Nisar Bettani

Noor Bibi, a resident of Dera Ismail Khan, has been a recipient of financial aid through the Benazir Income Support Program for several years. Yet, she reveals the stark realities faced by women like her – grappling with difficulties, humiliation, and the ordeal of waiting at private franchises to collect their dues.

In a conversation with TNN, Noor Bibi sheds light on the illicit deductions made by some shopkeepers from the program’s funds. She suggests a transformative solution – if the funds were directly transferred to the bank accounts of registered women or their male family members, the arduous journeys to distant private franchises and the belittling encounters with staff could be eliminated.

Recent announcements by the Federal Minister and Chairperson of the Benazir Income Support Program, Shazia Marri, hint at a change in approach – a shift towards transferring funds directly to bank accounts. Noor Bibi ardently supports this change, believing it would be a respite for countless women who currently endure disrespect and even abuse at the hands of insensitive franchise workers.

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On the other side, an official from the Benazir Income Support Program acknowledges the need for evolution. With the number of beneficiaries swelling from thousands to millions since its inception in 2008, the current method has become inefficient, leading to bottlenecks, delays, and chaos at designated branches. Even twenty days after disbursement, women continue to wage battles to collect their rightful dues.

The official argues for a systemic transformation, where women are empowered to open bank accounts. Through this streamlined process, funds can be directly transferred, and transactions can be smoothly conducted through checks or ATMs. Not only will this expedite aid distribution to deserving families, but it will also foster transparency, ensuring that the funds reach the intended recipients without hurdles or delays.

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