July 31, 2021 – Islamabad: As part of Prime Minister’s initiative, Ehsaas opened 7 new Panagahs in the month of July 2021. Out of newly operationalized seven Panagahs, five have been set up in Nushki, Washuk, Kharan, Quetta and Chaman areas of Balochistan and 2 in Swat and Abbottabad districts of KP. Managing Director, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) inaugurated these new Panagahs. The “Ehsaas Panagahs” is one of the priority programmes of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Collectively, 22 Ehsaas Panagahs have been set up nationwide, so far under the direct supervision of PBM. These model Panagahs of Ehsaas provide free of cost, one star plus bed and breakfast facility with meals and essentials to daily wage earners and labourers.
July 31, 2021 – Islamabad: The Prime Minister has approved the One Window Ehsaas Policy. “With One Window Ehsaas policy in place, the aim is to deliver services through a single window, a one-stop shop”, stated Dr. Sania Nishtar. The overarching Ehsaas Strategy stipulated the creation of “One-Window Ehsaas” (Policy # 4) to enable delivery of the multiple Ehsaas programs through a single window, and to address issues in social protection programs. The policy entails six sets of actions: firstly, a One Stop Shop, the Ehsaas Physical Center; secondly, back office digital interface; thirdly, a public facing digital information and services platform; the fourth component is a mobile app; the fifth component is the integrated database; and finally, the Ehsaas One-Window Beneficiary Selection and Targeting Policy. Collectively, the six pillars of One Window policy will increase cohesiveness and coordination across the different programmes offered by different implementing organizations and will improve beneficiary experience. Policy can be accessed here.
July 30, 2021 – Rawalpindi: Sitting under the Ehsaas umbrella, Tahafuz is a patient centric, shock-oriented programme that caters to one-time catastrophic health costs for those who lack ability to bear the heavy expenditures. To stocktake the progress of Ehsaas Tahafuz operations, Dr. Sania Nishtar made an unannounced visit to Tahafuz Desk in Holy Family Hospital (HFH), Rawalpindi. During the visit, she met with patients and their attendants, technical team of medical experts, hospital administrators and programme verifiers. Dr. Sania also visited Emergency, Ophthalmology and ICU wards and took feedback of patients and their attendants about the medical support extended through Tahafuz. “Patient feedback and first-hand insights will help in the Ehsaas Tahafuz scale-up, later this year”, said Dr. Sania. To-date, 612 deserving patients have been served at HFH, Rawalpindi. To facilitate patients in need, a facilitation desk has also been established at the HFH to identify the eligible beneficiaries for Tahafuz.
July 30, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM called on Prime Minister Imran Khan to brief him on the next six monthly plan of Ehsaas. PM was briefed on the programs and initiatives that will be launched under the umbrella of Ehsaas in next six months. During the meeting, PM approved the detailed six-monthly plan of Ehsaas. Dr. Sania also briefed the PM on the progress of Ehsaas in setting up model Panagahs under ‘Mazdoor ka Ehsaas’. To-date, 22 model Ehsaas Panagahs have been established in the country. PM emphasized to well maintain the standards of Ehsaas Panagahs. Panagahs not only provide shelter to daily wage earners but also a two-time meal to them.
July 29, 2021- Islamabad: The Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative is being set up in Islamabad under the specific direction of the Prime Minister. Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Ehsaas Rehribaan site in G-11 Markaz, Islamabad. She interacted with street vendors and reviewed the ongoing street vending interventions under the initiative. Representatives of three microfinance banks, namely U- Microfinance Bank, Apna Microfinance Bank and Mobilink Microfinance Bank were also present at the site. They briefed Dr. Sania about various microfinancing facilities available for vendors under Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative. “With the successful launch of the Ehsaas Rehribaan project in G-11 and G-10 commercial areas of Islamabad, government is aiming for the methodical and phased scale-up of the initiative”, stated Dr. Sania. At present, street vendors in G-11 and G-10 areas are getting regularized through the acquisition of pre-approved design carts either on their own account or through microfinance loans. Later on, the initiative will be expanded to the entire capital.
July 28, 2021 – Islamabad: This World Hepatitis Day 2021, Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the high-level global talk show hosted by World Health Organization (WHO). The theme of World Hepatitis Day this year was “Hepatitis can’t wait” conveying the urgency of efforts needed to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. Contributions and stories from countries from different WHO regions were showcased at the event. Speaking in the panel alongside WHO’s senior leadership, Dr. Sania reflected on the lessons learned from the innovations developed under government of Pakistan’s Ehsaas Tahafuz programme. She also highlighted government of Pakistan’s efforts towards combating viral hepatitis. Further, she talked about the recent government policy which mandates the use of auto-disable syringes; this policy has been approved by Cabinet. Alongside Dr. Sania, other panelists were: Dr. Hala Zayed, Minister of Health and Population, Egypt; Dr. Enkhbold Sereejav, Minister of Health Mongolia; and Arnaldo Medeiros, Vice-Minister for Health Surveillance at the Ministry of Health, Brazil.
July 24, 2021 – Islamabad: As chair of the steering committee that oversees the Ehsaas targeted commodity subsidies initiative, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting with the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP). The meeting aimed to understand new regulations which allow open and closed framework agreements with multiple vendors. Dr. Sania also visited several retail settings to plan for the Ehsaas targeted commodity subsidies initiative. The visit gauged digitization readiness of grocery retailers that is an execution prerequisite. “Field learnings will inform Ehsaas policy to mobilize stakeholders”, said Dr. Sania.
July 20, 2021 – Beijing: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Forum on, ‘Women’s Education and Poverty Reduction’ held in Beijing. In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of SCO, the Forum was hosted by All China Women’s Federation in cooperation with the Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the SCO and SCO Secretariat in Beijing. In her speech, Dr. Sania remarked, “Progress is simply not possible without women. This principle sits at the core of Ehsaas. We therefore have Ehsaas 50%+ benefits for women and girls’ policy, which means that in each of Ehsaas’ programs more than 50% of the benefits are dedicated for women and girls.” She further added, “Ehsaas also has a new policy to incentivize girls’ education, which is evidenced in a recent decision to grant a higher stipend for girls in our education conditional cash transfer program.” Other speakers were– Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, First Lady of Uzbekistan, Deputy Prime Minister of Tajikistan, First Lady of Afghanistan, Vice President of Iran, USG of the UN & Executive Director of UN Women, Secretary-General of SCO, President of the Congress of Women of Kyrgyz Republic, and President of Mongolian Women’s Federation.
July 16, 2021 – Islamabad: With yesterday being an international youth skills day, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting with the technology team of Ehsaas on the forthcoming Ehsaas Digital Hunar programme. The Ehsaas Digital Hunar programme is aimed to empower the disadvantaged youth through digital skills, in order to make them employment ready. Pakistan currently has one of the youngest populations in the world. The Digital Hunar is being designed to deliver 3 to 6 month virtual programmes with in-demand market skills and hundred percent employability for the underprivileged youth. The programme includes the five resources: curriculum design & development; learning management system; affiliation programme with academia and private institutes; training programme; and freelance portal.
July 15, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM along with Ehsaas team convened the sixth e-Kacheri of Ehsaas. The e-Kacheri was broadcast through Radio Pakistan’s national hook up programme, ‘Raabta’ and Facebook, @EhsaasOffcialPK. She answered queries of Ehsaas beneficiaries who phoned her from different parts of country including Dera Ghazi Khan, Sadiqabad, Sukkur, Swat and Mianwali. Callers asked about the ongoing payments under Ehsaas Kafaalat and Ehsaas Emergency Cash-II. Talking to listeners, Dr. Sania announced that Ehsaas registration desks will be reopened throughout the country after the completion of Ehsaas survey by July 31, 2021. Full programme can be watched here.
July 15, 2021 – Islamabad: A delegation of senior officials from Nigeria was briefed on Ehsaas at the meeting hosted by Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. The delegation comprised of of over 30 civilian and military officers enrolled in Senior Executive Course of the ‘National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies’ in Nigeria. Dr. Sania Nishtar welcomed the delegation and briefed them on the multicomponent social protection strategy and widespread operations of Ehsaas. Mainly, the meeting discussed significance of social protection at both the country and global levels in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic and explored multilateral collaborative options to foster social protection experience sharing between Nigeria and Pakistan. From Ehsaas, Secretary Ismat Tahira and Additional Secretary Capt. Saeed Ahmad Nawaz also briefed the delegation. The presentation was followed by a detailed question-and-answer session. Later, the delegation visited the first One Window Ehsaas Center in Sitara Market Islamabad to see all Ehsaas services and benefits being provided to beneficiaries under one roof.
July 14, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar convened the meeting of steering committee for the forthcoming Ehsaas Targeted Subsidies programme. The steering committee for the programme has been constituted on the instructions of the Prime Minister. The Committee has been principally mandated to oversee the execution of the targeted commodity subsidies programme. This programme will be implemented by December 2021. With Dr. Sania in chair, Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Deputy Governor SBP, President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Secretary BISP and Managing Director Utility Stores Corporation joined the steering committee meeting. They were also joined by senior officials and representatives from Finance Division, Industries and Production Division and Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited. “Coming under the umbrella of Ehsaas, Targeted Commodity Subsidies programme will be executed through collaboration with Utility stores and NBP. Based on policy articulated by the Ministry of Finance, and regulatory support by SBP, the Government will enable Ehsaas beneficiaries being identified through new Ehsaas survey to get subsidized rates”, said Dr. Sania.