ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed Friday that Rs 315 billion have been disbursed to more than five million beneficiary families across the country since the inception of Benazir Income Support Programme in 2008.

Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan told the House during question hour that BISP is not a poverty reduction programme rather it is an income support programme to provide a minimum income package to the poor. It is aimed to protect the vulnerable population against chronic and transient poverty.

The Parliamentary Secretary said the present government has increased expenditures of BISP from forty billion rupees in 2012-13 to 102 billion rupees in 2015-16. He said disbursement system has also been improved through Smart Cards. He said a new survey under this BISP programme will be carried out next year to identify new deserving families.

To a question, Rana Afzal Khan informed the House that the government is taking loan within limit. He said under Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitations Act,  loans cannot be taken more than sixty percent of GDP. He said when we took over the loans were 62.3 percent of GDP. He said the present government has succeeded to reduce these loans to 61 percent due to its prudent policies. He pointed out that these loans will further be reduced.

 Rana Afzal said the foreign loan received by Pakistan during the tenure of present government is amounted to over 9.7 billion dollars excluding bonds and IMF loan. He said sufficient budgetary provision is ensured for the purpose of debt servicing. He said the IMF loan was exclusively to build foreign exchange reserves and cannot and has not been used by the government for budgetary supports. He said the currently the foreign exchange reserves stands at 19.919 billion dollars.

 Parliamentary Secretary Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan while answering a question regarding privatization of Heavy Electrical Complex, told the House that M/s Cargil Holdings Limited was the bidder approved by the Privatization Commission Board for buying HEC. However, he said since the Cargil Holdings failed to make the balance payment of 225 million rupees, the Privatization Commission revoked the Letter of Acceptance. He said the government is following the privatization policy very carefully.

 Rana Afzal informed the House that so far 10442 loans have been extended under the Prime Minister's Youth Business Loan Scheme. He said every eligible person belonging to any province can apply for loan this scheme.

Answering a question, he said the Axact scandal is under investigation with Federal Investigation Agency authorities. He said as and when the FIA report is finalized, it will be shared with the Federal Board of Revenue and appropriate action will be taken under the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

 To a question, Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Maryam Aurangzeb told the House that different cases have been registered against Axact. She said these include two hundred and fifty thousand fake degrees and over one hundred nineteen thousand fraud institutions. She said accounts of these institutions have been seized and they are not functional now.

Replying a question, she said 3157 personnel of law enforcement agencies and 5532 civilians have lost their lives in terrorism related incidents during the last five years. She said 173 terrorists have been sentenced to death and 206 are awaiting execution of punishments of death.

Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal while answering a question clarified that metro bus projects are being funded by the Punjab Government and these do not come under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.