Prime Minister Imran Khan will launch the Ehsaas Qarz-i-Hasna Scheme and the Asset Transfer Scheme next month under the umbrella of "Ehsaas" Program.

Under the Ehsaas Qarz-i-Hasna Scheme, over 80,000 loans would be disbursed each month among youth and women enabling them to undertake their own business ventures and help their families extricate from poverty trap.  These loans would be prioritized in the lagging and underdeveloped districts.

Appreciating the efficacy of the existing program, the Prime Minister approved injection of an additional amount of Rs. 05 billion to the existing fund so that the program is launched in collaboration of the existing partners of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.

Asset transfer could be many things. It is mostly in kind. It includes livestock (eg. goat and chicken), agriculture tools and supplies. It could be a sewing machine or material to support local crafts. An asset may also be a small shop. Asset could also be cash to help start a small business. "Assets" under this scheme will be given one time and are not expected to be returned.

The decision was taken during a briefing by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Safety Nets and Poverty Alleviation (PASS), on the status of implementation of the Ehsaas programme.

"Ehsaas" is a comprehensive and multifaceted program with 115 policies under four pillars. These include addressing elite capture and making the government system work to create equality; safety nets for disadvantaged segments of the population; jobs and livelihoods; and human capital development. Ehsaas is a inter-sectoral program to be implemented by 26 federal agencies, four provinces and special areas.

Dr. Sania briefed the Prime Minister about timelines to implement those Ehsas projects and policies for which the Division of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety and its attached departments have responsibility. The timeline of implementation of the Kifalat program and the manner in which financial and digital inclusion of women will be enabled by October this year and the transformative changes in the BISP cash transfer system that are currently underway. She also gave details about the demand-side shock-oriented safety net, Tahafuz, certain windows under which are expected to be deployed by July 2019. In addition, details and timelines of the graduation and interest free loans programme and the new Solutions Challenge Policy for lagging districts were also discussed.