PM launches biggest ever Rs120b subsidy scheme for poor

PESHAWAR – Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday launched a historic and biggest Social Protection Programme to provide maximum relief to the poor and make the country a true Islamic welfare state like Riyasat-e-Madina.

Punjab will spend on Rs320 billion on health insurance programme, the premier said, adding, the facility of health insurance would be available to every citizen of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.

The prime minister expressed these views while addressing the launching ceremony of Micro Health Insurance Programme under Kamyab Pakistan Programme, distribution of cheques among Imams of Jamia Mosques under KP government’s financial assistance programme, students under Ehsaas Education Programme and poor women under Kifalat Programme here at the Governor House. 

KP Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Federal Minister for Information, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Security Dr Sania Nishtar, Provincial Ministers and lawmakers of KP Assembly besides beneficiaries were present.

In his address, the prime minister said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had started its political journey with a clear goal to make Pakistan a true Islamic welfare state as envisioned by our forefathers in Objective Resolution.

He said when PTI came into power in 2013 in KP, welfare oriented programmes like Health Insurance Project were prioritized to benefit poor people and low income strata. The development projects, reforms initiatives and dedicated party leadership had resulted into unprecedented two-third majority of PTI in 2018 election in the province. 

Referring to a UNDP report, the prime minister said significant reduction of poverty had been witnessed in the KP during 2013-18 owing to the PTI government’s prudent policies. He said the PTI government had been succeeded in improving governance, restoring law and order situation and boosted morale of police force that was on the forefront in war against terror in 2013 in the KP.

Despite the coalition government during 2013-18 in the KP, he said 30 per cent health insurance had been provided to people. He congratulated the KP government for extending free health insurance to 100 percent population today.

Under the Kamyab Pakistan Programme, micro health insurance would provide free medical services worth Rs1 million annually to 7.5 million families in the KP. He said health insurance programme would also be launched in Punjab from first January and the entire population of the province would be covered in three months.

The government of Balochistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan also intended to launch this mega programme. “Free health insurance card is a great blessing for the poor and low income groups.” 

He said universal free health coverage in the KP was unprecedented as such facilities were not available in the developed countries.

 

Appreciating the performance of the National Command and Operation Center, the prime minister said the country had effectively tackled corona virus pandemic that created havoc in the world including India, adding the pandemic had severally affected supply food chain in world and regional countries that caused inflation, price hike and increased prices of petroleum, gas and food commodities in Pakistan. 

 

He said anti corona policies of the government had saved people from hunger, starvation and many precious lives besides averting the downfall of economy. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government had announced a historic Ehsaas food subsidy package worth Rs120 billion that would benefit over 20 million households.  He said the Ehsaas Ration Discount Programme would provide groceries to about 20 million families by covering 130 million people and giving them 30 percent discount on purchase of essential food items, adding about 53pc of the country’s total population would be benefited. Families with less than Rs50,000 per month income were eligible for Ehsaas Ration discount programme.

 

The prime minister urged the elected representatives to visit their constituencies and informed people and owners of grocery stores about benefits and procedures of the Ehsaas Ration Programme’s registration.

He said another welfare programme was being launched to benefit about around two million poor families, adding interest free loans up to Rs500,000 to each family, technical education and Rs2.7 million for construction of house to live a prosperous and dignified life.

He said the heavy loans borrowed by the previous governments had overburdened the country’s economy and added the major chunk of revenue generated by the government was being spent to pay interest on these loans. 

The prime minister said the 6.3 million scholarships with allocation of Rs47 billion were being given to students on merit basis, adding data of the students and scholarships were being compiled by the Prime Minister’s Office so that no deserving student could be deprived from the facility.

 

He said 10 new dams would be constructed in next 10 years to address the problem of water scarcity and bolster food production. He said there were about 80,000 dams including 5,000 big dams in China. 

He said population of Pakistan was increasing and construction of new dams was vital to address water shortage and irrigate infertile lands to meet the food demands.

 

The prime minister said billion trees project was a landmark achievement of the PTI government and appreciated the KP government for planting billions of trees. He said reforms in industries were being introduced to bolster exports.

 

Earlier, two videos prepared by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Division about the Prime Minister’s Ehsaas Ration Programme were also screened to inform audience about the salient features and registration procedures.

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