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Social distancing remains priority as Ehsaas cash payments tee off

By Our Correspondent
April 10, 2020

Islamabad : Safeguarding all precautionary measures, the payment process under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme began on Thursday to support deserving families affected by the lockdown.

Special arrangements have been made to uphold the safety and security of beneficiaries arriving to collect cash assistance. To ensure protective measures across payment operations, special disbursement arrangements have been put in place in coordination with the provincial governments. Social distancing measures are stringently being safeguarded, including opening of payment points at open public spaces with multiple cash counters along with security for these spaces, permission to keep retail point of sale agents open, management of crowds at cash disbursement points, and ensuring preventive measures like facility of hand-washing, etc.

With opening of 17,000 digital payment points, the biometrically-enabled payment operation has commenced across all provinces including GB, AJK and Islamabad Capital Territory. All cash transfers are being made after biometric verification through NADRA. People are collecting cash from biometrically enabled payment points of Habib Bank in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and Bank Al Falah across KP, GB and AJK.

To monitor the payment operations, the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar visited HBL Konnect outlets in Bari Imam area and met with spouses of piece-rate workers who had gathered to collect cash handouts under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme. Interacting with deserving women, Dr. Nishtar said, “Ehsaas has initiated the cash stipend payments to provide instant provide relief to daily wagers whose livelihoods have been badly affected. This assistance is meant to help them buy rations so that they don’t go hungry. We have advised partnering banks to ensure sanitisation at all touch points serving payments.”

Under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash framework, an immediate cash relief of Rs12,000 will be extended each to families of daily wage earners, whose livelihood has been affected by the corona-induced economic downturn. Overall, Rs144 billion will be disbursed to more than 12 million families during the next two and a half weeks. For now, as many as 46.38 million people have sent SMS requesting to become beneficiaries of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme.

For registration in Ehsaas Emergency Cash, deserving families can send SMS to 8171 service or can visit web-portal: to check eligibility. Following registration, there are three types of messages in response of people’s SMS like eligible, ineligible, or case under scrutiny. Corona Tiger Relief Force will also facilitate to register daily wagers, piece-rate workers and labourers who are unable to register through SMS.