What is Ehsaas?
Ehsaas is the biggest and boldest programme ever launched in Pakistan to uplift marginalized people. Ehsaas is unique because of its:
- Scale: It is currently an umbrella initiative of 134 policies and programs, and the list is growing
- Multisectoral character: 34 agencies of the federal government and all federating units are tasked to implement Ehsaas
- Breadth and depth: Ehsaas addresses state capture, social protection, livelihoods and human capital development
- Process of formulation: 23 consultations were held over a 45-day planning period; 359 experts were formally consulted
- Governance and integrity Policy: The process of implementing Ehsaas began with the Governance and Integrity Policy
- Institutional arrangements: A new division has been created to implement Ehsaas and there will be a formal mechanism of engagement with the private sector
- Funding: for social protection has been doubled despite financial constraints
The Policy statement relating to Ehsaas can be accessed here.
Consultations on the Ehsaas Strategy. were held online with public from September 17, 2019 to October 17, 2019.
The status of key Ehsaas initiatives as of May 2020:
- The development of the National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) 2020 has been 20% completed. From January 31, 2020, this new data about people’s socio-economic conditions has been deployed as the basis of all benefits, including the Kafaalat programme. About self-registration timetable under NSER, find out more here.
- One-window Ehsaas for social protection and livelihoods will assist beneficiaries and reduce duplication and abuse (software is being developed, deployment soon).
- The Kafalaat programme has begun to be rolled out, driving financial and digital inclusion for around 7 million women. Find out more here.
- Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net Tahafuz will assist those that have suffered a catastrophic event (commencement phase 1 in April 2020). Tahafuz will also reform the individual financial assistance system of Pakistan Bait ul Mal.
- The Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships programme was launched in November 2019 and 50,000 undergraduate scholarships were awarded to deserving students by the Prime Minister in March 2020. Higher Education Commission of Pakistan is an implementing partner of this programme. The programme will support 200,000 students over four years. Find out more here.
- To address stunting in children, specialized nutrition food initiative for mothers and children up to 2 years is in the final stage of planning and will be commenced soon.
- Education conditional cash transfer programme is being introduced in lagging districts of Pakistan encouraging out-of-school children to acquire education. In October 2019, Ehsaas approved an increase in education stipend amount for girls from 750 to 1000; and the plan to extend the educational Conditional Cash Transfer programme from 50 to 100 districts. A total of 3 million children, half of which would be girls will benefit from this over the next 3 years.
- 500 digital hubs will be established at the Tehsil level for poor families with limited opportunities. Relevant public resources and information will be made accessible to create opportunities for poor families to graduate out of poverty.
- A new policy for disabled people was announced in July 2019. This will impact 2.5% of the country’s population. The NADRA-certified differently abled will get Insaf Insurance cards and will have universal access to assistive devices. Health plan for disabled was launched by the PM in August 2019. A 1% quota for disabled government employees in government accommodation, 2% quota for the disabled in Naya Pakistan housing scheme, and 2% quota in employment will be ensured.
- To ensure the protection of orphaned children, work on the new policy for orphanages, is in final stages to stipulate standards for these facilities and to improve quality. Several new orphanages—Dar-ul-Ehsaas—had been established in the last year.
- The Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council's platform is being utilized to develop partnerships with the private sector, and soon a social partnerships platform will be announced.
- A new board was appointed in 2019 for the Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO), which had been totally non-functional for the last 5 years. Find out more here.
- The Ehsaas Labour Expert Group is in final stages of releasing a recommendations report. One of its recommendations, which involves incrementally bringing the informal workers into the social security net has been approved by the Cabinet for implementation. The policy entails mandatory bank accounts as the initial step to formalization and to enforce minimum wage.
- The National Poverty Graduation Initiative (NPGI) was launched on July 5, 2019. This Rs. 42.65 billion NPGI is being rolled out in over 100 lagging districts across the country and will impact 16.28 million vulnerable people, with 50% of loans reserved for women women. As part of this, 80,000 interest free loans will be given out every month for the next 4 years and more than 220,000 asset transfers will be made. Find out more here.
- The Ehsaas Amdan programme is Livelihoods and Jobs initiative that rolled out in 375 union councils of 23 districts through which assets are given to the deserving to enable them to graduate out of poverty. For the purpose of this programme, assets include livestock (goats, cows, buffaloes and poultry), agricultural inputs, body of Chingchi rickshaws, and inputs for small retail outlets and small enterprises. Find out more here.
- To develop solutions for poverty at scale, the Cabinet had approved the Solutions Innovation Policy in August 2019. Through a competitive process, private sector partners are currently being identified to provide solutions at scale. Find out more here.
- Ehsaas TV and a corresponding online portal consolidating free government resources will go live soon.
- Free accessibility of data is being ensured through the District Development Portal, ‘Data4Pakistan’ in which poverty and other socio-economic indicators across Pakistan’s districts have been made available to policy makers and the public. Data4Pakistan was launched on March 10, 2020. Find out more here.
- Pakistan Bait ul Mal (PBM) is leveraging philanthropic contributions. Through this approach a Thalassemia Centre has been established, Ramzan food packages have been distributed to 18,400 families, 18,000 educational kits have been provided to students, and Iftari was arranged for 50,000 people for 25 days in 2019.
- PBM is piloting new initiatives. One Great Home for old citizens has been established in Karachi. Street children have been enrolled in its Schools for Rehabilitation of Child Labour. PBM has started registrations for assistance towards Cochlear Implants. In its Women Empowerment Centres, PBM has established Management Committees to improve service delivery.
- PASSD has issued the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity policy after getting it approved by the Cabinet in November 2019. All Ehsaas implementing agencies are bound by this policy. Find out more here.
- Langars are being launched across the country since October 2019 in public private partnership with Saylani Welfare International Trust to ensure those on the lowest incomes have access to healthy meals. So far two Langars have been launched in Islamabad and one in south Punjab. Also, ‘Langar-on-wheels’ initiative is introduced in Islamabad and Lahore to provide food aid to labour class affected by COVID-19 crisis. Find out more here.
- Given the existence of gender inequities in Pakistan, Ehsaas is centred around principle of inclusivity and comprehensiveness with a focus on leaving no one behind, especially women and marginalized populations. Therefore, Ehsaas encompasses several initiatives targeted towards women, across a plethora of domains including financial empowerment, education, healthcare, legislation, policy and digital inclusion. Find out more here.
- The Ehsaas Financial Inclusion is a multi-component initiative that was launched in November 2019 in presence of Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands who is United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). Ehsaas Financial Inclusion initiatives include “one woman one bank account policy”, bank accounts for informal workers under Mazdoor ka Ehsaas and promotion of access to credit for the bottom of the pyramid. Find out more here.
- Launched by the Prime Minister on April 1, 2020, the Rs. 144 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme has been designed in the context of the economic hardship being experienced by the vulnerable due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The programme is aimed to provide Rs. 12,000 each to 12 million deserving families through a biometrically enabled payment system. To check eligibility, deserving people can send their CNIC numbers to 8171 till April 19, 2020. Find out more here.
- The Prime Minister launched an application web-portal for COVID-19 livelihood-loss-affectees on May 2, 2020 and committed the PM’s COVID-19 Relief fund to those who will qualify for assistance. The cash handout of Rs. 12,000 will be given to deserving individuals through the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme. Find out more here.
- The Ehsaas Rashan Portal is a donor-beneficiary linking system for rashan distribution. It has been set up to enable the private sector and civil society organizations to reach the most vulnerable deserving beneficiaries and provide them food rashan packs or cash equivalent in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Through the portal, the role of government will be to facilitate linking of donors and beneficiaries (e.g., on geographic basis) and provide data of eligible beneficiaries to donors. Find out more here.