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ISLAMABAD: Senior officials of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) met on Saturday to review implementation of Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and Observatory that is “premised to ensure that organizations involved in delivery of welfare are effective and responsive to the needs of the disadvantaged populations.”

Presided over by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar, the meeting was attended by senior officials from PASSD including Secretary Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Additional Secretary Dr Ismat Tahira and those from the ancillary organisations of PASSD including Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM), Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO).

Officials of Higher Education Commission (HEC) also attended the meeting.

“Transparency and integrity are at the heart of policy and observatory,” an official statement quoted Nishtar as saying at the meeting.

In November 2019, PASSD formally began the execution of the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and Observatory, following its approval by the federal cabinet.

According to PASSD, to drive forward a transparency and integrity revolution, the policy stipulates a range of measures around how governing board should operate, which policies and legal instruments are critical, and the significance of conflict of interest and whistleblowing.

It also outlines the organizational framework to reinforce integrity through risk management and assurance, maintenance of risk registers, appointment of accountability officers; error, fraud and corruption frameworks, information technology security systems, solidification of financial and fiduciary systems, procurement systems, access to information, electronic filing, development of work plans, and creation of credible data sets.

Also, the policy strongly aims to abolish discretionary powers.

The policy also specifies that by the end of four years, PASSD will strive to use blockchain technology driven systems to safeguard data transparency and integrity particularly for the registration of assets, verification of identity and the tracking of transactions.

Earlier on Friday, Nishtar presided over a meeting that reviewed progress on One Window Ehsaas, a single-window information and service approach for better access to multiple Ehsaas programmes.

The meeting shaped up structural plan for Ehsaas One Window operation.

With an aim to extend maximum facilitation and information on Ehsaas to the disadvantaged populations, the government plans to open the first Ehsaas Physical Centre in Islamabad and launch the initiative by March 2021.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020