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Pakistan

Web Desk
February 21, 2020

PM Imran launches Ehsaas Amdan Programme in Layyah, says good times ahead for Pakistan

Pakistan

Web Desk
Fri, Feb 21, 2020

ISLAMABAD:  Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday launched the  Ehsaas Amdan Programme in Layyah, saying that though the country will struggle more, he sees better times ahead for Pakistan. 

Speaking at the launching ceremony of the programme, PM Imran congratulated his special assistant Dr Sania Nishtar for helping see the initiative to its conclusion. The prime minister said it was his dream to make Pakistan a welfare nation in line with the State of Madinah. 

"It is the wish of our government to lift people from poverty," he said. "Those societies never progressed where the gap between the rich and the poor was wide," he added. 

He praised the government's initiative of providing the poor with motorcycles, motorcycle rickshaws and shops so they have the tools to become self-sufficient. 

"We will give 80,000 households loans each month without interest," he said. "Fifty-thousand people each year will be granted scholarships."

PM Imran said that his government was providing the Kifalat cards through which the downtrodden will be able to secure basic food items for themselves. He laid special emphasis on the construction of Panah Gahs or shelters for the poor. 

"We are building Panah Gahs across the country so the poor labourer who sleeps out on the roads in the harsh cold doesn't have to do so," he said. "We will make shelters for them so they don't have to pay rent and get food for free."

Saying that the "biggest revolution" was being brought about in Punjab via health reforms, the prime minister said the government had abolished duties on medical supplies or equipment needed to build a hospital. 

PM Imran addressed the inflationary situation in the country, saying that better times were ahead for Pakistan. "Our government brought down the current account deficit by 75% in one year," he said, saying that improvements had been brought about in the currency and the stock market exchange.

"Even though Pakistan will struggle more but I am telling you the country is on the right track now," he said.

What is the Ehsaas Amdan Programme all about?

The Rs15 billion “Ehsaas Amdan (income) Programme” is one of several programmes under the Ehsaas umbrella  aimed at creating respectable livelihood opportunities for the underprivileged. It involves giving away of small assets to those who live below the poverty line so that they can earn a living and can come out of the shackles of poverty.

Assets include livestock (goats, cows, buffaloes and poultry), agricultural inputs, Qingqi rickshaws, and inputs for small retail outlets and small enterprises.

The programme will commence in 375 rural union councils in 23 of the poorest districts across the four provinces of Pakistan.

It has set a target of providing around 200,000 assets to the deserving households (60% women and 30% youth beneficiaries). The scale of the programme will be enhanced based on results.

The Ehsaas programme is complimentary to Ehsaas Kafaalat, operations of which commenced on January 31, 2020 and through which the government will provide cash stipends of Rs2000 to around seven million most deserving women by end of the year.

Beneficiaries for both the Kafaalat Programme and the Ehsaas Amdan (Income) Programme were identified through a survey using the Poverty Score Card so that only the most deserving are identified.

The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), which is an organization attached to the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, is the lead implementing agency for the Ehsaas Amdan Programme, and is working through implementing partner organizations that have a strong presence in the selected districts.

Community procurement processes have been established by the PPAF to ensure transparency and accountability in the identification, selection and procurement of all assets and/or vocational skills training.

Those beneficiaries that require vocational training are supported to attend courses offered by certified technical training institutes. Trainings on asset utilization and business planning are also provided to eligible household members to help them turn the asset into an economically productive enterprise.

Asset recipient households are also supported to access the Ehsaas interest-free loan window if it is available in their area, and if they believe they require additional financing for business enhancement.

Beneficiaries are identified through a community engagement process in the 375 Union councils and villages of 23 districts where this programme has begun. Districts in Punjab, where this programme is commencing, include Dera Ghazi Khan, Jhang, and Layyah.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there are 10 districts (Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, Palas Kolai, Torghar, Batagram, Shangla, North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Dera Ismail Khan, Tank).

In Balochistan there are three districts: Jhal Magsi, Zhob, and Sherani. In Sindh the districts include Badin, Thatta, Sujawal, Kashmore, Shikarpur, Tharparkar and Umerkot.

These districts were selected based on a special study that was conducted by the PPAF in which three parameters were taken into consideration, Level of human development, and level of poverty, level of food insecurity.