Sindh cabinet approves Rs.15.6 billion for cash transfer to 7.8 million families at Rs.2000 per family
The subsidy is meant for 30 kg wheat flour; cash will be transferred through Benazir Income Support Program
Price control law amended to net hoarders, vendors; amount of fine doubled
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presiding over a cabinet meeting at CM House on Tuesday approved Rs.15.6 billion Ramzan package to be given to 7810482 low-income families by transferring cash of Rs.2000 to each family as a subsidy for purchasing 30 kg wheat flour at the rate of Rs.65 per kg.
“The cash transfer to the targeted low-income families would be made through Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) for which the eligible families would receive a message on their cell phone. Those who do not receive such a message and their average income is less than Rs.50000 per month can send a message/CNIC number on Toll-Free 8171 Facility for inquiring about eligibility for the subsidy,” CM said.
Murad Shah said that approximately 7,810,482 families with BISP’s Proxy Means Test (PMT) score in the range of 01 to 60, for cash transfer of Rs.2000 per family under the relief scheme.
According to Murad Ali Shah the total outlay of subsidy, taking 30 kg wheat flour per family at Rs.130/kg as a base, would translate to Rs.15.62 billion.
The food department briefing the cabinet said that out of a total of 7810,482 eligible families whose PMT Score is 01 to 60, Hyderabad region has 2,185,122 families, Karachi 2,296,998, Sukkur 831,975, Larkano 1,0202,984, Shaheed Benazirabad 773,163.
Amendment in Price Control Law: In order to improve Price Control, particularly the price hike during the month of Ramadan-ul-Mubarak 2023, the cabinet approved amendments in “Sindh Essential Commodities Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act-2005.The cabinet decided to approve the amendments in the provisions of Sections 2, 5, 8, 12, 13, and First & Second Schedules. Under the amendments, the fine for the failure of the display price list of essential commodities has been increased from Rs.50000 to Rs.100000 for producers or dealers, Rs.20000 for retailers other than pushcart vendors, and Rs.10000 to Rs.20000 for pushcart vendors. The fine for the retailer’s failure to declare stock of essential commodities from Rs.50000 to Rs.100000 and sale of different commodities at a higher price than the notified/company price the fine has been increased from Rs.50000 to Rs.100000.
Bachat Bazaars: The chief minister directed the chief secretary to ensure the establishment of Bachat Bazaars, one in each Taluka, where the subsidized provision of flour, sugar, ghee, and other essential edible items would be ensured. The cabinet decided to launch a drive against Profiteering and Hoarding. The market committees were directed to ensure the provision of vegetables and other items at reduced prices. The deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners would manage the bachat bazaars. Secretary GA told the meeting that in Karachi a network of existing Bachat bazaars was being utilized where Ramzan Bazars would be established while in other districts local councils, municipal committees/town committees, or Market Committees were being encouraged and AC/DC would supervise the establishment. In some areas Fruits associations are being encouraged to establish their own stalls with lower prices. Association manufacturers and suppliers would be encouraged to provide discounts. Ghee Mills Association to provide oil and ghee at subsidized rates from 10:00 to 4:00 pm at the designated markets to be notified by the Commissioners. The Industries Department was directed to ensure the availability of stock of sugar, vegetable oil, and other items, and the District Administration, Bureau of Supply and Prices to ensure availability at the notified rates. Utility Stores Corporation (USC) has 113 outlets in the division, and they will provide 19 items at subsidized rates.
Rescue 1122: Sindh cabinet decided to establish Sindh Emergency Service Rescue 1122 for which a draft bill was presented. The cabinet was told that Sindh did not have a dedicated Emergency Response service and only relies on charitable organizations/NGOs. The provision of Emergency rescue and relief services is a grappling area for the provincial government to undertake extraordinary measures and ensure critical emergency service delivery in the context of the province. At the time of any incident, not a single organization has a command to coordinate the operations.
The functions of Rescue 1122 include Ambulance Service, Water Rescue, Fire Fighting, Urban Search & Rescue, Building Safety, Motor Bike Rescue Service, Community Safety, Training of Community/Govt. Institutions/ Schools etc., Certification for Basic Life Support (CPR, Fire drills, safety standards, etc.) The divisional locations of the Rescue Service would have its headquarters at City Warden KMC, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, and Karachi. Karachi would have six Rescue stations- Leprosy Hospital, Landhi, Shah Faisal, Main Haksbay, and Maripur. Hyderabad at Thandi Sarak, Larkana CMC hospital, Mirpurkhas PDMA Office, Sukkur PDMA Warehouse.
The meeting was told that the New Uniform Cadre Rescue Service was introduced in the province. The two batches of Rescue Service Personal, comprising 405 cadets have been trained at National Rescue Academy Punjab.
The meeting was told that a complete range of Fire Fighting, Ambulatory, Search & Rescue, Water Rescue, and Animal Rescue shall be provided through trained uniform personnel. Command & Control of Rescue 1122 is fully functional and responding the Emergency Situations. It is Fully Functional in the Karachi and Larkana Divisions and partially functional in the other nine districts of the province. Expansion in other Divisional HQs shall be completed within a short span of time. The CM directed the Rehabilitation dept. to establish Satellite Stations within three months. The cabinet approved the draft Bill `Sindh Emergency Rescue Service-1122’ and referred it to the assembly.
Security of National Oil Pipeline system: The home dept. told the cabinet that under the Provincial Policy Directive for the security of the Oil Pipeline System approved by the Provincial Cabinet on Feb 6, 2023, the responsibility of neutralizing all threats posed to the National Network of Oil Pipeline System from short to long term basis has been assigned to the home dept. – the police and concerned district administration. Monitoring critical, non-traditional security threats of terrorism posed to the National Network of Oil Pipeline System under NACTA the cabinet has assigned the task to the police and district administration.
Institute of Mother and Child Health: The cabinet approved a draft Bill for the establishment of the Institute of Mother and Child Health at Shaheed Benazirabad Act-2023. It would be as an autonomous body to be 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 gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, pediatrics surgery, and neonatology in the Institute and its branches. It would provide support to other mother and child health care facilities. It would strive towards the development of molecular sciences and genetic research both for diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive purposes for all diseases and disorders affecting mothers and children. The institute would hold examinations and award and confer degrees, diplomas, certificates, and other academic distinctions to and on the persons; and carry out and promote research, surveys, experiments, and demonstrations. It would undertake the steps for implementation of the Sindh Newborn Screening Act and would develop a reference lab for the purpose of this Act, providing an advanced testing facility for newborn screening and providing guidelines to all relevant institutes dealing with newborns. The approved draft law referred to the provincial assembly.
Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy 2023: The cabinet approved Sindh Resettlement and Rehabilitation (P&R) Policy 2023 with main features such as improving the conception, planning, and execution of projects and ensuring projects are socially sustainable. Initial R&R assessment to be an integral part of project design where small parcels of land are required, a negotiated approach to be preferred for acquisition and where affected persons have lost the entire land parcel, the effort will be made to provide land-for-land of the same or better quality. Under the policy, the affected businesses will be compensated for the loss of income and aided in re-start businesses. Communities shall be given options including self-managed on-site resettlement where possible or project-sponsored sites with amenities. People without titles (informal settlers, encroachers, street vendors) will be compensated for the loss of structure/income and will be given alternative options for resettlement/livelihood. Project-specific grievances redressing mechanism has also been provided. The Revenue-generating projects – extend project benefits to the affected people – employment opportunities or community development initiatives. A Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) will be prepared for every project with compensation/resettlement options, budget, and implementation arrangements. A model entitlement matrix for 11 categories of affectees has been suggested – can be modified for project-specific needs. Entitlement Matrix includes loss of agricultural land, loss of homestead, commercial, and urban/industrial land, loss of residential structures with titles to land, loss of residential structures without titles to land, loss of commercial and urban/industrial structure with titles to land loss of commercial/urban space for businesses without titles to land, loss of common property resources (CPRs), loss of crops and trees, loss of income/livelihood, assistance to vulnerable groups and unforeseen adverse impacts and losses. (PR)