ISLAMABAD: The government would disburse through the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) cash subsidy of Rs 8.39 billion instead of seeds to the farmers of the flood-hit areas identified in the database created by the Government of Sindh and shared by the National Information Technology Board (NITB).
The Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety informed the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in a summary that the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MoNFS&R) has been engaged with Sindh government for provision of assistance to wheat seeds growing farmers of flood-hit areas.
The discussion ensued during meetings of National Flood Response Coordination Committee (NFRCC) under the chairmanship of Ahsanlqbal, Minister for Planning Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives (MoPDR&SI).
The committee, in its meeting held in December, 2022, recommended that cash subsidy will be immediately provided to the farmers instead of seeds.
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The proposed assistance consisted of cash disbursement of Rs 14.99 billion including Rs 6.56 billion (Rs 3.2 billion as supplementary grant and Rs 3.4 billion from World Bank’s Leaf Project) from the federal government and Rs 8.39 billion from the Government of Sindh.
During one of the meetings of NFRCC, BISP, which was disbursing flood relief cash assistance to the affectees of flash floods, was asked to help develop an Application Programming Interface (API) for collecting data of the affected farmers, by the NITB. The BISP designed the API and shared it with the NITB which was later used by Sindh government to create a database of the affected farmers in the province.
The Government of Sindh has approached the BISP with a request to take the above stated database from the NITB and start disbursement to farmers from the funds it had transferred to the Finance Division, through a letter dated 12th January 2023. The BISP is of the view that it can disburse the funds as per eligibility criteria and amount for each eligible person identified government of Sindh either after the approval of the programme by the BISP Board or on the directions of the federal government subsequent to the provision of necessary funds from the federal government.
In addition to the aforesaid, the Finance Division on 24th January 2023 has directed to initiate a summary for the ECC for provision of Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) amounting to Rs 8.39 billion, transferred by Sindh government in federal government’s account No I.
The approval of the ECC is solicited for provision of Rs 8.39 billion, through TSG in favour of the BISP, for cash subsidy to farmers identified in the database created by Government of Sindh and to be shared with the BISP by the NITB: directions to BISP to initiate cash disbursements through its partner bank as per eligibility criteria and the amount to be disbursed to each eligible person identified by Government of Sindh: BISP will adjust the service charges of partner bank from the amount provided through TSG for the programme: BISP will initiate disbursement process through its partner bank in Sindh that is Habib Bank Limited, as per below stated steps: (a) NITB will slime the data of eligible beneficiaries with BISP as per format on which data was collected: (b) BISP will share the data with HBL for KYC and account opening: (c) BISP will provide required finds to HBL: (d) SMS will be sent to beneficiaries on mobile numbers provided by NITB to BISP and the cost of these SMS will be borne by BISP from within the funds provided for the programme: (e) BISP field offices will be asked to mobilize and guide the beneficiaries: (f) beneficiaries will receive payments through HBL ATMS and POS agents through Biometric Verification System (DVS): (g) in case of biometric failures, concerned beneficiaries will be processed under Exception Policy of BISP through which beneficiaries will be disbursed at HBL branches: (h) summary statistic of the disbursement process will be shared with NITB on weekly basis: after closing date, all disbursement activities will be discontinued and balance funds will be transferred to concerned department of federal government: media/awareness campaign regarding the programme will be run by Government of Sindh.
Further, all the information material like banners, posters, standees etc, if required, will be arranged and provided by Government of Sindh: targeting/eligibility related grievances to be dealt by government of Sindh at every forum, whereas, payments related grievances will be dealt by the BISP as per relevant provisions of the contract signed with the partner bank.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023
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