Islamabad, 06 April 2020 – Talha Akhtar:
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr. Sania Nishtar says transfer of cash assistance of 12,000 rupees to deserving families under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program will begin this week.
Speaking in a programme of Radio Pakistan on Monday, she said the federal government is providing cash assistance to support the vulnerable segments of society, affected due to lockdown in the wake of COVID-19. She said deserving people should send an SMS to 8171 and so far over 34 million messages have been received through this service. She said under this programme, a deserving family will get a one-time assistance of 12,000 rupees to cater daily needs for four months.
Elaborating the eligibility criteria, she said there will three types of messages in response of people’s SMS like eligible, ineligible, or contact to the concerned district administration. She said those, who will get a message asking to contact the district administration, are not required to go anywhere now as their particulars are being verified automatically. She said those, who will get a message of eligibility, will be informed, in a follow up SMS, that from where and when they should collect their amount. She said beneficiaries of this programme will be finalized through proper scrutinizing mechanisms like data analytics, wealth profiling, average monthly bills, and travel history. She said. Government employees are not eligible for this scheme.
Replying to a caller, Dr. Sania Nishtar said there will be an option for appeal if a person gets a notification that he is not eligible for the assistance. She said a helpline for this purpose will be established soon.
Answering another caller, she said more than one SMS can be sent from a same mobile number as data has the ability to further scrutinize profile of every individual person.
Replying to a caller regarding SMS response to disabled people, Dr. Sania Nishtar said all such people will have to register with the NADRA database for becoming eligible for financial assistance or package. She made it clear if a disabled person is not registered with NADRA database then it will be hard to include him in the eligible list during the scrutiny process.
She also made it clear that every SMS sent to 8171 is responded promptly and there might be some delay due to rush on the system as millions of people are attempting to send messages simultaneously.
She said we have sent messages of eligibility to three million people on the very first day of the SMS campaign.