UNITED NATIONS - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday praised the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), saying it was a model anti-poverty scheme for other countries, especially those in South Asia, to follow. He said the programme, which is aimed at empowering women and reducing poverty, was in line with his own vision of helping the worlds most vulnerable people. The Secretary General made these remarks during a meeting with Federal Minister and Chairperson of BISP Farzana Raja at UN Headquarters in New York when she briefed him on the progress resulting from the eight-months-old programme. Ms. Raja told Pakistani journalists after the 30-minute meeting that that the Secretary-General took note of the fact that BISP is based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the globally agreed set of social and economic targets that are supposed to be realised by 2015. She said that Ban proposed that Pakistan share this 'model programme with other countries, especially those in South Asia. 'I congratulate President Asif Ali Zardari and you for helping the most vulnerable people of your country, Ban told the Minister. 'This programme is good for your country, good for your people and should be shared with other countries. Through sheer hard work, she said, programme is already extending financial help to 2.2 million deserving families against the target of 3.5 million in which the household woman receives Rs. 1,000 per month. The idea, she added, was to bring the women into the mainstream. Besides cash help, the programme carries other benefits like health and accident insurances as well as vocational training so that the recipients ultimately become self-sufficient. She also told Secretary-General that the programme was non-partisan designed to help the most deserving Pakistanis. 'This is not a party specific programme, it is for the people of Pakistan, because of its transparency, the entire world, donor agencies are cooperating and are sending their offers to us, she added. She said a poverty census was being carried out across the country with the help of the World Bank to identify more deserving households so that they could benefit from the programme. In addition, she said the BISP was also helping the families of the victims of bomb blasts and those of the earthquakes as well as the displaced persons from the Swat region. During the meeting, she also conveyed messages of greetings from President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to the Secretary General who warmly reciprocated their sentiments. She also said she invited Ban on behalf of the Government of Pakistan and he accepted the invitation. Farzana Raja also paid a courtesy call on the President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel DEscoto Brokmann. Earlier, she conferred with Ajay Chibber, Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Director at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).