ISLAMABAD - Reminding Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of the Ehsaas initiative’s novelty, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said on Tuesday that all the projects of social protection launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan were ‘new’ and ‘fresh’.

In a reaction to Bilawal’s statement about the initiative, he cited names of some national level programmes, rolled out under the umbrella of Ehsaas including Ehsaas Kafalaat, saving accounts, emergency cash, scholarships, interest free loans and Kafalaat for special persons.

He also mentioned other initiatives which were operating in selected districts. It included Ehsaas Nashonuma, Ehsaas Amdan, Ehsaas Langars and Koi Bhooka Na Soye program.

He pointed out some pilot projects of Ehsaas that included provision of subsidy to its beneficiaries through Utility Stores, Ehsaas Rehriban and others.

As regards to Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), he said: “Bilawal Saheb! If you are tired of telling lies, take a moment to listen to the truth. The name of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) is same as no change has been made to it.”

The minister said that the PPP had used the BISP to commit corruption as 850,000 undeserving people were enlisted in the programme during its tenure. “It became an epitome of systematic corruption during the PPP’s tenure,” he added.

He said that it was the PTI government which had used modern technologies to exclude 0.85 million undeserving beneficiaries from the welfare programme after thorough scrutiny. “The beneficiaries also included the government officers of grade 17 to 21,” he added.

On the other hand, he said that Ehsaas was the first social protection initiative which was being run through digital means, and without political interference, adding: “During Corona, 31 per cent of the Ehssas Emergency Cash was distributed in Sindh which is the highest rate in any province [of the country].” He said all the initiatives under Ehsaas were being appreciated by the public as deserving people were reaping its benefits successfully. “It has also been praised by the international organisations such as World Bank,” he added.

The minister said the initiative was developed in accordance with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had been striving to transform the country into Madina like state. “Such programmes are meant to take responsibility of a layman and the oppressed class,” he added.