PM opens National Poverty Graduation Initiative under the Ehsaas Programme

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday launched the National Poverty Graduation Initiative to help the poor fight poverty by providing them interest-free loans, assets transfers and vocational and skills training.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the initiative in federal capital, he said the government will introduce new initiatives under the umbrella of the Ehsaas Programme every month to pull the people out of poverty.
The prime minister distributed cheques of varying amounts of interest-free loans to help the poor set up businesses on a small scale to uplift their living standards.
The prime minister regretted previously, people came to power to serve the masses but instead served their interests. “Naya Pakistan will pull the poor out of poverty,” said Khan, citing Chinese example of bringing as many as 70o million people out of poverty over a period of 30 years.
Explaining the purpose of the initiative, he said it is aimed to transform the mindset of the people and bring them above the poverty line and make them prosperous.
“We are giving interest-free loans to 82,000 people today. In Sha Allah, we will empower the weak segment of society,” the premier said. He said the PTI government is launching various welfare projects with a view to build the country on the pattern of state of Madina.
He announced three to ten per cent reward for those individuals who would identify benami properties owned Pakistani citizens. He said the amount recovered from such benami properties will be added to Ehsaas programme.
Addressing the ceremony, Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood said the Ministry of Education and Professional Training will fully participate in the program to provide skills to the youth.
Explaining National Poverty Graduation Strategy, Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar said the strategy consists of three components, including interest-free loans, skill training and transfer of small assets such as sewing machines, livestock and agricultural equipment.
She said over 16 million people will benefit from the program while eighty thousand people will be provided interest-free loans every month.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has formally inaugurated Road to Makkah project at Islamabad International Airport.
Upon arrival PM Khan was given a detailed briefing about the project, under which, immigration and other formalities of intending pilgrims travelling to the Holy Makkah are being completed at Islamabad airport.
Under the Road to Makkah project, at least ten immigration counters have been set up at the airport to provide immigration facilities to Pakistani pilgrims.
It must be noted that the Saudi Arabia government initiated this project on the request of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
A delegation comprising 51 immigration officials of Saudi Arabia paid a visit to these counters to review the arrangements ahead of the beginning of Hajj flight operation.
It is for the first time that Pakistani pilgrims will get immigration and customs facilities at Pakistani airports before heading for Hajj as they will no longer have to go through the immigration process upon arrival at Saudi airports.
The federal Religious Affairs minister Noorulhaq Qadri had appreciated the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in granting this facility to Pakistani pilgrims.
He said the project has started on an experimental basis at Islamabad Airport and later it will be expanded to Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, and other cities.
Meanwhile, the first pre-Hajj flight of a private airline was departed from Karachi on July 5.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has underlined the need for the two countries to take concrete measures for addressing the issue of smuggling and providing the people, especially those residing at Pak-Iran border, with increased business opportunities.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday received Iranian Minister for Industry, Mines and Trade Reza Rehmani at Prime Minister’s Office.
Yazdan Saif, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Ramezan Ali Sobhani Far, Member of Parliament, Abdullah Rigi Mirjaveh, Chairman ICCIMA, Sistan & Baluchistan Province and Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost were accompanying the Iranian Industry Minister.
Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Adviser Commerce Mr. Abdul Razzak Dawood, Chairman BoI Zubair Gillani, Secretary Commerce Mr. Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera were also present during the meeting.
The Iranian Minister while conveying greetings from the Iranian leadership to the Prime Minister said that the Prime Minister’s visit to Iran has provided momentum to the efforts aimed at cementing bilateral relations especially trade and economic ties.
The Prime Minister also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to strengthen Pakistan-Iran relations in diverse fields including people-to-people exchanges.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that for the sake of future generations, the 10 billion Tree Tsunami should be turned into a success.
The prime minister took to Twitter, sharing a news on story environment and planting trees.
“PTI was the first party and govt that understood this phenomenon in Pakistan and started the billion tree tsunami. For the future of our generations we must all strive to make our 10 billion tree tsunami a success,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
Under Prime Minister Imran, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which came to power last year, pledged to plant billions of trees to tackle the effects of climate change.
In 2013, PTI-led KP government introduced a green-growth initiative to tackle deforestation, build more small-scale hydroelectric projects and overhaul national parks. – NN

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