Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection and Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Dr. Sania Nishtar Thursday announced that the government has increased the quarterly cash grant for 4.3 million beneficiaries of Ehsaas Kifalat Programme of BISP from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 5,500.

This increase would mean that the government will provide Rs. 8.6 billion more for cash transfers to the poorest of the poor. This pro-poor decision was taken in cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister on Tuesday, she said.

She further added that BISP has now 4.27 million active beneficiaries after de-listing 0.82 million undeserving beneficiaries. Dr. Nishtar said the increased stipend will be given only to the deserving beneficiaries from the second quarter of the 2019-20 i.e October – December 2019 quarterly cash grant, said a news release.

Referring to the ongoing disbursement to the beneficiaries, the SAMP said that BISP has already started the disbursement of cash grant for the first quarter through partner banks on the new Ehsaas Digital payment system.

She said that this system is completely biometric and payments are only made after verification of thumb impressions by NADRA. The present government continues to bring about significant governance improvements for creating a welfare state modeled on Riasat-e-Madina, she said.

She stated that the increase in the stipend amount would mean that the money saved from delisting 820,165 beneficiaries will be used for existing and truly deserving beneficiaries.

The Chairperson said that BISP being the country's largest social safety Programme is in the process of bringing more initiatives and programs in education, health and nutrition for the welfare of the poor and marginalized segments of the society. She added that the government has already decided to enhance the cash transfer amount for mothers of girls to Rs 1,000 per quarter.

This amount is in addition to the quarterly cash transfer of Rs 5,500 and is paid to the mothers if the girl child attends a primary school. This programme is now being expanded to 100 districts with expenditure increased to Rs 8.2 billion on this account, she added.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2019