Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited a branch of Bank Alfalah located at Shuba Chowk in Peshawar on Monday to oversee final preparations for the launch of the new Kifalat cash-transfer program, which will enable cash disbursements of Ehsaas Kifalat Programme.
Sitting under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the Kifalat programme will use a fully biometric payment system to provide safe, digital cash payments to millions of women across the country, giving them access to a bank account for the first time in their lives.
Beneficiaries of the programme are women with no other source of income. They are being identified through door-to-door surveys to be completed in three phases across Pakistan and there is an option built into the programme that allows missed households to appeal their exclusion.
“The Ehsaas Kifalat programme is a major component of the government’s plans to build a welfare state which supports the poorest in society”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar during the visit. “Under previous cash transfer programs, women were forced to travel long distances to access retail shops, and too often were subject to abuse by greedy retail agents. Under the new system, women will be able to go to biometric ATMs and branches, empowering them through financial inclusion and protecting them from corrupt financial mistreatment.” During the visit, Dr. Nishtar observed how Bank Alfalah plans to provide a welcoming environment for those people who have not previously used a bank, including their methods for guiding beneficiaries through the new system of finger-print security.