Ehsaas Program 2019

 

Background

The Ehsaas (care) Program is a pathway to achieve the objective of poverty eradication by investing in people, reducing inequality, and lifting lagging districts. The policy statement issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2019 calls for the creation of a welfare state by multi-sectorial collaborations with private, public, civil society, philanthropists, and expatriate Pakistanis among others.

Aims and Objectives

The program aims at the extremely poor, widowed women, the disabled, homeless, jobless people, laborers, the sick and undernourished, those with medical impoverishment, poor women, elderly citizens, students with low income backgrounds. In essence it is about lifting areas where poverty is at an all time high and especially to support the economic empowerment of women.

Financial Allocation

The Ehsaas Program has been allocated Rs.80 billion for strengthening of the country’s institutions, good governance, and transparency.

Area of Intervention

The strategy is articulated through four pillars and 115 policy actions. The four pillars are as follows:

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Pillars of Policy Action

1.

Addressing the Elite Capture and Making the Government System Work to Create Equality

2.

Safety Nets for Disadvantaged Segments of the Population

3.

Jobs and Livelihoods

4.

Human Capital Development

 

1. Addressing the Elite Capture and Making the Government System Work to Create Equality

This first pillar caters to the less privileged who are left behind and to safe guard them from the elite who are given priority in taxation system. Crop choices, land use, labor laws etc. This pillar encompasses twenty-five policies, a few of which are:

 

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Policy

S. No

Policy

1.

Social protection by allocating increasing budgets every year

6.

Review bottlenecks in justice system

2.

One-Window social protection to reduce abuse and duplication

7.

Registration of slum and katchi abadi residents

3.

Pro-poor goals and measurable indicators

8.

Guidelines on Conflict of Interest

4.

Provincial Financial Commissions

9.

State Responsibility of providing necessities to those who cannot earn a livelihood

5.

Guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility

10.

Earmarking of resources for pro-poor sectors

 

2. Safety Nets for Disadvantaged Segments of the Population

Certain initiatives are undertaken since 38.8% people in Pakistan suffer from poverty and do not have access to basic necessities. Among other initiatives the following two social protection programs will be introduced:

  • Kifalat: to ensure the financial and digital inclusion of 6 million women by one woman one bank account policy.
    Inflation adjustment to said women in the size of cash transfer.
    500 digital hubs at Tehsil level where digital resources will be accessible as public good.
    Programs for graduation of BISP beneficiaries for the districts lagging behind.
  • Tahafuz: a safety net to protect the vulnerable against catastrophic events. It will provide assistance to poor widows as well as legal aid.
    There will be housing for the poor with Ehsaas homes, Panah-gahs in major cities.
    Protection against catastrophic health expenditures by providing Insaf Insurance Card in 38 districts, ensuring financial access to treatment in defined categories.
    Welfare programs for the disabled and the physically challenged
    Welfare of the elderly poor with increase in labor pensions and Ehsas Homes through Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal, among other initiatives.
     

3. Human Capital Development

This is a major contributor to how wealthy a nation is. Pakistan is in crisis in terms of malnutrition and stunting among other diseases. The initiatives undertaken cover:

Malnutrition: initiative to address stunting in children, awareness in breast-feeding, specialized nutrition food, address adulterated milk, promotion of seed distribution
Pro-poor Education: awareness drives for rights, increase in budget of National Education Foundation, e-learning, using chatbots in local languages etc.

Health: Universal health coverage for maternal and child health, reform of public hospitals, transparency placard placement policy, transparency in health-related regulatories.

 

4. Jobs and Livelihoods

A major objective of economic reform is employment generation. Some examples of Solution Innovation Challenge are to reinvent the traditional ‘Thela’, micro credit facility, online platforms for women to earn daily wage, rickshaw garbage collection, clean drinking water etc.

IT Sector: promote freelancing by electronic payments, promote startups, and enhance broadband Internet services in lagging districts.
TVET Sector: skills training in schools, formalization of apprenticeship in informal sector.

Poor Farmers: crop diversification policy, incentivize local manufacturing of farm equipment, reduce cost of inputs, market stimulus for livestock and fish in arid zones.

Poor Women: 6 million women will benefit from Tahafaz and 50% education scholarships will be for women, the Insaf Card will cover women’s health conditions preferentially. A policy for women to have joint ownership of houses in new housing schemes will be developed as well. This will help women by giving them jobs and empowering them economically as well and not just in terms of health and education.