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Six million people would be provided one-time cash assistance of Rs 12,000 each under the newly added category-IV of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme (EECP) while the entire funding of this programme would come from the Prime Minister's Corona Relief Fund outside Rs 144 billion allocated to financially assist 12 million families in the three categories of emergency cash initiative.

Category-IV has been introduced to the category mix of emergency cash programme for benefitting 6 million job-loss affectee men and women amid coronavirus shutdown, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said on Tuesday.

Funds for this category come from Prime Minister's Corona Relief Fund and category-IV beneficiaries will be paid one-time assistance of Rs 12, 000 each channeled through Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, she said in a statement.

PM Imran Khan has committed that for every rupee donated by donors, rupees four will be contributed by the government, she said.

On May 2, the PM had launched the web-portal for soliciting applications from people who lost their livelihoods in the context of the outbreak of coronavirus on Pakistan. Since then, the portal is currently open to applications in line with criteria detailed in the web-based application form. Applicants are required to give a declaration while submitting application form that they lost their job due to coronavirus outbreak.

As part of Ehsaas Emergency Cash framework, categories I-III are funded through government coronavirus relief package. Category-I includes 4.5 million Kafaalat beneficiary women that were cleared from the NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority) data analytics before inclusion in the Kafaalat Programme. Category-II includes four million men and women who registered with Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme through Short Messaging Service (SMS). Category-III includes 3.5 million men and women identified through district administrations and as well as SMS facility.

"The existing principles, processes and data analytics that have been applied to Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme categories I-III will be fully deployed in the use of Prime Minister's Corona Relief Fund for identification of category-IV beneficiaries. Rule-based criteria will be fully adhered to," Sania Nishtar said.

"The procedure of identification will be fully apolitical and free from human interference. All disbursements will be made after biometric verification and there will be full transparency in deployment of funds," she added.

Since April 9, 2020, Rs 106.8 billion have been disbursed for categories I-III among more than 87 million families countrywide. The Ehsaas Information Portal has been made online to give real time updates about the number of beneficiaries served in each of the three with provincial, district and tehsil-wise breakdowns.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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