LAHORE: Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) for Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr. Sania Nishtar said on Thursday that socio-economic and poverty survey under Ehsaas Programme to identify deserving families had been 70 per cent completed and the deserving people were being provided relief accordingly.
Addressing a news conference here at DC office, she added that seven million deserving households were being brought into the fold of Kafaalat through fully transparent survey.
She mentioned that the survey was being conducted in all districts and tehsils of Punjab, while data collection of the needy people was started in Lahore last week and would be completed by June 30, 2021.
“Ehsaas survey is being executed in Lahore based on a hybrid approach. With the transparency and integrity at its core, the survey is being rolled out in collaboration with provincial government of Punjab, Punjab Education Department and district administration Lahore. Ehsaas partnering firm, SDPI will provide technical assistance to 1, 350 teachers from provincial Education department Lahore who are being trained to serve as enumerators”, she elaborated while describing the survey approach.
Dr Sania said, “Fully funded by the government of Pakistan, Ehsaas survey is hundred percent free of cost and voluntary in nature. Enumerators are collecting household data on the android tablets to determine the eligibility of surveyed households regarding the unconditional and conditional cash transfers under Ehsaas. A parallel desk-based enrolment mechanism will also be put in place later to register those who are missed out in the survey.”
Ehsaas Survey, she added, would cover each corner of the country till June 2021. Through this entirely apolitical survey, a new database was being established after 10 years to address the needs of the most disadvantaged households, particularly those in the informal sector. Kafaalat payments to new wave of deserving households through the survey had also begun yesterday. Newly identified deserving families would be registered till June in a phased manner after determining their eligibility and would be paid out of biometric ATMs, retail outlets and campsites of partnering banks; Habib Bank and Bank Alfalah, she added.
The SAPM appealed to the disadvantaged households to get themselves registered in the survey and cooperate with survey teams in order to benefit from Ehsaas stipends. She also urged the public to share the correct socio-economic data with enumerators when they came at the doorstep.
Dr. Sania elaborated, it was a digital survey that could not be cheated and was not based on assumptions as the survey teams collected the families’ data at their door-step and inserted it immediately into Ehsaas Programme system through digital applications and devices. The survey, she said, was based on target-subsidy by revamping the subsidy mechanism.
Ruling out any discrimination in the data collection, she made it clear that the survey was being conducted irrespective of one’s cast, ethnic, religious or any political affiliation. She mentioned that financial assistance to the deserving families through Ehsaas Kafalat Programme, primary school education stipends for students, Ehsas Amdan, and interest-free loans etc. was being provided on the basis of the survey. Complete sincerity, transparency and fairness were being ensured in the survey to be completed by June 30, 2021, she added.
SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar also called upon the media organizations to play their effective role in creating awareness about the survey among the general public, asserting that it’s a voluntary process and free of cost therefore the people must cooperate with the surveying teams.
She added that respective district administrations in collaboration with Education Department were mobilizing the teachers on voluntary ground for conducting the survey, an activity after the school time.
Dr. Sania Nishtar said that effective measures were being taken to obstruct the fraudster, who deceived the innocent people by sending them fake SMS, whatsapp, facebook and other social media messages regarding Ehsaas Programme and minted money from the poor people in the name of incorporating/registering them into the Ehsaas data. “As soon, we find any such activity, we block their SIM numbers, mobile phone, whatsapp, facebook and other social media IDs, ” she maintained.
“Providing social protection to people is government’s responsibility and we, at Ehsas Programme, are making all-out efforts to perform this cause with all sincerity and transparency.”
Later answering the reporters’ queries, she said that 3.8 million deserving families had been identified and CNIC numbers of 2.2 million women had been received out of which 1.8 million CNICs were valid and the government had immediately extended relief to those 1.8 million families. While, the deserving families having invalid CNICs were sent SMS to get new or renew their CNICs according to be able to receive Ehsaas Programme’s support.
To a question, Dr. Sania Nishtar said that people were being provided fiscal support/relief under Ehsas Programme soon after the survey, citing that Prime Minister had recently inaugurated Ehsaas Programme initiatives at Kalar Saidan, Sahiwal and South Waziristan after completion of poverty survey in those areas. She said that SMS were being extending to 200, 000 to 280, 000 needy/deserving people enrolled in the Ehsaas Programme on daily basis, asking them to collect their payments under Ehsaas Programme.
To another question, she clarified that Ehsaas Programme received budget from Finance Ministry and did not have direct link with any foreign donor.
Responding to a journalist’s query, she said that Ehsaas Programme had very effective data security framework and policies regarding data collection and sharing etc.