ISLAMABAD, Jan 31 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday launched Ehsaas Kafaalat programme to give stipend of Rs 2000 each to seven million poverty-stricken women, through a foolproof and biometric-enabled cash disbursal mechanism, across the country.

“The foundation of Pakistan as a welfare state is being made here. We have now started moving towards a welfare state. Soon, it will turn into the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal,” the prime minister said addressing the launching ceremony of the scheme.

The ceremony marked the distribution of the Kafaalat cards among the poorest women who sat beside the prime minister at the venue as per his own desire what the event moderator Senator Faisal Javed said were the only VVIPs of the event.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, other cabinet members, parliamentarians, diplomats and people from cross sections of the society attended the event.

Under the programme, each beneficiary woman would get a bank account and smart phone as part of the initiative to empower women through their formal interaction with the economy and digital inclusion.

“The smart phones would help educate the children of the poor women from their childhood. This will bring about a new revolution,” the prime minister remarked.

He said seven million women would benefit from the scheme while another six
million families had already been give health insurance card what was the biggest
achievement of the current government.

He said within fortnight, the government would launch another programme under
Ehsaas umbrella, to transfer assets to the poor women like cows, hens or others
to help them earn their livelihood.

The prime minister congratulated Dr Sania Nishtar for successfully launching the
scheme, amid immense pressure from the government which desired to utilize
Rs 200 billion allocated for its anti-poverty initiative without any delay.

He lauded her for developing a system based on data analytics to ensure that
the government’s assistance reached only to the deserving citizens, not the rich
ones, as the government had recently detected and delisted above 800,000 ineligible
people who had been receiving the cash assistance, despite having government job,
cars and having done foreign visits.

The prime minister said no anti-poverty initiative could meet success unless it was
transparent.

He said the beneficiaries of Kafaalat programme would also be able to benefit from
government’s upcoming ration scheme and other initiatives.

He said the initiatives including the student scholarship, youth skill training and
start-ups loan programme were solely aimed at uplifting the poor people in true
pursuance of the golden principles of the State of Madinah.

In her presentation, Dr Sania Nishtar drew a comparison between Kafaalat
and Benazir Income Support Programme, saying the former featured a 10-year
old database, multiple quarterly payment systems, paper-based surveys, sole
source contracted banks and being a standalone programme.

Contrarily, the Kafaalat program would provide monthly assistance through
a fully biometric system on point of sales agents with secure gadgets, biometric
ATMs and designated bank branches. The beneficiaries had been identified
through a door-to-door digital survey plus data analytics, desk and web surveys.

Contrary to BISP, the Kafaalt beneficiaries would be able to avail all the
Ehsaas graduation opportunities.

She said for the first time, the poor people would be able to get government
assistance on demand as they would not have to wait for 10 years to enlist
themselves in the poverty survey, rather they could get themselves registered
any time at the NADRA Desk Registration Centers to be established in each
Tehsil.

She said the enrollment of one million families in 70 districts had been started
which would start receiving stipend from February to March this year. Other
districts would be added by end of the year while more beneficiaries would be
included through desk registration over the course of the year.

Dr Sania Nishtar said under Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy, maximum
measures were being taken to ensure transparency in the programme through true
implementation of the whistleblower law, audit and data usage.

She said contrary to the previous governments, the prime minister had taken a
bold decision of replacing his photo from Kafaalat Card with that of Quaid-e-Azam and
resolved to eliminate corruption and political interventions from the social protection
initiatives.