ECC allocates Rs75bn for labourers, daily wage earners

Updated May 16 2020

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Mechanism for emergency cash assistance to workers whose livelihoods have been affected by pandemic approved. — AFP/File
Mechanism for emergency cash assistance to workers whose livelihoods have been affected by pandemic approved. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Friday set aside Rs75 billion for distribution among labourers and daily wage earners through the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

This is part of the Prime Minister’s Relief Package of Rs200bn for labourers and daily wage earners that was earlier to be coordinated by the Ministry of Industries and Production and Commerce through industries and business houses for not laying off workers.

A meeting of the ECC, presided over by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, also approved the mechanism for the Emergency Cash Assistance (Criteria and Mechanism) to workers whose livelihoods have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mechanism for emergency cash assistance to workers whose livelihoods have been affected by pandemic approved

Modalities of the disbursement were worked out by Finance Division, Poverty Alleviation Division and the BISP. The BISP board has approved that in order to identify beneficiaries for the Ehsaas Labour (Category-IV) the eligibility criteria used for Category–III of Ehsaas Emergency Cash would be used. The verification process would be based on BISP’s survey record and national registration data of Nadra.

The applications will be received only through Ehsaas Labour portal for inclusion of beneficiaries in Category-IV. The cash disbursement of Rs12000 (one-time assistance) will be made to eligible applicants through existing payment mechanism of the BISP. The four provinces, AJK, GB and ICT will be allocated the quota in Ehsaas Labour assistance in accordance with their population.

On May 3, the prime minister had announced that funds collected through Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Assistance Fund 2020 would be used to assist the labourers and daily wage workers whose livelihoods had been badly hit by the lockdown.

On that occasion, the prime minister also announced that funds would be disbursed through the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme. The prime minister also announced that for every rupee donated, the government would match Rs4 in the fund. The budget envelope of Rs75 billion released to BISP out of Rs200 billion earmarked in the PM’s relief package for distribution among workers in the country would be used for the purpose, the finance ministry said.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2020