Voice of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Thursday, June 20, 2024

Ehsaas programme underway transparently

The Ehsaas emergency cash Programme, a historical move of the PTI-led government is a new initiative and one of the most comprehensive welfare programmes ever undertaken by any government in Pakistan with an underlying ambition to create a social safety net for under privileged Pakistanis. It will help millions by distributing a total of Rs144 billion to provide cash assistance of Rs12,000 each to 12 million deserving families around the country.

The government has so far distributed Rs 65.249 billion among 5.437 million families across the country and has promised an additional PKR 80 billion to be added to social protection spending in budget 2019-20. Acknowledging that no single area will unlock this ambition alone, Ehsaas encompasses 134 policies that range from tackling corruption, creating educational opportunities and providing the elderly with decent homes.

This move of Prime minister Imran Khan has been greatly lauded by the international community. Ehsaas programme has the potential to help underprivileged and long ignored Pakistanis break the vicious cycle of poverty and also assist in raising low human development index.

Ehsaas is a unique initiative as there is no political interference in the programme. Despite the fact that many Ministers of Imran Khan cabinet wanted to influence the distribution of money for their political goals but the mechanism of Ehsaas programme curb any meddling in the distribution of money.

Ehsaas Programme is purely made on the basis of merit and transparency is ensured throughout the process. Funds distribution is on the basis of biometric verification which do not allow any corruption. Beside this, a simple SMS service has been introduced which can be sent to 8171 containing 13-digit National Identity Card number, which will let a family know if they are eligible for the payment. The simplicity of procedure is helping the citizen to register easily and without any hassle.

To ensure transparency in the disbursement of Ehsaas Emergency Cash, an online Ehsaas Emergency Cash Information Portal has been launched by the federal government, through which anyone can get complete data of the programme. It is also helping people to acquire data regarding the number of families benefiting from the programme as well as the total amount disbursed at district and tehsil levels. The portal outlines the amounts given to partnering banks for disbursements to beneficiaries and the number of beneficiaries who have taken out money.

Moreover, a comprehensive and complete survey for the implementation of the Ehsaas programme was conducted worth Rs 8 billion and this is the reason that the incumbent government deleted the names of more than 800,000 ineligible beneficiaries from BISP lists. The names were removed after thorough inquiry, out of the total ineligible, 14,730 were government employees and 127,826 were wives of government employees.

It must also be noted that unlike other programmes, Ehsaas is distributing funds among the masses with a great pace and this is the reason that within days, the government has disbursed millions of rupees among needy masses transparently.

Despite all these efforts for making Ehsaas programme transparent, there are still questions raised over its transparency and non-provision of cash to some districts such as Wazirstan. When investigated, the blame proved political and entirely misplaced. Govt has set up Seven centres for the distribution of relief package under the Ehsaas Program in all the three subdivisions of South Waziristan tribal district. Government is going to distribute funds among poor families hailing from south and North Wazirstan under the Category 3 of the Ehsaas programme starting in May.

While answering to such allegations on social media, Dr Sania Nishtar the Chief of the Ehsaas programme stated that South Wazirstan and North Wazirstan will get the funds on the basis of their population ratio and a total of over 120000 applications have been received from both the districts and funds distribution will take place after the survey is completed.

The pictures of current beneficiaries of Ehsaas programme hailing from South Wazirstan doing rounds on social media are from survey conducted in 2010 because new survey could not take place due to militancy in the region.

In order to make the Ehsaas Programme more affective, the federal government should direct all their MNAs and MPAs to become active on District and Tehsil level and help the people in getting their funds with no difficulties.

Beside this, the government should also run an effective awareness campaign in tribal areas for the facilitation of masses as many local people hailing from tribal areas are not aware of such programmes and its procedures of registration.

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