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LAHORE: Special Assistant of the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Social Security and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar has said that 70 percent of the Ehsaas digital survey, a nationwide assessment of socioeconomic and poverty condition of households, has been completed and deserving families qualified for the Ehsaas programme are being provided financial assistance.

She expressed these views while addressing a press conference here on Thursday. She was flanked by District Commissioner Lahore Mudassar Riaz and other senior officials.

She further told the media that last week the digital survey was launched in the provincial capital while a similar survey was in progress in other parts of the Punjab, and the entire process of data collection will be completed by the end of June this year.

“The purpose of the survey was to identify deserving households that fall below the poverty line and thus qualify for various Ehsaas programmes. The survey teams are collecting data from the female members of the household at their doorsteps and registered on android tablets. The use of technology will minimise the fabrication of the data,” she said.

The Special Assistant averred that the entire process of the survey is transparent, impartial and purely on merit; “the data is collected irrespective of one’s caste, ethnic, religious or any political affiliation”.

She said that based on the survey financial assistance are given to the deserving households through Ehsaas Kafalat Programme, primary school education stipends for students, Ehsaas Amdan, and interest-free loans.

According to her, by the end of June, 7 million qualified households will benefit from the programme. Till date, 3.8 million deserving families have been identified of which Computerise National Identity Card (CNIC) numbers of 2.2 million women had been received and only 1.8 million CNICs were valid. The government had immediately provided financial assistance to these families. The female members of the deserving families are informed of their entitlement for assistance through SMS.

To a question, Dr Nishtar said that only on Wednesday, an SMS was sent to 200,000 needy people who were enrolled in the Ehsaas Programme, asking them to collect their payments under the Programme and today (Thursday) 280,000 people receive similar SMS.

“The entire programme is purely funded by the Federal Finance Ministry and no international donors are involved,” she added.

The Special Assistant requested the media organisations to play their role in creating public awareness about the survey, adding that it is a voluntary process and free-of-cost. She appealed to the people to cooperate with the survey teams.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021