Senate committee upholds Ehsaas achievements

By Staff Reporter
Tuesday – July 13, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The special assistant to the prime minister on poverty alleviation (SAPM-PA) Sania Nishtar said, on Monday, that the target this year is to provide financial assistance, health cards and about five million scholarships to 10 million people.

According to a press release, a meeting of the senate standing committee on poverty alleviation and social protection was held at the parliament house, in the federal capital, under the chairmanship of senator (Sen) Naseebullah Bazai.

SAPM-PA Nishtar gave a detailed briefing on the work, performance, projects and future strategy of her ministry.

She while briefing the committee members regarding Ehsaas programme said that in the past different social protection agencies used to report to various ministries, which have now been brought under one ministry. The move has yielded very positive results.

In 2019, Ehsaas introduced the digital infrastructure system facilitating people through the use of data analytics and SMS.

Ehsaas established delivery unit to simultaneously evaluate the performance of different programmes through dashboards.

Ehsaas developed a uniform governance and executive policy that received formal cabinet approval.

SAPM-PA Nishtar said that while undertaking fundamental reforms in the Benazir income support programme (BISP), its scope is being further expanded and further steps will be taken to maintain its transparency.

Under the Ehsaas scholarship programme, financial assistance is being provided up to Rs. 75,000. Its scope has been extended from 50 districts to 154 districts countrywide.

Under this programme, girls are given more stipends than boys keeping in view the development of women.

Under the Ehsaas panagah and langar khana programme, anchorages have been set up which provide food to thousands of needy and poor people daily and all this is being run successfully under public-private partnership.

Under the Ehsaas rehri ban project, Ehsaas has provided regular licenses to poor and small pedlars in various sectors of the federal capital to alleviate their financial difficulties. The programme will be extended to more cities.

SAPM Nishtar told the committee that progress of Ehsaas survey is currently at 98 percent which will be completed by the last week of July.

Ehsaas has digitised the whole process and created a system based on principles.

Ehsaas is continuing the efforts to eradicate poverty by going beyond politics and prioritising concerns of common people.

Under the programme, Sindh was given a share of 31.4 percent as against 22 percent in terms of population.

In some cases rate of distribution of funds is determined by taking into account the poverty ratio of that particular province.

SAPM-PA Nishtar presented details of the ministry’s budget for the last three years to the committee.

According to which the budget of Rs. 247 billion in the year 2019-20 was fully utilised.

In the year 2020-21, Rs. 200 billion was allocated with 100 percent utilisation.

In the year 2021-22, Ehsaas has got a budget of Rs. 250 billion which will be fully spent on various programmes for the welfare of the people.

She said that under free access to data policy Ehsaas has uploaded all the details on the website.

Ehsaas shares real time data with the provinces to create equal development opportunities in all the units.

In the next year, financial assistance will be provided to 22 million families.

One window operations will be launched in all the districts under Ehsaas programme.

Ehsaas uses radio to deliver important information about Ehsaas programme to the public in a timely manner.

The committee chairman Sen Bazai while appreciating the work of SAPM-PA Nishtar said her dedication for helping the poor is unprecedented and committee will support her in every way to make people’s lives better.

Sen Aun Abbas said that cochlear implants are important for children with congenital deafness.

The financial assistance provided under this programme should be increased so that more and more children can benefit from it.

We formally recommend through the committee that the scope of this project be further expanded while increasing its funding.

On which SAPM-PA Nishtar said that she will talk to PMDC to provide more funds for the programme.

Sen Kishu Bai said that in remote districts of Sindh and Baluchistan, special attention should be paid to the lack of Ehsaas emergency cash facility and issues related to health card.

Answering this SAPM-PA Nishtar said that operations are being carried out in many districts under Ehsaas programme and efforts are being made to reach more families in far flung areas of the country such as Tharparkar.

Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) gave a detailed briefing on the work, performance and plans of the department.

The committee was informed that PBM is currently providing relief services in 154 districts and that the organisation is working on various projects related to women’s empowerment, child protection and financial assistance and protection of the elderly.

PBM officials told the committee that the efforts of PBM have saved about 100,000 lives. 21,000 scholarships have been awarded in the last five years working with various universities in the field of education.

Sen Aun Abbas directed the officials of the department to increase the number of scholarships for the province of Balochistan and to open women empowerment centres in more districts.

PBM officials agreed to increase the number of scholarships from two and a half hundred to five hundred.

While considering the public petitions referred by the senate chairman regarding regularisation of contract employees and providing back benefits to current employees, PBM officials apprised the committee that PBM does not have enough budget to do the same.

The committee while considering the second petition ruled that it belongs to the overseas department.

The meeting of the committee was attended by senators Aun Abbass, Mehr Taj Roghani, Kaasho Bai, Kamran Murtaza, Maulvi Faiz Muhammad and senior officials of the ministry.