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Monday May 20, 2024

Rs15.6bn Ramazan package okayed for 7.8m low-income families

By Our Correspondent
March 22, 2023

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday approved a Rs15.6 billion Ramazan package for 7,810,482 low-income families in the province, whereby Rs2,000 cash will be transferred to each family as subsidy to buy 30kg wheat flour at Rs65/kg.

Briefing the media on the cabinet decisions in the Sindh Assembly’s Committee Room, Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, along with law adviser law Barrister Murtaza Wahab, said it has been decided to extend this relief to the beneficiaries through the Benazir Income Support Programme.

Citizens can verify their eligibility by entering their National Identity Card numbers on 8171, and if anyone thinks they are eligible and their name is not included in the data, they can visit the nearest BISP centre to register themselves. Memon said that at present there are 7.8 million families in the data of the BISP having 50,000 or a lower monthly income, but if it becomes 10 million, the Sindh government is committed to providing them relief.

He said the cabinet has also decided to enforce an ordinance today to discourage hoarding and profiteering, which is being sent to the governor, under which powers of magistrates are being assigned to food department officers and other relevant officers. He said the ordinance includes the powers of arrest, confiscate goods and auction the confiscated goods.

He said the cabinet has also decided to set up bachat bazaars at the tehsil level across Sindh. He said the cabinet also expressed serious reservations about the ongoing digital census process. He said the government was not satisfied with the measures taken by the federal government till now. If our reservations are not removed, the census will become controversial, he warned.

To improve the price control mechanism, particularly price hike in Ramazan, the cabinet approved amendments to the Sindh Essential Commodities Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act, 2005.

The fine for failing to display the price list of essential commodities has been increased from Rs50,000 to Rs100,000 for producers or dealers, Rs20,000 for retailers other than pushcart vendors, and Rs10,000 to Rs20,000 for pushcart vendors.

The fine for retailers’ failure to declare stock of essential commodities has been increased from Rs50,000 to Rs100,000 and the fine for the sale of different commodities at a price higher than the notified or company price has been increased from 50,000 to Rs100,000.

The cabinet also decided to establish the Sindh Emergency Services Rescue 1122, for which a draft bill was presented. The cabinet was told that Sindh did not have a dedicated emergency response service, relying only on charitable organisations and NGOs for the purpose.

The meeting was told that the provision of emergency rescue and relief services was a challenging area for the provincial government, while at the time of any incident, not a single organisation has command to coordinate emergency operations.

The functions of Rescue 1122 include ambulance service, water rescue, firefighting, urban search and rescue, building safety, motorbike rescue service, community safety, etc. The proposed service would have its headquarters in Karachi. The cabinet approved the draft bill and referred it to the provincial assembly.

The cabinet also approved a draft bill for the establishment of the Institute of Mother and Child Health in Shaheed Benazirabad. It would be an autonomous body made functional through its independent board of governors. The function of the institute includes treatment, and carrying out investigation and treatment of various diseases in the field of gynaecology, obstetrics, paediatrics, paediatric surgery and neonatology at the Institute and its branches. It would provide support to other mother and child healthcare facilities.