ISLAMABAD        -         The government is likely to launch Ehsaas Kifalat programme by the end of ongoing month, through which it will give cash stipends to millions of most deserving and poorest women.

In first phase, Ehsaas Kifalat programme will be launched in 17 districts of the country which be later extended to the entire Pakistan, official source told The Nation here Wednesday.

The government is all set to launch Ehsass’ Kifalat programme by the end of January through which it will give cash stipends to seven million most deserving and poorest women all over the country, sources said. Giving further details, the source said that the government is launching Kifalat in three phases and the first phase comprises roll out in 17 districts of the country. Ehsaas Kifalat program differs from the existing cash transfer system of BISP. Unlike the “cash only” in the existing “cash transfer program of BISP”, under the Kifalat initiative, women will get bank accounts under the government’s “One Woman-One Bank Account Policy”.

Payments will be made under the new Ehsaas Digital Payment System, where all payments will be biometrically verified through high quality gadgets to eliminate fraud, with a real time reporting system integrated to identify errors. Women identified through a door-to-door survey will additionally go through a data analytics check to validate their socio-economic status, and to ensure that the true deserving are served. Government servants and their spouses will no longer be eligible under Kifalat.

Eligible women will have access to livelihood opportunities, which will pave the way for their graduation out of the program. The size of the cash transfer will be inflation-adjusted and has already been increased from Rs. 5,000 to Rs.5,500. All married women with CNICs living in the 216 villages on the line of control in AJK have been included in Ehsaas’ Kifalat program.

It is pertinent to mention here that March last year the PTI government had launched Ehsaas Program. Ehsaas’ poverty reduction strategy is articulated in four pillars and it currently embodies 115 policy actions. The four pillars 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. Under the 2nd pillar of safety nets for disadvantaged segments of the population new social protection programs Kifalat is being introduced. These will be executed through the agency, BISP.

In Pakistan 38.8% people suffer from poverty in one or other form, and 24.4% do not have enough money to satisfy their basic food and non-food needs. The government wants to identify the poor precisely to make government subsidies, targeted and several initiatives have been undertaken/are in the planning pipeline in this regard.