ISLAMABAD                  -          A total of Rs89.143 billion have been distributed among 7.307 million deserving families across the country under categories-I and II of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme.

With the commencement of payments to category-3 beneficiaries, Dr Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, made an unannounced visit to the payment site here at Nurpur Shahan in the outskirts of Bari Imam on Friday. She toured the site to get a first-hand look at the precautionary measures and biometric disbursement services being offered to Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries that fall under categories-2 and 3. The beneficiaries under the category-3 have been identified through district administrations.

Alongside that, payments to category-2 beneficiaries, who entered the programme through 8171 SMS service, are also underway.

Dressed up in Burqa, Dr Nishtar showed up at the payment site as Ehsaas beneficiary, seeking Cash stipend of Rs12,000 through biometric system. She sat in the queue and waited with beneficiaries who were sitting there to receive the Ehsaas Emergency Cash.

She also interacted with recipients and volunteers on the ground and facilitated payments to several beneficiaries herself. She also issued directions to retailers and volunteers to make better use of preventive measures to ensure safety of the people while ensuring transparent payments.

During the visit, Dr Nishtar was pleased to see how retailers, the district administration, security agencies and volunteers were providing a welcoming environment for deserving beneficiaries, including their methods for guiding beneficiaries through the new system of fingerprint security.

While talking to the media, Dr Nishtar commented, “The purpose of this visit in disguise is to assess the campsite arrangements in terms of quality of services, transparency and accuracy in payment system and COVID-19 preventive measures.” She continued, “Beneficiaries of the programme are mainly the labour class whose means of income are badly affected by COVID-19 restrictions. I strongly believe that it adds value to policymaking when you go in the field and interact with people on your own to gain first-hand knowledge. Today’s visit inspired me greatly.”

Further, SAPM said that these surprise visits are important to improve the quality of programme delivery and she will be paying more such visits in future.

The Rs144 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash is largest social protection programme of the government in response to COVID-19 crisis that is serving 12 million families, dependent on daily wages through a data driven and biometrically enabled transparent system built in partnership with NADRA and two partnering banks.