Update (May 17, 2021):
The World Bank has listed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s widely-hailed Ehsaas Cash Programme among the top four social protection plans globally.
In its latest report, titled “Global Social Protection Responses to COVID-19,” the World Bank documented how countries planned and implemented various social protection measures amid the coronavirus pandemic that has affected the entire world.
According to the reports published by leading media outlets, the 650-page volume ranked Ehsaas Emergency Cash “fourth globally in terms of the number of people covered and 3rd globally in terms of percentage of population covered amongst those that covered over 100 million people.”
It is worth mentioning the World Bank report has only listed countries that have reached the remarkable “six-digit levels.” Fortunately, the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme is one of them.
Update (March 26, 2021):
The World Bank has approved $600 million for the expansion of the Government of Pakistan’s widely-hailed Ehsaas Programme.
According to the press release, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved the financing from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Crisis-Resilient Social Protection Program (CRISP). These funds will support the government to gradually expand its flagship Ehsaas Programme, which aims to provide financial assistance to underprivileged families across the country, especially in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of families across Pakistan face economic hardship, particularly those working in the informal sector, who have no savings or are not covered by existing social safety net programs,” said World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine. “This investment supports Ehsaas in developing an adaptive social protection system that is more efficient and offers a new model for crisis-response and increasing household resilience to future shocks.”
Update (Feb 10, 2021):
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has announced that full support and social protection will be provided to the underprivileged families across the country. Speaking at a ceremony held in connection with the second phase of the Ehsaas Kafalat Program in Rawalpindi District, the PM said the scope of the widely-hailed programme will be expanded to benefit around seven million deserving families in a transparent manner.
He also added the financial aid will be disbursed without any political bias or favouritism, according to reports published by the leading media outlets.
Furthermore, Khan said the low-income families will be provided with health insurance cards that will allow them medical treatment worth PKR 750,000 per year. The beneficiaries will also be provided with assistance to establish their own business.
Under Ehsaas Kafalat Program, the government will provide the deserving families with cash assistance of PKR 12,000 for six months.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said seven million families will become part of the programme by June 2021. She also added that non-deserving beneficiaries have been removed from the scheme.
Update (Dec 04, 2020):
Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced a monthly stipend for two million differently-abled individuals under the new Ehsaas Kafaalat Policy for Special Persons. As per the official announcement, the families of the registered differently-abled persons will receive financial assistance of PKR 2,000 every month.
The announcement was made on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Update (Oct 01, 2020):
The deadline for the payments of Prime Minister’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme has reportedly been extended for those meeting certain criteria.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr Sania Nishtar has announced that the cash disbursement for the applicants facing biometric issues and family members of the dead beneficiaries will continue till October 30, 2020. Previously, the government had announced September 30, 2020, as the last date for collecting the cash payment.
The eligible beneficiaries will be able to collect the Ehsaas Cash aid until the end of October as long as their applications were submitted before September 30, 2020.
Update (July 17, 2020):
The Government of Pakistan has increased the budget of its widely-hailed Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme from PKR 144 billion to PKR 203 billion, according to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar. During a press conference held in Islamabad, the PM’s aide said the scope of the initiative has been expanded to provide assistance to around 16.9 million beneficiaries.
Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, which has been dubbed the largest social protection programme in Pakistan was launched earlier this year on April 9 with an aim of providing cash assistance to 12 million deserving families adversely affected by the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.
So far, the government has disbursed PKR 153.55 billion among 12.689 million beneficiaries across Pakistan in order to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Nishtar further explained that Ehsaas Programme has positively adapted the latest digital capabilities to ensure an effective payout system. She also explained the beneficiaries who were unable to withdraw their cash assistance due to an error in their biometric verification despite being eligible for the programme have been paid out exclusively through the partner banks.
Moreover, speaking to the press, the PM’s aide also outlined the procedure for the families of deceased beneficiaries to receive their payments. Such families need to send out an application addressed to Dr Sania Nishtar with the CNIC number and other details of the deceased family member. The application should also include the CNIC details of the family members eligible for Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme and must be sent straight to her office in Islamabad.
Earlier this month, the government also launched a portal named ‘Ehsaas Emergency Cash – Know Your Status.’ It allows all applicants who have registered with the programme by sending an SMS on 8171 or through Prime Minister’s Labour Portal to check their eligibility status online. All they’d need to do is enter their CNIC number on the portal to find out if they are eligible to receive the financial assistance. They can then collect the cash amount from any Ehsaas payment centre.
Ehsaas Ration Portal
Update (April 22, 2020):
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has launched web-based Ehsaas Ration portal to facilitate coordination between donors and beneficiaries for ration distribution amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report published on The News, the newly launched portal will allow donors from across the country to provide food ration or cash equivalent to deserving applicants struggling to make the ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis. The government will also put in checks to ensure only one person per family is able to benefit from the programme. The eligibility of the beneficiaries will be evaluated using the data from the umbrella Ehsaas initiative.
Furthermore, only trust-worthy and tax-compliant private for-profit and private not-for-profit organisations will be able to join the PM’s ration disbursement programme. They will only gain access to the beneficiary information once the data privacy agreements have been signed.
The report also explained that donors will be provided with a range of parameters, such as the location and gender of the beneficiaries, to determine which segment of the underprivileged population they want to support. Meanwhile, the distribution of ration packets or cash equivalents will be carried out by the private sector.
“Ehsaas Ration Portal will enable philanthropists, charity organisations and other non-government organizations to reach out to deserving families and provide rations to poor segments of the society. The online portal will play a vital role in making the ration distribution system completely transparent,” the prime minister said during his press conference.
Ehsaas Emergency Cash Initiative
Update (April 20, 2020):
The registration for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme was closed on April 19, Sunday. As per various leading media outlets, more than 85 million applicants have registered for the government’s financial assistance programme.
The Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, under which PKR 144 billion will be distributed among 12 million families adversely affected by the coronavirus lockdown in Pakistan, has been divided into the two phases. During the first phase of the initiative, which has recently been completed, 4.5 million underprivileged women registered under Ehsaas Kifaalat Programme reportedly received the financial grant of PKR 12,000.
According to a report published in the Business Recorder, nearly 7.5 million applicants (both men and women) are being provided with cash assistance in the second phase of the Ehsaas initiative.
So far, the government has reportedly distributed PKR 50 billion under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme.
In case a deserving and registered applicant has not received their fund yet, they can contact the government’s toll-free helpline for further information.
Helpline Number: 0800-26477
Update (April 3, 2020):
The government has launched the official web-portal for Ehsaas Emergency Cash initiative.
The portal allows people to check if they are eligible for the PM’s financial assistance by entering their CNIC number in the relevant field. Once you have verified your eligibility, you can use the portal to register for Ehsaas programme.
Update (April 2, 2020): In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has recently launched the Ehsaas Emergency Cash initiative in a bid to provide relief to the underprivileged across the country.
According to Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr Sania Nishtar, PKR 144 billion will be distributed among approximately 12 million deserving families across Pakistan under this relief programme. Each family will reportedly receive a cash grant of PKR 12,000.
Moreover, during her interview on Radio Pakistan, Dr Nishtar called it the country’s biggest social protection initiative launched for the families facing financial trouble in the wake of COVID-19.
To complete their Ehsaas programme registration, one needs to SMS their Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) number to 8171 – a service that has just been activated to ensure a transparent mechanism. The sender will shortly receive a reply regarding their eligibility for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash initiative. Those with eligible CNIC numbers will then receive further instructions.
It is important to note that government employees, those who own a property and those with utility bills exceeding PKR 10,000 are not eligible for financial assistance under this programme.
Along with Ehsaas Emergency Cash initiative, the government has also introduced an Ehsaas Ration Platform under the umbrella of its flagship Ehsaas Programme.
The Ehsaas Ration Platform will aid people who want to donate food ration to vulnerable families during these trying times. As per Dr Nishtar, at least 35,000 families and more than 600 donors have registered for the programme so far.
Furthermore, as reported by Pakistan Today, the registration process for the Ehsaas Kafalat Programme will resume from April 5 across the country.
Expanding the scope of its flagship Ehsaas Programme, the government of Pakistan recently launched the highly anticipated Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme that aims to provide economic empowerment to women living below the poverty line. The federal Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division will oversee the initiative.
The widely-hailed initiative, which was launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, will offer monetary assistance to low-income women in Pakistan through its digitized payment system. This program will enable deserving women to improve their financial situation and help them graduate out of poverty by also providing them with smartphones, interest-free loans and other opportunities.
“The funds will be given to the registered persons through a biometric system which will end the corruption of money. We are also bringing a card facility which will allow people to get commodities from utility stores. Deserving women will be given smartphones by the government,” said PM Imran Khan during the launching ceremony. “One more project is lined up for its launching within two weeks under the Ehsaas programme. Poor women will be given farm animals. Our government has so far distributed health cards among 6 million families and we are consistently expanding it. For the youth of the country, we are willing to launch best projects by providing them training and education to groom their skills under Hunarmand programmes,” he added.
The registration process for Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme is currently underway while a large number of women have already enrolled for the cash relief. It is also pertinent to mention that those rightfully receiving the stipend under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) will be automatically made a part of the new program.
Before we discuss the Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme details, eligibility criteria and registration process, let’s take a brief look at the Ehsaas Programme and what it entails.
Ehsaas Programme – An Overview
Ehsaas is a first-of-its-kind poverty-reduction program that aims to create a welfare state by uplifting those living in destitution. It is one of the biggest programs ever launched in Pakistan for the prosperity of poor women, widows, orphans, homeless, disabled, poor farmers, poor labourers and others from low-income backgrounds. Along with promoting financial inclusion, this programme also focuses on the economic empowerment of women and access to medical and education facilities by using the latest technology.
As per the official website for the initiative, Ehsaas comprises more than 130 programmes and policies with 34 federal agencies and units working towards implementing them.
The Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Programme is also a part of this initiative.
What is Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme?
The Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme will provide low-income women with financial assistance in the form of PKR 2,000 per month. It aims to facilitate around 7 million beneficiaries by the end of 2020. The registration process of a million deserving women has already begun across 70 districts. A biometric system, named Ehsaas Digital Payment System, has also been introduced to ensure transparency in the payment method.
The programme will be divided into multiple phases, with phase 1 focusing on the registration of 10 lakh women across Pakistan who will start receiving their monthly stipends between February and March. The government will also open personal saving accounts in either Habib Bank or Bank Alfalah for each of the female beneficiaries of the Ehsaas Kafaalat program and provide them with ATM cards that they can use to withdraw money. These accounts will be linked to the recipients’ mobile number. Smartphones will also be provided to women under this initiative.
Desk and web registration of new beneficiaries will also continue during this period.
The details about the next phases of Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme, including the much-awaited soft loan scheme that can help low-income women set up their own business, will be disclosed later.
Who is Eligible for Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme?
The poverty alleviation program launched by the Government of Pakistan is only meant for women who belong to the low-income class.
Meanwhile, taxpayers, car owners, government servants and their spouses and people who have a history of foreign travelling will not be eligible to receive a monthly stipend or any other facility under the Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme.
On the other hand, all beneficiaries under this programme will also be eligible for other Ehsaas initiatives.
How are the Beneficiaries Identified?
A number of methods will be implemented to identify the beneficiaries of Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme. These include:
- Ehsaas NADRA Desk Registration Centers set up in each Tehsil
- Door to door digital survey
- Data analytics
- Web and desk survey
How to Apply for the Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme?
The Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division has set a few specific parameters for those planning to register for Ehsaas programme by the Government of Pakistan.
An applicant can collect a form through the designated Ehsaas Kafaalat registration centre established across Pakistan. Once they submit the duly filled form, their data will be checked against those parameters through a computerized system. The successful applicants will be notified accordingly.
The applicants must also have their Computerized National Identity Card for the Ehsaas Kafaalat registration, though they may be asked to present a few other documents as well.
Receiving Stipend under Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme
The beneficiaries of Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme will receive PKR 2,000 during the first week of each month. The payments will be made through the biometric Ehsaas Digital Payment System.
In order to withdraw money, the recipients can either use their biometric-enabled ATMs, visit the dedicated bank branches or through the designated Point of Sales agents in each city.
These options would ensure transparency in the payment distribution and receiving process.
Apart from the Ehsaas initiative, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ground-breaking Kamyab Jawan Programme has also drawn a massive response from the public. The main objective of this programme is to create job opportunities for the unemployed youth in Pakistan and provide them with means to be successful in their respective career paths.
The PM’s Kamyab Jawan Programme comprises six schemes, which are as follows:
- Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme
- Startup Pakistan Programme
- Hunarmand Pakistan (Skills for All) Programme
- Green Youth Movement
- National Internship Programme
- Youth Engagement Platform
The first three initiatives on the list have already been launched while the last three will be initiated soon.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out our detailed guide on the Ehsaas Nashonuma Programme, which is considered the first-of-its-kind anti-stunting initiative in Pakistan.
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