The government is relaxing the eligibility threshold/criteria for accommodating more people under the “Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme” mainly daily wagers/laborers, whose livelihood has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced a relief package of Rs. 200 billion for daily wagers/laborers and another Rs. 144 billion for relief of vulnerable families which are aimed at providing quick relief to all those who have been affected by the pandemic.

According to the sources, around 93 percent of data of low-income groups is available with the government, collected under different household surveys for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). The government is likely to start disbursing the cash grants of Rs. 12,000 each next month to the deserving families affected by the coronavirus. This cash program is part of the relief package announced by the Prime Minister.

Sources revealed that the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program was approved for 10 million people, where Rs. 12,000 will be provided per family. The government is targeting around 67 million people total to benefit from the new plan. Daily wage earners/laborers are the top priority.

Sources said that there are three categories in the 10 million including 4.5 million existing Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries (all women) already getting Rs 2,000 will get extra Rs 1,000 emergency relief (total Rs 3,000) for the next four months.

Three million affectees would be identified through the national socio-economic database. Eligibility for the second category would be relaxed upward for people who previously earned up to Rs. 20,000 and have now suffered economic shock and are jobless.

Daily wage earners/laborers who were not fulfilling the required criteria are the top priority to be accommodated.

Around 2.5 million will be identified through the Ehsaas SMS route. An SMS campaign to be launched in two weeks will allow others not currently enrolled in the database to seek assistance. District Administrations will conduct assessments speedily after SMS is received.

It was further noted that data analytics will be used to ensure that the system is not abused. CNICs of those declared eligible will be passed to Ehsaas partner banks Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and Bank Alfalah and simultaneously an SMS message will be sent to them directing them to collect money through the nearest bank.

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