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ISLAMABAD: The 43rd Board meeting of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has approved the expansion of Ehsaas Nashonuma Programme from nine to 12 districts to enhance its outreach in different areas of the country.

The Board met under the chair of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar.

According to an official press release, the Board deliberated upon an extensive 19-item agenda including expansion of Ehsaas Nashonuma Programme, opening of Mobile Wallets for Ehsaas One Woman One Account initiative, establishment of Cyber Crime Control Wing, agreement with NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority) to ensure easy payments to next of kin under Ehsaas Kafaalat, constitution of Steering Committees for Ehsaas Nashonuma and Ehsaas Talemi-Wazaef and accident insurance coverage for monitoring teams of Ehsaas Talemi-Wazaef. On Ehsaas Nashonuma Programme, Nishtar briefed the Board meeting that the districts with the highest stunting rates were being included in the programme. As of now, 22 Nashonuma Centres have already opened in nine districts. Overall, 52 Ehsaas Nashonuma centres will be established in 12 districts, she informed the meeting. Launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan in August this year, Ehsaas Nashonuma Programme is a federal government’s initiative under Ehsaas Programme that aims to provide healthcare to pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as minor children facing stunted growth due to malnourishment.

The Board also gave go-ahead for Ehsaas One Woman One Account initiative, to enable opening of Mobile Wallets for Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries.

The Board agreed to accelerate establishment of a Cyber Crime Control Wing to protect Ehsaas payments against cyber attacks.

The Board approved an agreement with NADRA to enable real time validation of eligibility of next of kin appeals in Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme. This agreement was necessary to ensure that applications of next of kin of dead beneficiaries are processed quickly, said the press release. Other important decisions taken in the Board meeting included grant of approval for the establishment of Steering Committees of Ehsaas Nashonuma and Ehsaas Talemi-Wazaef for oversight, policy enhancement and accountability and accident insurance coverage for monitoring teams of Ehsaas Talemi-Wazaef.

The Board meeting was attended by Secretary BISP Yusuf Khan, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Ghufran Memon, and other senior officials from Finance Division, Economic Affairs Division (EAD) and NADRA. Zaffar A. Khan, Qazi Azmat Isa and Khawar Mumtaz also attended the meeting from private sector. BISP is one of the 34 implementing agencies of Ehsaas Programme.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020