Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said an amount of Rs69 billion had been disbursed among 5.75 million deserving families under the first two categories of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme.
Addressing a press conference along with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Dr Shahbaz Gill, Dr Nishtar said 80% payment process under the first category of this programme had been completed, while payments for the second category (SMS beneficiaries) was under way at a fast pace.
She said around 35 million applicants were rejected after a scrutiny on the basis of different parameters like wealth profiling, poverty score database, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) statistics and more than one family member applicants etc. “Over 89,000 computerized national identity cards (CNICs) failed in the process of verification,” she added.
Under the third category of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, Dr Nishtar said the lists of beneficiaries were being finalised with the help of district administrations. “Our priority is to run this initiative in a transparent manner without any political interference, as per directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan to provide maximum relief to the deserving people,” she said.
“Strict action is being taken against those retailers involved in deduction from the Rs12,000 given to the beneficiaries,” she added. “Efforts are afoot to overcome the hurdles being faced by the applicants through their feedback and complaints.”
About the Ehsaas ration portal, Dr Nishtar told reporters that the portal had been opened to facilitate the private sector in providing food rations to the most vulnerable segments 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 and provide data of eligible beneficiaries to the donors. It will enable philanthropists, charity organisations and other non-government organisations to reach out to deserving families and provide rations to poor segments of society transparently,” she said.
On the occasion, Dr Gill said regretted that the Sindh government was doing politics on Ehsaas programme as well as the prevailing health crisis in the country. “Dr Sania Nishtar is doing her best to ensure the merit-based cash disbursement in the programme,” he said.
He added that the Sindh government had also done politics on coronavirus testing kits and returned to the federal government after claiming that these were unworkable. “The same kits are being used by the National Institute of Health and are giving accurate results,” he said.
He also criticised those doctors, who, at a press conference, called for lockdown. “We cannot impose a strict lockdown, considering the fact that it would affect our poor people the most,” he said. He urged the Sindh government not to do politics on such matters.