Rs.69b disbursed among 5.75m deserving families

By Asim Hussain

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar Thursday said an amount of Rs. 69 billion has been disbursed among 5.75 million deserving families under the first two categories of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program.
Addressing a press conference here, accompanied by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader, Dr. Shahbaz Gill, Special Assistant, Dr. Nishtar said 80 percent payment process under the first category of this program has been completed while payments for the second category (SMS beneficiaries) was going on speedily.
She said around 35 million applicants were rejected after scrutinizing them on the basis of different parameters like wealth profiling, poverty score database, Federal Board of Revenue statistics, more than one family member applicants etc. Over 89,000 Computerized National Identity Cards failed in the process of verification, she said. Under the third category of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program, Dr. Nishtar said the lists of beneficiaries are being finalized through the help of district administrations.
She said our priority is to run this initiative in a transparent manner without any political interference as per directives of the Prime Minister Imran Khan, providing maximum relief to the deserving people. She said strict action is being taken against those retailers involved in deduction from the Rs. 12,000 given to the beneficiaries.
She said the efforts are also underway to overcome the hurdles being faced by the applicants through their feedback and complaints. About the Ehsaas Rashan portal, Dr. Nishtar briefed that this portal has been opened to facilitate the private sector in providing food rations to the most vulnerable affected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Through the portal, the role of government will be to facilitate match-making between donors and beneficiaries (on geographic basis) and provide data of eligible beneficiaries to donors. Ehsaas Ration Portal will enable philanthropists, charity organizations and other non-government organizations to reach out to deserving families and provide rations to poor segments of the society transparently, she said.
Speaking during the press conference, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader, Dr. Shahbaz Gill said it is very unfortunate that the Sindh government is doing politics on Ehsaas program as well as the prevailing health crisis in the country. The present government has not displayed any picture of Prime Minister and Dr. Sania on the posters of the Ehsaas or any other initiative.
Sustaining all the political pressures, Dr. Sania Nishtar was doing her best to ensure the merit based cash disbursement in the programme, he said. He said Sindh government has also done politics on Coronavirus testing kits and returned to the federal government terming those not workable. The same kits are being used by the National Institute of Health and are giving accurate results, he said.
He also criticized the press conference of the doctors calling for lockdown and termed it as a political activity. “We cannot impose strict lockdown considering the fact it would affect our poor people the most†. This is a national and international war of humanity, he said and urged the Sindh government not to do politics on such matters.