4 June 2020
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The government’s chief spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan on Sunday clarified that the Rs10 billion relief fund announced by the Punjab government a day earlier — which will see families receive a Rs4,000-stipend per month — will not include beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
Her remarks came during a briefing to the media following a core committee meeting between PTI members.
Awan said that the first phase of the distribution will see 2.5 millions receive the financial support. “These families will be transferred money via Easy Paisa,” she added.
“Tomorrow an ad will be placed to make this (scheme) more transparent,” said the prime minister’s aide on information.
Awan said that the “important step taken” is that 300 constituencies of Punjab have been targeted and 8,000 families per National Assembly constituency have been made part of the intitiative.
The Punjab government, in their briefing to the prime minister, said that Punjab is the largest province and is thus faced with the greatest threat.
In this regard, the Punjab government announced that eight fully modernised and equipped medical laboratories spread across every division would be established. For this, Rs62bn have been allocated.
Furthermore, the recruitment process for 10,000 doctors and paramedics has already begun, said Awan.
“With these laboratories, we will be able to test 3,200 patients on a daily basis” so we can get a realistic picture of the severity of the virus’s spread, she said.
Awan said that in recognition of the services of doctors and paramedics, an additional salary will be given to them as a bonus. “If a doctor or paramedic dies in the line of duty, they will be honoured as martyrs,” she said, adding that their heirs will be financially supported accordingly.
The spokesperson said that the core committee was also apprised of details regarding the Rs11.4bn fund allocated by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to aid the province’s people affected by the outbreak.
With the funds, 1.9 m families, who comprise 63% of the province’s population, will get financial support each month.
She said that province has allocated a total of Rs 32bn for the fight against the virus. Of this, Rs8bn will go to the health department and Rs6bn will be set aside for emergencies.
The province has also given Rs5bn worth of relaxation on taxes and duties to various sectors. The Bank of Khyber has also extended loan repayment periods and a relief of Rs1.5bn to traders and businessmen has been provided.
The prime minister was also informed that a million families who were getting support under the Ehsas programme will get an additional amount of Rs2,000 per family courtesy the provincial government.
Under the new intitiative, 500,000 more families will also be included in the programme.
Awan said that the virus, in its wake, had left scores of families without any food and it remains the prime minister’s top priority to resolve this unfortunate problem.
She said that the newly announced Corona Relief Tigers youth force will take the prime minister’s fight forward and ensure that families across the country do not go hungry.
“To ensure food supply without delay, a detailed roadmap will be announced tomorrow.”
She said that the foremost challenge to confront is that of hoarding. “Such people will be dealt with an iron hand” and the provincial governments have been briefed in this regard, added Awan.

Abdul Gh Lone

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