Ehsaas Kafaalat programme launched

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday launched Ehsaas Kafaalat programme to give stipend of Rs 2000 each to seven million poverty-stricken women through a foolproof and biometric-enabled cash disbursal mechanism across the country.

“The foundation of Pakistan as a welfare state is being made here. We have now started moving towards a welfare state. Soon, it will turn into the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal,” the prime minister said while addressing the launching ceremony of the scheme. The ceremony marked the distribution of the Kafaalat cards among the poorest women who sat beside the prime minister at the venue as per his own desire what the event moderator Senator Faisal Javed said were the only VVIPs of the event.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, other cabinet members, parliamentarians, diplomats and people from different segments of the society attended the event.

Under the programme, each beneficiary woman will get a bank account and smart phone as part of the initiative to empower women through their formal interaction with the economy and digital inclusion. “The smart phones will help educate the children of the poor women from their childhood. This will bring about a new revolution,” the prime minister remarked.

He said seven million women will benefit from the scheme while another six million families have already been give health insurance card what is the biggest achievement of the current government. He said within fortnight, the government will launch another programme under Ehsaas umbrella, to transfer assets to the poor women like cows, hens or others to help them earn their livelihood.

In her presentation, Dr Sania Nishtar drew a comparison between Kafaalat and Benazir Income Support Programme, saying the former featured a 10-year old database, multiple quarterly payment systems, paper-based surveys, sole source contracted banks and being a standalone programme. Contrarily, the Kafaalat program will provide monthly assistance through a fully biometric system on point of sales agents with secure gadgets, biometric ATMs and designated bank branches. The beneficiaries have been identified through a door-to-door digital survey plus data analytics, desk and web surveys. Contrary to BISP, the Kafaalt beneficiaries will be able to avail all the Ehsaas graduation opportunities. She said for the first time, the poor people will be able to get government assistance on demand as they will not have to wait for 10 years to enlist themselves in the poverty survey, rather they could get themselves registered any time at the NADRA Desk Registration Centres to be established in each tehsil.

The prime minister congratulated Dr Sania Nishtar for successfully launching the scheme amid immense pressure from the government which desires to utilize Rs 200 billion allocated for its anti-poverty initiative without any delay. He lauded her for developing a system based on data analytics to ensure that the government’s assistance reaches only to the deserving citizens, not the rich ones, as the government has recently detected and delisted above 800,000 ineligible people who had been receiving the cash assistance despite having government jobs, cars and having undertaken foreign visits. The prime minister said no anti-poverty initiative can meet success unless it is transparent. He said the beneficiaries of Kafaalat programme will also be able to benefit from government’s upcoming ration scheme and other initiatives.

He said the initiatives including the student scholarship, youth skill training and start-ups loan programme were solely aimed at uplifting the poor people in true pursuance of the golden principles of the State of Madina.

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