ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar on Wednesday said that the upcoming Ehsaas Kafaalat tranche for the period July to December 2020 was all set to be released nationwide next week. 

With the release of Kafaalat tranche, biometrically enabled payment operations will be initiated in the entire country to serve Kafaalat recipients. In this regard, Ehsaas preparations are well underway with partnering banks-Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and Bank Alfalah Limited.

Ehsaas Kafaalat is the government’s flagship social protection programme through which it gives cash monthly stipends of Rs2,000 and bank accounts to the most deserving and poorest women across the country. As part of preparations, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited HBL branch located at Melody Market in Islamabad to assess preparations to improve the quality of cash withdrawal services through ATMs. She issued directives to bank to make better use of ATMs for Ehsaas Kafaalat recipients. Beneficiaries of the programme are the destitute women with no other source of livelihoods. 

“The Ehsaas digital payment system encourages women to go to biometric ATMs and branches of banks, empowering them through financial inclusion, said Dr. Nishtar. “I would encourage Kafaalat beneficiary women to withdraw cash through ATM machines of designated partner banks, wherever possible. It will not just protect them from corrupt financial mistreatment, but bank branches and ATMs also serve them with a receipt detailing transparent record of available cash balance in their saving accounts,” she further added.

Earlier this week, in a meeting with the banks’ presidents, Dr. Sania also urged them to make better use of ATMS so that marginalised segments have an option to access the premises of banks. In this regard, Dr. Sania said that she had been receiving feedback from the field that in many bank branches, officers do not wish to mire themselves in the hassle of serving long queues and therefore indicate that ATMs are not open. She emphasized on the use of bank ATMs in public interest. Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries now have the choice of going to, a biometrically enabled ATM, a biometric retail shop or any biometrically enabled branch of the relevant banks. Under Ehsaas, HBL serves cash disbursals in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and Bank Alfalah across KP, GB and AJK. Both banks are enhancing services across the country to ensure that women have easy access to their payments in a decent manner.

It is worth to mention here that while chairing an Ehsaas Kafaalat preparatory meeting last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan had granted approval to increase the number of Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries from 4.6 million to 7 million. The new deserving households will be identified after completing due diligence as per Ehsaas Kafaalat Policy. 

A poverty survey and analysis of the data is in the process of being completed phase wise across the country. 

 

Also, an option of Ehsaas registration desks has been built at the Tehsil levels in each district to include any missing households. Opening of registration desks is linked to the completion of poverty survey in that particular district.