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April 6, 2020

Cash relief for lockdown hit people from Wednesday

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April 6, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Sania Nishtar, said on Sunday the payment process under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme would start from Wednesday to support the vulnerable segments of the society affected by virus lockdown.

Addressing a press conference here, she said the cash programme was launched to support the daily wagers and piece-rate workers, adding the programme will benefit the deserving people from all the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan through allocating quota as per census.

She said the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme will help 12 million families by providing them financial assistance of Rs 12,000 per family and Rs 144 billion had been approved for this initiative, adding the budget could be increased in the coming days depending on the rise in demand.

According to her, under an aggressive communication campaign launched recently to benefit four million people, the deserving ones can send SMS to 8171 to check their eligibility status.

They will be informed on how to collect money, if they are found eligible. If they are not identified in the database, they will be directed to contact their respective district administration. An SMS response would have to go through the wealth profiling test before becoming eligible for the assistance. The employees of provincial and federal governments are not eligible for the assistance.

The special assistant said existing Kafalat beneficiaries, who were getting regular cash transfer of Rs 2,000 per month, would be given additional Rs 1,000; hence, they too would get a tranche of Rs 12,000 covering four months. She said under this category 4.5 million people would be benefited.

Dr Nishtar said higher eligibility or poverty threshold would be used to identify four million beneficiaries through the national socio-economic databases, while another 3.5 million people would come from districts.

Regarding the mode of payment, Dr Nishtar said deserving families would get cash assistance of Rs 12,000 after biometric verification through over 18,065 sale points or retail shops of Habib Bank Limited and Bank Al-Falah across Pakistan.

She said the provincial governments would be requested to provide open public spaces for setting up cash disbursement arrangements. Dr Nishtar expressed her gratitude to National Database Registration Authority, Federal Board of Revenue, State Bank of Pakistan and others for providing their support to make this initiative a success.