PM launches welfare scheme for 7 million poor women

Rs2,000 each will be given to seven million poverty-stricken women Under Ehsaas Kafaalat programme

By: PID      Published: 01:41 AM, 1 Feb, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the launch ceremony of Ehsas Kafaalat Programme

Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday launched Ehsaas Kafaalat programme to give stipend of Rs 2,000 each to seven million poverty-stricken women, through a foolproof and biometric-enabled cash disbursal mechanism.

“The foundation of Pakistan as a welfare state is being made here. Soon, it will turn into the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal,” the PM said addressing the launching ceremony in Islamabad.

The ceremony marked the distribution of Kafaalat cards among the poor women who sat beside the prime minister. Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, other cabinet members, parliamentarians, diplomats and people from cross sections of the society attended the event.

Under the programme, each beneficiary woman would get a bank account and smart phone as part of the initiative to empower women through their formal interaction with the economy and digital inclusion.

“The smart phones would help educate the children of the poor women from their childhood. This will bring about a new revolution,” the prime minister remarked.

PM Khan said seven million women would benefit from the scheme while another six million families had already been give health insurance card what was the biggest achievement of the current government.

He said within fortnight, the government would launch another programme under Ehsaas umbrella, to transfer assets to the poor women like cows, hens or others to help them earn their livelihood.

The prime minister congratulated Dr Sania Nishtar for successfully launching the scheme, amid immense pressure from the government which desired to utilise Rs 200 billion allocated for its anti-poverty initiative without any delay.

He lauded her for developing a system based on data analytics to ensure that the government’s assistance reached only to the deserving citizens, not the rich ones, as the government had recently detected and delisted above 800,000 ineligible people who had been receiving the cash assistance, despite having government job, cars and having done foreign visits.

PM Khan said no anti-poverty initiative could meet success unless it was transparent.

He said the beneficiaries of Kafaalat programme would also be able to benefit from government’s upcoming ration scheme and other initiatives.

He said the initiatives including the student scholarship, youth skill training and start-ups loan programme were solely aimed at uplifting the poor people in true pursuance of the golden principles of the State of Madinah.

In her presentation, Dr Sania Nishtar drew a comparison between Kafaalat and Benazir Income Support Programme, saying the former featured a 10-year old database, multiple quarterly payment systems, paper-based surveys, sole source contracted banks and being a standalone programme.

Contrarily, the Kafaalat program would provide monthly assistance through a fully biometric system on point of sales agents with secure gadgets, biometric ATMs and designated bank branches. The beneficiaries had been identified through a door-to-door digital survey plus data analytics, desk and web surveys.

Contrary to BISP, the Kafaalt beneficiaries would be able to avail all the Ehsaas graduation opportunities.

She said for the first time, the poor people would be able to get government assistance on demand as they would not have to wait for 10 years to enlist themselves in the poverty survey, rather they could get themselves registered any time at the Nadra Desk Registration Centers to be established in each Tehsil.

She said the enrollment of one million families in 70 districts had been started which would start receiving stipend from February to March this year. Other districts would be added by end of the year while more beneficiaries would be included through desk registration over the course of the year.

She said contrary to the previous governments, the prime minister had taken a bold decision of replacing his photo from Kafaalat Card with that of Quaid-e-Azam and resolved to eliminate corruption and political interventions from the social protection initiatives.