CM Buzdar directs authorities to increase financial aid of deserving families

LAHORE: Punjab government has increased financial aid of deserving families over special directives of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to provide relief to citizens amid coronavirus lockdown, media reported on Sunday. The limit for 2.5 million needy families set up to Rs4,000 has been increased to Rs12,000 after the implementation of orders by Punjab CM Usman Buzdar. The payment of Rs12,000 will be paid to deserving persons after verification of their data. The people have been asked to submit their application to get funds till April 7. CM Buzdar said that the federal and provincial governments were focused to help citizens in a difficult time and Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered special arrangements for assisting the affected families due to COVID-19 lockdown. Earlier on Saturday, the process of distribution of financial aid to the impoverished under Chief Minister Punjab Insaf ImdadProgrammehad been started and a sum of around Rs1.50 bn has been transferred to 170,000 people. Earlier in the day, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar announced that the federal government will provide cash assistance of 12,000 rupees to over 12 million deserving families under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, Sania Nishtar said that that that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is running the biggest relief campaign in country’s history. “We have received millions of messages on SMS service 8171 for Rs12,000 cash grant for deserving families amid coronavirus pandemic,” she said, adding that deserving families will get cash assistance of 12,000 rupees after biometric verification through over 18,065 sale points or retail shops of Habib Bank Limited and Bank Al-Falah across Pakistan. The Special Assistant said that transfer of cash assistance will be ensured in a transparent and rule-based manner. She said there will be three types of responses to people’s SMS seeking cash assistance, which include eligible, ineligible, and contact to your respective district administration. She said employees of provincial and federal governments are not eligible for the assistance. Sania Nishtar further said that existing Kafalat beneficiaries, who are getting regular cash transfer of 2000 rupees per month, will be given additional one thousand rupees; hence, they too will get a tranche of 12,000 rupees covering four months. It may be noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan last week had formally launched SMS service under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program to provide financial relief to the deserving people.