Government has decided to remove Non-deserving beneficiaries from Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for transparency.

Around 800,000 “non-deserving” beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) have been disqualified for giving space to the needy people on the basis of promoting transparency and merit, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and BISP Chairman Dr Sania Nishtar revealed on Thursday.

During a press conference in Islamabad, Dr Sania asserted that measures have been taken to secure due rights for the deserving people only, and that whole procedure for inclusion in BISP has been made apolitical.

She said that the disqualification criteria includes travel history of the member, vehicle ownership, availing facility of executive services for passport and National Identity Card (NIC) and service in government sectors. She termed inclusion of 216 villages located alongside restive Line of Control (LoC) in Kifalat Program “another milestone of the Ehsaas Programme.”

She said people of these villages were the most deserving due to their frequent economic losses as due to cross border firing from the Indian side of the border.

On Tuesday, the federal cabinet had approved removing 820,165 beneficiaries from the BISP database, while terming them as “undeserving”. Dr Sania had also informed the cabinet that in view of some complaints and a need to update the BISP data, the survey was reexamined with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

She said that during the reexamination some aspects were analysed. For example, she added, it was ascertained whether the family of a beneficiary had any motorcycle or car or whether a spouse was a government employee. The cabinet was told that those who had over 12 acres of land 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.

Out of total 820,165 beneficiaries disqualified from the BISP database, 14,730 were government employees or servants of railways, post office and the BISP programme as the aid was not meant for government servants. According to the data, 127,826 were those whose spouses were government employees or employees of the above-mentioned departments.

It further revealed that 153,302 among them were those who travelled abroad once and 195,364 were those whose spouses travelled abroad once. The number of beneficiaries who travelled abroad more than once stood at 10,476.

Similarly, 166,319 spouses travelled abroad more than once.

The BISP removed 692 people as they owned one or more than one vehicle, while 43,746 were deprived of the benefit because their spouses have one or more than one car.

Furthermore, a person who can pay Rs1,000 of telephone bill on monthly basis is not considered “eligible” to get monthly stipend from the programme and, hence, 24,546 people were removed under this category. Likewise, 155,767 were discarded from the database as their spouses paid Rs1,000 or more telephone [PTCL, mobile] bill.

For applying passports via executive centres, 666 beneficiaries were removed and 580 were dropped as their spouses applied passports via executive centres. A total of 36,970 people were thrown out from the list of BISP beneficiaries because three or more than three members of their family paid executive fees for obtaining CNICs.