ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday launched a web portal to financially support those eligible individuals who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 pandemic, promising to providing succor to the downtrodden and underprivileged classes through the government’s flagship Ehsaas programme.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Imran said he would personally monitor the government’s Covid 19 Relief Fund and assured the donors that their donations would be judiciously distributed in a transparent manner.
“There has been little transparency and trackability in the use of donor funds in the past. Pakistanis are the most giving nation. Their generosity is legendary. I want to give them the confidence that we will be fully transparent with the use of all donor funds we receive”, he said.
“I have made the decision that my COVID 19 fund will be used to give emergency cash to labourers and others who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the Covid 19 crisis. I am opening a web-portal today so that we can begin receiving applications,” he added.
“Those who will qualify for assistance will get Emergency Cash of Rs12,000. I encourage all of you to donate. For each rupee donated by the donors, 4 rupees will be committed by the government,” the prime minister added.
On March 31, the Prime Minister’s Covid-19 Relief fund was announced and to-date, Rs3 billion had been mobilised. The prime minister had made the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division the administrator of the fund. A policy council is also being set up for the oversight of the fund.
Under the Ehsaas programme, Imran said Rs83 billion had so far been distributed among 6.8 million families in the last three weeks. “In the second phase, those individuals would be supported who have lost jobs during the pandemic,” he added.
The web portal has been set up and applications are invited from those who fall in the categories mentioned in the drop menu of the application which can be accessed on https://ehsaaslabour.nadra.gov.pk/ehsaas/.
The prime minister observed that he was aware that a number of people did not know how to proceed with the web-based process, but they could seek help from the students, whereas the Tiger Force could also prove handy in this regard.
The registered people would be scrutinised and only qualified individuals would get the cash support, Imran said. “The distribution will be made on merit and there will be no political interference. All deserving will get the support on merit irrespective of their political affiliations,” he added.
The prime minister urged the nation to show discipline and prudence to face the Covid-19 challenge and stressed the need for observing the social distancing with all the precautionary measures. “Nobody knows how much this pathogen will last, so the people should take extra care and adopt self-discipline.”
Imran also expressed his displeasure with the treatment of infected people by the police, and reiterated that in independent societies, these things did not take place. He requested the Covid-19 patients quarantine themselves in their homes as all the infected patients did not require to be hospitalised.
About the latest coronavirus pandemic situation, he said that efforts were being made globally to resume businesses and trade activities. “Even the hardest-hit countries in the West with sound economies are opening different sectors as they realise that continuing with the prolonged lockdown is causing negative impacts.”
The prime minister said they had opened the construction industry to provide relief to the labour class and daily wagers. These incentives, which the government had announced for the industry had been unprecedented, he added.
Later, Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar gave an overview of the support programme for the jobless. She said under the Ehsaas programme such individuals would be supported with cash.
Talking to the media after the opening of the portal, Dr Nishtar, said the principles and process that had been adopted for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash would be fully applied to the Prime Minister’s Covid 19 Funds.
“For us it is critical to uphold transparency, rule-based controls, and the use of data analysis for the selection of beneficiaries. The system of identification will be fully apolitical and free from human interference,” she said.
“Payments will be made after biometric verification and the tehsil level data will be made public with regards to the number of beneficiaries and real-time bank disbursement and withdrawal details will be made public” she added.
(WITH INPUT FROM APP)