Senate body expresses concern over verification process under Ehsaas program

Ijaz Kakakhel

Members of a legislative body of Upper House of Parliament on Friday expressed serious concerns regarding the biometric verifications under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program and the Benazir Income Support Program, which in some cases were unable to be established due to age and occupation.

As the beneficiaries were poor persons and they were confronting multiple problems while taking cash under these programs of social welfare.

However, the Committee was assured that all out efforts were being made to address the issue and ensure ease of operations. It was revealed that less than seven percent of beneficiaries faced this problem and were given 16 attempts before being referred back.

Transactions for such cases were routed through banks. Keeping in view similar issues a long term plan is being formulated.

These issues were discussed during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, which was held today at Parliament House whil Senator Naseebullah Bazai was on chair.

Senator Seeme Ezdi, Senator Keshoo Bai, Senator Molvi Faiz Muhammad and senior officers of the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division along with all concerned attended the meeting.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection (Federal Minister), Dr. Sania Nishtar was also present.

The agenda entailed detailed briefings on Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program and the Benazir Income Support Program.

The Committee was informed of the various programs being administered under these two umbrellas and measures taken to ensure transparency of the programs. It was stressed that the objective of these programs was to address on-ground core issues related to human development.

Regarding disbursement of funds; the committee was informed that initially the NFC formula was being used. However, now disbursements are made on account of the poverty index as per data of the National Socio-economic Survey.

Regarding Federal and Provincial share in the budget, the Committee was informed the Federal Government has allocated 35 percent for the program and 65 percent responsibility is to be shouldered by the provinces.

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