LAHORE - Provincial Minister for Finance Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha has said that the Punjab government is providing interest-free loans of Rs12.7 billion to more than 0.67 million women under Chief Minister’s Self Employment Scheme.

She said that 106,000 women are being trained under TEVTA and Vocational Training Programme. She said that 1,690 women, who were deprived of education and technical training due to illiteracy, are being trained for domestic work for making them self reliance. She said that rural women are being made part of poultry and livestock business and they have been provided free cattle for this purpose.

The minister said that endowment fund has been set up for providing residential facilities to working women and a formal policy has been evolved for elimination of gender discrimination. She said that amendment has been made in the law for ensuring protection of women. She said that immediate help lines and centres have been established for elimination of violence against women where all facilities from registration of FIR, laboratory test to rehabilitation are being provided to victimised women. All these steps will play a revolutionary role in the development of women, she added.

She expressed these views while presiding over 1st meeting of the committee, constituted for providing funds to women MPAs elected on special seats in Punjab Assembly in 2017-18 under Women Development Package. The meeting was aimed at reviewing provision of funds and suggestions to women MPAs for ensuring welfare and protection of women in their respective districts.

The finance secretary, P&D member and members of Punjab Assembly were included among the participants. The minister informed the meeting that Punjab government through the assistance of its private partners attends to set up Women Business Incubation Centres (WBIC) and one stop platform in chambers of commerce & industry in eight cities.

During the meeting, women members informed the minister about the needs and suggestions of women in their constituencies. The minister directed the Finance Department and P&D Department to estimate the expenditure in the light of proposals of assembly members and prepare formal proposals so that approval of the chief minister could be sought after assent of all stakeholders.