ISLAMABAD: Special quota will be allocated for women and transgender vendors under the novel project of ‘Ehsaas Rehri Ban’ project to create a conducive business environment for them and ensure a respectable livelihood for them.
This was revealed by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar in an interview with this agency on Sunday.
Terming it the most challenging initiative in terms of deployment, Dr Nishtar said initially the programme was being implemented in the G-8, G-10 and G-11 sectors of the federal capital.
Small vendors in the main markaz of these sectors were being provided with licences and modern carts after conducting proper survey, she said, adding that the ultimate goal of this programme was to protect them from exploitation at any level.
Ehsaas Targeted Subsidy Programme aimed to minimise impact of inflation . CDA to provide plots to set up purpose-built Panahgahs
Ms Nishtar said the project’s scope would be expanded to the entire city and a proper mechanism would be developed to extend this facility in a transparent manner. She pointed out that there were a few women peddlers in these sectors who were being facilitated under the project.
Talking about the Ehsaas Targeted Subsidy Programme, the PM’s aide said this initiative would help address difficulties faced by people by minimising the impact of inflation on them and increasing their purchasing capacity.
Dr Nishtar said controlling inflation and facilitating the marginalised community were the top most priorities of the present government.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan is very much concerned about the impact of inflation on poor people and discusses the way forward to addressing this issue in every meeting,” Dr Nishtar said.
Explaining the procedure, she said eligible families, to be identified through a transparent system, would be able to avail the facility of buying essential commodities like flour, sugar and ghee at subsidised rates.
“Families will be able to know their eligibility status through the Ehsaas portal for availing this facility and visit the designated stores where the shopkeeper with the help of an installed app will check their information and then pass on the subsidy,” she added.
About expansion of the Ehsaas one-window initiative nationwide, the special assistant said Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments had agreed to provide space for setting up one-window centres to facilitate Ehsaas beneficiaries.
The one-window centre in federal capital is facilitating thousands of disadvantaged people from far-flung areas by providing them all services related to Nadra, designated banks, Langar and Panahgahs as well as extending guidance about all 19 Ehsaas projects, Ms Nishtar said.
Responding to a question about progress on the Ehsaas National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER), Dr Sania Nishtar said the survey was the backbone of all Ehsaas projects as benefits were extended to the deserving people after checking their socio-economic data with the help of this survey.
“We have completed 99.7pc work on the survery after a hard work of three years and even crossed the target of households given by the Bureau of Statistics,” she added.
About the global socio-economic impacts of Covid-19, Dr Nishtar said many world organisations changed their targets after outbreak of the pandemic but “we continued our efforts to implement the social protection interventions throughout the period by launching many initiatives”.
Highlighting Covid-19 specific initiatives, she said over 15 million families had received cash assistance under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme Phase-I which was aimed at addressing the economic hardships of the people during the pandemic.
“We ensured that along with massive cash disbursements during the pandemic, we did not miss other targets,” she said, adding that in the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme Phase-II, around four million people were being provided cash assistance.
Dr Nishtar said NSER had been made shock responsive as cash assistance was being extended to those affected by earthquake, drought, floods or any other devastation.
“Assistance is being provided to the quake-affected people of Harnai in Balochistan with the help of NSER,” she added.
The PM’s aide pointed out that another programme would be the ‘Ehsaas Tahafuz’ initiative which “we have been piloting for the last two-and-a-half years through creating its systems”.
“People not availing any health insurance will just text the government to seek health aid to meet their catastrophic health expenditures and they will be assisted,” she added.
She hoped that it would be the most effective programme in the next six months.
About the expansion of Panahgah initiative, the special assistant said the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had provided four plots to set up purpose-built Panahgahs in Islamabad which would be linked with one-window centres.
Dr Nishtar said Ehsaas had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Serena Hotel under which the hotel staff would provide hospitality training to the Panahgah staff.
“Thousands of people are eating two-time meals at the Ehsaas Langars and now ‘Langar on Wheels’ programme had also started to provide meals to people,” she added.
On the education side, Dr Nishtar mentioned three programmes - Ehsaas School Stipends, Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships and other selected Postgraduate scholarships - were being implemented successfully, which were yielding positive results.
Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2021