Karachi: With the highest number of COVID-19 patients in Pakistan, the Sindh government will start in September a cash transfer programme offering financial support to coronavirus patients in deprived sections of society.
This will be the first such cash assistance programme for the underprivileged anywhere in Pakistan. A decision to this effect was reached at a meeting of the Sindh government’s top-level committee to steer affairs of its programme on Social Protection and Economic Empowerment of the downtrodden masses of the province in view of the COVID-19 health emergency. Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, Sindh Chief Secretary - who is topmost bureaucrat in the province - chaired the meeting.
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He spoke about the methodology of online banking which would be utilized for dispensing cash to disadvantaged coronavirus victims in the province. The provincial authorities will also sought assistance of National Database and Registration Authority and other federal agencies for verifying the identify and socio-economic status of the beneficiaries of the scheme.
Social protection schemes
A sum of Rs 20 billion has been reserved in the budget of the Sindh government for the fiscal year 2020-21 for the cash transfer scheme for the needy in the province.
Shah informed the meeting that a total of Rs 34 billion had been reserved in the new budget of the provincial government for acting upon various social protection schemes in Sindh in view of the pandemic. These schemes will be executed in the sectors of agriculture, livestock, small industries, provision of loans on easy terms, startups related to the field of Information Technology. A sum of Rs three billion has been reserved for the agriculture sector for provision of subsidy to the farmers in the province.
The chief secretary said that Rs five billion would be spent for provision of loans on easy terms to entrepreneurs related to small businesses in the province that had been gravely affected by the lockdown measures earlier imposed in the country against the spread of the coronavirus. A sum of Rs 1,200 million will be spent for financial viability of the startups related to the IT sector. The livestock sector of the province will attract a funding of Rs 500 million from the provincial government as the plan envisages establishing an artificial insemination centre in every town of the province. Every year, training will be given to 120 people in the affairs related to artificial insemination. The livestock owners in the province will be provided with animals of best cattle breed for increasing milk production in the province.
There are a total of 122,373 patients of coronavirus in Sindh till August 05, 2002. A total of 2,245 (1.83 per cent) COVID-19 patients have died in Sindh so far. Some 113,996 patients (93.15 per cent) of coronavirus patients have recovered so far.