In order to counter the sharp rise in oil prices ultimately resulting in double digit inflation in the year 2007 – 2008, and to provide aid to the underprivileged sections of the society who were hit the worse as a result of the fore mentioned inflation; Benazir Income Support Program was announced in 2008 – 2009 and its primary aim was to provide financial aid to approx 3. 5 million families across Pakistan. At the moment BISP is being implemented in all provinces, as well as FATA, Azad & Jammu Kashmir and ICT It is basically a cash transfer program families, particularly poor women.
The enrolled or registered families are paid cash assistance of 10000 PKR per month at their very doorstep, enhancing earnings! Although, BISP serves to uplift the prevailing unsatisfactory situation of the less fortunate- still it falls short and thus suffers from certain short comings which should be looked upon as soon as possible, as they are undermining the credibility and fundamental grounds for which this program was actually built. Critiques of Benazir Income Support Program: 1. The fundamental flaw is that it is a federally implemented program and goes against the principle of devolution and provincial autonomy.
For its execution it is totally dependent on provincial and local governments. The scheme has no linkages with other poverty eradication efforts, like microfinance. 2. BISP provides financial help to individuals who are very poor and in need of help. However, the grounds for defining whether an individual falls in the criteria for BISP, is still untapped and unanswered. The amount is inadequate but still counts a lot to individuals who actually need it! 3. On the other hand, families are complaining that haven’t received any payment from this programs although they have been duly registered.
Certain families waited months at a time! 4. Internally, powers and functions of the committees, officials and DCO have not been defined yet. Ultimately, after all the elaborate checks and balance have been put in place, it basically comes down to trusting the union councilor who fills the original form and the postman who makes the payment at the doorstep. They are given these responsibilities in good faith but that doesn’t stop an individual from being a little selfish and demanding a commission for services?!