ISLAMABAD: The Planning Commission of Pakistan will be a pro-people commission and would take the needs of the people – the poor and the destitute into account in its function. This was stated by the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali while addressing a seminar organized by the Rural Support Programmes Network in Islamabad here Thursday.
In his address, he said that he himself hailed from a rural area, and had seen poverty closely. He said the people of the country had been subjected to a specter of unprecedented poverty as a consequence of the ill-devised policies of the last undemocratic government since eight years. Humanity suffered at the hands of the avaricious rulers. Those who created the notion of ‘enlightened moderation’ and claimed ‘development’ resorted to self aggrandizement.
The productive capacity of the economy gradually came to a standstill. Imports were increased, the economy dollarized and made to transform into a consumer economy, filling markets with imported products and resulting in the productive capacity being lost completely. He said that poverty skyrocketed crossing the forty percent mark leaving teeming millions helpless.
He said that to deal with poverty we need to understand its nature and composition and find ways and means to solve the menace. He said to alleviate poverty the government had embarked upon a massive Benazir Income Support Programme to provide food security and a safety net to the poverty stricken.
In that regard, to identify the poor, poorest and the destitute and with no such structure in place, networks such as the Rural Support Programmes Network could play an instrumental role in creating a grassroots mechanism for delivery of services and reaching the poor. Thus, all support and development programmes need to follow the RSP system.
He appreciated the RSPN network and the efforts of Mr. Shoaib Sultan Khan, Chairman RSPN and Ms. Shandana Khan CEO RSPN. During the seminar, the selected community leaders from across the country presented their achievements and experiences in various disciplines mainly focusing on inclusion of the poorest communities into development projects, gender mainstreaming, establishing development linkages with Government and the private sector agencies and Revolving Fund for the poorest.
The RSP was established with the mission to harness peoples’ potential to undertake development activities by investing in grassroots institutions of the poor for poverty reduction. In the Rural Support Programme (RSP) areas, social mobilization has been used extensively in a wide array of programmes; ranging from microfinance to livestock to micro-health insurance.
As per the press release of RSPN, thus far, the RSPs are present in 3,165 Union Councils in 93 districts of Pakistan. They have formed over 131,000 community organizations (COs), consisting of 2,315,978 members. Their national coverage lies at 14%; a figure unsurpassed by any other organization in Pakistan.-SANA