ISLAMABAD     -       The Board of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) on Friday approved the increase in the stipend amount for girls from Rs. 750 to Rs. 1,000 and the provision of emergency relief to the residents of villages along the Line of Control.

The Board also approved the plan to extend the Conditional Cash Transfer programme for education to another 50 districts around the country to bring out of school children within the education system. The Board meeting was held here which was attended by Secretary BISP, Zafar Khan, Atif Bajwa, Khawar Mumtaz, Ashfaq Hassan Khan, Qazi Azmat Isa and representatives of various government departments.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection and Chairperson BISP Dr.Sania Nishtar briefed the Board on the governance and transparency improvement measures introduced in the Programme. She termed the signing of the banking contracts as a step towards transparent payment mechanism and evidence that the present government continues to bring about significant governance improvements for creating a welfare state modeled on Riasat-e-Madina.

The Board deliberated upon a number of agenda items including provision of emergency relief package to affectees near the LOC. In view of the national importance of the item, the Board approved the provision of emergency relief to the residents of villages along the Line of Control and directed that the recommendations of the Board may be submitted to the Federal Cabinet for approval.

The Board also approved the plan to extend the Conditional Cash Transfer programme for education to another 50 districts around the country to bring out of school children within the education system. In line with the Ehsaas framework, the Board also approved to increase the stipend amount for girls from Rs. 750/- to Rs. 1,000/- to create a further incentive for the parents to send their daughters to school.

In order to address stunting and malnutrition, already emphasized in Ehsaas, a pilot project to provide specialized nutritious food packets to poor mothers and their children was also approved. The project will be launched in one district of each province along with GB, AJK and merged districts of KP.

One woman one Account strategy under the Kifalat programme was also approved to provide savings accounts to more than five million poor women. These accounts will be opened within the next three months under the contracts signed with the Bank Alfalah and Habib Bank on the same day immediately after the Board meeting.

Dr Sania Nishtar said that with the approval of these projects Ehassas has entered in the next phase of its implementation and she expressed confidence that the staff and management of BISP will play their role in this phase and will help her in realizing the dream of the Prime Minister to create a state that works for the poor.

Immediately after the Board meeting, contracts with Bank Alfalah and Habib Bank were signed, and witnessed by Dr Sania Nishtar and all members of BISP Board to launch Kifalat financial inclusion program.