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The deadline for the registration of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme ended on Sunday midnight while more than Rs 55 billion, so far, have been distributed among 4.6 million families as part of the federal government's initiative to provide cash assistance of Rs 12,000 to 12 million deserving families.
The total number of the applicants registered for seeking cash assistance under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme is likely to be around or over 10 million, it is learnt.
Till Friday, more than 85 million applicants had already registered for the programme on the government's designated number through text messaging.
Since Thursday, with the completion of the first phase of cash distribution to 4.5 million families, the financial assistance to the remaining 7.5 million deserving population has started. So far more than Rs 50 billion have been distributed to 4.16 million families, it is learnt.
Led by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr Sania Nishtar, the distribution of Rs 144 billion under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme has been ongoing countrywide since April 9. In the first phase of this programme, 4.5 million women already registered under Kifaalat Programme were provided cash assistance of Rs 12,000 each.
While the first phase of the cash distribution drive was only for women, in the second and final phase, 7.5 million applicants, both men and women, declared eligible for the cash assistance, after their registration with national socioeconomic database through the government's designated Short Messaging Service (SMS), web portal and district administrations concerned with the assistance of the relevant union councils, are being provided the cash assistance of Rs 12,000 each.
The federal cabinet recently earmarked Rs 200 billion to financially support the downtrodden segments of the society adversely affected by lockdown measures taken to stop the spread of coronavirus. Out of these funds, Rs 144 billion are being spent to provide Rs 12,000 each to 12 million families under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme. Each family eligible for financial assistance under this programme would be provided at once Rs 12,000 on the basis of four-monthly assistance of Rs 3,000 per month.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020