Sindh govt readies to provide food to daily wagers with support from welfare organisations

Mar 29 2020

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There are around 10 million people — or 1.4 million families — in the province who work on daily wages, according to the census conducted in 2017. — AFP/File
There are around 10 million people — or 1.4 million families — in the province who work on daily wages, according to the census conducted in 2017. — AFP/File

The Sindh government has launched an online portal and an application named Sindh Relief Initiative Application, through which welfare organisations can register themselves and work with official authorities to provide food and necessary items to daily wage workers who are unable to find work during the lockdown.

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, while chairing a meeting attended by heads of welfare organisations, provincial ministers, advisers and the provincial police chief amongst others, said that there were around 10 million people — or 1.4 million families — in the province who work on daily wages, according to the census conducted in 2017.

Around 25 per cent of those workers, Shah said, are associated with the construction industry while 35pc are affiliated with textile or ancillary industries. All of them are registered with the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI). The remaining 40pc, who worked in the transport and cottage industries or in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sectors, are not registered with EOBI or Sindh Employees Social Security Institution, Shah noted, saying that his government aimed to provide ration bags to every family depending on daily income.

He said that if an average family was provided with a ration bag of Rs5,500, the total cost would be about Rs7.7 billion.

“I am developing a mechanism to reach each and every family so that nobody would go without ration,” Shah announced.

The beneficiaries of the project, the daily wage workers, will have to register themselves on the application. The registration will require the person's National Identity Card number to avoid duplication.

Similarly, welfare organisations, donors and volunteers will also need to register on the application so that working groups can be created and coordination and uniformity in the disbursement of ration bags can be maintained.

The government, along with the non-profit organisations, would deliver food and necessary items to people at their homes.

“Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for disbursement [is] to be signed by all stakeholders,” Chief Minister Shah said, adding that the government was "making use of technology for disbursement data management and record-keeping".

The chief minister said that Minister for Energy Imtiaz Shaikh, Minister for Local Government Nasir Shah and Adviser Murtaza Wahab would be coordinating with the organisations.

Shah revealed that the government, with support from welfare organisations like Saylani, Chhipa, Alamgir, Zindagi Trust and others, has started the distribution of ration bags and around 200,000 families have so far been provided with supplies which would last around 15 days.

The Sindh government had imposed a 15-day lockdown in the province on March 23 in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has so far infected 502 people in the province. While many patients had a recent travel history, the number of locally transmitted cases is on the rise.