95pc Ehsaas poverty survey completed across country: Dr Sania

LAHORE – The government has completed 95 per cent Ehsaas survey across the country, and all-out efforts are being made to complete the remaining part by the end of next month.

This was revealed by Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Senator Dr Sania Nishtar during a media briefing at the commissioner’s office here on Saturday.

She said that 34 social security benefits were being provided to the poor and deserving families through various initiatives under the Ehsaas programme.

She said that scope of the Ehsaas programme had also been extended to 12 million deserving and needy people. “Under this programme, the government is providing interest-free loans for self-employment through various NGOs [non-governmental organisations] so as to enable the poor families to earn livelihood,” she added.

There is a huge difference between Ehsaas programme and the BISP

To a question, the SAPM said that more effective and comprehensive measures were being taken to prevent cyber attacks on the Ehsaas programme, and in this connection a constant liaison was also being maintained with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). She said that cyber attackers on the Ehsaas programme had recently been arrested in areas of south Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province.

To another question, she said that there were quick checks in Ehsaas programme’s survey, adding that domestic workers working in posh areas of cities should get themselves registered at the Ehsaas Desk, set up in those areas.

She said that the Ehsaas programme was being subjected to an unwarranted political criticism. “There is a huge difference between Ehsaas programme and the BISP (Benazir Income Support Programme). The government employees, whose wives or families used to draw money from the BISP, have been fired,” she stated. “However, it is very unfortunate to deem the poor people benefiting from the Ehsaas programme and the BISP as beggars,” she added.

According to the Bureau of Statistics, the poverty ratio in south Punjab is high. Similarly, as per Ehsaas survey, south Punjab and FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas] are highly poverty-stricken areas.

To a query, Dr Sania Nishtar said that the Ehsaas survey comprised 65 questions pertaining to a family’s assets and Ehsaas surveyors fed the data provided by people in the computer tablet. “We are not relying only on survey data but verify those whereabouts through various other means. The Ehsaas survey is absolutely free of cost, and no fee is charged from people for providing personal data to the Ehsaas surveyors. The pace of Ehsaas survey in Lahore is slow and effective steps are being taken to complete it for early realisation of the programme. No survey will be conducted in Cantonment area, and an Ehsaas Desk will be set up the next month.”

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