This project was initiated for poverty alleviation and women empowerment among the socially and economically marginalized sections of Pakistan. Due to the international financial, fuel and food crisis, Pakistan witnessed escalating inflation over the past few years. In addition, Pakistan’s economic problems were exacerbated due to the global war on terror and consecutive natural disasters in 2010 and 2011. This has created a domino effect on Pakistani production sector and population’s ability to sustain. The number of people living below the poverty line is significant and more vulnerable households are at the risk of falling below the poverty line.
Women are specifically adversely affected by chronic poverty as six out of ten of the world’s poorest people are women who must, as the primary family caretakers and producers of food, shoulder the burden of tilling land, grinding grain, carrying water and cooking.
During the second half of year 2008, the Government of Pakistan established the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) as the country’s main safety net mechanism. The short term objective of the program is to cushion the adverse impacts of the food, fuel and financial crisis on the poor, but its broader objective is to meet the redistributive goals of the country by providing a minimum income support package to the chronically poor and those who are more likely to be affected negatively by future economic shocks.
The Programme aimed at covering 3.5 million families in the financial year 2009-2010.
The allocation for the fiscal year 2012/2013 is Rs.70 billion to provide cash assistance to 5.5 million families which constitutes almost 18% of the entire population. Thus the programme aims at covering almost 40% of the population below the poverty line.
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