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ISLAMABAD: Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Board on Monday accorded approval to BISP annual budget of Rs 250 billion allocated by federal government for upcoming financial year 2021-22. The budget approval was granted in BISP Board meeting on the recommendation of BISP's Finance Committee.

In addition, the Board has also granted approval to include all the transgender persons from across the country- who have been issued Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs)-in Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme - to provide them each the monthly financial assistance of Rs 2000.

There are currently less than 3,000 transgender persons in the country who have CNICs, Business Recorder has learnt. All of them, in the light of the BISP Board's decision, would be eligible to receive financial assistance under Ehsaas Kafaalat initiative.

On October 2 last year, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued the voter lists which indicated that that there were 2,538 registered transgender voters across the country. All these voters had CNICs which made them eligible for registration as voters.

The ECP's October voter lists indicated that there were total 115,748,753 registered voters in Pakistan including 64,078,616 male, 51,667,599 female and 2,538 transgender voters. The transgender voters were 0.002 per cent of the total registered voters.

There were 1,886 registered transgender voters in Punjab, 431 in Sindh, 133 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 81 in Balochistan and seven in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). However, the ECP omitted the details of transgender voters in the voter lists that were last issued on April 6, this year. The voter lists indicated that there were 118,224,697 total registered voters in Pakistan; 65,300735 male and 52,923,962 female voters. There was no mention of transgender voters in April 6 voter lists.

Meanwhile, BISP Board also approved increasing stipends for deserving students of secondary and higher secondary levels. Each female child student would now receive Rs 4,000 per quarter (previously Rs 3,000) and male child student Rs 3,500 (previously Rs 2,500) on the attainment of 70 per cent school attendance.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar presided over the 50th BISP Board meeting in her official capacity as the Board's Chairperson.

The secondary and higher education stipends will empower low-income households with improved access to education, till grade 12, she said. The Board also approved establishment of 154 district-level Ehsaas Centres to allow the beneficiaries to access all Ehsaas Programme services under one roof.

The meeting also approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Utility Stores Corporation for Ehsaas Targeted Subsidy Programme.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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