President launches scheme to create new middle class in Sindh

President Asif Zardari Friday formally launched “Waseela- e- Haq Sindh” scheme aimed at creating a new middle class in the province, by providing self employment opportunities to 35,000 youth aged between 19 to 35 years, who have at least passed secondary school examination and are unemployed.

The innovative programme was launched by the President by pressing a computer button at Bilawal House here that made huge computer screens display the names of lucky winners of Rs 300,000 interest-free loan to each for establishing their own businesses ranging from transport to cattle raising and from auto workshops to pharmaceutical businesses regardless of their religion, political affiliation and urban/ rural divide.

President’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that yet another condition that entitled youth to be included in the draw was that the family must score between 16 and 30 along the poverty scale devised by the Benazir Income Support Programme BISP), in accordance with the internationally accepted standards for measuring poverty.

He said that the special scheme was devised under the directions of President Asif Zardari and powered by R 12 contributed by the provincial government of Sindh from its own budget. A large number of jobless youth having education upto Matric in the province had qualified for inclusion in the draw out of which 35,000 were picked up by the computer randomly today, he added.

“Let those who merely boast of bringing change and raise hollow slogans witness today how change is brought about through the creation of new middle class, breaking the generational cycle of poverty and to power national growth and economy”, President Asif Zardari said while addressing the ceremony. “The PPP is actually bringing about change while others were merely talking about it,” he added.

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also pressed another computer button to randomly select another batch of over 13,700 beneficiaries under the normal BISP programme of draws held after regular intervals. The beneficiaries of the normal programme were also given Rs 300,000 interest-free loan to start their own businesses, but it is meant for even poorer sections of the society who score no more than 16.17 on the poverty score card.

The ceremony was witnessed by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, provincial ministers, Parliamentarians, Chairperson BISP Ms Farzana Raja as well as political workers and beneficiaries drawn from the entire province.

President Zardari also distributed cheques among BISP Waseela- e-Haq beneficiaries.

President Zardari pointed out that his idea of currency swap for international trade has received support and so far three countries Russia, China and Turkey have agreed to this idea.