ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar on Thursday gave details of the Ehsaas Ration programme announced by the prime minister on Wednesday, saying registration of poor families whose monthly income was less than Rs31,000 would begin from Monday.
Speaking at a press conference, she said that a web portal would be developed for this purpose. The families who will be considered eligible will be able to obtain items of daily use like flour, oil, sugar and pulses at subsidised rates from Utility Stores and retail stores (kiryana shops). Small retail stores opened even in streets and localities will also provide this facility if they are registered and authorised for this system.
Dr Nishtar said that the Ehsaas National Socio Economic Registry survey had been completed. The survey will be used to identify deserving families for this new pro-poor programme. It will take three or four weeks to complete the process of registration. The beneficiaries will need a mobile phone number registered on their Computerised National Identity Card which will be produced before the specific stores from which purchases on subsidised rates will be sought.
A subsidy of Rs1,000 per month will be given to each of the registered 20 million families. This amount can also be carried over to next month if not availed in one month.
Retail stores which want to be registered for this programme will be physically verified and will need valid bank accounts to receive the subsidy amount. The subsidy amount will include a rational profit – as an incentive – for the owners to happily provide subsidised food items to as many poor people as possible.
According to Ehsaas findings, the programme will benefit 60 per cent population of the country.
Replying to a question, Dr Nishtar said that Rs120 billion subsidy was being given under the programme. As much as 65 per cent of this amount will be provided by the provinces while the remaining 35pc will be contributed by the federal government.
Responding to another question, she said that Adviser to the PM on Finance Shaukat Tarin would discuss the programme with the International Monetary Fund.
Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2021