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National Assembly Standing Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety (PA&SS) meets

Friday, 10th March, 2023

Islamabad, 10th March, 2023: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety (PA&SS) expresses concern over non-attendance of meeting by the Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), with the remarks that the Parliament should be given priority by the officers while discharging official duties and the said Chairman should ensure attendance in the next meeting.

2. 9th meeting of the Standing Committee held today in the Parliament House Islamabad under the Chairpersonship of Ms. Saira Bano, MNA.

3. The Chairman, NDMA, was invited by the Committee to brief on distribution of relief funds amongst people of flood affected areas but he did not turn up. The Member (Finance), NDMA, apprised the Committee that the Chairman was engaged in relief operation; being conducted for the affectees of Turkiye and Syria, therefore, he could not attend the meeting. The Committee; while appreciating the Government for extending support to the affectees of Turkiye and Syria, also underlined the need for accomplishment of relief operation for the flood affectees of Pakistan. Therefore, taking notice of absence of Chairman, NDMA, the Committee held that said Chairman should have given priority to the Parliament and should have attended the meeting. The Committee also unanimously decided to defer briefing in question till its next meeting with directions to the Member (Finance), NDMA, to ensure attendance of Chairman in the meeting..

4. The Secretary, Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), briefed the Committee about the steps taken by them for improvement in the existing system of disbursements amongst the beneficiaries. He said that a new database; built up on 35 million households, has been prepared under "Dynamic National Socio-Economic Registry (NESR)-2023" system which will turn into a leap towards an efficient and shock responsive social protection system. It is totally digitalized and connected with National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) containing frequent demographic updates. It will be implemented through 647 Tehsil Level Registration Centres across Pakistan. About 591 Centres have been made functional. In order to facilitate the inhabitants of far flung hard to reach areas, 50 trucks and 500 motorcycles have been hired under Mobile Registration Vehicles System for collection of data. Initially, the campaign will be started from Baluchistan and later on expanded to all over the country, he added.

5. The Committee Members pointed out that there were reports about deduction of Rs. 1000 to 1500/- in support money of beneficiaries by the agents which needs to be looked into by the authorities. The department; admitting the fact, responded that in order to cope with the issue in question, 12500 supervisors and ushers amongst the educated girls of these beneficiaries have been hired. Highlighting the issue of shortage of staff and tablets at BISP centres at Sindh, the Committee Members pointed out that the issue was causing grave concern amongst the general public. The department assured for redressal of the issue.

6. The Committee; while referring to the system adopted by Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) for extending support both in terms of financial and educational to their students, urged the Ministry to establish "Hunar Kadas" for women across the country. This will not only provide women platform to exhibit their local products but also enable them to earn livelihood in respectable manner. The Ministry; in response, held that although Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) was already working on such programs however in the light of suggestion given by the Committee; its scope will be reviewed and enhanced accordingly.

7. The Committee also condemned the brutal act done of Capital Development Authority (CDA)'s officials against poor "Rehri Bans/Thelay Walay" in the name of Anti-Encroachment Operation conducted in Islamabad few days back. The Secretary, Ministry of Poverty Alleviation of Social Safety, informed the Committee that he personally met with the Chairman CDA in that regard. The Chairman CDA has assured for non-recurrence of such event in future.

8. The Committee decided to obtain briefing from Managing Director, Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan, about their plan for "Ramadan Package" in the next meeting.

9. The meeting was attended by MNAS; Ms. Kiran Imran Dar, Syed Abrar Ali Shah, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Behan, Ms. Shagufta Jumani, Syed Mehmood Shah, Mrs. Farukh Khan, Mr. Salahuddin, Mr. Naveed Aamir Jeeva (Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety) besides Secretary, Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Secretary, Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), Managing Director, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM), and senior officers of the Ministry and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).