which countrywide poverty alleviation drive has been continued for a decade. She said that women are given special preference under the BISP and after every three months, Rs 5,000 are transferred to their bank accounts.

Briefing on the Ehsaas program, she said the entire Ehsaas agenda is focused on the uplift of poor women, as 6 million women would benefit from Kifalat Program. She said not just health and education, but jobs and economic empowerment are crucial for poor women, adding in this regard, the graduation initiative preferentially serves women.

Regular monitoring and evaluation of results across the Ehsaas framework would be gender-disaggregated and would seek to capture the impact on women's empowerment, she added.

The panel observed that poverty is increasing in the country and the government, besides social safety networks programs, must also launch such programs focusing on employment generation enabling the youth to make best use of their time. The panel said that increasing level of unemployment will be resulted in law and order situation and it is the responsibility of the state to provide conduce environment to the people so that they can respectfully earn their livelihood.

Senator Abdul Qayyum said that the government must focus on speeding up the industrial and agricultural growth of the country by putting aside political differences, saying development of the country should be prime agenda instead of serving political interests.

The chairperson BISP said that not just health and education, but jobs and economic empowerment are crucial for poor women, adding in this regard, the graduation initiative preferentially serves women.

Regular monitoring and evaluation of results across the Ehsaas framework would be gender-disaggregated and would seek to capture the impact on women's empowerment, she added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019