The multidimensional poverty in Pakistan is 38.4 percent, said Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection & Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar. The government is currently conducting a fresh poverty digital survey and expected to announce the National Poverty Survey in February 2020, said Dr Sania Nishtar while briefing the Senate Standing committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety. The committee met with Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini in the chair here on Friday where parliamentarians raised questions over the poverty ratio in the country.
Multidimensional Poverty in Pakistan Stands at 38.4 percent, says Dr Sania
Senator Lt.Gen ® Abdul Qayyum said that the recent skyrocketing inflation coupled with rupee depreciation have turned table and more people were sent below the poverty line.
Dr Sania Nishtar responded that according to old data income poverty measures at 24.3 percent while multidimensional poverty stands at 38.4 percent. To get the correct picture, digital survey is in the field and to be finalized by February next year, she added.
She further said that government has earmarked Rs 190 billion for Ehsas programme to address poverty and inequality. It is the biggest and boldest pro-poor programme ever launched in the country. Ther eare 134 programmes, policies and initiatives while 34 ministries at the federal level have been tasked with implementation.
She said that it is the only ministry to receive sizable international assistance in one year including $200 million each from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
She further said that Rs 5 billion undergraduate’s education scholarship scheme to be launched next week. She further said that digital payment system completed in 6 months after a delay of 10 years. Dr Sania Nishtar further said that good governance and effective policies are top most priority of the government, which was ignored in the past.
The special assistant to Prime Minister while replying to a question blamed the Sindh provincial government for not agreeing to finance sharing for a health card, resulting in not launching health card in the province. She said that except Sindh other provinces have agreed to 30:70 formula (province 70 percent, federal government 30 percent) for launching health cards.
She further said that from now onward Benazir Income Support Programm (BISP) payment would be totally made after biometric verification as huge embezzlement was reported in the past.
Replying to a question, the special assistant said that Lungar is being run on a public-private partnership where the government’s investment is zero. Around 112 such lungars would be set up across the country, she added.
Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) also briefed the committee on its different initiatives. He said that the organization has been giving the mandate to work for the destitute and needy widows, orphans and other such people of the society. Several initiates are in the card to provide technical education and other skill and make such people valuable asset of the society.
The committee expressed serious concerns over the low budget for PBM while saying that at one time it was Rs 28 billion which has been slashed to Rs 5-6 billion. The committee recommended increasing its budget to avoid any hindrances in its operation as it is providing the best services in the country.