Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Payment process under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program from Wednesday: Dr. Sania


ISLAMABAD, Apr 05 (DNA): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on
Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar Sunday said
that the payment process under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme would
start from Wednesday to support the vulnerable segments of society,
affected due to lockdown amid Coronavirus threat.

Addressing a press conference here, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, the Ehsaas
Emergency Cash Programme was launched to support the daily wagers and
piece-rate workers after lockdown in the country due to the ongoing
coronavirus crisis.

The programme will benefit the deserving people from all the four
provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, through
allocating quota as per census.

Punjab will contribute Rs 700,000 and Sindh Rs 250,000 from their own
budget in this programme, she said.

Under an aggressive communication campaign launched recently to benefit
four million people, the deserving ones can send SMS to 8171 to check
their eligibility status. They will be informed on how to collect money,
if they are found eligible.  If they are not identified in the database,
they will be directed to contact their respective district
administration, she said.

She said there will be three types of responses to people’s SMS seeking
cash assistance, which include eligible, ineligible, and contact to your
respective district administration. She said employees of provincial and
federal governments were not eligible for the assistance. “Presently we
have database of employees of provincial and federal governments,
Railways, Pakistan Post, and BISP, while data of autonomous bodies will
hopefully be available in next 24 hours,” she added.

She said an SMS response would have to go through the wealth profiling
test before becoming eligible for the assistance. She said existing
Kafalat beneficiaries, who were getting regular cash transfer of 2000
rupees per month, would be given additional one thousand rupees; hence,
they too would get a tranche of 12,000 rupees covering four months.

She said under this category 4.5 million people would be benefited. She
said higher eligibility or poverty threshold would be used to identify
four million beneficiaries through the national socioeconomic databases,
while another 3.5 million people would come from districts.

Regarding mode of payments, Dr. Sania Nishtar said that deserving
families would get cash assistance of 12,000 rupees after biometric
verification through over 18,065 sale points or retail shops of Habib
Bank Limited and Bank Al-Falah across Pakistan.

She said the provincial governments would be requested to provide open
public spaces for setting up cash disbursement arrangements, security
for these spaces, permission to keep retail POS agents open, management
of crowds at cash disbursement points and ensuring preventive measures
like facility of hand washing etc.

The assistance under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme would be provided
on name of male member of the family, she said

Dr. Sania Nishtar expressed her gratitude to the department’s including
National Database Registration Authority, Federal Board of Revenue,
State Bank of Pakistan and others for providing their support to make
this initiative a success.

The beneficiaries of this programme will be finalized through involving
proper scrutinizing mechanisms like data analytics, wealth profiling,
average monthly bills, travelling history etc.

She said the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program will help 12 million families
by providing them financial assistance of Rs. 12,000 per family and the
total budget approved for this initiative is Rs. 144 billion.

The budget could be increased in the coming days depending on the rise
in demand, she said.

This programme is one of the largest social safety net initiatives in
the history of the country for disbursement of cash assistance among the
needy at this critical time when social distancing measures are
unavoidable. DNA

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