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The federal government's newly launched Ehsaas Emergency Cash Transfers initiative aims to provide financial assistance mainly to labourers and other deserving population who have lost their livelihood due to the rapid spread of coronavirus across the country.

The federal government is mainly relying on Prime Minister's Relief Fund, which calls for donations from the donors to contribute, to provide relief to deserving population adversely affected by the coronavirus spread, under this initiative, Business Recorder has learnt.

Moreover, Rs56 billion already allocated for the labourers would also be spent on Ehsaas Emergency Transfers, it is further learnt.

"Funding constraints to help out those in need make a real challenge for the federal government but the response of privileged donors to PM's call for donations has been encouraging and donors are making commitments and contributions in the different telethons led by the PM himself. It is hoped that funding would not be a problem for Ehsaas Emergency Cash Transfers venture," an official privy to the matter said.

Earlier this month, the federal cabinet earmarked Rs 200 billion to financially support the downtrodden segments of society. Out of these funds, Rs 144 billion are being spent to provide Rs 12,000 each to 12 million families. The remaining Rs 56 billion have been allocated as a standby arrangement in case the number of those who are to be provided with the cash assistance exceeds the total estimated number, official sources told Business Recorder

The number of people to be provided assistance under this programme would be determined using NADRA's data analytics keeping in view the funds available, the source added.

Under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Transfers initiative, those who will qualify for assistance after verification from NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority) will get emergency cash of Rs 12,000. For each rupee donated by the donors, four rupees will be committed by the federal government.

According to the federal government, the PM has made the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division the administrator of the fund, and, in order to ensure robust governance and oversight of the fund, a policy council is being set up.

"I have made the decision that my Covid-19 fund will be used to give emergency cash to labourers and others who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. I am opening a web-portal today so that we can begin receiving applications - I encourage all of you to donate," Prime Minister Imran Khan said earlier on Saturday at the launch of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Transfers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020