Saturday December 03, 2022

PM opens three key Ehsaas programmes in GB today

By Our Correspondent
April 30, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his visit to Gilgit-Baltistan today (Friday) will inaugurate the three major Ehsaas programmes in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB): In Gilgit, he will announce the province-wide roll out of Ehsaas Nashonuma, Ehsaas Secondary Education Stipends and Ehsaas One Woman One Account initiatives across the region.

So far, 8 Ehsaas Nashonuma centers have been opened in 3 districts of GB including Diamer, Astore and Kharmang. In collaboration with the provincial government of GB, a detailed roadmap has been developed to open Ehsaas Nashonuma centers in every district of GB. Ehsaas Nashonuma is pegged on improving nutrition and health in the first thousand days of life, starting at conception and finishing at age of two.

Under the prime minister’s “One Woman One Bank Account Initiative”, Ehsaas Bachat Account (saving account) for Ehsaas Kafalaat beneficiaries has been launched in thirteen districts of the country. The initiative will formally be launched in Hunza Nagar district and will be scaled up later nationwide.

Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries will have the option of either drawing their money or saving money into digital wallets. For the first time, the poorest women in Pakistan will have the option to save their payments. Currently 13 districts include Haripur (KP), Muzaffarabad (AJK), Hunza Nagar (GB), Quetta (Balochistan), Islamabad (ICT), Faisalabad, Okara, Sheikhupura, Sargodha (Punjab), Matiari, Karachi Malir, Sanghar and Khairpur (Sindh).

PM will also announce the first of its kind Ehsaas’ secondary education conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme for secondary school going children of deserving households. Ehsaas has already approved and budgeted for the expansion of the conditional cash transfer from the primary level to the secondary education level.

The new secondary education CCT has been structured along the lines of Ehsaas Stipend policy that allocates higher stipend amount for girls as compared to boys.

Children of underprivileged households will be provided conditional cash grants of Rs2,500 for boy child and Rs.3,000 per quarter for girl child on fulfilment of 70% attendance in school.

This programme will commence from the next financial year and will be deployed in all districts of GB. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has already been agreed with the provincial government of Gilgit-Baltistan.

According to a press statement, Dr Sania Nishtar stated, “Overall, under the Ehsaas umbrella, there are many programmes for GB. Post-COVID-19, there is a need for new forms of social protection and the need to reach out to various disadvantaged regions.” Adding further, she said, “The education conditional cash transfer programme is being expanded to secondary level, the health and nutrition programme, Ehsaas Nashonuma is being upscaled in time and the phased expansion of the One Woman One Account initiative countrywide, is well on time this year. Also, additional resources have been allocated for the Ehsaas National Poverty Graduation Initiative.”

Since the launch of PM’s Ehsaas in March 2019, several Ehsaas programmes and initiatives- Ehsaas Kafaalat, Ehsaas Primary School stipends, Ehsaas Nashonuma, Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship, Ehsaas Interest Free Loans, Ehsaas Emergency Cash and several others have been rolled out across GB to benefit marginalised populations.