April 18, 2020 -Islamabad: Under the Government of Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program, daily wage workers who are unable to earn a living these days due to #COVID19 crisis are being given Rs. 12,000 so that they can buy rations for next few months while they stay home to be safe. In ten days, Ehsaas has distributed Rs. 53.336 billion to 4.444 million marginalized households. Acknowledging the facilitation in emergency cash distribution being extended to Ehsaas by law and security agencies and district administrations countrywide, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “In a remarkable show of national solidarity, law & security agencies are helping the disabled; schools, gymnasiums, town halls & wedding pavilions have opened their doors to host payment camps, to serve Ehsaas Emergency Cash recipients. We are thankful to all of you for your compassion & partnership.” For now, 114.98 million SMS have been received through 8171 service while the scrutiny is on-going and the deadline for registration is Sunday April 19, 2020.
April 17, 2020 – Islamabad: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program payments are underway since April 9, 2020 providing Rs. 12,000 financial assistance to 12 million deserving families. So far, Rs. 49.685 billion have been paid out under the initiative to over 4.14 million families. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “ Applying for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash is simple and people in need can check their eligibility by sending CNIC number to 8171. The registration for the emergency cash initiative would be closed on April 19 midnight.” To-date, more than 103 million applicants have already registered for the program on the Ehsaas’ designated number 8171 by text messaging their CNICs. For questions regarding registration and payments, people can call on Ehsaas helpline 0800-26477 from 9 am to 5 pm.
April 16, 2020 -Islamabad: Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal organized a ration distribution ceremony for the coolies (loaders) of Pakistan Railways. Addressing the ceremony at Rawalpindi Railway Station, President Dr. Arif Alvi expressed hope that the Pakistani nation would successfully sail through the COVID-19 crisis as multiple challenges in the past had transformed it into a brave and steadfast nation. With the cooperation of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, the bulky ration packs containing all basic food items, were provided by the donors. Minister for Railways, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Aun Abbas Buppi and Country Director Islamic Relief, Umair Hassan also attended the ceremony besides the railway loaders. Speaking at the event, Dr. Nishtar said, “Under Ehsaas, an Emergency Cash Program had been launched to support 12 million needy families and the ration distribution scheme would also be launched by next week”.
Ehsaas has released an informative video for the deaf about 8171 SMS service for Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme. “This is aimed to communicate details of the SMS campaign through sign language to the people with hearing impairment so that they can equally benefit from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation. Footage can be accessed here. In 7 days, Ehsaas has disbursed Rs. 44.194 billion to 3.682 million deserving families and has commenced payments to male beneficiaries in Category 2 of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. Most of them are daily wagers without day jobs for the last one month. These beneficiaries have been enrolled in the programme through 8171 Ehsaas SMS service. During biometrically enabled payments, social distancing is strictly being implemented. As many as 93.2 million SMS have been received. The analysis is underway and the deadline for registration in the programme is April 19, 2020 midnight.
April 15, 2020- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited the cash distribution campsite at IMCG Girls College located at G-10/4, Islamabad and interacted with beneficiaries who had come to collect their payments. Each one of them had a customized message on their phone addressed to them with their names to visit the nearest payment centre on April 15, 2020 and collect emergency cash handout of Rs. 12,000. Briefing media about these Ehsaas category-2 beneficiaries in need, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Each one of these beneficiaries was either the wife of a labourer whose livelihood has been badly affected by the coronavirus crisis or is a domestic worker herself who has been laid off by the employers. Without any food, they are at the brink of running out food rations. So, this Rs. 12,000 assistance comes to them at a very critical time.” Footage here.
April 15, 2020 -Islamabad: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has commenced disbursements to the second category of beneficiaries today. All of them have been enrolled through 8171 SMS service. They were declared eligible based on their profiling checks in the national socio-economic database as well as the wealth profiling checks. The Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment notifications will go to new Ehsaas Emergency Cash recipients registered through 8171 in a staggered manner over the next seven days. In the initial batch, women will get payments and in next batches, men will start getting payments. SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “To-date, 83.61 million SMS have been received. The analysis is underway and the deadline for registration is April 19, 2020 midnight”. By 5:30 pm today, Ehsaas has disbursed Rs. 37.608 billion emergency cash to 3.134 million deserving families.
April 14, 2020: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has been ongoing for the last 6 days. More than 2.739 million people have received cash assistance of Rs. 12,000 each that sums up roughly to Rs. 32.87 billion until now. The registration process to receive the emergency cash of Rs. 12,000 per family distributed under this scheme is SMS driven, and this has been ongoing for the last two weeks. To-date, 78.44 million SMS requests have been received. “It is possible that several people from one family apply, hence the number of families applying may be less than this number”, said Dr. Sania. hsaas has announced that the SMS campaign will be opened till 19th of this month. Dr. Sania also explained that, “In order to incentivize branchless banking operations from operating in the current difficult environment, the Cabinet has approved waiver of advance withholding tax on commission collected under section 233 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 from branchless banking agents”. “We are striving to do all we can to make sure that bonafide branchless banking operators keep their operations open so that maximum number of people are facilitated” she said.
April 13, 2020 – Islamabad: As the Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution scales up countrywide, so does the resolve to fight embezzlement and fraudsters on the ground. On several complaints by the people, 36 looters have been arrested in Punjab, while 26 of them were arrested in Sindh and 10 in KP for illegally deducting money from the cash they paid to deserving people under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme. Overall 64 FIRs have been registered countrywide against these 72 fraudsters. They would be dealt according to the law. Caveating fraudsters, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “No one would be allowed to illegally deduct any money from Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment to low-income families. Ehsaas is being supported by all state agencies on the ground to fight corruption. We are tracking FIRs in police stations and I want strict action against all fraudsters.” Vowing to fight corruption till her last breath, she stated, “I have also written a stern letter directing officials in Ehsaas regional offices to ensure transparency and full payments to beneficiaries.”
April 13, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas continues disbursing Emergency Cash on the fifth day of its operations to benefit the deserving people from all the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, through allocating quota as per census. Since April 9, Ehsaas has distributed Rs. 25.68 billion to 2.095 million families all over Pakistan and the programme will reach out to a total of 12 million people in next two weeks. In emergency cash distribution, social distancing is a priority & Ehsaas is striving to safeguard COVID-19 precautionary measures. Out of the planned 17,000 biometrically enabled Ehsaas cash distribution points, 9,419 have been currently been deployed countrywide. To prevent overcrowding of cash receivers, the number of cash distribution centres and counters is being increased. SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “In first phase of the programme, 4.5 million Kafaalat beneficiaries would be paid emergency cash this week while cash transfer to 7.5 million Category -2 beneficiaries being identified through 8171 SMS service will commence by the end of this week.”
April 12, 2020- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation briefed the media about on-the ground progress of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments. “It has been 4 days, since Ehsaas started one-off cash distribution of Rs. 12,000 each to the low-income households in all provinces of Pakistan including GB and AJK. As of April 12, 2020, Rs. 21.28 billion has been disbursed to 1.77 million individuals. Currently, as many as 8,995 cash payment points have been deployed out of 17,000 cash payment points to be opened countrywide to reach out to 12 million needy households”, she said. Ehsaas Emergency Cash program is the largest ever social protection and relief operation in the history of Pakistan aimed to help alleviate sufferings of low-income households, who have been distressed by the coronavirus shut down across the country. The government has deployed biometric technology along with other COVID-19 precautionary measures, to ensure the safe and transparent delivery of emergency cash to poverty-stricken families.
April 12, 2020: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash advertisements appeared in newspapers today and there was a sudden surge in the number of incoming calls in the Ehsaas call centre. To get better sense of what callers were asking about Ehsaas Emergency Cash, Dr. Sania Nishtar, who leads the Ehsaas program sat with call centre operators today and interacted with callers on the phone. “I wanted to hear first-hand about people’s complaints pertaining to Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution, so that we can make improvements in the program in real time”. On average 1,500 calls are being received on daily basis in the call centre and this number has increased since the advertisement appeared. Staff in the Ehsaas Call Centre is regularly briefed about the program so that they can answer questions with clarity. Dr. Sania thanked Call Centre staff for their dedication and hard work and spent a lot of time with the staff to get insights and boost their morale. For queries, the Ehsaas Call Centre can be reached out at 0800-26477.
April 11, 2020- Islamabad: With special instructions of the Prime Minister, the Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments have been started countrywide on Apr 9, 2020 to financially aid more than 12 million deserving families whose incomes are adversely affected by the Coronavirus lockdowns. Since the Ehsaas cash distribution began two days ago, as many as 1.382 million families all over the country have withdrawn Rs.12,000 each that cumulatively sums up to Rs. 16.588 billion. Out of the planned 17,000 biometrically enabled Ehsaas cash distribution points, 7,317 have been opened countrywide with special protective measures for COVID-19 to facilitate speedy cash payments to those in need. According to details, overall cash distributions are running smooth across the country except few cases. 40 Ehsaas Emergency Cash retailers have been arrested over swindling beneficiaries in different ways in some parts of the country particularly Sindh, South Punjab and KP. Talking about few cases reported on mismanagement and corruption, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation stated, “I have written a stern letter to Ehsaas regional officials countrywide to stringently ensure transparent operations in emergency cash disbursements. I shall not tolerate any mismanagement or embezzlement and will continue fighting corruption till my last breath.”