Disguised in burqa, Dr Sania Nishtar visits Ehsaas cash facility

Emergency cash payments to Category-III beneficiaries begin

Shabbir Hussain May 10, 2020

Disguised in a burqa, government’s point-person on social protection Dr Sania Nishtar on Friday paid a surprise visit to the Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment centre at Nurpur Shahan on the outskirts of Bari Imam, Islamabad to inspect the arrangements herself.

The government began payments to beneficiaries’ under category-III of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme, the flagship initiative of the PTI government. The Rs144 billion worth of programme aims to provide Rs12,000 to 12 million families.

“This visit in disguise was intended to assess the arrangements at the payment site in terms of quality of services, transparency and accuracy in payment system and adherence to the Covid-19 preventive measures,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar told reporters.

Around Rs89.143 billion has so far been distributed among 7.307 million families under categories-I and II of the programme.

She reviewed the precautionary measures and biometric disbursement services being offered to the beneficiaries, who have been identified with the help of district administrations. Alongside that, payments to families that fall under the category-II are also underway.

Dr Nishtar said: “Beneficiaries of the programme are mainly from the labour class whose means of income are badly affected because of Covid-19 restrictions. I

strongly believe that it adds value to policymaking when you go in the field and interact with the people to gain first-hand knowledge. Today’s visit inspired me greatly.”

The PM’s aide showed up at the payment site as an Ehsaas beneficiary seeking assistance to withdraw the cash stipend. She sat in the queue and interacted with recipients and volunteers. Moreover, she facilitated payments to several beneficiaries.

The SAPM was pleased to see the service being provided to the beneficiaries, including methods for guiding families through the new system of finger-print security.

However, she instructed retailers and volunteers to make better use of preventive measures to ensure people’s safety.

Such visits are important to improve the quality of the programme, she said, adding that more visits will be conducted in future.


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