ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend a special event on Monday (today) to mark three years of the Ehsaas programme of the PTI government.

Presiding over the event, the prime minister will announce the roll-out of “Ehsaas Rashan Riayat” that offers 30 per cent subsidy on monthly basis to 20 million families. The targeted subsidy programme will effectively lower the price for three essential commodities - wheat flour, cooking oil/ghee and pulses. It will disburse Rs106 billion in subsidies to 20 million eligible families, comprising 130 million people, says a press release on Sunday.

In view of the globally induced recent price hike, the prime minister has also announced a raise of Rs2,000 in Kafaalat stipend amounting from Rs12,000 to Rs14,000 for eight million families.

Over three years, the programme provided Ehsaas cash to almost half the country’s population. Ehsaas School Stipend Programme aspires to benefit 10 million children and youth aged four to 22 years. Girls in all grades are getting a higher stipend amount. As many as 200,000 need-cum-merit based Ehsaas undergraduate scholarships are also being provided to the students of low-income backgrounds.

Moreover, 160 Ehsaas Nashonuma Centres are being opened across all the districts. One-Window Ehsaas Centres are also being up-scaled nationwide to integrate all Ehsaas services under one roof in each district.

The National Poverty Graduation Initiative of Ehsaas includes interest-free loans and small livelihood assets for poverty graduation of 3.8 million families. Under the prime minister’s Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas, a nationwide network of model Panahgahs (shelter homes), Langars, truck kitchens and orphanages have also been established to serve the daily wage earners.

Ensuring that social protection stipends of the government serve the most deserving, Ehsaas completed the national socioeconomic survey registry with 34.41 million families which is South Asia’s first digital survey.

The World Bank recognised Ehsaas emergency cash as the fastest cash transfer programme worldwide amid Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since its launch in March 2019, myriad social protection and poverty alleviation programmes have successfully been deployed under the Ehsaas umbrella with 98 per cent budget benefiting girls and women,” the press release quoted Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar to have stated.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2022

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