Punjab government set to launch different schemes to provide conditional / unconditional cash subsidy to destitute and poor people
While fasting is the hallmark of the holy month of Ramazan, the month long Muslim observance that begins with first Ramazan is also grounded in a heightened awareness of charity.
Ramazan is a month of blessings and people become more spiritually aware in this holy month and are more likely to give to needy and not just to Muslims, but on a humanitarian basis. Those who donate will have their blessings multiplied, too. In addition to charity and giving up food and drink during daytime hours for a month, Muslims will focus on prayer and self-accountability.
The total amount of donations Pakistanis make each year is estimated to run in billions of rupees. While gauging the exact figure is difficult given the undocumented nature of the country’s economic activities, educated guesses are available that are supported by experts.
Experts believe that private donations amounted to around Rs400 billion. A way to gauge how much Pakistanis are giving is to look at the collections and spending of charities working here. While this may not give the whole story because many people prefer to donate privately, and quietly, it does provide us with a sense of the big picture.
Many charitable organization collects charity each year and 60 to 70 per cent comes during Ramazan, of which 90 percent is collected under the head of Zakat.
The annual budget of Edhi Foundation, one of the country’s largest charities, is also around Rs1 billion, according to an official. Moreover, there are hundreds of other philanthropic organizations getting generous donations, including Layton Rahmatullah Benevolent Trust (LRBT), Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Sindh Institute for Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), to name but a few.
The fact that such big organizations are working miracles each day on donated money only indicates how pervasive the trend of giving in Pakistan is, and that people here may not have deep pockets, but they surely have big hearts.
Moreover, the Punjab government has established Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA) to coordinate all Social Protection efforts in Punjab and to ensure their effective implementation.
World Bank’s Non-Lending Technical Assistance (NLTA) has been obtained. PSPA intends to launch different schemes to provide conditional or unconditional cash subsidy to destitute and poor people of the province. In this regard, ―Khidmat card will be issued to the vulnerable. It will be followed by cash transfers, which will be added to the previous unconditional subsidies. Further, a mechanism for conditional cash grants will also be devised to link the subsidy with registration of all family members, immunization, enrollment in schools etc.
An amount of Rs1,000 million has been allocated for such efforts in the development program 2015-16.
Further, the Punjab government is committed to ensure the welfare of vulnerable groups including women, destitute, senior citizens, children and less privileged people residing in various region of Punjab.
The major part of the proposed allocation for 2015-16 will be utilized for provision of shelter homes and Qasar-e-Behbood in different districts of Punjab and establishment of centre for the survivors of violence against women.
During 2015-16, the department will implement 12 new schemes. These schemes are for construction & remodeling of existing Shelter homes, Qasar-e-Behbood and establishment of centre for the survivors of violence against women for the marginalized segments.
Following major initiatives will be implemented during 2015-16:
- Establishment of Center for The Survivors of Violence against Women at Multan (VAWC) to provide legal aid, rehabilitation facilities and medical aid under one roof.
- Children Home at Faisalabad.
- Qasar-e-Behboodat Sialkot and Lahore.
- Beggar’s Home at Lahore.
- District Industrial Home (Sanatzar) at Chiniot & Nankana Sahib.
- Mini Sanatzars for Home Based Workers.
- 12 Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Centers for Women Transferred to Punjab government.
- Construction of Building of Industrial Home at Vehari.
- Shelter Homes in 5 Districts of Punjab. (Phase-III); and shelter Homes at Multan, Lodhran, Pakpatan, Kasur, Hafizabad and Sheikhupura.