ISLAMABAD    -   The Board of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has decided to appoint deputationists through a rule-based competitive process in future — a decision that would stop deputationists’ back-door entry into the organization.

Similarly, to make BISP corruption free, the board has approved the Whistle Blowing Policy, Conflict of Interest Policy and Internal Audit Charter.

The decisions in this regard were taken by 32nd board meeting of BISP which was held here with chairperson of BISP, Dr Sania Nishtar in the chair and was attended by other Board members.

The board approved the policy to acquire human resources through a competitive process which will ensure that deputations in BISP would be finalized through a rule-based competitive process.

In future no relative or political supporters of big shots will be deputed on the basis of his connections rather it will through competitive process, official source told The Nation. It is drastic policy change which will stop nepotism and politicization in posting at BISP.

In the past deputations were posted in the BISP mainly on the basis of his/her affiliation with inflectional quarters and no rule was followed in the posting, said the source.  Due to its lucrative salary package around 100s of deputationists are posted in BISP who are taking double salaries. It is pertinent to mention here that terming BISP a hub for the posting of kith and kin of influential people the original BISP employees had earlier protested and demanded the return of all the deputationists to their parents departments.

Now after the board decision the post will be advertised and the appointment will be made on the basis of merit, said the source.

During the meeting, chairperson said that BISP Board and management have taken proactive action for devising systems to transform the BISP into a rule and merit based efficient organization.

The Board discussed at length the Request for Proposal (RFP) document to bring partnering financial institutions on board. The document will be finalized in light of the decisions of the board. The Board discussed the open competitive process which will be used to engage the financial institutions. The cash transfer system will be revamped with this new engagement. “The RFP document and the criteria on which bidders will be selected has been deliberated upon and agreed by the full board,” said Sania Nishtar.

Consistent with the organizational drive to improve accountability and transparency the Board approved Whistle Blowing Policy, Conflict of Interest Policy, Internal Audit Charter.

Through approval of Whistle Blowing Policy, BISP now provides a platform to BISP employees and other interested parties for identifying any irregularity, embezzlement/ malpractice, fraud, wrongdoing in a confidential manner without any fear of adverse consequences.

The approval of Conflict of Interest Policy reflects board and management’s attempt to ensure that decisions in BISP are taken entirely in public interest. Senior management and Board members would be required to declare any personal interest and would have to distance themselves from any decision where they have any such interest. “At every board meeting, Board members now have to declare any possible conflict of interest, and full compliance with this requirement”, explained chairperson BISP.

The Board also gave approval to the procurement manual to further streamline the processes of procurement in the organization. The manual has introduced checks and balances in the process of procurement.

The framework for a pilot scheme to assist BISP beneficiaries through business incubation was also approved by the Board. The Board also gave a go ahead to establish digital hubs in eight tehsil offices of BISP on a pilot basis as a part of Ehsaas programme.

The chairperson also briefed the Board on the Ehsaas programme of the Prime Minister and the roles assigned to BISP in the programme. She informed the Board about the modalities of the Kifalat programme of unconditional cash transfers to women and the paradigm change being introduced through the financial inclusion agenda and the significant operational improvements that are being made. In addition to this, its education conditional cash transfer programme would be expanded under Ehsaas and a new health and nutrition programme would be designed. Ehsaas would also include a shock-oriented demand based precision safety net to protect the most marginalized families from catastrophic health related expenditures. This programme would be named Tahafuz.

The meeting was attended by board members Ali Raza Bhutta, Secretary BISP, Qazi Azmat Isa, Khawar Mumtaz,  Atif Bajwa,  Zafar A Khan and representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs Division and the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination.