Voice of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Saturday, October 1, 2022

Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program

In March 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the Ehsaas program with much fanfare terming it an important step closer to his promised ‘Riyasat of Madina’ in which the poor and downtrodden would be taken care of, in an elaborative welfare system.

Ehsaas poverty reduction strategy is articulated in four pillars which include: addressing elite capture and making the government system work to create equality, safety nets for disadvantaged segments of the population, jobs and livelihood and human capital development.

The program is for the extreme poor which include orphans, widows, homeless, disabled, those who risk medical impoverishment, jobless, poor farmers, laborers, students from low-income backgrounds and for poor elderly citizens. This plan is also about lifting under developed areas where poverty is higher.

Pakistan went into a lockdown on March 22, due to the outbreak of COVID-19. A few days later, the Prime Minister announced Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program.

Under the supervision of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Dr. Sania Nishtar, the government of Pakistan’s announced Rs. 150 billion social protection plan to help 12 million families. The raison d’etre of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program, according to Dr. Nishtar, is “to provide social protection to more than 12 million deserving families affected by the economic downturn due to COVID-19.” An immediate cash relief of Rs. 12,000 have been extended to every family of daily wage earners. Previously, the federal government was to provide this amount in installments; Rs 3000 per month for four months.

The scrutiny of the applicants is carried out by NADRA to determine whether the applicants have any land, property or related assets registered in their names or they are genuine applicants.

When the program was initially launched, it was marked with procedural anomalies and bureaucratic hitches related to the registration which created confusion and frustration among the deserving population. However, the officials concerned claim that these shortcomings have been redressed making the procedure more automated and efficient.

Apart from Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have also launched the Ehsaas Imdad Program for the assistance of deserving families.

Sufficient precautionary measures have been taken to ensure the safety and security of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries arriving to collect cash assistance.
Ehsaas program is a good initiative to provide a temporary relief to millions of Pakistanis’ as they lose their daily or monthly livelihoods due to the impact of ongoing pandemic and economic meltdown.

One hopes that, the government will work with all stakeholders- public, private, civil society, philanthropists and expatriate Pakistanis to ensure that they deliver on PM promise of lifting millions of people out of poverty and build a strong foundation together for a stronger, safer, and successful Pakistan.

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