KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah approved Rs four billion People Poverty Reduction Programme (PPRP) in six districts.

He took this decision on Friday while presiding over a meeting here at CM House. The meeting was attended by Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sajjid Jamal Abro, Chairman Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO) Shoaib Sultan Khan, CEO SRSO Dittal Kalhoro and other concerned officers.

The chief minister said that the provincial government already launched Union Council Based Poverty Reduction Progrmme (UCBPRP) of Rs3.36 billion with specific objectives to reduce poverty, improve the quality of life of the poor and marginalised communities through social mobilisation, capacity development, asset creation and income generation.

Shah said that with the start of Rs4 billion PPRP in six districts, the provincial government intervention for poverty reduction would spread over 16 districts with an investment of Rs14.2 billion. “This would definitely develop a good impact in the rural areas,” he said.

He said that the UCBPRP was a symbol of the performance of provincial government in terms of service delivery to the poorest rural population through social mobilization to empower the local communities by socially and economically enabling them to improve their livelihood and increase their earnings through Income Generating Grants (IGG) and Community Fund as was being given as an interest free loan under union council based poverty reduction programme.

Shah termed UCBPRP a unique first and foremost, it focused on women empowerment and livelihood of poorest households, identified through a scientific survey.  Second, the programme was the first ever major project of the provincial government that was being implemented through community participation. Thirdly, the pogramme was highly intensive in its development package and coverage and is concentrated at union council level.

A hall mark of the programme is the development through social mobilisation which provides a great opportunity to the rural skilled women to produce and showcase their products by accessing the larger market in mega cities like Karachi, the chief minister said and added it was the first time that these ladies have had an opportunity to present and sell their products themselves without involving the middlemen.  “This, on the one hand gives them the confidence in their ability and direct exposure of the market and on the other enables them to become economically better off and independent,” he said.

The chief minister said that the programme not only focuses on social sector improvement by directly addressing the indicators of health, poverty, environment, social security, shelter, employment and basic livelihood but also helps in achieving the objective and targets of universally accepted Sustaiable Development Goals- of which Pakistan is a signatory.  

He said that programme was initially launched in two districts Shikarpur and Kashmore and Kandhkot districts on pilot basis in 2009 for a period of 30 months. It achieved desired objectives of organising the households in community and village organisations by providing rural communities a common platform to discuss and resolve socio-economic issues collectively.

Realising the importance of mobilising communities for collective actions, to pool their resources for economies of scale and to build up group solidarity for sustained reduction in poverty the programme was further extended to two more districts, Jacobabad and Tharparkar in 2010 with an allocation of Rs2.009 billion.   

Chairman P&D Mohammad Wasem briefing the meeting about the UCBPRP said that it achieved great success in four districts, Shikarpur, Kashmore, Jacoabad and Tharparkar. This included universal coverage of 175 union councils, organisations of 343,084 households at community and village level, giving of income generation grants and interest free loans to 10,043 and 112,406 households respectively.

He said that under the programme 9,072 low cost housing units were provided to shelterless households, 1,124 house hold were given water supply schemes,  34,211 persons were imparted vocational training, 114,328 households have been provided protection of micro health insurance plan, 195 schools were made functional and 43 small villages were rehabilitated.

Waseem said that considering the success of the programme, the chief minister further expanded the programme to six districts, Umerkot, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Kahirpur, badin and Thatta for Rs4.916 billion in 2017. This schemes is being implemented through Sindh Rural Support Oerganistaion (SRSO) led by Shoaib Sultan Khan. 

The EU has also launched a similar programme named ‘Union Council and Community Economic Strengthening Support’ (SUCCESS) targeting reduction of poverty and enhancement of livelihoods in eight more districts by investing Rs8 billion.  Approving Peoples Poverty Reduction Programme (PPRP), Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the programme was being launched in 288 union councils of six districts of the province. The districts include Ghotki, Sukkur, Naushehroferoze, Benazirabad and rural Union Councils of Karachi and Hyderabad.