ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel was informed on Wednesday that a nationwide house hold survey on poverty will be completed before the year ends.

A meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat, held at Parliament Lodges with MNA Kishwer Zehra in the chair was briefed by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Initiatives Dr Sania Nishtar about the Ehsaas Programme.

Dr Nishtar informed the committee that the survey on poverty will be completed before Dec 31, 2020. She also briefed the committee about Ehsaas Kafalat, Ehsaas Interest Free Loan, Ehsaas undergraduate Scholarship, Ehsaas Langarkhanna and shelter homes.

She said seven million women receive benefits out of the Ehsaas Kafalat programme and an interest free loan of Rs29 billion has beendistributed to people, 45pc of whom are women. Around 60pc of women have also gained support from Ehsaas Amdan programme, she said, adding around 50,700 students received support from the Ehsaas undergraduate Scholarship programme.

Responding to a question aboutpolitical scoring over distribution of the amount under Ehsaas Kafalat programme during the peak period of coronavirus, she said all projects are non-political and the staff performed their duty irrespective of danger to them and their families.

The committee unanimously appreciated the ministry’s services.

Furthermore, Ms Zehra inquired about the recent flooding in Daddu district. A representative from the NDMA said that itwas not expected and the authority’s chairman will soon inform the committee about a complete plan to tackle the issuee specially in Karachi as it was currently under process as per directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan and chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Members of the committee recommended that public representatives should be kept on board as this would ensure transparency in poverty alleviation initiatives taken by the government. They also pointed out that the underprivileged sector of society should be facilitated with lesser restrictions.

Ms Zehra said that legislative initiative for welfare of the destitute would bring relief for the most deserving segment of the society.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Ali Nawaz Awan, Ms Uzma Riaz, Rana Iradat Sharif Khan, MsShahnaz Saleem Malik, Ms Seema Mohiuddin Jameeli and others.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2020