ISLAMABAD: The federal government gave approval to the removal of 820,165 names from the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) database, describing the beneficiaries as “undeserving”.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting after Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar informed it that the database of the BISP was being revised to exclude “undeserving” persons, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said while addressing a post-cabinet meeting press conference.
The changes in the BISP database were made in the wake of reservations expressed by some cabinet members in the previous meetings that the supporters of opposition parties, especially those backing the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), were benefiting from the programme while those belonging to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf were being ignored.
Launched in July 2008, the BISP is the country’s largest single social safety net programme with around 5.4 million beneficiaries, according to the 2016 data.
Dr Nishtar apprised the cabinet that in view of some complaints and need to update the BISP data, the survey was being reviewed with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority.
She said during the review, some aspects were being looked into. For example, she added, it was being ascertained whether the family of a beneficiary had any motorcycle or car or whether a spouse was a government employee. The cabinet was further told that those who had over 12 acres of land also did not fall in the category of “deserving” people. After the exclusion of 820,165 people, really deserving people would be included in the programme, she added.
“If we look into these aspects, then it comes to the fore that 820,165 people should not come in the purview of BISP,” Dr Awan said.