April 29, 2021 at 5:43 pm
Chitral Times Report
ISLAMABAD: Tomorrow, Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Gilgit Baltistan will inaugurate the three major Ehsaas programmes in Gilgit Baltistan (GB). While in Gilgit, PM will announce the provincewide roll out of Ehsaas Nashonuma, Ehsaas secondary education stipends and Ehsaas One Woman One Account initiatives across GB. So far, 8 Ehsaas Nashonuma centers have been opened in 3 districts of GB including Diamer, Astore and Kharmang. In collaboration with the provincial government of GB, a detailed roadmap has been developed to open Ehsaas Nashonuma Centers in every district of GB. Ehsaas Nashonuma is pegged on improving nutrition and health in the first thousand days of life, starting at conception and finishing at age of two. Under the Prime Minister’s “One Woman One Bank Account Initiative”, Ehsaas Bachat Account (saving account) for Ehsaas Kafalaat beneficiaries has been launched in thirteen districts of the country.
The initiative will formally be launched in Hunza Nagar district and will be scaled up later nationwide. Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries will have the option of either drawing their money or saving money into digital wallets. For the first time, the poorest women in Pakistan will have the option to save their payments. Currently 13 districts include Haripur (KP), Muzaffarabad (AJK), Hunza Nagar (GB), Quetta (Balochistan), Islamabad (ICT), Faisalabad, Okara, Sheikhupura, Sargodha (Punjab), Matiari, Karachi Malir, Sanghar and Khairpur (Sindh). PM will also announce the first of its kind Ehsaas’ secondary education conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme for secondary school going children of deserving households. Ehsaas has already approved and budgeted for the expansion of the conditional cash transfer from the primary level to the secondary education level. The new secondary education CCT has been structured along the lines of Ehsaas Stipend policy that allocates higher stipend amount for girls as compared to boys.
Children of underprivileged households will be provided conditional cash grants of Rs. 2,500 for boy child and Rs. 3,000 per quarter for girl child on fulfilment of 70% attendance in school. This programme will commence from the next financial year and will be deployed in all districts of GB. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has already been agreed with the provincial government of Gilgit Baltistan. According to a press statement, Dr. Sania Nishtar stated, “Overall, under the Ehsaas umbrella, there are many programmes for GB. Post-COVID-19, there is a need for new forms of social protection and the need to reach out to various disadvantaged regions.” Adding further, she said, “The education conditional cash transfer programme is being expanded to secondary level, the health and nutrition programme, Ehsaas Nashonuma is being upscaled in time and the phased expansion of the One Woman One Account initiative countrywide, is well on time this year. Also, additional resources have been allocated for the Ehsaas National Poverty Graduation Initiative.” Ehsaas Statistics for GB Since the launch of PM’s Ehsaas in March 2019, several Ehsaas programmes and initiatives- Ehsaas Kafaalat, Ehsaas primary school stipends, Ehsaas Nashonuma, Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship, Ehsaas interest free loans, Ehsaas Emergency Cash and several others have been rolled out across GB to benefit marginalized populations.
Under Ehsaas interest free loans programme, small interest free loans worth 1.24 Billion have been disbursed among 30,903 beneficiaries in 9 districts: Gilgit, Astore, Ghanche, Ghizer, Hunza, Kharmang, Nagar, Shigar and Skardu. Through Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship programme, 1,178 scholarships have been awarded to deserving and talented students 948% girls) of GB in the year 2019-20. During the COVID-19 situation, Ehsaas Emergency Cash worth Rs. 1.42 Billion was disbursed in Gilgit Baltistan among 124,534 beneficiaries. Under primary education conditional cash transfer programme, 58,288 deserving children are benefitting from the quarterly stipends (Rs. 2000 for girl child and Rs. 1,500 for boy child per quarter). Across Baltistan, Astore and Ghizer, 8 Ehsaas Nashonuma Centers have been opened to serve pregnant and lactating mothers and children under two years of age. Total 1,408 beneficiaries (children and mothers) have been enrolled under Nashonuma in 3 districts of GB and will get specialized nutritious food to prevent stunting in children along with cash stipends (Rs. 2000 for girl child and Rs. 1,500 for boy child per quarter).
In Ehsaas Kafaalat, 56,920 women beneficiaries are being served with the monthly stipends. The number is likely to increase with the enrollment of new households through the ongoing Ehsaas survey. For the ongoing Kafaalat payments, as many as 53 specialized campsites have been set up in GB to facilitate biometrically enabled disbursements to deserving households enrolled in Kafaalat. GB based recipients can also withdraw Kafaalat stipends from biometric ATM machines of Ehsaas partnering bank, Bank Alfalah. To identify new deserving households for Ehsaas Kafaalat programme, the Ehsaas survey is currently 43.76% complete in GB. The android based survey is progressing smoothly to accomplish by June 30, 2021. Ehsaas Registration desks will be set up over the next three months in every tehsil after the survey reaches a 70% milestone in each district. This will enable missed households to come forward and self-register themselves in the survey. Aiming to serve free shelter and meals to daily wage earners, one new Panagah has recently been opened in Skardu, the first in GB and the second will be opened soon in Gilgit.