Nothing gives more satisfaction than reaching out to those less fortunate who are in dire need of financial assistance to begin with.

The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), which is a household name now, has proven to be the most active and regular programme in meeting its goals, which are to empower and assist low-income households, so they could fulfil basic human needs and uplift their status in the society.

Being a member of the National Assembly comes with its benefits, which enables me to join hands with my colleagues and raise voice for what should be done and what should be avoided. Problems of uncontrolled population growth and lack of education leads to increasing unemployment, which further leads to alleviation in poverty. The government realises the importance of eradicating this menace from the society and is making rigorous effects to cater to the downtrodden segments of our communities.

Recently, a survey was conducted for the BISP to make its working process more transparent and efficient. This was done in a reaction owing to some complaints about the programme. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Sheikh Aftab Ahmed told the House that he was responding to a resolution of Surriya Asghar about conducting new survey for BISP and extend its scope to make the programme more beneficial for the poor and needy.

Efforts are now being made to identify the deserving populace throughout the country and make the programme more transparent and beneficial. All irregularities, if there are any, in the BISP were, and if may occur in the future, be addressed with the utmost of attention, at all levels.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) envisions making this programme complaint-free and the leadership of the party wants to benefit all the deserving persons without any discrimination. After taking concrete steps in eliminating the middle-man culture, the government is moving in the right direction towards setting this programme an example for other countries to follow.

BISP is also introducing biometric system for distribution of its monetary support so as to eliminate the ATM mafia besides focusing on promoting rural handicrafts and woman entrepreneurs by taking steps for selling their products online as well as bringing them to big markets, which would bring a revolutionary change in the rural life.

Moreover, BISP will support all those initiatives and products meant to alleviate poverty and welfare of womenfolk, as the government wants to give our women dignity, empowerment and meaning to their lives.

The programme had recently enhanced quarterly financial support to Rs 4,700 from Rs 4,500 per family while reservations of all stakeholders are being removed to ensure better results. Separate counters are being set up for women at various offices of NADRA and passport and immigration offices and more efforts are being geared up to make more such counters. The best aspect of the BISP remains its non-conditional cash transfer feature on providing bi-monthly cash payments. I take great pride in stating that it is currently the largest aid programme in Pakistan and the government’s third largest budgetary allocation. From the 2011 fiscal year till now, the allocation by the government to cover low-income families has doubled to Rs 70 billion, or $875 million.

Besides the monthly stipend, the government also realises that the only long-term solution to eliminate poverty is education and in this regard, BISP is planning to launch a new initiative that encourages human capital development through a conditional cash transfer. The Waseela-e-Taleem initiative will condition cash payments on primary school enrolment for the children of eligible families.

We, as a team, led by BISP Chairperson Marvi Memon, pledge on the fact that areas of Balochistan, which are prey to lawlessness and indiscipline and do not experience a rapid working of the BISP, will be our main focus of attention. We understand that a major chunk of Balochi people who are living below the poverty line need proper attention by the government and in this regard, Marvi Memon along with her team will personally visit these areas in the near future, in a bid to put an end their plight and deprivation.