Small loans on seemingly easy terms under the Chief Minister Self-Employment Scheme to 0.15 million individuals from deprived backgrounds every year is a commendable step to fight poverty. That these loans that total Rs 2 billion are interest-free is pleasantly surprising because we are living in times when almost the entire banking sector –- and that includes even those claiming to be following the Sharia, – exact heavy interests either directly or indirectly. The main purpose behind the scheme is to allow struggling families on meagre incomes to set up small business enterprises of their own, stand on their own feet and at the end of the day contribute to the national economy.

This is not the first micro finance scheme to be launched in Pakistan, as inspired by Noble laureate Muhammad Yunus’ model of micro-credit financing in Bangladesh. Supplemental income schemes like the Benazir Income Support Fund, while in its own way effective, demands nothing in return. The simple act of repayment of micro loan will prove to be a boost to the entrepreneurial spirit of the ordinary man, looking for an opportunity to improve his quality of life.