Govt to distribute funds under Ehsaas Programme from today

Distribution of relief funds under the Ehsaas Programme to families affected by the coronavirus lockdown will begin from today.

According to Dr Sania Nishtar, who is in charge of the programme, 12 million families will get Rs12,000 each under the initiative. A budget of Rs144 billion was approved for the plan, according to Dr Nishtar.

The families will be given Rs12,000 cash after biometric verification through 18,065 sale points or retail shops of Habib Bank Limited and Bank Al-Falah across the country.

In an earlier breakdown, Dr Nishtar had said the daily wage earners affected by the pandemic were the government’s top priority. 

“The affectees were put into three categories — 4.5 million existing Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries, all of whom were women, 3 million affectees to be identified through the national socioeconomic database, and around 2.5 million to be identified through the Ehsaas SMS route.”

Eligibility for the second category, the special assistant added, would be “relaxed upwards” as the people who previously earned up to Rs20,000 and “have now suffered economic shock and are without livelihood would be helped”. 

These people were not currently enrolled in the database, she clarified.

She had added that data analytics would be used to ensure that the system was “not abused”.

A day earlier Prime Minister Imran Khan had said around 17,000 points had been identified for cash distribution.

Speaking at a media briefing after chairing the National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting, PM Imran said the biggest challenge for the country was how to take care of our poor people. 

“That is why unprecedented Ehsaas Cash Disbursement Programme is being launched in which money will be directly transferred to people in 17,000 areas in the country. Some 12 million families will benefit from the programme,” he said. 

The prime minister added the process would be transparent and free of political meddling or consideration, based on merit and automated system. 

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