ISLAMABAD: Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has seen an increase of 25 percent with the allocation of Rs 250 billion in its federal budget for upcoming financial year 2021-22 compared to Rs 200 billion allocated for BISP in the outgoing financial year 2020-21, revised at Rs 194 billion.
According to budgetary allocations' details for upcoming fiscal year released by federal government Friday, no separate budget allocation has been shown for Ehsaas Programme, which the federal government claims is the largest social safety initiative in the history of Pakistan; BISP functions under the administrative ambit of Ehsaas Programme.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin announced during his budget speech in National Assembly that Rs 260 billion was allocated for Ehsaas Programme in federal budget 2021-22. However, budget documents reveal that Rs 250 billion, not Rs 260 billion, were actually earmarked for BISP with no specified mention of federal budget for Ehsaas Programme for FY 2021-22.
Additionally, there is no mention of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme which the government reportedly wants to restore to provide financial assistance to deserving people affected by lockdown measures against COVID-19.
Budgetary details show that Rs 36.5 billion have been allocated under the head of employees related expenses next year including Rs 2.56 billion for allowances, Rs 2 billion for regular allowances and 0.56 for other allowances, Rs0.93 billion for pays including 0.53 billion for pays of officers and 0.39 for pays of other staff.
Separately, Rs 2.155 billion have been allocated for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) showing a negligible increase of only 0.13 percent compared to PASSD's budget of Rs 2.152 billion allocated in outgoing FY 2020-21 that was revised at Rs 2.159 billion.
In the new budget, Rs 84.7 million have been allocated for employees related expenses including Rs50 million for pays; Rs 27.8 million for pays of officers and Rs 22 million for pays of other staff while Rs 34 million have been allocated under the head of allowances including Rs 29 million for regular allowances and 5 million for other allowances.
Under the head of transfers, Rs 2 billion have been earmarked, Rs 58.6 million have been earmarked for operating expenses, Rs 4.6 million for employees' retirement benefits, Rs 3.1 million for grants, subsidies and write-off loans, Rs 2.91 million for repairs and maintenance and Rs 1 million have been allocated under the head of physical assets for PASSD in the federal budget 2021-22.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021