Cabinet approves Rs800/maund raise in cotton support price
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet on Tuesday approved an increase of Rs800/maund in the cotton support price, besides giving a go-ahead to the Kamyab Jawan Program (KJP) through which loans will be extended to over four million households to start their own businesses.
During a media briefing after the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry expressed the hope that the enhanced cotton support price of Rs800/maund to Rs5,000/maund will encourage the farmers to grow cotton instead of sugar and other crops.
The cotton crop, which was once considered a white gold and is still one of the major raw materials of textile products, nosedived to seven million bales which is 29 year low. In 2004/05 the size of the cotton crop was over 14 million bales, Choudhry said.
Regarding the Kamyab Jawan Program, the minister said 4.5 million underprivileged households, registered with the National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) of the Ehsaas programme, will take benefit from it, adding that an amount of Rs315 billion has been embarked for the programme.
This is a flagship programme, which would extend micro-loans to entrepreneurs, small businessmen and farmers, enabling them to access micro-credit at zero per cent markup without any collateral, he said.
The programme will enable the under-privileged families to break the vicious cycle of poverty, the minister said, adding that the Kamyab Jawan Programme is aimed at extending agricultural loans to the farmers with the landholding of up to 12.5 acres under the “Kamyab Kissan” Scheme.
Micro-loans would be extended up to Rs150,000/crop for the procurement of agricultural inputs. In addition, loans up to Rs200,000 would be given for the procurement of machinery and equipment, he said.
Another component of the KPP is introduction of a new tier in the Naya Pakistan low-cost Housing Scheme; wherein, loans worth Rs2.7 million (for NAPHDA) and Rs2 million (for non-NAPHDA) projects will be given at subsidised rates.
Similarly, under the “Kamyab Karobar” Scheme, loans would be extended for small business and startups at zero per cent markup in both urban and rural areas, the minister said, adding that dairy, livestock, poultry and fisheries sectors will be included in it.
The loan size is up to Rs500,000 for Kamyab Karobar. The cumulative disbursement under the programme would be Rs1.6 trillion over the period of three years. The Kamyab Jawan Program will also integrate with the government’s ongoing skill development programme for educational and vocational training under the “Kamyab Hunarmand” Scheme.
The information minister said Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has really worked hard on this programme and it will help reduce the unemployment and poverty in the country.
Regarding the spread of Delta, the minister said to overcome the spread of the Indian variant of Covid-19, the government has speed-up the vaccination drive across the country.
He alleged that the vaccination process in Karachi and Hyderabad is slow and that is why the Covid pandemic is getting out of control in Sindh.
“To overcome Covid-19, Sindh should improve its performance and the federal government has every right to pinpoint loopholes in the governance of provinces,” Choudhry said, adding that because of the personal efforts of the prime minister, 23 Pakistanis imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for small crimes have been released and safely returned to the country.
He also said the Cabinet also approved withdrawal of import duties on 61 items, which are being used in curbing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Cabinet was also briefed about the working of the Electronic Voting Machine. The information minister said for electoral reforms 49 recommendations have been finalised, adding that if the Opposition has any objection to the Electronic Voting System then instead of criticising, it should give suggestions to improve it.
The government will only talk to those Opposition members who are members of the Parliament, he said, adding: “The government will not negotiate with absconders or those who were rejected by the masses in the last elections,” he said.
Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Fazl-ur-Rehman are not part of the Parliament and that is why no negotiations with them are possible, he added.
Choudhry said that the CDA chairman briefed the meeting on the anti-encroachment drive carried out by the development authority on the green belts of the city
The prime minister directed him not to spare any encroachment and take action against the culprits irrespective of their position and status in the society.
Pakistan Air Force and other security institutions who encroached the green belts because of security concerns had already evacuated the areas and handed them over to the CDA, he added.
The Cabinet also approved the appointment of Mohammed Jabbar as the chief executive of the Peshawar Electric Supply Corporation and rejected the summary of an increase in the salaries of ministers, state ministers and advisers.
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