Ehsaas is a multidimensional poverty alleviation program launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Ehsaas program is ushering a positive change to the people of Pakistan and has laid the foundation for reducing poverty at the grass-root level. The initiative of the current government is to transform the country into a welfare state by tackling the elementary inequities that COVID-19 brought about, especially for the low-income households including the labor class, women, transgenders, and the youth.
Ehsaas is driven by a professional like Sania Nishter who has practically worked for poverty alleviation well before taking over the reins of the Ehsaas Programme. This initiative has been thought through with foreseeable results in the near future. However, a lot of people in Pakistan oppose the program on the pretext that the government is promoting the idea of getting food without making a conscious effort to earn money themselves. Nonetheless, it has been able to gain a lot of appreciation internationally. Ehsaas Program has also been able to take its place in the good books of the World Bank.
Here are some of the salient features of the Ehsaas Program:
- Ehsaas Rashan Riayat program aims to reduce the impact of inflation on the lower segments of society. Under the program, a subsidy of Rs. 1,000 a month will be granted to each of the eligible families on the purchase of flour, pulses, ghee/cooking oil.
- Ehsaas has developed a digitally enabled mobile point of sale (mPOS) system/app in collaboration with the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to serve beneficiaries through a network of Kiryana stores designated by NBP, all over the country.
- The government will incentivize Kiryana merchants by giving them attractive commissions (5-8%) on Ehsaas’ subsidy amount to encourage them to benefit more and more people. Based on performance, there will also be a lucky draw for Kiryana merchants giving away cars, motorcycles, mobile phones, and various other prizes every quarter.
- The Ehsaas program has become a cornerstone that has filled the gender gap and it has set new precedents for women empowerment in the country, offering new incentives/ opportunities- in particular the middle class, and lower-middle-class women. The aim is to uplift women out of poverty with programs such as Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship, Ehsaas Interest-Free Loan, Ehsaas Amdan, Waseela-e-Taleem Digital, and Ehsaas Nashonuma.
- Special persons in Pakistan have always faced multiple challenges due to neglect and unavailability of resources. They have remained secluded and marginalized in the national developmental policy. However, the Ehsaas Program has become a source for mainstreaming the special community through offering various opportunities and resources.
- All transgender people holding valid CNICs will be brought into the fold of Ehsaas Kafalat. The programme will provide stipend of Rs2,000 per month along with savings bank account. Transgender people usually live as a separate community; all transgender people in a household will be declared as Kafalat beneficiaries.
The Ehsaas program is an excellent initiative on paper but its proper implementation requires a lot of hard work and consistency. It is hoped that for the benefit of the people of the country, the government implement this program wholeheartedly. Thus, keeping it away from the influence of the ruling elites, and guiding and interacting with the beneficiaries in order to achieve the desired results.