Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and BISP Chairperson Dr Sania Nishtar said on Saturday that the National Poverty Graduation Initiative will be the most beneficial programme to steer the poorest households out of poverty.
While addressing a press conference on the initiative in Islamabad, Nishtar said that the underprivileged and jobless people will be given interest-free loans to help them establish and uplift their small-scale businesses and support their living. “These small loans will result in revolutions in the lives of the poor people,” said Nishtar.
She remarked that Prime Minister Imran Khan has doubled the budget for the poor and labourers. “Double money has been allocated for the poor. Imran Khan has deducted budgets of all other departments and even the army has voluntarily deducted their budget for the people,” said Nishtar.
Nishtar said the strategy consists of three components, including interest-free loans, skills training and transfer of small assets such as sewing machines, livestock and agricultural equipment. She said over 16 million people will benefit from the programme while 80,000 people will be given interest-free loans every month.
Nishtar added that numerous NGO’s are also collaborating in this initiative. “ A special ministry will also be allotted for it,” said Nishtar.
On Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan launched a Rs42.65 billion National Poverty Graduation Initiative under the Ehsaas Programme to steer the poorest households out of poverty by providing them interest-free loans, assets transfers and vocational and skills training.
The launching ceremony, held at the Prime Minister’s Office, marked the distribution of cheques of varying amounts of interest-free loans. Around 391 similar cheques were distributed at the events held across the country where 86,151 interest-free loans worth Rs3.02 billion were given out to deserving people.
Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood and Dr Nishtar also attended the ceremony, as well as a huge number of representatives from collaborating organisations and beneficiaries of the programme.
During the ceremony, Imran Khan said the government had already increased the budgetary allocation for Ehsaas to Rs200 billion that would further be enhanced in the future.
He announced that the government would divert all the money coming from the sale of benami properties to the anti-poverty initiative.