Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme budget increased to Rs203 billion
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Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar Thursday said the scope of emergency cash programme has been expanded to reach out to around 16.9 million deserving families with the increased budget of Rs203 billion.
Initially, the programme was launched on April 9, 2020 with a budget of Rs144 billion for 12 million beneficiaries.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Dr Nishtar said the government’s largest social protection programme, Ehsaas has taken the lead in radically expanding social safety nets to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 within Pakistan.
Given the overall success of Ehsaas Emergency Cash and its massive demand in these unprecedented times, she said “the programme is fully transparent, rule and merit based, and apolitical. Sindh gains the most from this programme which shows its apolitical nature.”
She said as compared to the initiatives taken in other countries, Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme gained international recognition for disbursing in time cash assistance in a well-organized manner and at a larger scale.
Dr Nishtar said the digital capabilities developed over the past year as part of Ehsaas strategy have positively been adapted in emergency cash payments.
Requests were sought through an SMS short code service; data analytics enabled eligibility ascertainment, using unique national identification numbers and drawing on the National Socioeconomic Registry and wealth proxies (travel, taxes, billing, assets ownership data and government employment status), and payments are biometrically verified.
The beneficiaries who were eligible but facing problems in withdrawing money owing to faulty biometric identification are being paid out exclusively in the designated bank branches of partner banks.
Likewise, to ease out the payment process for families of deceased beneficiaries, Ehsaas has adopted a procedure under which the families of deceased beneficiaries are required to send out an application in her name (Dr Sania Nishtar) with CNIC details of their dead family member along with those of eligible family member straight to Ehsaas offices at Islamabad.
She said Ehsaas has also launched ‘Ehsaas Emergency Cash – Know Your Status’ Portal to offer an easy window to people registered with Ehsaas Emergency Cash to check their eligibility.
All applicants who have registered themselves through 8171 or Prime Minister’s Labour Portal can now easily check their eligibility status by entering CNIC number on the portal.
If eligible, they can collect their cash from the nearest Ehsaas payment centres.
Dr Nishtar revealed that till today 12.86 million beneficiaries across the country have received one-time cash assistance of Rs155.64 billion through emergency cash initiative.–APP