June 27, 2023: A webinar was organized as a kick-off for the Hiroshima G7 Global Health Follow-up Initiative. This Follow-up Initiative is expected to serve as a driving force toward implementing commitments of past G7s for strengthening resilience to future pandemics, identifying the challenges at the end of Japan’s presidency, and passing the G7 baton to Italy. The primary objectives of the webinar are to 1) invite diverse actors in global health to collect their reflections on the 2023 G7’s agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR)/resilient health systems, and discuss possible actions to implement the G7 commitments (including those made by past G7s). The event was organized by Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the International Pandemic Preparedness Secretariat (IPPS), and the Wellcome Trust. Dr Sania Nisthar spoke at the event alongside Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Chair, Hiroshima G7 Global Health Follow-up Advisory Committee, and former Minister of Health underscored in her talk that UHC and health security are two intertwined goals, they are the two sides of the same coin to protect everyone, everywhere, especially disadvantaged populations.. #UHCHLM #UHC2030
June 23, 2023: Sania Nishtar attended the first in person meeting of the “Lancet Commission on Evidence-Based Implementation in Global Health”, in her capacity as a commissioner. The theme of the Commission centers on “Achieving Justice in Implementation” and its introductory details can be accessed in this Oped. https: //www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(23)00870-X/fulltext
The NUS–Lancet Pandemic Readiness, Implementation, Monitoring, and Evaluation Commission
June 21, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar said in a statement that she was honoured to co-chair “The NUS-Lancet Pandemic Readiness, Implementation, Monitoring, and Evaluation Commission” Sania Nishtar, Helen Clark, a former prime minister of New Zealand, and Professor Helena Legido Quigley will co-chair the commission. Access the article that the co-chairs and Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet, co-published in The Lancet to introduce the Commission here: https://t.co/pD5mtGueYV. I appreciate your support of evidence-based medicine.
Oped titled “What the budget should have been”
June 20, 2023: Sania writes in the News International outlining how it was entirely possible to espouse a double bottom line budget approach balancing expansion of welfare spending and dispensation of relief with evidence of a commitment to structural reform, austerity measures and fiscal discipline. The Oped can be accessed here: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1082463-what-the-budget-should-have-been
The EU must step up its actions and leadership on global health
June 16, 2023; Sania Nishtar joins Ole Petter Ottersen, Rhoda Wanyenze, Benoit Miribel, and Detlev Ganten to write an Oped in the British Medical Journal calling the EU to step up its actions and leadership on global health. The Oped can be accessed here: https://www.bmj.com/content/381/bmj.p1359
Webinar titled “Crisis to Catastrophe: Pakistan’s economic situation”
June 13, 2023: Sania Nishtar was one of the key speakers at a webinar chaired by former Prime Minister Imran Khan where she spoke about the need for a double bottom line budget strategy in view of Pakistan’s recent economic crisis. The full recording of the webinar can be accessed here: youtu.be/L6vYpXnZARg
Sania Nishtar’s budget speech
June 12, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar’s speech in the senate on the budget can be accessed here: youtu.be/U0qCGhOuoHE
Who Suffers if Pakistan defaults
May 27, 2023: Sania publishes in the News International on the state of Pakistan’s economy and its impact for the poor. Access article here: https://t.co/PsSXAu2x6Z
Sania Opens Scholarship portal to help needy students
May 24, 2023: in a public message relayed via twitter, Sania Nishtar solicited applications from needy students. “I will share your information with prospective donors” she said, adding “I will try my best to help you”. The Scholarship portal can be accessed here https://t.co/nMVTCfXmop
Participation in the Asian Parliamentary Association convening
May 17, 2023: Dr Sania Nishtar participated in the Asian Parliamentary Association Standing Committee on Economic and Social Development’s meeting, which was held in Bahrain on May 17. On the sidelines of the meetings, she also held many bilateral meetings with the delegations of Iran, Qatar, Indonesia, and Turkey to explore cross country learning in the social sectors.
Keynote talk at the launch of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund
May 13, 2023: Dr Sania Nishtar gave the keynote talk at the launch ceremony of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund during the Islamic Development Bank Annual Meetings 2023. The launch event happened during the Lives and Livelihoods Fund development colloquium which was a discussion forum engaging high profile speakers to invest in strategic partnerships to invest in human development.
Commentary in The Lancet on the future of Pandemics
May 12, 2023, Helena Legido-Quigley, Helen Clark, Sania Nishtar, as co-chairs of the new PRIME lancet Commission along with Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet publish a commentary in the Lancet titled, “Reimagining health security and preventing future pandemics: the NUS–Lancet Pandemic Readiness, Implementation, Monitoring, and Evaluation Commission. The commentary can be accessed here https://t.co/pD5mtGueYV
May, 3. 2023. Sania Nishtar joins other UHC Political Advisors as a co-author in the Lancet piece which can be accessed here: Realising the right to health for all people—UHC is the umbrella to deliver health for all. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(23)00202-4
Policy statement on Street Vendors’ new Policy
May 2, 2023. Sania Nishtar has released a video strongly protesting the government’s decision to auction street vending stalls.
Closure of Panahgahs
April 30, 2023. Sania Nishtar has released a video strongly protesting the government’s decision to close Panahgahs (Shelter homes) for daily wage workers
Chaired a State and Frontier Region Senate Sub-Committee Meeting
8th April 2023: While chairing the States & Frontier Region Senate Sub-committee in Peshawar, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar reviewed progress in relation to systems mandated by the committee including 1) biometrics for attendance; 2) geotagging for veracity of development schemes; 3) e-Procurement for transparency in procurements.
Pakistan’s Senate unanimously passes a resolution sponsored by Senator Sania to commemorate WHO’s 75thAnniversary
7th April 2023: Pakistan’s senate passes a Resolution to commemorate WHO’s contributions. Presented by Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, the resolution recognized WHO’s critical role in advancing health globally by improving disease prevention and care, addressing health disparities, and advocating for investments in sustainable health systems for all.
Strategy Retreat of the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research
March 31, 2023, Senator Sania Nishtar joined the strategy retreat of the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research in London from March 29-31. The purpose of the retreat was to review the context in which the Alliance operates, current health trends and priorities, gaps in policy and systems research as well as the landscape of global health research and to provide insights on a way forward. The retreat was chaired by Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Session at the UK House of Parliament
March 29, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar joined as a speaker at an event held at the UK House of Parliament. This event was hosted by Baroness Finlay head of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health and the Chatham House Commission for Universal Health. The event was titled Crisis as a catalyst: Reforming Universal Health Coverage for 2030 and beyond”. Other speakers included Rt Hon Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand; former Jeanette Vega, Minister of Chile; Rob Yates and Ayoade Alakija.
Op-ed on Subsidy Gone Wrong
24th March 2023: In a recently published op-ed in The News International, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar has accentuated that instead of leveraging the infrastructure of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat- an existing, tried and tested targeted subsidy programme, the present government chose to implement an entirely new, parallel programme, without due diligence and evidence-based design. Interim governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have recently launched a free atta (flour) initiative. This initiative, which aims to give families some relief from unprecedented food inflation during Ramadan is seriously flawed in its design.
14th March 2023: Lancet has published a comment, “It is time for ambitious, transformational change to the epidemic countermeasures ecosystem”. This is authored by Helen Clark, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, Marcos da Silva Freire, Petro Terblanche and other members of the group.
Keynote speech at the Convocation of Namal University
12th March 2023: Dr Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote the Convocation ceremony of Namal University in Mianwali, Pakistan. Namal University is a one of a kind University where the expenses of more than 95% of the students are underwritten by the university. In her address, she stressed upon the importance of contribution to nation building during the current crises which Pakistan is facing.
Rs. 2.4 million cash distributed among Ehsaas Rehribaans
10th March 2023: A ceremony was held in I-10 Markaz Islamabad wherein cash grant worth Rs. 2.4 million was distributed among 28 Ehsaas Rehribaans. Their vending carts had been destroyed by the government and authorities in Islamabad. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar was the chief guest at the event. The cash assistance for Rehribaan was donated by Pakistanis in Dubai and fundraising was done by Dr. Hadia.
Keynote address at the Health Science Research Assembly
1st March 2023: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote the 14th Health Science Research Academy. The event was hosted by Aga Khan University. Dr. Sania shared lessons and experiences from Ehsaas programme.
Ehsaas 2047 documentary released online
27th February 2023: A documentary titled, “Ehsaas 2047” has been released. Narrated by Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar and filmed on locations across Pakistan, the documentary centers on beneficiaries of various components of Ehsaas Programme and gathers testimonials from them focusing on the benefits of specific interventions.The documentary can be accessed here: https://www.ehsaas2047.com/documentaries
President Arif Alvi launches Ehsaas 2047 documentary
23rd February 2023: Ehsaas 2047 documentary got screened at the President’s House in the presence of the Honorable President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi. The documentary captured Pakistan’s historic effort towards creating a welfare state through Ehsaas programme.
Op-ed on Targeting Subsidies
21st February 2023: In an Op-ed published in The News International, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar shared insights on how Ehsaas built an ecosystem to enable targeting of subsidies to benefit the poor, rather than the untargeted trillions from which the elite currently benefit. She emphasized that far from dismantling it, now more than ever we need to consolidate Ehsaas’ system.
Digital Payment Systems could revolutionize healthcare: Sania argues in Project Syndicate
21st February 2023: Project Syndicate has published an article penned by Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar on digital payments, and how they can serve as the backbone on which new systems can be built: systems that deliver, and where transparency and accountability are hardwired. The article can be accessed here:
17th February 2023: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the Bellagio consultation on “Advancing a new approach to pandemic tools as common goods”. The meeting was chaired by Helen Clark. Discussions took place with experts, academics and civil society organizations in order to course correct. Dr. Sania shared insights from the developing world.
Ehsaas Rehribaan stalled: an Op-ed about street vendors
14th February 2023: “At a time when households are struggling due to record inflation, destroying Ehsaas Rehribaans’ source of income is cruel and unwarranted by the present government. The city administration must immediately cease this senseless destruction of vending carts in the name of anti-encroachment. Both the city administration as well as the ministry must compensate these vendors for the damage and reinstate their licenses. The poor must not become collateral damage amidst political rivalries”, highlights Dr. Sania in an op-ed published in The News International.
Participation in deliberations at Nobel Forum Stockholm
12th February 2023: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to the Nobel Forum Stockholm to participate in the deliberations on operationalizing the new EU Global Health Strategy. The forum was hosted by Ole Petter Ottersen, President of Swedish Medical University Karolinska Institutet. Dr. Sania spoke at the closing plenary.
Resolution moved in Senate on Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships
6th February 2023: Expressing deep concern that there will be “no further entries” in the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship program, a resolution was moved in Senate by Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar. The resolution got rejected in the House merely due to political rivalries. Dr. Sania made a speech in favour of continuation of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship in the Senate. Watch here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkV3nQ_Mbfs
Ehsaas Rehribaans’ carts destroyed in Islamabad
4th February 2023: The street vendor carts installed under the Ehsaas programme were destroyed by the present government and authorities in I-10 Markaz of Islamabad at 3 am. Early morning, Senator Dr. Sania visited the site and met with victimized Ehsaas Rehribaans. Condemning this act, Dr. Sania said, “What the city administration did cannot be justified on any grounds. Instead of renewing the vendors’ one-year licenses, they reneged on their commitment to them.”
UHC Movement Political Advisory Panel Meeting
2nd February 2023: The UHC Movement Political Advisory Panel met to discuss the UN High-level meeting on universal health coverage (UHC) and how to strengthen a coherent health agenda. Being a member of the advisory panel, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar spoke at the meeting.
Speech in Senate on lack of respect for policy process
31st January, 2023: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar made a speech in the Senate about the lack of respect for the policy process, the disregard for evidence in policy making and the lack of meaningful accountability in decision making as being the core determinants of most of our failures. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk5LUsJcvAo
Speech in the Senate about the state of Pakistan’s economy
26th January 2023: Dr. Sania spoke on the state of Pakistan’s economy at the Senate session. She presented unbiased analysis of our economy and suggested realistic solutions to tackle the issue. Watch here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFIUyUjxdo4
Imperative for caretakers to continue Ehsaas Rashan Riayat: Sania
23rd January 2023: “Over the last 5 months, we enacted the Punjab Ehsaas Act, guaranteeing govt assistance to all under the poverty line & rolled out Ehsaas Rashan Riayat across Punjab. Given crippling inflation, it is imperative the caretaker government continues these initiatives”, said Former Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar while taking to twitter after the dissolution of Punjab Assembly.URL:https://twitter.com/SaniaNishtar/status/1617565128534228994
Geo Fact-check: Documents show Imran Khan did collect Rs. 4.8bn for flood victims
21st January 2023: Senator Dr Sania Nishtar was tasked by former PM Imran Khan to oversee the collection and distribution of funds for victims of floods in Pakistan. She had revealed that Khan’s live telethons received pledges amounting to Rs. 15 billion, of which Rs. 4.6 billion have been received so far. But rival politicians accused Sania Nishtar of exaggerating the amount collected till then. Later, Geo Fact-Check confirmed that Dr. Sania’s statement was accurate. Documents shared by Dr. Sania with Geo Fact Check showed that PTI received Rs. 4.8 billion out of the Rs. 15 billion pledges made, in three live telethons held by Imran Khan last year.
Standing Committee on States & Frontier Regions held
17th January 2023: A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions was held. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the meeting. She lauded that the committee is spearheading a transparency initiative, which amongst other things entails tracking all development schemes with pre, during & post progress images archived.
Sania urges Utility stores to join Ehsaas Rashan Riayat
17th January 2023: Former Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas programme, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar tweeted a letter dated 5th January 2023 that she wrote to Managing Director, Utility Stores Corporation (USC) to participate in Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat. In a tweet, she urged that with unprecedented inflation, it’s become critical for USC to join Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program and offer a targeted subsidy on commodities through their ~1800 stores in Punjab.
Instructional video to solve geolocation issues of Ehsaas Kiryana merchants released
17th January 2023: Many Kiryana merchants participating in the Punjab Ehsaas Rashan programme had complained about geolocation issues on the Ehsaas Kiryana app. “We are addressing it on an urgent basis”, said Dr. Sania in an instructional video. Watch here. https://twitter.com/SaniaNishtar/status/1615355678331400192
Meeting with CM Punjab on Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat
10th January 2023: Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas programme, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar called on Chief Minister Punjab and briefed him on the progress of Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme. Other meetings included meeting of Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat steering committee, a visit to the call center and several other programme reviews.
Meetings on Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat and Punjab Ehsaas Tahafuz convened
24th December 2022: With Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar in chair, several meetings were held regarding Ehsaas Rashan Riayat (targeted commodity subsidies) and Ehsaas Tahafuz (health financing) Punjab Program and Chairman Imran Khan’s Flood Relief Telethon Funding.
Sania joins LUMS panel on fostering inclusive development
24th December 2022: At the LUMS panel on “Fostering Inclusive Development”, Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas programme, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar stressed that the pathway to addressing inequality is not just through inclusive-growth centered approaches, but that a range of policy interventions other than inclusive growth can also narrow inequalities.
17th December 2022: Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar met young girls and women at one of the 300 plus schools for disabled children run by the government of Punjab. She was touched by their spirit and resilience. She assured that she would be recommending enhancement of budgets to support infrastructure to better serve students with disabilities.
CSD stores participating in Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat
4th December 2022: In a tweet, Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar announced that the Canteen Stores Department (CSD) stores will serve Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat beneficiaries. 8 million deserving families of Punjab will benefit from this programme. “I hope Utility Stores Corporation will soon join Ehsaas Rashan Riayat for public interest”, urged Dr. Sania.
Update on flood relief housing compensation disbursal in KPK
2nd December 2022: In interest of transparency, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar released an update on disbursements of flood relief housing compensation among flood affectees. She shared that Rs. 1.2 billion has been contributed by Chairman Imran Khan’s telethon flood relief funds received in the CM KPK Flood relief fund. Further details at https://rc.kpitb.gov.pk/landing-dashboard.
Guest of Honour at Khyber Medical College Convocation
30th November 2022: The annual convocation for the class of 2018-19 was hosted by Khyber Medical College in Peshawar. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar was the guest of honour. “I am deeply humbled to have been invited to my alma mater Khyber Medical College. Congratulations to all graduating students and award winners!”, said Dr. Sania.
Flood relief housing assistance disbursements kick off in Punjab
21st November 2022: After the digital survey was completed last week, the financial assistance was released for 55,452 flood-affected houses in Punjab and the delivery of relief funds of Rs. 9.6 billion rupees began provincewide, in which 2 billion was provided by the flood telethon and 7.6 billion by the Punjab government. In a ceremony, CM Punjab and Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar met with the eligible families and inaugurated the payments.
Panel at The Economist Intelligence Units event “Future of Healthcare Week Asia”
November 15, 2022: Dr Sania Nishtar joined a high level panel at the “Future of Healthcare Week Asia” in Singapore. Organized by The Economist Intelligence Unit, this session titled “Removing silos—collaborating for success in health” featured a discussion around collaboration within the context of the Pandemic.
Sania chairs steering committee meeting of Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat
12th November 2022: A steering Committee meeting of Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme was held in Lahore. Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. Preparations for the launch of the Punjab Ehsaas are underway on fast-track basis for the past two weeks and are currently in the final stages. Alongside the above, daily online review meetings and a workshop was also held at Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi to prepare for the launch of Punjab Ehsaas Tahafuz.
19th October 2022: The Punjab Assembly has passed the “Punjab Ehsaas Programme Bill 2022”. The Bill was moved by Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar. With this bill, Pakistan’s largest province (Population over 110 million) commits itself to universal social protection, a seminal undertaking to address rising inequality, post COVID, inflationary and climate related stresses.
September 21, 2022: Sania Nishtar virtually joined the meeting of the SUN Lead Group as a member of the lead group. This meeting was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York at the UNICEF headquarter.
Keynote at the16th Singapore Public Health & Occupational Medicine Conference
September 9, 2022: Dr Sania Nishtar keynoted the 16th Singapore Public Health & Occupational Medicine Conference virtually. This year’s conference, “Reinventing Health for All”, looked at the progress in the field of healthcare, as well as recalibrating to reflect what other health issues deserve more attention and the challenges that lie ahead in addressing them, particularly in view of the COVID situation.
Common wealth human rights working group meeting
July 7, 2022: As a member of the Commonwealth human rights working group, Dr Sania attended its second meeting.
Important pandemic Preparedness meeting in Stockholm
June 27-28: The Government of Sweden organized a meeting titled “From one health crisis to the next – or not? Taking stock and moving forward”. Dr. Sania was amongst a selected group of experts invited to the meeting.
Sania speaks at a Plenary session at the Aspen Ideas Festival
June 24, 2022: The Aspen Institute organized a session on Decolonizing Global Health during its annual Aspen Ideas Festival. Dr Sania spoke at the session. Full session can be downloaded here:
Virtual World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings Public Event: Human Capital at the Crossroad: Reversing the Losses, Reclaiming our Future
June 23, 2022: A key public event of the world bank centered on the role of human capital building in relation to recovery from COVID 19 in today’s world. Speakers included David Malpass, President of the World Bank, Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of Tanzania, Mary Pangetsu, Malala Yusufzai, Amina Mohammad, Dr Morena Makhona, Gostavo Beliz, and Sania Nishtar. Speakers reiterated that protecting and investing in people is central to sustainable resilience. Watch here:
Senate Speech on the Budget
June 20, 2022: Dr Sania’s Speech in the Senate about the Budget 2022/23 can be accessed here
The Chatham House Commission for Universal Health
June 8, 2022: Dr. Sania Nishtar has been invited to join the Chatham House Commission for Universal Health. The aim of the Commission for Universal Health is to encourage and inspire political leaders to launch universal health reforms emerging from the COVID-19 crisis. The Commission is charged with identifying countries with significant potential in the wake of the pandemic to adopt universal health reforms in a way that addresses universal health coverage (UHC) and health security for all and supports healthy lifestyles and population wellness. The Commission is currently made up of 37 commissioners, two co-chairs and a secretariat, and is co-chaired by President Kikwete and Helen Clark
Session on pandemic preparedness on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly
May 23, 2022: Session on pandemic preparedness on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly Dr Sania attended a session on pandemic preparedness hosted by McKinsey.
The panel discussion provided an opportunity for senior experts to reflect on their in-depth experiences leading responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Sania shared her experience about Ehsaas Emergency Cash.
World Bank South Asia Gender Panel
May 12, 2022: For many women in South Asia, accessing economic opportunities remains a challenge despite decades of economic development in the region. Deeply rooted social norms account for a large share of these gaps. Hans Timmer hosted a panel discussion to dig deep on these issues. A short presentation on the main findings of the South Asia Economic Focus 2022: Reshaping Social Norms about Gender: A New Way Forward, was also presented. View here
Farewell to Sania Nishtar as Minister of Poverty Alleviation
April 11, 2022: Following the Prime Minister losing the vote of confidence in Parliament, the Cabinet has been dissolved. Dr Sania Nishtar was given a farewell by the staff of the Poverty Alleviation Ministry. Her unprecedented contributions were richly lauded by all.
Health Taxes During the Recovery from COVID-19
April 19, 2022: The Center for Global Development hosted a conversation on how the IMF and World Bank can build on their track record in tobacco, alcoholic and sugary beverages taxes to help low in middle income countries bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel included Mario Mansour, IMF; Mamta Murthi, World Bank; Karambu Muthaura, Government of Kenya; and Sania Nishtar, Government of Pakistan. Amanda Glassman, Executive Vice President, Center for Global Development was the moderator.
Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Steering Committee adopts new supply model to ensure benefit to 20 million families
April 1, 2022 – Islamabad: The third meeting of Steering Committee for Ehsaas Rashan Riayat took place at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the meeting. Members of the steering committee approved the adoption of new supply driven model for implementation of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme to ensure that the programme benefits 20 million deserving families. “In order to reach even more beneficiaries and maximize impact of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat for up to 20 million families, Ehsaas is now introducing a new “supply driven” model to enroll all families currently surveyed in the Ehsaas National Socioeconomic Registry database and under Proxy Means Test 44 for the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat, without them having to register for the programme. All members of eligible families will be sent an SMS. Any member from the family with a CNIC and SIM registered in the name of a family member can then avail the subsidy.
Sania opens Ehsaas Tahafuz portal for hospital empanelment
April 1, 2022 – Islamabad: In a meeting held at Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM officially opened the portal of Ehsaas Tahafuz (https://ehsaastahafuz.pass.gov.pk/) for empanelment of public hospitals under the precision safety net programme. “Ehsaas Tahafuz is an innovative health financing system which is fund based. This complements the insurance-based Sehat Sahulat programme. It ensures the universal health coverage and protects people from Catastrophic Health Expenditures”, expressed Dr. Sania. The programme provides health facility to those patients who fall under certain poverty level and are unable to receive treatment from Sehat Sahulat programme for any circumstances. Tahafuz currently covers around 900 treatments packages across 21 departments. For now, Tahafuz has partnered with 14 public sector hospitals across all seven federating units and covers “out of pocket expenditures” associated with pre-approved treatment packages.
Ehsaas Raabta app available on Google Playstore
March 31, 2022 – Islamabad: “Ehsaas Raabta” app has been launched with beneficiary centered information about the programme. The mobile app is available on the Google Playstore at this link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pk.gov.ehsaas.sub_kay_liye. “Ehsaas Raabta” app guides a common man about various benefits and services being offered through different programmes of Ehsaas. Instructional information in Urdu allows users to understand information of Ehsaas programmes and initiatives. Through the app, anyone intending to know about his entitlements for various benefits under Ehsaas will go to the Ehsaas 8171 web portal section. Once the QR code mentioned on the backside of Ehsaas Card is scanned, the app will inform the user about the whole range of entitlements for his/her family under Ehsaas. Instructional video can be watched here.
Ehsaas National Data Exchange Portal launched
March 31, 2022 – Islamabad: Work on National Data Exchange Portal (NDEP) has formally concluded. NDEP for the Ehsaas’ National Socioeconomic Registry is one of the six main pillars of One Window Ehsaas. With NDEP, the implementing agencies of Ehsaas will be empowered to ascertain what benefits an individual or a family is getting by just keying in the CNIC number of an individual. More importantly, the benefits which each family and individual is getting from each implementing agency will also be visible to all agencies under Ehsaas programme. “In the past, there was no way of one government agency knowing what support an individual or a family was getting from another government agency. Some families with connections and influence were getting multiple benefits and other more deserving ones were getting none”, said Dr. Sania.
Federal cabinet approves Ehsaas Tahafuz, a fund-based health financing system
March 31, 2022 – Islamabad: Federal Cabinet has approved the Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy and Ehsaas Tahafuz through circulation. Through this policy, Ehsaas Tahafuz, has been approved, which is a fund-based health financing system. Ehsaas Tahafuz will complement the insurance-based Sehat Sahulat programme to ensure the universal health coverage and protect people from Catastrophic Health Expenditure. Extensive two-year-long work has been done on Ehsaas Tahafuz which is country’s first shock-oriented precision safety net. Ehsaas Tahafuz is primarily premised on coverage principles to complement government’s existing Sehat Sahulat programme and plug in any gaps. “Ehsaas Tahafuz will run as per the parameters outlined in this policy to complement Sehat Sahulat to ensure efficient use of public resources and to build synergies between complementary programmes”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar while chairing the review meeting of Ehsaas Tahafuz.
Sania issues strict warning to agents deducting amounts from Ehsaas payments
March 29, 2022 – Islamabad: Ehsaas Kafaalat payments for the period Jan to Jun 2022 are underway nationwide. Prime Minister has raised the six-monthly stipend amount of Ehsaas Kafaalat from Rs.12,000 to Rs.14,000. In a video message, Dr. Sania Nishtar has caveated of strict actions being taken against agents involved in deductions from disbursements of Ehsaas beneficiaries. Warning agents to refrain from deductions, Dr. Sania reaffirmed that all those involved in deductions will be dealt with strictly. Highlighting important pointers regarding defrauding activities, Dr. Sania further emphasized on three things: Firstly, all Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries should get full payment of Rs. 14,000. Beneficiaries whose children are enrolled in Ehsaas Taleemi Wazaif; their stipend amount is more than Rs. 14,000. Secondly, she asked beneficiaries not to submit CNICs to retailers prior to payment. Thirdly, she urged beneficiaries, “Beware of agents who may try to deny payments at the time of biometric verification asking recipients to come later some other day.” Cautioning agents, Dr. Sania also referred to Quranic verses about the importance of honesty. Full video can be watched here.
Tenth Steering Committee of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships discusses enhancements
March 28, 2022 – Islamabad: The tenth steering committee meeting of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship programme took place at the Higher Education Commission. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM and Chairman HEC, Dr. Tariq Banuri co-chaired the meeting. The steering committee discussed policy questions, financial impacts, sustainability features and refinements needed in light of the assessment study conducted under the Ehsaas umbrella. Detailed deliberations were held on findings of the study. The assessment covered 35 public sector universities across all four provinces and ICT. Under the study, the eligibility criteria for selection of students by the respective Institutional Scholarship Award Committees of the universities was gauged. The study revealed that the programme provided level playing field for students from low-income households nationwide. Students with a monthly family income below the threshold of Rs. 45,000 were eligible to apply, and scholarships were given out based on need-cum-merit basis. Results of the study also highlighted the need for categorization of universities based on their performance under the programme.
Gang defrauding Ehsaas beneficiaries arrested from South Punjab
March 23, 2022 – Islamabad: After a thorough investigation conducted jointly by Ehsaas and Law and Enforcement Agencies, a gang of fraudsters involved in fraudulent activities, has been arrested from Multan. They were defrauding Ehsaas beneficiaries across South Punjab in their payments. Cash, ATM cards and CNICs of various Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries have also been recovered from their possession. A case has been registered and further investigation is underway. Taking to twitter, Dr. Sania vowed stern action against fraudsters arrested.
Sania holds meeting on Ehsaas payments in South Punjab secretariat
March 21, 2022 – Multan: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM together with Additional Chief Secretary, South Punjab Captain (Retd) Saqib Zafar co-chaired a high-level meeting in Multan with district administrations, Law and Enforcement Agencies, partnering bank and regional officers of Ehsaas from South Punjab. The meeting took place at the Secretariat of Additional Chief Secretary, South Punjab. The meeting aimed to discuss coordinated steps to improve the quality of Ehsaas Kafaalat payments in field. It was also agreed that 20 more payment campsites will be organized to facilitate Ehsaas payments in all 11 districts of South Punjab. Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Regional Police Officers, District Police Offers and senior officers from FIA, ISI, IB and Anti-corruption Establishment from Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur Divisions of South Punjab assured full support to Ehsaas to improve the operations of Ehsaas disbursements.
Sania joins the prize distribution ceremony of 5th PGF International Ladies Amateur Golf Championship
March 20, 2022 – Islamabad: The 3rd and final day of “5th PGF International Ladies Amateur Golf Championship was played under the impressive air show for the 23rd March parade – and what a show ! the day was a perfect Mid Spring Day well played and well enjoyed by all participants. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM very graciously adorned the event as its Chief Guest. Prize distribution ceremony was held at the Golf Course Terrace with a panoramic view of the golf course. Dr. Sania while speaking on the occasion to the gathering said that it was a moment of joy to see so many young girls taking up competitive sports and to see so many ladies playing championship. She extended her full support in promotion of ladies in sports. Dr. Sania also spoke about the Ehsaas programme and how it is positively impacting ladies’ lives in Pakistan. Later, she mingled with the invitees of the prize distribution ceremony.
Sania chairs a meeting to plan integration of Chatbot in Ehsaas Raabta app
March 18, 2022 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM convened a meeting today to take stock of the refinements being made to the “Ehsaas Raabta App” that is currently in its final stages. Principally aimed to guide a common man about different programmes of Ehsaas, the android-based Ehsaas Raabta App will be available shortly on Google Playstore. “Ehsaas Raabta will be all-in-one platform of Ehsaas, digitally linking public with the right set of information needed to enroll and benefit from its diverse programmes. A ChatBot is also being integrated into this app to help users by providing answers to their queries about Ehsaas”, said Dr. Sania. The meeting also reviewed the quality and improvement aspects of the app. Secretary Ismat Tahira, Additional Secretary Syed Muazzam Ali, Director General Naveed Akbar, Director General Noor Rehman, Director General Meer Anwar and other senior officials of Ehsaas were also present in the meeting.
Sania reviews Ehsaas Kafaalat payments of Rs. 14,000
March 14, 2022 – Islamabad: Prime Minister has raised the six-monthly stipend amount of Kafaalat from Rs.12,000 to Rs.14,000. Currently, a Kafaalat tranche of Rs. 71 billion is being disbursed in all Tehsils of the country. To review payments under Kafaalat, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM convened several meetings with the leadership of Habib Bank Limited, Chief Secretaries of provinces and IGs of Police. Secretary Ismat Tahira and all Director Generals of Ehsaas were also present in the meeting together with Focal Persons of provinces. The pace of payments and issues emerging from the field were discussed in detail. The meeting also discussed the zero-tolerance policy for those involved in illegal deductions. A Committee was also constituted with representation from Director Generals of Ehsaas, Officers of partnering Banks and focal persons of provinces to review Ehsaas Cash disbursements on daily basis.
High-level delegation of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association visits Ehsaas
March 10, 2022- Islamabad: A high-level delegation of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) called on Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. The meeting explored avenues of collaboration between Ehsaas and CPA. The delegation was led by Ian Liddle, Acting Chair, MP, Member of UK Parliament; Stephen Twigg, Secretary General; and Emily Davis, Head of Parliamentary Outreach Programme. The delegation is on an official visit to Pakistan between March 7 to 12, 2022. Dr. Sania is also the member of CPA’s Human Rights Asia Working Group.
PM chairs event on three years of Ehsaas
March 7, 2022 – Islamabad: On three years of completion of Ehsaas, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the event at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat. Addressing the ceremony, PM felicitated Ehsaas team on successful and fastest deployment of all social protection and poverty reduction programmes of Ehsaas in three years. PM also announced the nationwide deployment of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat that is globally first and fastest end-to-end digital targeted subsidies programme of national scale. “Every month, the Rashan programme of Ehsaas will disburse 30% commodity subsidies to 20 million deserving families on the purchase of flour, pulses, cooking oil and ghee”, stated PM. At the event, PM was joined by Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM, Shibli Faraz, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, and country heads of international development partners. PM also gave away cheques among women beneficiaries of Ehsaas.
Detailed interaction held with Punjab based retailers at Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Convention
Mar 5, 2022 – Lahore: Governor Punjab, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar and Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM co-chaired the “Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Retailers’ Convention” held at the Governor’s House in Lahore. The event was hosted by Punjab Social Welfare Department. Punjab Minister for Social Welfare and Bait ul Mal, Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari also joined the convention alongside the senior leadership of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Bank of Punjab and Bank of Khyber. Deputy Commissioners from all over Punjab participated in the event together with a large number of retailers, and office bearers of trader associations as well as Kiryana alliances. A detailed interaction was held with retailers. Dr. Sania spoke to Kiryana retailers and clarified their questions about the Ehsaas Rashan programme. Best performing Kiryana retailers were awarded with shields under the programme. DCs were also conferred shields for their active role in Ehsaas Rashan Registration Drive.
Ehsaas Emergency Cash package of Rs. 20,000 each for returning IDPs in Tirah
March 4, 2022 – Khyber Tribal District: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM visited Tirah Valley in Khyber Tribal District. She welcomed thousands of internally displaced families returning home after twelve long years. During the visit, she announced the federal government’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash package for 15,699 affected families, after the Prime Minister’s approval. Each family will get one off cash assistance of Rs. 20,000 as an immediate relief. Dr. Sania was joined by senior officials of Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps North KP. She also interacted with the men as well as women of affected families and assessed their need. While in Tirah, Dr. Sania also reviewed arrangements being made to open Ehsaas Registration Desks. Ehsaas’ shock-responsive registry is being operationalized in the valley for self-registration of families in need of Ehsaas’ cash assistance.
Ehsaas Rashan Riayat steering committee revises the eligibility criteria to benefit deserving families
March 1, 2022 – Islamabad: Under the Ehsaas umbrella, the meeting of the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Steering Committee was convened at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the meeting. The steering committee meeting commenced with the briefing on the roll out progress of the programme. Revising the eligibility criteria, the committee agreed to change the family income threshold to a certain level so that maximum number of deserving families could benefit from the Rashan Riayat programme. Under the second phase of registration, Ehsaas 8171 SMS service has also recently been reopened to register low-income families for Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme. The steering committee has the mandate to oversee the roll out of the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat through PASSD and National Bank of Pakistan.
Ehsaas 8171 SMS Registration service reopens
Feb 27, 2022 – Islamabad: Ehsaas has reopened the 8171 SMS service to register low-income families for Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme. “Keeping in view the keen interest of people, we have decided to reopen the Ehsaas 8171 SMS service so that more deserving families can benefit from the Rashan Riayat programme of Ehsaas”, said Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM. Families with monthly income less than Rs. 50,000 can enroll themselves by simply sending their CNIC to 8171. Only one member of an applicant family whose mobile number is issued on his own Computerised National Identity Card can register his family through 8171. The formal roll out of the programme in partnership with National Bank of Pakistan is just on the anvil. In this regard, all arrangements are ready. Under the programme, 30% targeted subsidy will be granted on monthly basis to 20 million eligible families on the purchase of flour, pulses, cooking oil or ghee.
Model Panagah opens on Charsadda Road
Feb 24, 2022 – Peshawar: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM inaugurated the newly built model Panagah at Charsadda Road, Peshawar. This new Panagah is the second in Peshawar and eighth in KP. In line with Prime Minister’s vision of developing Pakistan as a welfare state, the model facility will provide one star plus bed and breakfast facility with meals, essentials, hygiene, and security standards. “So far, we have opened 39 model Panagahs nationwide. As per PM’s special instructions, Panagahs not only provide boarding and lodging to daily wage earners but also a two-time meal for them, and all this is done with utmost dignity. Each Panagah serves free meals to around 500 people and offers 100-bed facility for overnight stay”, said Dr. Sania while speaking to media. Dr. Sania also took round of the facility and interacted with the staff and daily wagers being served. Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokhar, Managing Director Pakistan Bait ul Mal gave an overview of prioritized service standards at the Panagah.
Sania opens Ehsaas Center in Jamrud; Makes a surprise visit to orphanage
Feb 24, 2022 – Khyber Tribal District:Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM inaugurated the Ehsaas Center in Jamrud Tehsil of Khyber Tribal District where Ehsaas payments, Ehsaas survey registration and Ehsaas School Stipends’ enrollments are being delivered under one roof. Ehsaas Centers have also been opened in Bara and Landi Kotal Tehsils of Khyber. At the center, Dr. Sania spoke to women, listened to their concerns, and assured them full cooperation. While in Khyber, Dr. Sania also made a surprise visit to an orphanage, “Dar-ul-Ehsaas” and inspected the facility that houses one hundred deserving children.
Sania speaks at the PTA event
Feb 22, 2022 – Islamabad: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Huawei Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding to close the digital divide and to reduce the gender gap by empowering women through digital technologies all across Pakistan in Punjab, KP and Sindh to begin with. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM was a chief guest on the occasion. The event focused on gender inclusion in ICT field and facilitating the digital empowerment of women in Pakistan by enhancing collaboration with national and international companies. The signing ceremony was also attended by Federal Secretary (IT & T) Dr. Muhammad Sohail Rajput, PTA Chairman Maj Gen (Retd) Amir Azeem Bajwa, CEO Jazz Aamir Ibrahim, CEO Ufone Hatem Bamatraf, CEO Telenor Pakistan Irfan Wahab Khan, Deputy CEO Huawei Pakistan Ahmed Bilal Masud, and Mr. Wu Han, along with other respective members from signing parties.
Sania makes a surprise visit to girls’ college to meet Ehsaas School Stipend enrollees
Feb 18, 2022 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM made an unannounced visit to Islamabad Model College for Girls in Tarlai area of Islamabad. Dr. Sania met with girls enrolled under Ehsaas School Stipends and took their feedback about the programme. During the visit, she also checked the attendance records of enrollees. Later, Dr. Sania sat with teachers and college administration for policy insights. Senior officials of Ehsaas were also present on the occasion. Under the school stipends programme of Ehsaas, girls get a higher stipend amount as compared to boys from nursery to 12th grade.
Bill Gates terms Ehsaas “a state of the art programme”
Feb 17, 2022 – Islamabad: A meeting was held between Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM and Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This was Bill Gates’ first ever visit to Pakistan. Dr. Sania briefed him about Ehsaas and the focus on data, digitization, & transparency as key drivers of all Ehsaas programmes. During the meeting, Bill Gates termed Ehsaas “a state of the art programme”. Dr. Sania thanked him for his words of appreciation for Ehsaas and his support. Ehsaas programmes and initiatives are end-to-end digitized, reducing human discretion and exploitation. Bill Gates was also briefed on governance reforms under Ehsaas and the Building and Rebuilding Institutions Initiative (BRI). Secretary Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Ismat Tahira, Additional Secretary Captain (Rtd) Saeed Ahmed Nawaz and Additional Secretary Syed Moazzam were also present in the meeting.
German BMZ delegation highly appreciates One Window Ehsaas Operations
Feb 17, 2022 – Islamabad: A high-level German delegation from BMZ, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Germany hailed the One Window Center of Ehsaas in Islamabad. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM briefed the delegation on the single window operations of multisectoral Ehsaas programme. The visit aimed to explore avenues of collaboration with Ehsaas. Mr. Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary BMZ; Mr. Helmut Fischer, Head of Division, BMZ; Mr. Bernard Schlagheck, German Ambassador to Pakistan; and Mr. Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, Board Member of the Deutsche Gesellschaft Fuer International Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), were part of the delegation. Members of the delegation took keen interest in the real time demonstration of One Window Ehsaas operations. They felicitated Ehsaas on the commendable integration of all Ehsaas benefits under one roof.
Country Director ADB visits One Window Ehsaas Center
February 15, 2022 – Islamabad: Country Director Asian Development Bank (ADB), Yong Ye visited ‘One Window Ehsaas Center’ in Sitara Market of the federal capital. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM welcomed him to the center. The visit explored collaborative options to expand the One Window Ehsaas operations all over the country. Yong Ye was briefed on the ‘One Stop Shop’ operations of Ehsaas which integrate all benefits for 14 different target groups in one space. He highly appreciated the integration of wide range of services for social protection, financial inclusion, education, health and nutrition, and poverty graduation education at the One Window Ehsaas Center. From Ehsaas’ side, Secretary Ismat Tahira, Additional Secretary Syed Moazzam and Director General Naveed Akbar were also present at the center.
Sania issues strict instructions to Kafaalat bank agents in a televised message
Feb 14, 2022 – Islamabad: From Feb 1, 2022 the biannual stipend amount of Ehsaas Kafaalat has been raised from Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 13,000. The increase of Rs.1,000 was ratified by the Federal Cabinet in June last year to benefit all Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries. “With the recent raise in Kafaalat stipend amount, all eligible beneficiaries of Kafaalat will now get Rs. 13,000 as a six-monthly stipend amount. No agent of partnering banks will be allowed to illegally deduct any money from payment to deserving families”, said Dr. Sania in her televised message for retail agents of Habib Bank and Bank Alfalah. Further, caveating agents to refrain from fraudulent deductions, Dr. Sania reiterated, “A stern action will be taken against agents involved in illegal deductions. They will be dealt with strictly according to the law.” She also urged beneficiaries to collect full payment of Rs. 13,000 from the agents along with the computerized payment receipt at the time of Kafaalat cash disbursement. The video message can be watched here.
PM awards appreciation certificate to Poverty Alleviation Division
Feb 10, 2022 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan awarded appreciation certificates to the 10 top performing federal ministries under his government. Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) achieved third position among the 10 best ministries. The Communications and Planning Ministries got top honors of first and second respectively. From PASSD, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM together with Secretary of the Division, Muhammad Ali Shahzada received the award. Certificates were distributed in accordance with performance agreements signed with the federal ministries in which targets were set for them. Addressing the event, PM emphasized the importance of improved ministry performance in achieving the country’s self-sufficiency goal. Other top ministries recognised for their performance at a ceremony included Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Industries and Production, National Security Division, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Interior, and Ministry of National Food Security and Research.
Ehsaas Tahafuz opens its policy for cancer wards
Feb 4, 2022 – Rawalpindi: This world cancer day, Ehsaas Tahafuz has announced its policy to extend support to cancer wards across Pakistan. In Pakistan, it is estimated that over 170,000 new cancer cases are reported every year. Cancer is responsible for the highest deaths in Pakistani population, and the most common cause is inability of patients and their families to bear the catastrophic health expenditures. Ehsaas Tahafuz is the government of Pakistan’s sister programme alongside Sehat Sahulat to protect the vulnerable population from catastrophic health expenditures. Tahafuz is now rapidly scaling up nationwide, after a successful pilot over the last two and a half years in Holy Family Hospital, Rawalpindi. Dr. Sania visited the Holy Family Hospital to meet the cancer patients being treated under Ehsaas Tahafuz. She was welcomed by Medical Superintendent, Dr. Shazia Zeb. SAPM took round of the hospital and met with cancer patients and their families. “We have taken a principal decision to include cancer packages in Ehsaas Tahafuz”, said Dr. Sania while speaking to media at the hospital.
Ehsaas convenes consultative workshop to finalize its Research Strategy
Islamabad – Feb 2, 2022: A consultative workshop on the research strategy was held, under the umbrella of Ehsaas. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the workshop. A draft research strategy was presented for inputs and was finalized. The workshop discussed broad contours of a three-year research strategy for Ehsaas that will provide the framework for all research related activities aimed at improving the effectiveness of wider safety net operations. Participants included Dr. Ashfaque Hassan Khan, Dean and Principal NUST School of Social Sciences & Humanities; Knut Ostby, UNDP Resident Representative; Omer Bin Zia, Senior Project Officer, Asian Development Bank; Dr. Ali Salman, Executive Director, Policy Research Institute of Market Economy, Dr. Aliya, Economist, Quaid-e-Azam University; and Dr. Zahid Asghar, Director School of Economics, Quaid e Azam University. Senior representatives from PIDE, Lahore School of Economics, Asian Development Bank, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Social Policy and Development Center also joined the workshop. From Ehsaas, Secretary Ismat Tahira, DG Naveed Akbar, DG Noor Rehman and DG Tariq Mehmood were also present on the occasion.
Sania speaks at Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s apex event on poverty alleviation
Jan 28, 2022 – Tashkent: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at the apex level event with heads of ministries and agencies of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Poverty Alleviation. Jamshid Kuchkarov, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, Republic of Uzbekistan hosted the event in Tashkent. Speaking at the event, Dr. Sania highlighted, “Prime Minister Imran Khan during his speech at the meeting of Head of States of SCO which was held in June 2019 in Bishkek articulated his eight-point agenda. This included a proposal to narrow the research-policy gap through the establishment of leading knowledge center for poverty reduction within the SCO framework.” Further, she reiterated, “There is an urgent need to establish a permanent mechanism for regular exchange of experiences and information on the applied innovative measures aimed at poverty alleviation.” The apex event also discussed regional approaches to poverty alleviation in the SCO member states.
19 million Ehsaas Rashan applicants going into data analysis pipeline for eligibility
Jan 27, 2022 – Islamabad: A meeting of the steering committee for the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme was convened at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. The steering committee has been re-constituted to oversee the roll out of the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat through PASSD and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP). The steering committee discussed and took beneficiary targeting decisions in line with guidance from the Federal Cabinet to support deserving families through Rashan programme. Ehsaas 8171 SMS registration service has been closed for families to register for Ehsaas Rashan on Jan 26, 2022. Overall, 19 million applicants have registered for the programme. On the ratification of steering committee, the applicants’ data is currently being analyzed with Ehsaas’ data analytics to determine the eligibility. Additional Secretary PASSD, Additional Secretary Finance, Chief Secretary Punjab, Chief Secretary KP, Chief Secretary AJK, Secretary Finance Baluchistan, Secretary Industries Punjab, Secretary Social Welfare KP came to the table together with MD Utility Stores, Group Head Digital Banking NBP, DG Social Protection Authority Punjab, DG Technology Ehsaas and DG Ehsaas National Socio-Economic Registry.
International Development Partners term Ehsaas Taleemi Wazaif app revolutionary to promote education for all
Jan 26, 2022 – Islamabad: Ehsaas hosted a high-level panel discussion with country heads of international development partners to celebrate the launch of Ehsaas Taleemi Wazaif app. The event themed around, “Role of conditional cash transfers in improving Human Capital Development in Pakistan”. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the event. Discussions profoundly resonated with the theme of International Education Day 2022, “Changing Course, Transforming Education”. Expert panelists were—Dr. Christian Turner, British High Commissioner to Pakistan; Najy Benhassine, Country Director, the World Bank; Yong Ye, Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB); Aida Girma, Country Representative, UNICEF; and Naveed Akbar, Director General, Ehsaas Conditional Cash Transfers. Panelists shared their experiences in administering education conditional cash transfer programmes. The fully digital, Ehsaas School Stipends/Taleemi Wazaif programme was widely lauded. Distinguished panelists termed Ehsaas Taleemi Wazaif app revolutionary to promote education for all in Pakistan. Secretary Ismat Tahira was also present on the occasion.
Ehsaas 8171 SMS Registration service closing on Jan 26 at 12 midnight
Jan 25, 2022 – Islamabad: The Ehsaas 8171 SMS service to register deserving families for Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme is closing on Jan 26, 2022 at 12 midnight. Families earning below Rs. 50,000 monthly can register by sending their CNIC to 8171 before the service closes. “All arrangements are in final stages to roll out the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme in partnership with National Bank of Pakistan. Also, family eligibility of applicants is currently being determined and we will start sending the eligibility messages very soon, said Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM while announcing the closure of Ehsaas 8171 SMS service for registration of families. The registration of Karyana stores is not closing with 8171 and it will continue through the web-portal: https://ehsaasrashan.pass.gov.pk/. Under the programme, a targeted subsidy of Rs. 1,000 per month will be granted to each of 20 million eligible families on the purchase of flour, pulses, cooking oil or ghee.
Jan 24, 2022 – Islamabad: Commemorating the International Day of Education, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM visited Islamabad Government Model College for Girls Kot Hathyal in outskirts of Islamabad to formally launch the Ehsaas Taleemi Wazaif application. “Ehsaas Taleemi Wazaif” android app has specifically been developed to enable enrolment of children from Ehsaas eligible households at their doorstep.During the event, Dr. Sania enrolled a girl in the school stipends programme. She sat with children, mothers and teachers and guided them about the end-to-end digital enrollment process through the newly launched android app. “Facilitating people to self-enroll their children under the Ehsaas Taleemi Wazaif programme, we have introduced the app today. Using this app, families can enroll their children themselves at their doorstep without visiting any office”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar while speaking to media. In the next 3 years, Ehsaas Taleemi Wazaif programme intends to bring 10 million deserving children into its fold from 160 districts of Pakistan.
150 vending licenses given under Prime Minister’s Ehsaas Rehribaan Initiative
Jan 20, 2022 – Islamabad: At the Sir Syed Memorial Hall in Islamabad, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) jointly organized the Ehsaas Rehribaan Conference. The event was themed, “Transformation of Street Vending in Islamabad and Lessons for Urban Pakistan”. Senator, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM was the chief guest at the conference. She distributed vending licenses, issued by the municipality, among the street vendors of Prime Minister’s Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative. Around 150 street vendors, who are given vending licenses and new ecofriendly carts under Ehsaas Rehribaan participated in the conference. Purpose of the conference was to highlight the transformation of street vending in Islamabad under the ongoing Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative and its lessons for replication in Urban Pakistan. High number of officials and representatives from municipality, government agencies, academia, microfinance banks and civil society also attended.
Ehsaas convenes policy dialogue with Ehsaas Undergrad Scholarship awardees in Multan
Jan 8, 2022 – Multan: Early morning, Dr. Sania held a policy consultation with Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship awardees from Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan. Students from the remote districts of South Punjab and Sindh participated in the consultation. Ehsaas Scholarship recipients widely lauded that the programme had financially empowered them to gain access to university education. Appreciating the transparent execution of Ehsaas scholarships, Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Mansoor Akber Kundi termed it a life changing programme for poor students. Senior faculty members of (BZU) and officials of Ehsaas also joined the consultation.
Pakistan leads declaration on global social protection platforms
Jan 16, 2022 – Dubai: Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division in collaboration with Pakistan’s Permanent Mission in New York organized three-themed daylong activities at Expo Dubai 2020 in Pakistan Pavilion. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation chaired these events. Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York convened an information session with Member States to garner support for the Universal Declaration on Social Protection, which Pakistan is leading. Dr. Sania keynoted the event. Participants included Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to UN; Feridun Sinirlioğlu, Permanent Representative of Turkey to UN; Tijjani Muhammad-Bande – Permanent Representative of Nigeria to UN; and Rodrigo Alberto Carazo Zeledón, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to UN. The Permanent Representatives of Argentina, Peru and China also spoke at the event and supported the idea of platform. This process started with the mission hosting an event on Social Protection during the United Nations High Level Political Forum in July 2021. The event was co-hosted by Turkey, Nigeria and Costa Rica. 15 countries have already indicated interest in joining the platform and signing the Declaration.
Sania chairs panel of global experts on cash transfers featuring Ehsaas at Expo Dubai 2020
Jan 16, 2022 – Dubai: At Expo Dubai 2020 in Pakistan Pavilion, Ehsaas featured a high-level panel discussion on, “Global experiences in cash transfer programmes”. Dr. Sania along with Pakistan’s Ambassador to United Arab Emirates, Afzal Mehmood co-chaired the event. Panel comprised of global experts, relevant ministers and academics including Ugo Gentilini, Global Lead for Social Assistance, the World Bank; Michal Rutowski, Global Director for Social Protection and Jobs, the World Bank Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy and Transformation Togo; Francesca Bastagali, Director Equity and Social Policy, Overseas Development Institute; Noor Rehman Khan, DG Ehsaas Unconditional Cash Transfers Ehsaas; and Naveed Akbar, DG Ehsaas Conditional Cash Transfers Ehsaas. Panelists shared their global learnings and experiences in administering and studying cash transfer programmes. Ehsaas’ programmes were richly commended for casting wider cash transfers.
Ehsaas hosts ‘meet and greet event’ at Expo Dubai 2020
Jan 16, 2022 – Dubai: Ehsaas team hosted a “meet and greet event” at Expo Dubai 2020 to inform visitors of Pakistan Pavilion about Ehsaas and its over 288 programmes, initiatives and policy actions. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM and senior officials of Ehsaas—Director General Naveed Akbar and Director General Noor Rehman were personally present at the Pavilion to educate visitors about Ehsaas. Visitors took keen interest in Ehsaas and richly appreciated its myriad pro-poor programmes.
Sania joins global leaders at Expo Dubai 2020 to kick off Global Goals Week
Jan 15, 2022 – Dubai: At Expo Dubai 2020’s Nexus, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at a high-level global event, “A Decade of Action: Driving Progress for the 2030 Agenda”. Co-curated by Expo 2020 and the United Nations, the event marked the beginning of Global Goals Week. Top leadership from countries and organizations working on the SDGs came together for solutions-focused discussions around four ‘anchor’ areas – Climate Change and Energy, Food Systems, Gender Equality and Human Capital. This event was co-hosted by Deputy Secretary General. Amina J. Mohammed and the Minister of State for International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates and Director General of the Expo 2020, H.E. Reem Al Hashmy. This high-level invitation only event brought together 30 global leaders to discuss how in the spirit of the Decade of Action, the international community could drive action towards the successful fulfilment of the SDGs. There were 4 speakers in this exclusive event. Dr. Sania was invited to speak about human capital and the SDGs.
Sania reviews progress and scaleup of Ehsaas Tahafuz
Jan 14, 2022 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired a review meeting with Ehsaas Tahafuz team at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. The meeting tracked preparations for the nationwide expansion of Ehsaas Tahafuz. The programme is being to 14 public sector hospitals across all four provinces and federating units. Director General, Ehsaas Tahafuz briefed on the scale-up plan and progress on the development of dashboards and website. Secretary of the Division, Muhammad Ali Shahzada was also present. Ehsaas Tahafuz is Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net being introduced under the umbrella of Ehsaas. Currently, it is fully functional in one hospital of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Presidents of all Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry briefed on Ehsaas Rashan Registration Drive
Jan 12, 2022: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM was invited to keynote the International Chambers Summit 2022. The two-day summit was attended by more than 60 chamber presidents from across Pakistan, including nine women’s chambers and nine small chamber presidents. Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry had organized the event. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sania urged Presidents of Chambers to create awareness among Kiryana shopkeepers in their respective areas on the ongoing Ehsaas Rashan Registration Drive. She highlighted that Kiryana retailers will get 8% tax free commission on each Ehsaas Rashan sale amount. Kiryana retailers will be able to win cars, motorcycles, mobile phones etc through quarterly lucky draws. Kiryana owners signaled their full interest and cooperation towards the registration drive of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan and Razzaq Dawood, Advisor to the PM on Commerce and Investment also attended the chamber’s summit.
Cabinet Ministers visit One Window Ehsaas Center in Sitara Market
Jan 11, 2022 – Islamabad: A delegation of Cabinet Ministers visited One Window Center of Ehsaas in Sitara Market, Islamabad. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM briefed them on the One Stop Shop services of Ehsaas which consolidate all benefits for 14 different target groups. The delegation comprised of Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar; Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training, Shafqat Mehmood; Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Ali Haider Zaidi; Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Khusro Bakhtiar; Deputy Speaker National Assembly, Qasim Khan Suri; and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Farrukh Habib. The delegation took round of the Center to witness wide ranging Ehsaas facilities and services and met with beneficiaries. It was followed by a joint media briefing. They greatly appreciated that the first One Window Center of Ehsaas was taking care of its beneficiaries like a mother and felicitated Ehsaas on the successful consolidation of all Ehsaas benefits in a single space. Media briefing can be watched here.
Progress of Ehsaas Rashan Registration reviewed with NBP; 500 officials attended
Jan 10, 2022 – Islamabad: A progress review meeting was held with National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to track the cadence of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Registration. Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. It was appreciated that with the collaborative efforts of Chief Secretaries of KP and Punjab, NBP team and district administrations, the Kiryana retailer registrations have risen substantively from 300 to 3,000 per week. President NBP, Arif Usmani; Chief Digital Officer NBP, Hamayoun Sajjad, executive leadership and over 500 regional officers from all over the country joined the meeting. Secretary of the Social Safety Division, Muhammad Ali Shahzada and Additional Secretary Captain (Retd) Saeed Ahmed Nawaz were also in attendance. The Rashan Riayat programme of Ehsaas is being executed in partnership with NBP.
Over 40 Diplomatic Corps briefed on “Declaration on Establishing a Global Social Protection Knowledge Platform”
Jan 10, 2022 – Islamabad: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan’s Mission to United Nations in New York convened a briefing today with the Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Islamabad to promote “Declaration on Establishing a Global Social Protection Knowledge Platform”. The Declaration is being led by Pakistan’s Mission to UN in New York in cooperation with a “Group of Friends on Social Protection” including Costa Rica, Nigeria and Turkey, supported by the World Bank. Diplomatic Corps from over 40 countries joined the briefing. Chairing the briefing, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM introduced the Declaration and interacted with participants on its conceptualization and the operationalization of the Global Social Protection Knowledge Platform. Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood highlighted the objectives of the briefing and called on the Heads of Missions to apprise their respective governments to support this global knowledge-sharing initiative. The participants were also informed that Ehsaas, Pakistan’s social protection programme, has organized a day-long event at the Dubai Expo Pakistan Pavilion on 16 January 2022 to promote the Declaration.
Sania opens Ehsaas Nashonuma Center in Khanewal
Jan 8, 2022 – Khanewal: On the second day of visit to South Punjab, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM spent a very busy day in Khanewal. At the District Headquarter Hospital Khanewal, she opened the Ehsaas Nashonuma Center. Senior officials of Ehsaas were also preseFour Ehsaas Nashonuma Centers are functional in Jahanian, Khanewal, Kabirwala and Mian Channu Tehsils of Khanewal. Currently, Ehsaas Nashonuma Centers are operational in two districts of South Punjab: Khanewal and Rajanpur. “In line with PM’s vision to address stunting in children, Ehsaas Nashonuma Centers will be opened in all tehsils of the country this year”, said Dr. Sania. Under Ehsaas Nashonuma, nutrition centered cash transfers are granted to the pregnant and lactating mothers and those with children under 2 years of age. Disbursements are linked to the consumption of nutritious food, immunization, checkups, and participation in health awareness training.
Sania reviews Ehsaas School Stipends registration in Khanewal
Jan 8, 2022 – Khanewal: Dr. Sania went to Khanewal to witness the digital process of children being registered for Ehsaas School Stipends. She met with children and mothers at Government Girls Primary School, Kot Ala Singh in Khanewal. She also spoke to teachers, beneficiary children and their mothers. At Kot Ala Singh school, 60 out of 160 total children are currently being enrolled for Ehsaas School Stipends. “Under the programme, girls’ stipends are high as compared to boys. This is the first of its kind girl favoring programme worldwide to inspire poorest families to send their children especially girls to schools”, commented Dr. Sania.
Nishtar Hospital management briefed on Ehsaas Tahafuz
Jan 8, 2022 – Multan: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired a meeting on Ehsaas Tahafuz with management and senior officials of Nishtar Hospital Multan. Vice Chancellor Nishtar Medical University, Dr. Rana Altaf, Secretary Health; Director General Ehsaas Tahafuz; and Director General Ehsaas, Punjab, were also present on the occasion. The meeting explored ways of collaboration between Ehsaas Tahafuz and Nishtar Hospital. It was discussed that Tahafuz programme is being expanded to 14 public hospitals of the country this year. Tahafuz, under the umbrella of Ehsaas, is a patient centric, shock-oriented programme that caters to one-time catastrophic health costs for those who lack the ability to bear the heavy expenditures.
Warm clothes distributed in Panagahs on PM’s instructions
June 8, 2022 – Islamabad: On special instructions of the Prime Minister, winter clothes, shawls, caps and socks are being distributed among poor inmates of Panagahs. This is to protect the daily wage earners from harsh weather conditions. Pakistan Baitul Mal (PBM) is monitoring the distribution process to ensure accommodating every deserving person in Panagahs. Aiming to protect the daily wagers, laborers, passengers, and other needy persons from the extreme cold weather conditions; this kind gesture really describes the affection of Prime Minister for the vulnerable populace of the country. PBM is one of the main executing agencies of Ehsaas with a responsibility for Panagahs and other care services.
District Coordination Committee and Parliamentarians in Multan briefed on Ehsaas
Jan 7, 2020 – Multan: While in Multan, Dr. Sania was joined by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at Commissioner’s Office. A Together with the Foreign Minister, Dr. Sania co-chaired a meeting with Parliamentarians, district administration and District Coordination Committee of Multan. The meeting was briefed on the ongoing programmes of Ehsaas in the district including Ehsaas Kafaalat, Ehsaas School Stipends, Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships, Ehsaas Interest Free Loans and Ehsaas Rashan Riayat. The meeting concluded at a joint press conference. Press conference can be watched here.
Sania leads Ehsaas Rashan Registration drive in Multan
Jan 7, 2022 – Multan: On the fifth leg of Ehsaas Rashan Tour to 30 cities, Dr. Sania made a visit to Multan. She was also accompanied by senior officials of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Ehsaas. The visit meant to mobilize local trader associations and Kiryana alliances across Multan for raising awareness on the Ehsaas Rashan Registration drive across Multan. At Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Sania chaired a meeting with local Kiryana retailers, NBP team and local press and electronic media. She highlighted that the government would give 8% commission to Kiryana retailers on subsidy amount and there will be quarterly lucky draws to award cars, motorcycles, mobile phones etc to best performing retailers. Later, she went to the Old Shujabad Road to speak to Kiryana retailers in the market about the Ehsaas Rashan programme. Kiryana owners showed a very positive response and enthusiasm for the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme. The meeting was followed by a media briefing which can be watched here.
Ehsaas Survey of 34.41 million families concludes nationwide
Jan 6, 2022 – Islamabad: Ehsaas has successfully accomplished a countrywide National Socio-economic Registry Survey which includes households’ information in terms of geographic data, demographics, socio-economic status, education, health, disability, employment, energy consumption, assets, communications, agri-landholdings, WASH, livestock etc. To celebrate the achievement of this milestone, Ehsaas hosted a launch event in Islamabad. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the ceremony. Najy Benhassine, Country Director the World Bank, Julien Harneis, Resident Coordinator UNRC, Secretary Ismat Tahira, and senior representatives of Government Departments, Asian Development Bank, development partners and media officials joined the event. Director General Naveed Akbar outlined the design, end to end digital methodology, approaches and rigorous transparency measures embedded in the execution of survey. Speaking on the occasion, Country Director World Bank said, “I congratulate Government of Pakistan and Ehsaas on achieving this historical milestone. This is not just Pakistan but also South Asia’s first digitally enabled socio-economic census.”
System Integration completed between USC and NBP for Ehsaas Rashan Riayat
Jan 5, 2022 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar together with MD Utility Stores Corporation (USC) visited a Utility Store in G-6 Islamabad to field test the integration of data and Point of Sales (PoS) systems between Ehsaas, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and USC under the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme. At the Utility Store, Dr. Sania witnessed the first transaction and met with the first cohort of beneficiaries who were declared eligible under the testing phase, after they enrolled for Ehsaas Rashan through 8171. Through the newly integrated system, the eligibility of the buyers was verified, and they were able to avail subsidy on the purchase of flour, cooking oil, ghee and pulses. “It is very encouraging to see the successful system and data integration which is a result of the hard work of USC, NBP and Ehsaas teams. This is, in fact, a great milestone”, said Dr. Sania. Work under the Ehsaas Rashan programme is underway, registration and scrutiny of applicants is ongoing and very soon the Ehsaas Rashan subsidies will be available through a network of Utility Stores of Corporation and NBP authorized Kiryana stores all over the country.
Ehsaas and FIA join hands against swindlers defrauding Ehsaas beneficiaries
Jan 4, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM and Director General Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Dr. Sanaullah Abbasi held a special meeting to strengthen coordination against fraudulent deductions in the field, cybercrimes, scams, fake websites, fake SMS, fake Whatsapp messages, fake apps, defrauding the poor particularly the Ehsaas beneficiaries. During the meeting, it was decided that miscreants, swindlers, and scammers who defraud innocent people will be dealt with strictly. “In fight against corruption, Ehsaas is making every effort with FIA to curb frauds and scams in the name of Ehsaas. In this regard, a series of meetings will also be held every week between Ehsaas and FIA to exchange new insights of cases”, said Dr. Sania.This weekly meeting will be attended both by Dr. Sania and DG FIA.“We will lend full support to Ehsaas to punish fraudsters”, vowed DG FIA.
Ehsaas Undergrad Scholarship portal closes with 122,744 new applications including those of 652 transgenders
Jan 3, 2022 – Islamabad: The Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship portal officially closed on Dec 31, 2021 for new applications of the year 2021. As many as, 122,744 undergraduate students including 50,048 girls and 652 transgenders have applied for scholarships. “With the closure of portal, the scrutiny of applications has just begun, and it is envisaged that final selection process will be completed in the next quarter with all 135 public sector universities”, said Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM. Higher Education Commission (HEC) and all public sector universities have also been urged to expedite the scrutiny and selection process with full transparency. Ehsaas will award 50,000 new scholarships to deserving students. In line with the undergraduate scholarship policy of Ehsaas, fifty percent of scholarships will go to girls.
Ehsaas and CDA to run capital wide Ehsaas Rashan Registration Drive
Jan 3, 2022 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired a briefing together with Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA), Amer Ali Ahmed on Ehsaas Rashan Registration. The briefing discussed the registration drive plan with CDA to expedite the enrollment of Kiryana retailers and families across all fifty union councils of the federal capital. Currently, the Ehsaas Rashan Registration Drive is in full swing with district administrations of Punjab, KP, GB and AJK. An engaging Rashan workshop will be held with CDA this week to kick off the drive across Islamabad. Chairman CDA assured full cooperation to run a capital wide registration drive. Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Hamayoun Sajjad, Chief Digital Officer, NBP and other senior officials of NBP and CDA also joined the briefing.
Sania inaugurates the first ever ginger harvest in Pakistan
Jan 2, 2022 – Chakwal: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar was a chief guest at the Ginger Harvest Workshop to inaugurate the first ever ginger cultivation in Balkasar area of Chakwal. The harvest celebration was organized by Agrionics Farms. This was the first ginger harvest piloted in Pakistan. The crop was grown in eleven months. At the event, participants learnt from experts about the sustainable production and management of ginger and how to properly harvest this crop. Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali, Chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Muhammad Najeebullah, Director Vegetable Research Institute, Faisalabad and other experts were also present on the occasion. Participants were provided with information on how to successfully grow and harvest ginger in the country. Experts presented research-based information about the agricultural benefits of growing ginger locally. After knowledge-sharing, all participants went to the field for the formal inauguration and demonstrations. Chairman PAC briefed Dr. Sania on the success of ginger cultivation project and its potential to boost Pakistan’s farming sector.
Sania lauds top performers in Ehsaas School Stipends enrollment drive
Dec 30, 2021- Islamabad: Ehsaas hosted an appreciation award ceremony to honour the contributions of field teams and regional officials of Ehsaas engaged in Ehsaas School Stipends enrollment drive. Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the ceremony. Secretary Ismat Tahira, DG Naveed Akbar, DG Khalid Siddique and DG Zafar Kamal also graced the occasion. During the period of Jul to Sep 2021, majority of field teams met all enrollment targets on time and made substantial progress on creating awareness and leading enrollment drive for Ehsaas School Stipends. The programme enrolled 907,486 children in all tehsils of the country which shows 99.3% achievement against the target of 913,590. To celebrate the achievement of this major milestone, a cohort of 30 high performing field officers were invited to Islamabad. Dr. Sania applauded the efforts of high achieving officials and encouraged them for their future milestones. The event was attended by the high performing officials from Gujranwala, Layyah, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sargodha, Multan, Lakki Marwat, Malakand, Abbottabad, Kohistan, Skardu, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Poonch, Hattian Bala, Mastung, Naseerabad, Karachi, Tando Allahyar and Islamabad. A plan was also discussed to expedite the enrolment drive in the first quarter of year 2022. Later, Dr. Sania gave away appreciation certificates to high performers.
Sania keynotes poverty alleviation consultation with members of GB Assembly
Dec 29, 2021- Islamabad: Dr. Sania keynoted a high-level consultative workshop on “Youth Employability and Poverty Alleviation” for the members of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Assembly. The two-day workshop was held by Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP). Dr. Sania appreciated the proactive approach of the government of GB towards Ehsaas. “In addition to monthly stipends, families eligible in Ehsaas Kafaalat are also benefitting from Ehsaas School Stipends across all Tehsils of GB. The program gives stipends from primary to the higher secondary levels. Ehsaas Nashonuma, Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship and Ehsaas Interest Free Loan programmes are also running in GB”, said Dr. Sania. A strategic plan was also discussed with members of GB Assembly to open Ehsaas Nashonuma and Ehsaas One Window Centers in all Tehsils of GB. Dr. Sania also encouraged members of GB Assembly to create awareness among the people of GB on a multitude of Ehsaas programmes particularly, the ongoing Ehsaas Rashan registration drive with Kiryana retailers and families. The inaugural session was graced by the Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan, Khalid Khurshid Khan. The speakers in the workshop emphasized on contextualizing the development plans so that they are more in sync with the issues of Gilgit-Baltistan.
PM unveils plan for purpose built new Panagahs
Dec 22, 2021 – Islamabad: In a soft launch event, Prime Minister Imran Khan broke the ground for the new model Panagahs being built in Islamabad Capital Territory with improved standards and structure. On the special instructions of the Prime Minister, the four new Panagahs are being built in Tarlai, Tarnol, G-9 and Mandi More areas of Islamabad adjacent to the existing facilities. At the event, PM also unveiled the final plans of these multistoried Panagahs to be constructed. He lauded Ehsaas team, CDA, NCA and all concerned for their collaborative efforts and instructed to ensure the speedy execution of new model Panagahs. The Prime Minister underlined the importance of provision of quality food and service at the Panagahs. He also appreciated the collective efforts of the concerned departments and directed them to replicate the model in the provinces on the same line. Earlier, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM briefed the PM on the Panagahs’ new strategic plan including construction, furnishing, governance, execution, digital monitoring, capacity building and financing.
Sania briefs CS and district administrations of Punjab on Ehsaas Rashan Registration
Dec 21, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired a briefing together with Chief Secretary Punjab, Kamran Ali Afzal on Ehsaas Rashan Registration. DG Social Welfare, Secretary Food, Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners of all districts of Punjab attended the meeting. The briefing discussed detailed plan with district administrations of Punjab to expedite the registration of Kiryana retailers and families under the ongoing Ehsaas Rashan Registration drive. Outlining details of Ehsaas Rashan programme, Dr. Sania urged the district administrations in Punjab to support the ongoing registration drive with Kiryana retailers and families. Chief Secretary Punjab and district administrations widely lauded Ehsaas Rashan programme and ensured full support for its registration drive. It was agreed that regular weekly meetings will be convened to track the registration drive across all districts of Punjab. Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Captain (Rtd) Saeed Ahmed Nawaz, Additional Secretary of the Division, Hamayoun Sajjad, Chief Digital Officer, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and other senior officials of the bank also joined the briefing.
Executive Director WFP richly lauds Ehsaas Nashonuma
December 16, 2021- Islamabad: Ehsaas and World Food Programme (WFP) inked a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend the Ehsaas Nashonuma programme currently from 15 districts to all Tehsils of Pakistan. David Beasley, Executive Director, World Food Programme and Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar SAPM jointly witnessed the MoU signing ceremony. Country Director WFP Pakistan, Chris Kaye and Secretary Ismat Tahira formally signed the MoU. Speaking on the occasion, David Beasley stated, “I highly commend Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision and commitment to address the issue of stunting in children across Pakistan. Other countries can also learn from it.” He also congratulated the PM on the success of the programme. Dr. Sania termed Ehsaas’ partnership with WFP as remarkable and thanked the WFP leadership and country team for their assistance in the programme design, roll out and national scale-up. Senior officials of Ehsaas and WFP Pakistan also joined the event.
President hails One Window Ehsaas Center in Islamabad
Dec 15, 2021- Islamabad: President Dr. Arif Alvi visited the One Window Ehsaas Center in Sitara Market. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM briefed him on the One Stop Shop operations of Ehsaas which integrate all benefits and services for 14 different target groups in one space. At the Center, President took stock of the wide ranging One Window Ehsaas services and met with beneficiaries. “It is heartening to see that all Ehsaas services can be accessed at this facility in a well-coordinated manner, and this is the real demonstration of a welfare state”, said President. He highly commended the integration of all Ehsaas services under one roof and congratulated Ehsaas team for running a multitude of Ehsaas programmes with utmost integrity and transparency. Secretary Ismat Tahira, DG Khalid Siddique, DG Naveed Akbar, DG Meer Anwar and other senior officials of Ehsaas were also present on the occasion.
Ehsaas and NCSW join forces for welfare of women and girls
Dec 10, 2021 – Islamabad: Commemorating sixteen days of activism campaign against gender-based violence, the event titled, ‘Humein Ehsaas Hai Khwateen Ka” was held under the umbrella of Ehsaas. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM was the chief guest on the occassion. The event was co-organzied by Ehsaas, National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and Quaid -e-Azam University. Nilofer Bakhtiar, Chairperson, NCSW; Secretary Ismat Tahira; Secretary Arif Anwar Baloch, and Dr. Muhammad Ali, VC Quaid-e-Azam University also graced the occasion. Addressing the event, Dr. Sania said, “Education is essential for the socio-economic empowerment of girls and women. “Ehsaas is the only programme worldwide that offers a higher stipend amount for girls compared to boys under its CCT programmes; Ehsaas School Stipends and Ehsaas Nashonuma”, she highlighted further. Dr. Sania also applauded the collaboration between NCSW and Ehsaas. The event was widely attended by senior officials of Ehsaas, government officials, development partners, awardees of Ehsaas undergraduate scholarships, faculty and students of Quaid-e-Azam University, and women and girls from all walks of life.
Dr. Sania joins the meeting of Global Council on SDGs
Dec 9, 2021: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM who is also the member of Gobal Council on SDG 1 was invited to join the meeting of the council. This was the first meeting of the council in its second term until 2023. The meeting included introductions of the council members and exchange of initial ideas on the goals of the council in the second term, its workplan, priorities and deliverables. The Global Councils on SDGs is an interdisciplinary network of decision makers from governments, international organizations, academia, and the private sector, share innovative practices and discuss the creative implementation of the SDGs at the national and global level. The Council aims to work on creating new partnerships between countries, organizations, and sustainable development advocates for the implementation of SDGs.
PM launches Ehsaas Rashan Registration drive in KP; Awards Ehsaas’ Scholarships, Ehsaas Kafaalat and Ehsaas School Stipends
Dec 8, 2021 – Peshawar: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Peshawar to launch the registration drive of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat. Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister said, “Ehsaas Rashan Registration is currently underway, nationwide. We have launched Rs. 120 billion Ehsaas Rashan Riayat to protect the 20 million underprivileged families from the effects of COVID induced inflation that has impacted not just Pakistan but the entire world. Overall, the programme will cover more than half the country’s population.” At the Governor House KP, PM was joined by Mahmood Khan, Chief Minister KP; Shah Farman, Governor KP; Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM; Fawad Chaudhry, Federal Minister for information and Broadcasting, Ministers and Members of Provincial Assembly KP. PM also gave away need cum merit based Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships to female students of University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar. It was followed by distribution of Kafaalat cheques among Ehsaas beneficiary women who had recently been enrolled through the Ehsaas survey. Later, PM also met with parents and children enrolled in Ehsaas School Stipends.
Sania convenes meeting on Ehsaas Rashan Registration with DCs of all districts in KP
Dec 8, 2021 – Peshawar: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired a meeting together with Chief Secretary KP, Dr. Shahbaz Khan Bangash at the Chief Secretary Office in Peshawar. Deputy Commissioners of all districts in KP joined the meeting. To facilitate the enrollment of families and Kiryana merchants under Ehsaas Rashan Registration drive, the meeting thoroughly discussed engagement plan for district administrations. Dr. Sania urged the DCs to create awareness about the Ehsaas Rashan registration among the poor and Kiryana merchants. Chief Secretary KP and all DCs assured full support and cooperation in the registration and execution of Ehsaas Rashan programme.
ADB approves $603 Million program to support Ehsaas Social Protection and Poverty Reduction Strategy
Dec 8, 2021 – Manila: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $603 million results-based lending program to strengthen and expand social protection programs in Pakistan. Using conditional cash transfers, the program will support the implementation of Ehsaas, Pakistan’s national social protection and poverty reduction strategy. The program marks a significant shift in ADB’s strategic engagement in the social protection space in Pakistan in line with Ehsaas priorities,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov. The program supports the Ehsaasgoal of expanding cash transfers to improve access to primary and secondary education up to grade 10 for children and adolescents of poor families, especially girls, and enhancing health services and nutrition for women, adolescent girls, and poor children. “ADB is a trusted and longstanding partner. This program is the result of years of engagement with ADB and other partners and focuses on areas where we believe the bank can have most impact. It is a key priority under the government’s Ehsaasstrategy,” said Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM.
British High Commissioner calls on Dr. Sania
Dec 7, 2021 – Islamabad: British High Commissioner to Pakistan, H.E. Christian Turner called on Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM at Ehsaas Offices. The meeting discussed prospective collaborations under Ehsaas. Additional Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division Captain (Retd) Saeed Ahmad Nawaz, DG Khalid Siddique, DG Noor Rehman, senior officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others also joined the meeting.
Sania inaugurates Pak-Afghan Bilateral Dialogue in Islamabad
Dec 7, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM was invited to keynote the inaugural session of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Bilateral Dialogue on “Women for Peace Initiative – Road to an inclusive future” organized by a local think tank, the Regional Peace Institute (RPI) in Islamabad. Dr. Sania was joined by SAPM Raoof Hasan, who is also the CEO of RPI, H.E. Per Albert Ilsaas, Ambassador of Norway, Sharmeela Rassool, UN Women Country Representative for Pakistan and distinguished women delegates from Afghanistan. Keynoting the session, Dr. Sania welcomed distinguished women delegates from Afghanistan and stressed on the importance of socio-economic mainstreaming women in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Reiterating Pakistan’s resolve to empower underprivileged women, she stated, “More than three-quarters of the entire Ehsaas’ benefits go to women and girls under the Ehsaas 50%+ benefits policy for women and girls. Also, gender data disaggregation and its use for accountability is cardinal to the programme review, monitoring and reporting.” She further highlighted that all the twelve million beneficiaries of the Ehsaas cash this year are women. The distinguished women delegates of Afghanistan affirmed to cooperate on various aspects of common aspirations in poverty reduction and women empowerment. The two-day dialogue included working sessions around education for women, governance and development, and legislative processes and procedures.
Sania joins President at the 24th Sustainable Development Conference
Dec 6, 2021 – Islamabad: President Dr. Arif Alvi was the chief guest at the twenty fourth Sustainable Development Conference hosted by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). The overarching theme of the conference was ‘Beyond the Pandemic: Leaving No One Behind’. Addressing the conference, President said, “Digitalization of the economy is essential to empower women and bring other deprived segments into the mainstream.” Speaking on the occasion, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM said that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world that health was a national security issue and shifted people towards digitalization. She further added that the government had been prioritizing digitalization even before the pandemic had surfaced as it had launched 20 programs under Ehsaas. “Pakistan is the first country that is paying higher stipend to girls for their enrolment in schools,” she said. SDPI Executive Director Abid Qaiyum Suleri appreciated the timely steps taken by the government to contain the pandemic and commodities prices which saved people from food scarcity. The Sustainable Development Conference was a reflection on the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sania chairs international consultative clinic on food subsidy reform
Dec 2, 2021: Pakistan has recently introduced a targeted food subsidy programme, “Ehsaas Rashan Riayat” to compensate for prices increases in the food items which would affect the poor. To learn from the experiences of other countries, an international consultative clinic on food subsidy reforms was convened by the World Bank to inform the design of Pakistan’s targeted commodity subsidies reform. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the event. Speakers and experts from Washington, Cairo, Jakarta, Islamabad and Karachi joined the clinic. At the event, Dr. Sania was joined by Stefano Paternostro, Practice Manager, Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, South Asia Region, the World Bank; Ugo Gentilini, Global Lead, Social Assistance, Global Practice, World Bank; Dr. Ibtissam El-Gaafarawi, Advisor to the Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Minister and Professor at the National Center for Social and Criminological Research, Egypt; and Dr. Elan Satriawan, Chief of Policy Working Group in TNP2K, Indonesia. Participants appreciated Pakistan’s digitally driven Ehsaas Rashan programme that is meant to grant a subsidy of Rs. 1,000 a month to Rs. 20 million low-income families on the purchase of certain food items including flour, cooking oil/ghee and pulses.
Islamabad – Dec 1, 2021: Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired Ehsaas Rashan Riayat meeting to review progress on Ehsaas Rashan Registration and execution. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM briefed the PM on the steps being taken to enroll families and Kiryana shopkeepers under the programme. Prime Minister said, “Government is taking all possible measures to provide maximum relief to a common man.” Briefing the PM on the ongoing Ehsaas Rashan registration, Dr. Sania said, “Since the Ehsaas Rashan Registration web-portal opened on Nov 9, 2021, the portal received as many as 489.96 million visits. Over 6.83 million families have been registered through 8171 service and Ehsaas Rashan web-portal, so far. Likewise, 33,178 Kiryana shopkeepers have been registered nationwide under Ehsaas Rashan and registration of 50,562 shopkeepers is currently in process on the portal.” PM directed participating provinces, district governments and other concerned authorities to expedite the Rashan registration process to benefit maximum number of poor families in the country. Chief Minister Punjab, Sardar Usman Buzdar; Chief Minister KP, Mahmood Khan; Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Khalid Khurshid; Advisor on Finance Shaukat Tarin; SAPM on Political Communication, Dr. Shehbaz Gill; Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan Niazi; President NBP, Arif Usmani and other senior officers also attended the meeting.
Sania chairs the session at UKAID’s high-level national learning event
Dec 1, 2021- Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM was invited to chair the session at high-level national learning event, “Pakistan’s COVID Response: Lessons for Improving Governance”. The learning event was cohosted by Oxford Policy Management, UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and Sub-National Governance (SNG). At the event, Dr. Sania chaired the session themed, “COVID-19 and Social Protection Challenge”. Other speakers and panelists included Dr. Sohail Anwar, Social Protection Adviser, SNG; Secretary Ismat Tahira; Amjad Saqib, CEO, Akhuwat Foundation; and Mazhar Siraj, Senior SD Adviser, FCDO. The event was held as part of the learning agenda under the Pakistan Sub-National Governance (SNG) programme. SNG is a technical assistance programme running from 2020 to 2023, implemented by Oxford Policy Management (OPM) and funded by UKAID.
Last date to apply for Ehsaas Undergrad Scholarship extended till Dec 31, 2021
Nov 29, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM has announced an extension in the last date to submit scholarship applications for the year 2021 till Dec 31, 2021. Earlier, Nov 30, 2021 was the last date for the online submission of applications. Given the delays in admission process at several public sector universities in the country, the last date for Ehsaas scholarship applications has been extended to enable maximum number of deserving students to apply for this opportunity. Since the reopening of portal in the last week of Sep 2021, as many as 77,210 applications have been submitted and 23,740 application cases are in process of submission. 135 public sector universities recognized by Higher Education Commission are part of this programme. Students enrolled in 4 to 5-year undergraduate programmes of public sector universities are eligible to submit applications for the year 2021. Eligible students can apply through an online portal: https://ehsaas.hec.gov.pk/.
Sania chairs the 53rd board meeting of BISP
Nov 29, 2021 – Islamabad: The 53rd board meeting of BISP took place at the BISP headquarters in Islamabad. Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. The board took several important decisions regarding the conditional and unconditional cash transfer programmes of Ehsaas. Since Dec 2018, when Dr. Sania took over as a board chair, 24 BISP board meetings have been held and all board sub-committees are regularly meeting in line with the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy. The board meeting was attended by Senior Joint Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Secretary BISP and senior officials from the Finance Division, Economic Affairs Division, NADRA and private sector. BISP is one of the 34 executing agencies of Ehsaas.
KP Parliamentarians briefed on Ehsaas Rashan Registration
Nov 26, 2021 – Peshawar: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM went to Peshawar to brief KP Parliamentarians on Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Registration. The meeting took place at KP Assembly Secretariat. Speaker KP, Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani, Deputy Speaker KP, Mehmood Jan, Finance and Health Minister KP, Taimur Saleem Jhagra and senior officials of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) were also present in the briefing. Speaking to Provincial Parliamentarians, Dr. Sania urged them to support Ehsaas in registering Kiryana shops and deserving families provincewide. She comprehensively explained the registration and operational modalities of the Rashan programme. Dr. Sania also thanked the KP Government for their participation in the programme. Like other participating provinces, Ehsaas and KP are sharing the cost in the proportion of 35:65. Parliamentarians lauded the transparency measures hardwired in the programme and ensured full cooperation to create awareness on the execution of programme.
Sania delivers a Talk on Poverty Alleviation and Ehsaas hosted by NUST
Nov 26, 2021 – Islamabad: The NUST Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS) hosted Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, to deliver a talk on “Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment through Ehsaas Programme” at the university’s main campus. Dr. Sania, who is also a distinguished member of NIPS Advisory Council, expounded the theory of change behind the Ehsaas programme that incorporate an all-encompassing approach towards capacity building of millions of underprivileged households. She elaborated that the Ehsaas programme is fully aligned with Prime Minister’s vision of a welfare state, adding 142,000 scholarships were awarded to students in two years across Pakistan. Earlier in his welcome remarks, Engr Javed Mahmood Bukhari, Rector NUST and Patron NIPS, stated that Ehsaas is, by far, one of the most comprehensive poverty alleviation and social safety programmes, comprising multiple initiatives. Later, Dr. Sania interacted with awardees of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship at NUST. Currently, 600 recipients of Ehsaas Scholarship are studying in NUST.
Sania creates awareness on Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Registration in Lahore
Nov 25, 2021 – Lahore: To create awareness on Ehsaas Rashan Riayat registration, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Lahore. The visit was part of Ehsaas Rashan 30 City Tour. 25 cities have been covered, so far. Making an appeal to enroll more and more deserving families and Kiryana shopkeepers for Ehsaas Rashan, Dr. Sania sat with local media and Parliamentarians of Punjab in Lahore. She was also joined by Arif Usmani, President, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari, Minister for Social Welfare and Bait ul Maal Punjab, senior officials of NBP and Ehsaas. Dr. Sania also called on Chief Minister Punjab, Sardar Usman Buzdar. The meeting discussed federal-provincial collaborations under Ehsaas Rashan Riayat. Later, Dr. Sania convened a press conference on Ehsaas Rashan Riayat at 90, Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam. Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Information and Special Initiatives, Hasaan Khawar; Minister for Social Welfare and Bait- ul-Maal Punjab, Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari; and President NBP, Arif Usmani were also present. The visit concluded with the visit to a local Kiryana store in Shadman market to register it under the Ehsaas Rashan programme.
Sania visits Taramri Islamabad to speak to Kiryana retailers
Nov 24, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM together with President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Arif Usmani visited a local Kiryana shop in Taramri, Islamabad. The visit aimed to raise awareness among the Kiryana shopkeepers to register their shops under Ehsaas Rashan Riayat. Dr. Sania also explained that the authorized Kiryana shopkeepers will deliver the subsidy to eligible families through mobile point of sale (mPOS) app. Later, she held a press conference on Ehsaas Rashan Riayat at NBP Regional Headquarters in Islamabad. At the press conference, she was joined by President NBP, print and electronic media and All Pakistan Traders’ Association. Press Conference can be watched here.
Sania releases an instructional video on 8171 Rashan Registration
Nov 22, 2021 – Islamabad: Easing out the registration process, Ehsaas has opened 8171 service for enrollment of families under Ehsaas Rashan Riayat. To educate masses about the registration process, Dr. Sania Nishtar has released an instructional video. “Families earning less than Rs. 50,000 a month can register themselves under the Rashan programme of Ehsaas. Only one member of an applicant family whose cell number is issued on his personal Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) can enroll his family either through 8171 SMS service or the web-portal. For registration through 8171, the same member of a family can SMS his/her CNIC number to 8171”, said Dr. Sania in a video. Kiryana shopkeepers can only register through the web-portal: https://ehsaasrashan.pass.gov.pk/. Based on insights from Dr. Sania’s field visits to 24 small cities, Ehsaas has opened the 8171 SMS service to facilitate the enrollment of deserving families with limited or no access to internet.
Third Leg of Ehsaas Rashan 30 City Tour; Sania covers 10 small cities
Nov 18, 2021 – Dera Ismail Khan:On the third leg of Ehsaas Rashan Tour to 30 cities, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM covered 10 small cities and towns around Attock, Chakwal, Mianwali and Dera Ismail Khan. Last weekend, she visited 14 small cities and towns along the G.T. Road from Jhelum to Peshawar. During the visit to Fateh Jhang, Talagang, Lawa, Moosa Khel, Purani Kiri, Mianwali, Kundiyan, Saidaliyan, Rangpur Adda and Dera Ismail Khan, Dr. Sania was joined by senior officials of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Ehsaas and district administrations. Speaking to retailers, trader associations, and public in each of the small cities and towns, Dr. Sania guided them that Kiryana owners from all over the country can register themselves exclusively via online Rashan portal: ehsaasrashan.pass.gov.pk that is open for registration till next two weeks. Dr. Sania also convened two press conferences on Ehsaas Rashan Riayat with the local press and electronic media in Mianwali and Dera Ismail Khan. In the press conference held at Dera Ismail Khan, she was also joined by Ali Amin Gandapur, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Alternate US Executive Director ADB visits Ehsaas
Nov 17, 2021 – Islamabad: Alternate US Executive Director to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), John Hurley visited Ehsaas. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM and Secretary Ismat Tahira briefed him on over 288 social protection programmes, initiatives, and policy reforms under Ehsaas. Hurley appreciated Ehsaas for touching the lives of almost half the country’s population during COVID-19 crises. He also commended the governance and integrity reforms of Ehsaas to ensure transparent operations. Hurley also reassured the ADB’s commitment to support Government of Pakistan for further strengthening and upscaling of myriad Ehsaas’ operations nationwide. Earlier this week, Hurley went to Peshawar and Taxila to witness Ehsaas registration desks, Ehsaas Cash payments and others. He expressed satisfaction over the transparent enrollment and delivery mechanisms of Ehsaas. Along with Hurley, Country Director ADB Pakistan, Yong Yi, Asad Aleem, Principal Energy Specialist, Omer Bin Zia, Senior Economic Officer, ADP Pakistan. From Ehsaas’ side, DG Noor Rehman, DG Naveed Akbar, DG Tariq Mehmood and DG Meer Anwar were also present in the meeting.
Chinese Ambassador calls on Sania to explore avenues of collaboration in poverty alleviation
Nov 16, 2021 – Islamabad: Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Nong Rong called on Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM to explore avenues of collaboration in poverty alleviation. On the Cooperation for Poverty Alleviation in the field of commerce, the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) of the Government of Pakistan and Ministry of Commerce of China are entering a memorandum of understanding (MoU).The MoU has been approved by the Federal Cabinet on October 27, 2021 and will be inked soon between China and Pakistan. The meeting discussed the implementation arrangements of the MOU. China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners. Under the MOU, both the countries will enhance cooperation and exchange of experience, especially in the context of poverty reduction, through leveraging potential for commerce. The Chinese side is led by Ministry of Commerce and Pakistan’s side by PASSD.
Sania keynotes BOP Financial Inclusion Seminar at Dubai Expo 2020
Nov 16, 2021 – Dubai: Dr. Sania Nishtar keynoted a seminar on Financial Inclusion hosted by the Bank of Punjab at Dubai Expo 2020. In the flagship talk of the session, Dr. Sania enlightened the audience on government’s priorities to lift people out of poverty towards sustainable livelihoods through access to financial inclusion, literacy and economic empowerment. The session also highlighted the progress made on the rigorous mechanism of measuring social indicators by Ehsaas programme. Other panelists included Beenish Fatima Sahi, CEO, Punjab Social Protection Authority; Noman Ghani, Social Policy Head, UNICEF Pakistan; Sohail Saeed Abbasi, Senior Social Protection Specialist, the World Bank; Syed Muhammad Mustafa, Technical Advisor on Social Protection, GIZ; and Zahid Mustafa – Group Chief Consumer & Digital Banking Group, the Bank of Punjab.
Sania attends SUN Lead Group Meeting
Nov 15, 2021: Dr. Sania attended the SUN Lead Group meeting in her capacity as a member of the group. The meeting discussed mutual accountability and success indicators for SUN Movement. The Lead Group has the overall responsibility for the Movement’s progress towards achieving its objectives. Other members who attended the meeting included Akinwunmi Ayodeji Adesina, President, African Development Bank; Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashimy, Cabinet Member and Minister of State for International Cooperation, United Arab Emirates; Inger Ashing,CEO, Save the Children International; Cherrie Atilano Founder and CEO, Agrea Agricultural Systems International Inc.; Alicia Barcena Ibara, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean; David Beasley, Executive Director, World Food Programme; Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Defense and Foreign Affairs, Fiji; Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko,Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission; Shinichi Kitaoka, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency; Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, European Commission; and Gerda Verburg, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of the SUN Movement.
Sania covers eight small cities on the second leg of Ehsaas Rashan tour to 30 cities
Nov 14, 2021 – Peshawar: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM along with Ehsaas and NBP teams, completed the second leg of the 30 cities tour that kicked off yesterday. On the way from Islamabad to Peshawar, Dr. Sania visited Wah, Hassan Abdal, Kamra, Jehangira, Akora Khattak, Nowshera City, Pabbi and Peshawar. She interacted with several retailers, local trader associations, district administrations, press and electronic media alongside the G.T. Road. Yesterday, she visited six small towns in Rawalpindi and Jhelum including Rawat, Mandra, Gujjar Khan, Sohawa, Dina and Jhelum. So far, 14 small cities and towns have been covered over this weekend. “These visits are part of the nationwide awareness drive of Ehsaas to educate people, Kiryana merchants and other local stakeholders about the recently launched Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme”, said Dr. Sania. Interacting with retailers, Dr. Sania herself explained the registration process for the Ehsaas Rashan along with operational modalities of the Ehsaas Rashan’s mobile point of Sale app that will be used to deliver subsidy on selected commodities.
Sania kicks off tour of 30 cities to register retailers in Ehsaas Rashan Riayat
Nov 13, 2021 – Islamabad: Creating awareness among masses on Ehsaas Rashan programme, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM visited six small cities and towns along the G. T. Road. She went to Rawat, Mandra, Gujjar Khan, Sohawa, Dina and Jhelum. The visit aimed to guide Kiryana merchants in small areas about the Ehsaas Rashan enrollment process and the programme modalities. “This week, I shall visit 30 small cities to speak to Kiryana retailers and public. This is important to guide people on the ground about the new programme, encourage them to participate in the programme and factor in their voices in the delivery”, commented Dr. Sania. During the visit, Dr. Sania walked in the mini markets on the G. T. Road and met with the Kiryana merchants, local trader associations and public. She herself enrolled several Kiryana owners on the portal at various sites. Dr. Sania was accompanied by senior officials of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Ehsaas and district administrations of Rawalpindi and Jhelum. She also spoke to local trader associations and youth in the rural suburbs of Rawalpindi and Jhelum and made an appeal to them to help Kiryana merchants and low-income families in online registration.
Sania convenes meeting to combat fraud through cell phone SMS, website and apps using the name of Ehsaas
Nov 12, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM convened a meeting on cyber security and measures to combat fraud and disinformation through cell phone SMS’, websites and apps using the name of Ehsaas. The meeting brought together senior officials and representatives from Law Division, security agencies, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and cellular mobile operators on the table. Chairman PTA, Maj Gen (Rtd) Amir Azeem Bajwa along with senior officials of Ehsaas including Secretary Ismat Tahira and DG Technology Mir Anwar were also present in the meeting. Bringing rich perspectives to the table, participants discussed the issues of fake websites, fake SMS, fake Whatsapp messages, fake apps, collecting information and defrauding innocent people using the name of Ehsaas. “To ensure zero tolerance towards digital and cyber frauds, Ehsaas will work together with all stakeholders”, vowed Dr. Sania. She constituted a joint working group with senior officials and representatives from Ehsaas Technology team, PTA and Security Agencies.
Delegation of the WB visits One Window Ehsaas Center
Nov 12, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM along with the World Bank delegation visited ‘One Window Ehsaas Centre’ in Sitara Market, Islamabad. The delegation comprised of Stefano Paternostro, Practice Manager, Social Protection and Jobs, South Asia Region; Amjad Zafar, Task Team Leader; Lire Ersado, Program Lead for Human Development; and Gul Najam Jami, Senior Social Protection Specialist. From Ehsaas, DG Naveed Akbar and other senior officials were also present. The delegation was briefed on the ‘One Stop Shop’ operations of Ehsaas which integrate all benefits and services for different target groups in one space. They were also apprised that ‘One Window Centers’ will be expanded to all districts nationwide to enable delivery of the multiple Ehsaas programmes in one space. The delegation Ehsaas took stock of the wide ranging ‘One Window Ehsaas’ services and also met with beneficiaries being served.
Sania calls on Governor Balochistan in Islamabad
Nov 11, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM called on Governor Balochistan, Syed Zahoor Ahmed Agha in Islamabad. The meeting discussed Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme that was launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Nov 3, 2021. Under Ehsaas Rashan Riayat, a targeted subsidy of Rs. 1,000 a month will be granted to each to each of the 20 million eligible families on the purchase of flour, pulses, cooking oil. In total, 20 million deserving families will be identified through the Ehsaas survey. In the current fiscal year, the budget of the programme for the next six months is Rs. 120 billion under the federal-provincial cost sharing arrangement. Provincial Governments of Punjab, KP, Gilgit Baltistan and AJK are already participating in the programme. The federal government and all participating federating units will share fiscal resources in the proportion of 35/65.
Sania releases an instructional video on Ehsaas Rashan
Nov 10, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania released an instructional video on the modalities of recently launched Ehsaas Rashan programme. The video guides deserving families and Kiryana merchants, step by step, about the programme execution, registration process, eligibility criteria Beneficiaries will be identified through the Ehsaas survey. Low-income families will register on the portal with their Computerized National Identity Card Number (CNIC) and a mobile number issued on that CNIC. Only one family member will be eligible for enrollment on the portal. Kiryana merchants can also register themselves on the Ehsaas Rashan portal. It is necessary for the Karyana merchants to have a valid bank account. Kiryana merchants without bank accounts can open their bank accounts in the nearest branches of National Bank of Pakistan. The authorized Kiryana merchants having bank accounts will download ‘mobile Point of Sale’ (mPOS) application in their cell phones to ascertain the eligibility of the eligible buyers, click on the icons of essential commodities, and pass on the subsidy. Full video can be watched here.
Sania and Faisal Sultan co-chair Ehsaas Tahafuz Policy meeting
Nov 9, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Dr. Faisal Sultan, SAPM on National Health Services co-chaired a meeting to review the Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy which is on the anvil. The policy will dovetail Ehsaas Tahafuz programme with the Sehat Sahulat programme of the government. Barrister Nabeel Ahmed, Additional Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services; Niaz Muhammad Khan, Senior Joint Secretary, Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD); Muhammad Arshad, CEO Sehat Sahulat programme; Rashid Shafiq, Director General, Ehsaas Tahafuz programme; and other senior officials of Ehsaas also joined the meeting. The meeting took place at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat. Under Ehsaas Tahafuz, the patients facing catastrophic health expenditures will be identified, who will then be assessed by the digital system, and if eligible, will be granted funding. In this fiscal year, Ehsaas Tahafuz is being upscaled across 14 public sector hospitals of the country. Currently, Ehsaas Tahafuz is fully operational in one hospital of Rawalpindi.
Sania addresses a press conference on Ehsaas Rashan
Nov 4, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM addressed a press conference to give details of the Ehsaas Ration programme announced by Prime Minister on Nov 3, 2021. She said that registration of poor families whose monthly income was less than Rs. 31,000 would begin from Nov 8, 2021. A web portal would be opened for this purpose. Eligible families will be able to buy flour, cooking oil/ghee and pulses at subsidized rates from Kiryana and Utility stores. Small retail stores opened even in streets and localities will also provide this facility. Further, Dr. Sania added that the Ehsaas National Socioeconomic Registry survey has recently been completed. The survey will be used to identify deserving families for this new pro-poor programme. It will take four weeks to complete the process of registration. The beneficiaries will need a mobile phone number registered on their Computerised National Identity Card which will be produced before the specific stores from which purchases on subsidized rates will be sought. A subsidy of Rs. 1,000 per month will be given to each of the eligible 20 million families. Full footage can be accessed here.
PM announces Rs. 120 billion Ehsaas Rashan
Nov 3, 2021 – Islamabad: In view of the recent price hike, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the Ehsaas Rashan programme to provide relief to the poor in his televised speech. As many as 20 million families identified through the recently completed Ehsaas survey will benefit from the programme. Overall, 130 million people will benefit nationwide which is 53% of the population. Yesterday, the federal cabinet gave approval to launch the programme across Pakistan. Although the domestic increases are being driven by rising prices in the international market, inflationary control remains an important policy objective for the government. Ehsaas Rashan will provide a subsidy of Rs. 1,000 a month to each of the 20 million families on the purchase of flour, pulses, Ghee/Cooking oil. A 30% subsidy will be given on these three items, per unit purchase. The programme has been designed as a precision-target system of subsidy delivery focusing on deserving beneficiaries to provide financial assistance for the purchase of essential commodities at a discount through digitally processed transactions. “Ehsaas and the National Bank of Pakistan have developed a technology-led, targeted subsidy disbursal programme. This system will digitize parts of the retail sector; there will be use of real time data for decision making”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar. Under the federal-provincial cost sharing arrangement, the budget of the programme for the next six months is Rs. 120 billion in this fiscal year.
Post-earthquake payments of Ehsaas relief cash commence to all families of Harnai
Nov 1, 2021 – Harnai: Ehsaas relief cash disbursements have begun to all families of earthquake hit Harnai, as an immediate relief. After the Prime Minister’s approval on Oct 9, 2021, the federal government had announced a relief package for all families of Harnai. Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “The Rs. 12,000 Ehsaas cash will be disbursed to each household of Harnai. Around 18,000 households in Harnai will benefit from relief cash.” She also thanked the provincial government of Balochistan, armed forces, Ehsaas’ regional team and other stakeholders for their collaborative support in ensuring smooth delivery of Ehsaas relief cash. Disbursements have begun simultaneously across all three Tehsils; Sharag, Harnai and Khost. Districtwide, seven Ehsaas payment campsites have been set up at Civil Hospital Sharag, Municipal Committee office, Civil Hospital, RHC Hospital Sharag, PMDC Rest House Sharag, Livestock Office Harnai and Civil Hospital Khost.
PM approves plan to upgrade model Panagahs into centres of excellence
Nov 1, 2021 – Islamabad: Chairing a high-level meeting, Prime Minister approved the proposal of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) for the upgradation of model Panagahs into centres of excellence. Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed him on the upgradation plan. Special arrangements are being made under Ehsaas to improve living standards of model Panagahs, especially in the winter season. PM also reviewed the progress on the contours of the forthcoming “Ehsaas Targeted Commodity Subsidies” for the poor. The meeting was also attended by Advisor Finance Shaukat Tarin, Secretary PASSD Muhammad Ali Shahzada, MD Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal Zaheer Abbas Khokhar, and PM’s Focal Person on Panagahs Naseem-ur- Rehman.
Sania pays a surprise visit to Ehsaas Langar in Peshawar
Oct 30, 2021 – Peshawar: Dr. Sania Nishtar paid a surprise visit to Ehsaas Langar at Old Haji Camp bus terminal. During the visit, she spoke to labourers being served food and enquired about the quality of service. She also listened to concerns of labourers and assured them full cooperation. People appreciated the ethos of Ehsaas Langar, food quality, and the degree of respect with which they are served food. Ehsaas Langar in Peshawar serves cooked food twice daily to around 1,200 people. To-date, 34 Ehsaas Langars have been established all over the country.
Steering committee of Ehsaas targeted subsidies approves programme design
Oct 29, 2021 – Islamabad: The steering committee of Ehsaas targeted commodity subsidies met to approve the programme design. Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. This was the second meeting of the steering committee since its constitution by the Prime Minister in July 2021. “Coming under the Ehsaas umbrella, the national scale targeted subsidies programme will identify beneficiaries through the Ehsaas national socioeconomic survey registry 2021. All the necessary spadework, digital structuring and integrations are complete for the roll out of the programme”, said Dr. Sania. “The number of people to be supported and the exact details of the amount of subsidy will be announced by the PM next week”, she further added. The members of the committee thoroughly reviewed the design contours and roll out preparations for the upcoming programme.
PM reviews preps for Ehsaas targeted subsidies program
Oct 27, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting to review preparations for the upcoming Ehsaas targeted commodity subsidies program. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM briefed Prime Minister on the overall progress. Ehsaas eligible families will get subsidy on grocery store purchases through this program. To roll out the program, a mobile point-of-sale system has been built in collaboration with the National Bank of Pakistan. The program will save the poor from the effects of inflation. PM directed to ensure early its completion and create awareness among the people so that maximum people can benefit from the targeted subsidies. Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin also joined the meeting.
Sania makes a surprise visit to Ehsaas Registration Desks in Lahore
Oct 23, 2021- Lahore: Early morning, Dr. Sania Nishtar made a surprise visit to Ehsaas Registration Desks in Lahore. She reviewed operations of registration desks at Government Boys School, Walton Road. At the center, Dr. Sania stood with the applicant women in the queue, took round of the facility and interacted with women and staff to enquire about the registration process and arrangements. She also instructed the concerned officials to facilitate the women in registration process so that they do not have to wait for long time. Speaking to media, Dr. Sania stated, “With the recent completion of Ehsaas national survey registry, 512 Ehsaas Registration Desks are operational at Tehsil level all over the country. The purpose is that households whose survey has not been conducted for any reason can self-register themselves in the Ehsaas programme.”
Sania joins panel discussion on social protection at Humanitarian Congress Berlin
Oct 20, 2021 – Berlin: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to join the panel discussion at the Humanitarian Congress Berlin ‘Aspiring towards global justice – a humanitarian imperative?’ The panel discussion was held on, “The Universal Right to Social Protection” by 2030? How responses to COVID-19 reveal potential humanitarian pathways to support national social systems in managing climate risks”. Other eminent panelists included Valentina Barca, Team Leader Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19 SPACE; and Ralf Rademacher, Head of the Global Programme “Social Protection Innovation and Learning” GIZ. Panelists shared their experience, knowledge, and ideas of humanitarian action in an international and multi-disciplinary setting. The Humanitarian Congress brought together leading experts from medical and humanitarian organizations, governments, and the media, as well as young professionals interested in humanitarian work. For more than 20 years, the Humanitarian Congress Berlin has been debating, analyzing, evaluation and developing the theory and practice of humanitarian action.
Sania speaks at 2021 IMF-WB Human Capital Ministerial Conclave
Oct 20, 2021: Dr. Sania Nishtar spoke at the World Bank Group’s Human Capital Ministerial Conclave held during the 2021 IMF-World Bank Group Annual Meetings. The World Bank Group President, David Malpass opened the Conclave. Ministers of Finance and Planning from over 80 Human Capital project countries, key development partners, other high-level officials, and the World Bank’s senior leadership attended the event. The 2021 Conclave on “Arresting Human Capital Losses due to COVID-19: Reimagining Service Delivery in a Digital Age”, focused on how countries can make the most of the Digital age, making smart investment decisions around technology and innovations for services that better protect, build and utilize human capital. Taking the rostrum, Dr. Sania highlighted the experience of Pakistan in executing the Ehsaas Emergency Cash (EEC) programme using data and digital technology during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also motivated other countries to invest more in technology and data to improve delivery of human capital services.
PM briefed on preps for Ehsaas targeted commodity subsidies programme
Oct 20, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM briefed Prime Minister Imran Khan on the Ehsaas targeted commodity subsidies programme. PM was given a detailed briefing on the preparations for the upcoming programme. The Ehsaas targeted subsidies programme is on the anvil to save the underprivileged from inflation. The meeting was told that a mobile point-of-sale system has been developed for the programme in collaboration with Ehsaas and the National Bank of Pakistan. Ehsaas eligible families will receive discounts on grocery store purchases on specific items through this programme. PM directed to finalize the targeted subsidy programme soon. The briefing was attended by Finance Minister, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Finance Minister Punjab, Finance Minister KP, President National Bank, chief secretaries of Punjab and KP and other senior officials. Finance Minister also attended the meeting via video link.
Sania keynotes China’s high-level global rural development forum
Oct 19, 2021: Dr. Sania Nishtar keynoted the 2021 Global Rural Development Forum held in China under the theme of “Global Sustainable Development Cooperation: Poverty Reduction and Rural Development”. The forum was co-hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the National Rural Revitalization Administration and organized by the International Poverty Reduction Center in China. The forum fully demonstrated and shared China’s great achievements and experience in poverty alleviation. The event brought together Minister of Rural Development of Cambodia; Union Minister of Cooperative and Rural Development of Myanmar; Secretary-General of National Anti-poverty Commission of the Philippines; Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Laos; Undersecretary of Productive Inclusion and Rural Development, Ministry of Welfare of Mexico; and Minister of Social Integration and Social Security of Mauritius. Dr. Sania congratulated the Government of China, its people, and the Communist Party of China for achieving the MDG of poverty eradication, well ahead of time. “Poverty alleviation, particularly social protection is the priority of our government. We realize that in Pakistan’s agri-based economy, tackling agriculture is fundamental to poverty reduction since the sector employs 45% of labour force. Ehsaas has 19 social protection programmes for 14 vulnerable groups, and it is closely linked to agriculture and rural economy.”, said Dr. Sania.
Sania launches One Window Ehsaas’ National Data Exchange Platform on the World Poverty Day
Oct 17, 2021 – Islamabad: On the World Poverty Day, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM launched ‘National Data Exchange Platform’ (NDEP) for the Ehsaas’ National Socioeconomic Registry 2021 which is one of the six main pillars of One Window Ehsaas. With the Ehsaas National Socioeconomic Registry 2021 survey that stands almost complete, NDEP will facilitate data sharing and data access services for all executing agencies stewarded by Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. Speaking to press media about the launch of NDEP, Dr. Sania said, “Ehsaas NDEP will be a gamechanger in transforming social protection and poverty reduction programs in the country. Through Ehsaas NDEP, the executing agencies in ecosystem of Ehsaas will be able to see what benefits an individual or a household is getting by simply punching in the CNIC number of an individual.” She also congratulated the teams working on the national socioeconomic survey and technology.
Sania releases a video on the World Poverty Day and Ehsaas
Oct 17, 2021 – Islamabad: On the World Poverty Day, Dr. Sania Nishtar released a video on the social protection and poverty reduction initiatives of Ehsaas. The video illustrates how Ehsaas is transforming the lives of the poorest populations through its over 290 programmes, initiatives and policy actions: Ehsaas Kafaalat, Ehsaas Emergency Cash, Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships, Ehsaas Interest Free Loans, Ehsaas Amdan, Ehsaas Education Stipends and Ehsaas Rehri Baan etc. “To-date, Ehsaas has touched the lives of almost half the country’s population. This year, Ehsaas cash is being delivered to 12 million families”, said Dr. Sania. According to the video message, preparations are also underway to upscale Ehsaas Tahafuz, Ehsaas Nashonuma and One Window Ehsaas operations across all districts of the country in the current fiscal year. Full video message can be watched here.
Sania releases official statement on International Day of Rural Women
Oct 15, 2021 – Islamabad: On ‘International day of rural women’, Dr. Sania Nishtar released an official statement. Paying tribute to rural women of Pakistan, she stated, “Rural women play an important role in reducing rural poverty. More than three-quarters of the entire Ehsaas’ benefits go to most of rural women and girls under the ‘Ehsaas 50%+ benefits policy’. ‘Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas Report’ released on May 1, 2021 also strongly recognizes the work of rural women and home-based workers all over the country.” She further added, “National Poverty Graduation Initiative of Ehsaas aims to graduate poorest households particularly rural women out of poverty and set them on a course of economic and social prosperity. Out of 1.4 million Ehsaas interest free loans disbursed so far, 46% went to rural women across 110 districts. Enabling 1.4 million individuals to come out of shackles of poverty, 60% of small livelihood assets have been allocated for rural women under the 4-year Ehsaas Amdan programme. This programme is operational in in 388 rural union councils of 23 poorest districts across the four provinces. Ehsaas Amdan assets include livestock, agricultural inputs, body of auto rickshaws, agriculture tools, and inputs for small retail enterprises.”
Sania and Chief Secretary KP visit One Window Ehsaas Center in Islamabad
Oct 14, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed Chief Secretary KP, Dr. Kazim Niaz herself about the One Window operations of Ehsaas at “One Window Ehsaas Center” in Sitara Market of Islamabad. The visit was part of collaborations underway between Ehsaas and the government of KP to establish One Window Ehsaas Centers across all districts of KP. Chief Secretary KP was briefed on the One Stop Shop operations of Ehsaas which integrate all benefits and services for 14 different target groups in one space. “To assist Ehsaas beneficiaries, One Window Ehsaas operations are being upscaled across all districts of KP”, said Dr. Sania. “The integration of all Ehsaas benefits and services under one roof is commendable. KP Government will extend full support to Ehsaas for establishing One Window Ehsaas Centers in all districts of the province”, assured Dr. Kazim Niaz. CS was also given a round of the different offices, outlets, and desks at the Ehsaas Center whereby he witnessed all one window operations and met with Ehsaas team and beneficiaries.
Ehsaas Education Stipends empowering the poor to send their girls to schools: Sania
Oct 13, 2021 – Islamabad: Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), Centre for Education and Consciousness, launched The Girls Education & Enterprise Alliance (GEEA) to empower girls and young women in Pakistan with the support of national and global champions of Girls’ Education. Dr. Sania Nishtar was a chief guest on the occasion. The purpose of this gathering was to bring together parliamentarians, government, development partners, education experts and civil society advocates on one platform to pledge for SMART programs for out-of-school girls. Keynoting the event, Dr. Sania remarked, “Our government is fully conscious that an educated girl can contribute more effectively to society. Ehsaas’ conditional cash transfer (CCT) programmes providing cash stipends for education and nutrition are purposely skewed in favour of girls to safeguard gender equity”. Besides, Aida Girma, Country Representative, UNICEF; Javed Ahmed Malik, Programme Director, Malala Fund; Mosharraf Zaidi, CEO, Tabadlab; Amna Khalid, FCDO; Alima Bibi, UNESCO; Nazia Sehar, JICA; Fahad Hussain, Dawn News; Waseem Ajmal, Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training; Shabnam Sarfaraz, Ministry of Planning & Development; and Syed Shahnawaz, Country Director Oxfam were also present at the launch.
Under Ehsaas policy, BISP board approves “Bell Curve Concept” for employee performance management
Oct 12, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the 53rd meeting of the BISP board. The board approved ‘Bell Curve Concept’ for the performance management of employees. The board also approved the national scaleup of Ehsaas Nashonuma and new organogram of BISP to improve organization’s effectiveness. The existing Performance Management System (PMS) at BISP is similar to the methodology used by Government of Pakistan (the ACR/PER system). “Since the current PMS is not compatible with the modern PMS being used by progressive organizations, the board has approved new PMS Principles based on ‘Bell Curve Concept’, essential to leverage optimum performance from employees. The newly approved concept will be implemented by July 2022”, said Dr. Sania. The new PMS will access the relative performance of employee based on goal setting sheets and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) developed for benchmark positions.
Health, Ehsaas, Kissan cards among foremost priorities: PM
Oct 12, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting to review the progress regarding Health, Ehsaas and Kissan cards. Besides Special Assistants to the PM, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Dr. Faisal Sultan, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and other relevant officers, the meeting was attended via video link by the Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries of Punjab and KP. Prime Minister said that Health, Ehsaas and Kissan cards are among the foremost priorities of the government. He directed for early execution of Health, Ehsaas and Kissan initiatives of the government. He further added that these initiatives would provide a big relief to the marginalized segments.
Sania celebrates Int’l Day of the Girl Child with young girls enrolled under Ehsaas Education Stipends
Oct 11, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar celebrated “International Day of the Girl Child” with young girls enrolled in Ehsaas Education Stipends. She also interacted with their mothers and took feedback on the education CCT programme. On the occasion, Dr. Sania also released an official statement. “I congratulate all women and girls in Pakistan and those around the world on, “International Day of the Girl Child” that is being commemorated under the theme, “Digital generation”. Development is simply not possible without women. This principle sits at the core of Ehsaas. We, therefore, have Ehsaas 50%+ benefits for women and girls’ policy. Any policy and programme under this framework must accrue at least half of the benefits to women; as a result, more than three quarters of Ehsaas’ entire program’s benefits are dedicated to women and girls. According to Ehsaas’ weighted-in-favour-of-girls stipends policy for all conditional cash transfer programmes, girls also get a higher stipend across all age groups”, said Dr. Sania.
Sania visits border areas in South Balochistan
October 10, 2021 – Kech: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM visited border areas in South Balochistan. Together with the Senior officers of Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps, she visited sub-Tehsil Balnigore and Tehil Tump of district Kech. The purpose of the visit was to create awareness on the programmes and initiatives of Ehsaas and get feedback of local communities and Ehsaas beneficiaries. She also visited various sites in the region to explore options for opening One Window Ehsaas Centers in Turbat and Mand. “In this fiscal year, One Window Ehsaas Centers will open in all districts of Balochistan. It is our top priority to open the one-stop-shop, One Window Ehsaas Centers in lagging districts of South Balochistan to facilitate beneficiaries at the earliest”, said Dr. Sania while speaking to press media. During the visit, she also interacted with local communities and took feedback on the Ehsaas’ running programmes in the area. The visit was organized by Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps across South Balochistan. The visit to South Balochistan followed the visit to Harnai. During her visit to Balochistan, Dr. Sania also met with Commander 12 Corps and IG Frontier Corps, South Balochistan.
Sania visits earthquake hit Harnai; PM announces Ehsaas relief cash package for all the families in Harnai
Oct 9, 2021 – Harnai: On PM’s special directives, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM visited earthquake hit areas of Harnai today to assess the level of assistance needed from the federal government. Following the visit, she announced the federal government’s relief cash package for all families of Harnai, after the Prime Minister’s approval. “Social protection is critical to earthquake induced recovery. Federal government will give Rs. 12,000 cash subsistence to all families of Harnai as an immediate relief. Relief cash assistance will be mobilized under the Ehsaas programme. This relief assistance will be in addition to compensation being planned for affected households after detailed damage assessment”, said Dr. Sania while expressing solidarity with affectees. In Harnai, Dr. Sania was joined by Deputy Speaker National Assembly, Qasim Khan Suri, Chief Secretary Balochistan, Mathar Niaz Rana, Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokhar, Commissioner Sibbi Division, Deputy Commissioner Harnai and senior officers of Ehsaas and Pakistan Army. She also reviewed arrangements being made to open Ehsaas Registration Desks at the Irrigation Department of Harnai. Earlier, Dr. Sania also visited District Hospital Harnai and met with those injured during the earthquake.
Sania reviews measures to open One Window Ehsaas Centers in Balochistan
Oct 8, 2021 – Quetta: Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting with Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners from all districts of Balochistan. The meeting reviewed measures being taken to open One Window Ehsaas Centers in Balochistan. Chief Secretary Balochistan, Mathar Niaz Rana hosted the meeting at Civil Secretariat Quetta. Provincial team of Ehsaas also joined the meeting. Creating awareness about Ehsaas programmes, Dr. Sania also guided the DCs about the Ehsaas Digital portal that provides people centered instructional information of Ehsaas in Urdu. She also briefed about the Ehsaas 8171 web-portal that is accessible online for public to check their eligibility under Ehsaas. The district administrations of Balochistan ensured full cooperation for the opening of one window Ehsaas Centers in all the districts of the province.
UN terms Ehsaas as international best practice
Oct 8, 2021 – Islamabad: In the recently released edition of UN Principles for Responsible Digital Payments 2021, Pakistan’s Ehsaas programme has been featured as an international best practice. According to UN’s report, Ehsaas simplified the know-your-customer procedure for users by collecting simple data fields and issuing accounts after basic verification. Incentivized 500,000 branchless banking agents to work with the program by reducing taxes on commission earned from beneficiaries, thereby increasing doorstep banking services to elderly, persons with disability, and women. Taking to twitter, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “Glad to see Pakistan’s Ehsaas continue to be lauded as international best practice by the UN as it looks to accelerate Responsible Digital Payments to advance developmental progress.” The UN Principles for Responsible Digital Payments advocate for responsible practices in the digitization of payments. These principles have been developed by the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance, guided by its member governments, companies and international organizations. Report can be accessed here.
PM briefed on preparations of Ehsaas targeted commodity subsidies
Oct 6, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan was briefed about the ongoing preparations for the upcoming Ehsaas Targeted Commodity Subsidy programme. Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM on the ‘Subsidy Point of Sale’ system for the Ehsaas Targeted Subsidy programme that has been developed in collaboration with National Bank of Pakistan. Prime Minister lauded the digital ecosystem being developed for Ehsaas targeted subsidy programme. He also lauded the special transparency measures being taken to ensure transfer of targeted subsidies solely to the deserving. PM directed to fast-track deployment of the ‘Subsidy Point of Sale’ system so that economic relief could be provided to the poor through targeted subsidies on essential food commodities. Under Ehsaas, commodity subsidies will be administered through Ehsaas database by a network of Kiryana stores. These targeted subsidies will be given on selected essential commodities. Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin; Defence Minister, Pervaiz Khattak; Information Minister, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain; SAPM Dr. Shahbaz Gill; Governor State Bank, Dr. Reza Baqir; President National Bank, Arif Usmani; Secretary Muhammad Ali Shahzada; Secretary Ismat Tahira; Chief Digital Officer NBP, Humayun Sajjad; and other senior officials also joined the meeting.
Independent evaluation recommends national scaleup of Ehsaas Nashonuma
October 6, 2021 – Islamabad: Today, the Ehsaas Nashonuma steering committee reviewed results of an independent evaluation conducted by the Aga Khan University. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the meeting. The purpose of the research conducted was to understand how Ehsaas Nashonuma had influenced the health and wellbeing of beneficiaries along with the enabling and impeding factors related to the uptake of Ehsaas Nashonuma, the process, outcomes, and the flow of operations. Results were highly encouraging; the findings were supportive of the program focus on marginalized women, their financial empowerment and improved dietary knowledge. 99.37% of beneficiary women reported satisfaction from Nashonuma services provided to them during their pregnancy as well as those extended to children for their growth and wellbeing. Speaking to the press, Dr. Sania said, “The program will be upscaled nationwide to all districts in this fiscal year.” The steering committee was attended by provincial representatives and members of the international development community. Ehsaas Nashonuma will also be integrated with all One Window Ehsaas Centers.
Sania pays surprise visit to Mandi More Panagah
Oct 3, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM paid a surprise visit to Mandi More Panagah. She took round of the facility and interacted with staff on duty. During the visit, Dr. Sania was joined by Joint Secretary of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Ahmed Jan Malik. She also inspected the hygiene standards and quality of boarding and lodging facilities being provided at Panagah. Later, she also spoke to vendors in the adjacent market about the quality of Panagah services.
PM briefed about the progress on new model Panagahs
Oct 1, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister directed to ensure that special care facilities were being provided to needy people seeking refuge in Panagahs. The directive came during Panagah briefing with Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM. Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal, Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokhar; PM’s Focal Person for Panagahs, Naseem-ur-Rehman; and Additional Secretary, Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Captain (Retd) Saeed Ahmed Nawaz also joined the meeting. Dr. Sania briefed the PM on details about the progress made so far on the new ‘Model Panagahs’. During the briefing, Prime Minister was told that while the formulation of a central advisory board for the shelter homes had been already completed, the formation of a four-member board for every Panagah was also underway. PM was given a rundown on the improvements and fresh measures were underway, including the installation of a digital monitoring system for every Panagah. Prime Minister while expressing his satisfaction over the progress of Panagahs directed to ensure their completion within the stipulated time.
Sania keynotes the South Asia Experts’ Summit
Sep 30, 2021 – Kathmandu: Dr. Sania Nishtar keynoted the thematic session on “youth and informal sector” at the “South Asia Experts’ Summit: Dialogues on the Post-COVID-19 World of Work”. The summit was hosted by UNICEF. As part of the summit, the thematic session featured discussions on re-evaluating strategies and approaches to transitioning adolescents and young people to the formal sector; how actors and decision makers address exploitative labour practices such as child and forced labour in South Asia; and issues and solutions related to access of social protection and social dialogue for young workers; and the creation and promotion of decent work in the informal sector during COVID-19 and beyond. At the session, Dr. Sania was joined by Christoph Ernst, Senior Informal Employment Specialist, International Labour Organization; Tasmiah T. Rahman, Incharge, Skills Development Programme, BRAC, Bangladesh; Silvia Mera, Apparel Program Director, GoodWeave International, Amsterdam and several others.
Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship portal reopens
Sep 30, 2021 – Islamabad: To receive fresh applications for the academic year 2021-22, the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship portal has been reopened. The scholarship portal will be opened online till Nov 30, 2021. Newly admitted students of Fall 2021 session under 4-5 year undergraduate degree programmes in any of the HEC recognized 135 public sector universities are eligible to apply, if their family income is less than Rs. 45,000 a month. This academic year, 50,000 merit cum need based scholarships will be provided to deserving students. Fifty percent Ehsaas scholarships are reserved for girls. “This 4-year programme is on track. In the last two years, over 142,000 scholarships have been awarded nationwide to students from low-income backgrounds”, said Dr. Sania. The eligible students can apply through the online portal: https://ehsaas.hec.gov.pk/.
Sania joins UNICEF’s National Strategic Reflection meeting
Sep 29, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar joined UNICEF’s National Strategic Reflection meeting on the 2023-2027 UNICEF Country Programme of Cooperation between Pakistan and UNICEF. The UN System in Pakistan, including UNCEF, is engaged in designing and developing a new development assistance framework, namely the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDC) 2023-2027. The meeting was designed to identify UNICEF’s strategic contribution to government’s priorities. Strategic reflections were shared on the progress, challenges and opportunities in the situational and programme environment along with those on the long and successful partnership of One UN in Pakistan. At the meeting, Dr. Sania was joined by Aida Girma, Country Representative UNICEF Pakistan; Dr. George Laryea Adjei, Regional Director, UNICEF South Asia; and Julien Harneis, UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan.
Sania joins UNGA meeting on social protection with Heads of State and Government
Sep 29, 2021 – New York: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM represented Pakistan at the UNGA’s high-level meeting with Heads of State and Government on, “Jobs and Social Protection for Poverty Eradication”. Heads of State and Government expressed commitments through a Call to Action with the aim of promoting policy coherence ahead of the fall meeting of IMF and the World Bank, and meetings of G7 and G20. Also, speaking at the event were Alexander de Croo, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Belgium, co-chair, Group of Friends of Decent Work; Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of the Republic of Costa Rica; Guillermo Lasso Mendoza, Constitutional President of the Republic of Ecuador; Alberto Fernandez, President of the Republic of Argentina; Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt; Abul Kalam Abdul Momen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Béata Habyarimana, Minister for Trade and Industry of the Republic of Rwanda; Alexandra Hill Tinoco, Minister for Foreign Affairs of El Salvador; and Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships.
Sania joins Ehsaas Rehribaan Partner Awards hosted by MCI
Sep 28, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar was the chief guest at the award ceremony organized by Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI). The ceremony aimed to honour the contributions and services incurred by various partners and individuals under Ehsaas Rehribaan program. “For the first time in Pakistan, our government has adopted a holistic approach for the sustainable regularization of street vendors”, said Dr. Sania. She also mentioned that Prime Minister remains highly concerned about vendors’ condition and is a driving force behind Ehsaas Rehribaan. Under the Ehsaas umbrella, a broader coalition of agencies- MCI, CDA, ICT Administration and PIDE, has resulted in smooth implementation across two sectors of Islamabad, which is gradually being scaled up. Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque, Vice Chancellor, PIDE also spoke on the occasion. Presidents of U and Apna Banks also joined the event. Later, Dr. Sania distributed performance shields among high performers including Focal Person of Ehsaas Rehribaan, Administrator MCI, different officials, microfinance banks and representatives of the civil society.
Sania speaks at McKinsey Middle East Women Speaker session
Sep 22, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM was invited to speak at Women Speaker session hosted by McKinsey Middle East Office. This was a quarterly session that McKinsey conducts with inspirational female professionals. In the session, Dr. Sania shared her experiences and learnings from Ehsaas. She spoke about the current work on social protection and poverty alleviation in Pakistan and her leadership experiences in the workplace as a woman. The conversation was followed by a question and answer session with participants.
Government of Pakistan hosts UNGA’s high-level side event on uplifting girls and women
September 27, 2021 – New York: On the side-lines of 76th UNGA, Government of Pakistan hosted the high-level event on “Uplifting women and girls through access to education, financial inclusion and economic empowerment” in collaboration with United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to UN in New York formally opened the event. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM was the keynote speaker. The event aimed to emphasize that in order for countries everywhere to thrive and build back better, women and girls must be given the same opportunities to grow, learn and contribute to the workforce as their male counterparts. At the event, Dr. Sania was joined by Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary General, DESA; Mirjana Spolijaric Egger, ASG and UNDP Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia; Anita, Deputy Executive Director, UN-Women. Other eminent speakers on the panel were- Pascale A. Allotey, Director, United Nations University, International Institute for Global Health; Maki Hayashikawa, Director of the Division of Education 2030 Support and Coordination at UNESCO; Anita Zaidi, President of the Gate’s Foundation Gender Equality Division; and Sharmeela Rasool, Country Representative UN-Women Pakistan.
Sania speaks at UNGA side-event on NCDs
Sep 27, 2021 – New York: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at the 76th UNGA side-event hosted by Governments of Norway and Jamaica, World Health Organization and NCD Alliance. The virtual event titled, “Commemorating 10-years since the first Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of NCDs (2011): reflections and hope”. Dr. Sania highlighted the link between NCDs and poverty and stressed that global response to NCDs has been stalled due to the resistance of unhealthy commodity industries and disregard of NCDs within MDG framework. The session was chaired by Katie Dain, Chief Executive Officer, NCD Alliance. Other speakers on the panel included Sir George Alleyne, Director Emeritus, PAHO (1995-2003) and Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General, Assistant Director-General. Division for Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and NCDs, WHO. Experts from Member States, WHO staff, persons living with NCDs and civil society leaders reflected on the last 10 years of progress, championing successes and opportunities for the NCD agenda over the coming decade, and how WHO is developing a forthcoming implementation roadmap for 2023-2030 in support of achieving SDG target 3.4.
Sania joins Presidents of Botswana and Costa Rica at UNGA side event on Poverty
Sep 24, 2021 – New York: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM was invited to speak at the high-level side event to the 2021 UN General Assembly, organized by OPHI and the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN). The theme of this year’s event was “Envisioning a More Equitable Future: Using Multidimensional Poverty Indices as a Policy Tool”. The event convened global leaders with a demonstrated commitment to tackling the multidimensional effects of the pandemic on the lives of people living in poverty. At the session, the leadership panel comprised of Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of Botswana and Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica. Alongside Dr. Sania, Ministers from Nepal, Namibia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Cambodia, Thailand and China also joined the ministerial panel. Talking about the Ehsaas Implementation Tracking Index (EITI), Dr. Sania stated, “Working with OPHI, Ehsaas has developed a new adaptation and application of their measurement methodology – the EITI. It offers an axiomatically articulate performance management tool, which tracks progress across hundreds of initiatives and gives an overview of how different regions, institutions, and target areas are advancing.”
Ehsaas and Serena Hotels ink MoU to improve quality in Islamabad Panagahs
Sep 23, 2021 – Islamabad: The Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and Serena Hotels Pakistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster a strategic collaboration on improving living standards, infrastructure and service quality across all the five Panagahs in Islamabad. Dr. Sania Nishtar and Aziz Boolani, CEO Serena Hotels South and Central Asia witnessed the signing of MoU. The MoU followed briefing with the Prime Minister on the new strategic plan for Panagahs. The highlight of the MoU was to mark the partnership between Ehsaas and Serena, extending to all the five Ehsaas Panagahs situated at G-9/4, Tarlai, Bhara Kahu, Mandi More and Tarnol areas of Islamabad. Speaking about the collaboration, Dr. Sania said, “Prime Minister has instructed to offer best lodging and quality food to our Panagah guests in a clean and dignified environment. To achieve this in an objective and sustainable manner, PASSD and Serena have agreed to collaborate under the MoU.”
Sania chairs the 52nd meeting of BISP Board
Sep 23, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the 52nd meeting of the BISP Board. The Board deliberated upon various important agenda items related to the Ehsaas cash transfer programmes being executed by BISP. Many important decisions were taken by members of the Board. The meeting was attended by Ismat Tahira Secretary BISP, Muhammad Ali Shahzada Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, and senior officials of Finance Division, Economic Affairs Division and NADRA. Amongst private sector members, Zaffar A Khan, Syed Salim Raza, and Dr. Ashfaque Hasan Khan attended the meeting. Members participated in the meeting both physically as well as virtually.
PM briefed on the existing state of Panagahs
Sep 22, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar met Prime Minister Imran Khan to brief him on the existing state of Panagahs and about the comprehensive plan prepared under Ehsaas for their improvement. Dr. Nishtar informed the PM that a comprehensive project has been prepared and is ready for implementation in three phases to bring about improvement in the existing Panagahs. Prime Minister was further informed that a four-member Board would also be constituted to look after the administrative affairs of each Panagah and a digital dashboard would be developed to facilitate the monitoring of Panagahs. Talking to Dr. Sania, PM said special emphasis should be given to the Panagahs where the people throng the most. PM also directed to ensure early establishment of Panagahs to provide better facilities to labourers. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and Chairman CDA were also present in the meeting.
Ehsaas Undergrad Scholarship portal to reopen on Sep 30; Sania mandates further transparency measures
Sep 22, 2021 – Islamabad: The steering committee of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship programme, during its ninth meeting decided to reopen the Ehsaas’ scholarship application portal on September 30, 2021. To receive new applications for the academic year 2021-22, the online portal will remain open for next two months. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM and Dr. Shaista Sohail, Executive Director, Higher Education Commission (HEC) co-chaired the meeting. Dr. Sania stressed on the need for timely payments to students so that they do not have to take loans. “This is not a reimbursement model. Students have to be paid on time, to facilitate them”, she said. She also instructed HEC to strictly reprimand universities who do not pay students on time and those who deduct money from the Ehsaas scholarship stipend amount on account of other expenses. Dr. Sania also instructed staff to make a visibility dashboard and stressed on the need for each participating university to be transparent about when they receive money from Ehsaas, vis-à-vis, the cheque numbers and dates on which students have been given stipends.
Pakistan takes leadership in the creation of Global Social Protection Platform
Sep 18, 2021 – New York: While taking a lead on universal social protection, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations convened the first meeting of Group of Friends on Social Protection alongwith Turkey, Nigeria and Costa Rica. The meeting was attended by a large number of UN member states. In her keynote address, Dr. Sania Nishtar highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to disburse cash payments of $1.25bn to more than 160 million of its citizens who were in dire need of financial support to meet the challenges posed by global economic slowdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier, Permanent Representative of Pakistan Ambassador Munir Akram, in his welcome remarks highlighted the need for universal social protection. The World Bank as technical partner of the Group highlighted the significance of social protection instruments all over the world. During the event, several countries supported Pakistan for taking a leadership position on universal social protection. Full footage can be watched here.
Sania joins WB panel discussion in Washington on Harnessing Technology to Build Human Capital in South Asia
September 17, 2021 – Washington, DC: While in Washington Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the World Bank’s 7th One South Conversation on leveraging technologies to build human capital and greater resilience in South Asia. The World Bank’s Regional Integration, Cooperation and Engagement in South Asia hosted the public event that was broadcast on the World Bank Group Live Page. Dr. Sania was asked to share lessons for the region from COVID-19 Ehsaas Emergency Cash (EEC). The panel included senior policy makers and representatives from governments, tech entrepreneurs, academics, and civil society representatives from South Asia. The public event was moderated by Cecile Fruman, Director, Regional Integration and Engagement, South Asia. The discussions explored the ways converging technologies can overcome regional barriers, promote cross-country collaboration to support recovery from COVID and other shocks, and build human capital and adaptable resilience in South Asia. Full footage can be watched here.
Governor Sindh opens 6th Ehsaas Panagah in Karachi
Sep 6, 2021 – Islamabad: Governor Sindh Imran Ismail inaugurated the sixth Ehsaas Panagah (shelter home) in Karachi to accommodate labourers under Ehsaas. He opened the latest Panagah in the Bakra Peri area of Lyari. Speaking on the occasion, the Governor said that the network of Ehsaas Panagahs was being expanded in the country to provide free of charge lodging facilities and meals to daily wage-earners, labourers and other destitute people.
Dr. Sania calls on PM, briefs on Ehsaas programme
Sep 13, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM called on Prime Minister Imran Khan. She briefed the PM on the forthcoming digital monitoring of Ehsaas Panagahs. To-date, 22 Panagahs have been opened nationwide, under the Ehsaas umbrella. She also apprised the PM on the progress of other Ehsaas programmes and initiatives.
International Development Partners visit One Window Ehsaas Center in Sitara Market
Sep 13, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM together with a delegation of international development partners visited One Window Ehsaas Center in Sitara Market. The official delegation comprised of H.E. Christian Turner, British High Commissioner; Najy Benhassine, Country Director the World Bank; Chris Kaye, Country Director, WFP; Annabel Gerry, Development Director, FCDO; Knut Ostby, Resident Representative, UNDP Pakistan; Tobias Becker, Country Director GIZ; Stephen Langrell, Team Leader Rural Development and Economic Cooperation, EU Delegation to Pakistan; and Luis Gorjon, Chief Social Policy, UNICEF. The delegation was briefed on the One Stop Shop operations of Ehsaas which integrate all benefits and services for 14 different target groups in one space. The delegation widely lauded the One Window Ehsaas Operations and appreciated that for the first time in the country, comprehensive single window operations had been formulated to facilitate a common man.
Sania keynotes South Asia COVID-19 Conference at Brown University
Sep 10, 2021 – Islamabad: The School of Public Health and Center for Contemporary South at Brown University held a day-long conference on COVID-19 and South Asia. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM was invited to speak at the “Lunch Time Plenary: COVID-19 in Pakistan”. Dr. Sania shared lessons from Pakistan. Speakers from South Asia including those from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India joined virtually. Other speakers joined from Brown University, Yale University, Harvard University, and civil society organizations. The “Lunch Time Plenary: COVID-19 in Pakistan” was followed by a moderated conversation between Dr. Sania and speakers from Brown and Harvard.
Sania chairs Ehsaas field conference; 300 officers join online nationwide
September 9, 2021 – Islamabad: Ehsaas field conference was held with all field teams of Ehsaas. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the conference. The conference took stock of frequently asked questions about programmes of Ehsaas and how beneficiaries are benefitting in the field. Secretary Ismat Tahira, DG Noor Rehman, DG Naveed Akbar, Regional DGs from provinces, AJK and GB along with Tehsil level field teams joined the conference. 300 officers also joined online nationwide. The primary objective of conducting this conference was to share the field learnings, experiences and findings in connection with the nationwide accomplishment of door-to-door Ehsaas Survey, opening of 413 Ehsaas registration desks and Ehsaas 8171 web-portal, drive to enroll children under Ehsaas Education Stipends. Opening the conference, Dr. Sania stressed the need for shared learning and cross exposure among field teams to well-facilitate Ehsaas beneficiaries. “Ehsaas is an evidence-based programme. Field teams should learn from each other’s experiences so that issues being faced by beneficiaries can be solved firsthand”, said Dr. Sania.
Dr. Sania Keynotes at the CARE & MasterCard Ignite Financial Inclusion Project Launch
September 8 , 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote at the CARE & MasterCard Ignite Financial Inclusion Project Launch. CARE’s Ignite project in Pakistan funded by MasterCard unleashes the power of growth-oriented entrepreneurs, contributing to a resilient and inclusive economy. It also supports the Government’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy for enhanced formal financial access. The event was held to promote the growth of entrepreneurs in the country especially women among key stakeholders. In her speech, Dr. Sania remarked, “Enhancing financial inclusion is a key priority for the government, we are providing relief to under-privileged segments of society especially women through social safety nets and working on better financial empowerment opportunities.” She also added, “Ehsaas supported 15 million families (100 million people) during COVID-19 which is nearly half of the country’s population. Ehsaas Emergency Cash was the third largest program globally and rated as the fastest in the world by the World Bank.” Other speakers at the event were–Adil Sheraz (Country Director CARE International Pakistan), Atyab Tahir (Country Head, MasterCard), Kabeer (CEO IGNITE), Ambreen, (Chief of Retail Sales and Digitization IGNITE), Anusheh (Head of Research & Strategy IGNITE) and Shahnaz Kapadia (CEO Mera Maan).
Sania holds a workshop with Panagah staff to improve living standards
Sep 8, 2021 -Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM convened a stocktake workshop with Ehsaas Panagah teams in Islamabad. Secretary of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokhar, Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal and Additional Secretary PASSD, Captain (Retd) Saeed Ahmad Nawaz were also present. “Prime Minister has given strict instructions that people visiting Panagahs should be served with dignity and there should be no compromise on quality of service, maintenance, hygiene and cleanliness and food quantity as well as quality”, emphasized Dr. Sania. “We are fully committed to improving standards and will soon introduce digital monitoring of Ehsaas Panagahs”, she further added. To ensure that people are served with utmost dignity and self-respect, Ehsaas is providing refresher training to the staff of Panagahs. The administrative, operational and monitoring staff of all five Ehsaas Panagahs including Assistant Directors, Deputy Directors and Shift Supervisors joined the workshop. During the workshop a stocktake was done of the factors which impact quality, gaps were assessed, and a strategy was developed to improve standards.
Sania and CS Balochistan visit One Window Ehsaas Center in Sitara Market
Sep 7, 2021 – Islamabad: Chief Secretary Balochistan, Mather Niaz Rana visited One Window Ehsaas Center in Sitara Market Islamabad. On the occasion, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar SAPM was also present together with Secretary Ismat Tahira. Chief Secretary Balochistan was briefed about the first One Stop Shop of Ehsaas, ‘One Window Center’, which ensures access to all the facilities and services of Ehsaas under one roof. “One Window Ehsaas is being upscaled nationwide to serve Ehsaas beneficiaries. The miniaturised versions of One Stop Shop Ehsaas Centers will be opened in all districts of the country including Balochistan”, said Dr. Sania. CS Balochistan richly lauded the consolidation of all Ehsaas benefits and services at the Ehsaas One Window Center. Ehsaas sought a collaboration of the CS for expansion of One Window Ehsaas Operations in the province. The CS assured full support and facilitation from Balochistan to open One Window Ehsaas Centers in all districts of the province.
Sania announces opening of Ehsaas 8171 web-portal in Battagram
Sep 3, 2021 – Battagram: While in Battagram district of KP, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM held a press conference with local print and electronic media at the DC Office. She officially announced the opening of Ehsaas 8171 web-portal: https://ehsaastracking.pass.gov.pk/. The Ehsaas survey in the country is 99.5% complete and enrolment of new Ehsaas beneficiaries based on the survey has commenced. For this reason, Ehsaas has launched the web-portal so that people can check their status and collect cash, if eligible. Dr. Sania also visited a payment campsite in Chappalgram area of Battagram to witness Ehsaas cash disbursements being made to eligible Ehsaas beneficiaries. She met with beneficiaries who were withdrawing Ehsaas cash and spoke to them about the newly launched Ehsaas 8171 web-portal. At the Ehsaas Tehsil office in Police Lines area of Battagram, she also reviewed the enrolment of children hailing from Ehsaas eligible families for Ehsaas Education Stipends. Full press conference can be watched here.
Sania releases an instructional video on the recently launched Ehsaas 8171 web-portal
Sep 3, 2021: Creating awareness about the recently launched Ehsaas 8171 web-portal, Dr. Sania Nishtar has released an instructional video. In the interest of transparency, the final eligibility results of Ehsaas survey have been announced on the portal after determining eligibility through data analytics and rule-based procedures. Households who have been registered through survey can now easily check their eligibility status under Ehsaas Kafaalat and Ehsaas Emergency Cash-II by entering their survey token or Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) number on the portal. If eligible, they can collect their cash from the nearest Ehsaas payment centres. Households are rejected or included in the Ehsaas cash transfers based on the information collected in the survey. Instructional video can be watched here.
Sania attends HEC-USAID Scholarship event
Sep 2, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar was a chief guest at the HEC-USAID Scholarship event jointly hosted by Higher Education Commission (HEC) and USAID. Under the umbrella of Merit and Needs based Scholarship Program (MNBSP), USAID and HEC have rolled out 700 new graduate level scholarships for women, talent hunt program for financially disadvantaged girls, and capacity building plan to support financial aid systems of forty Pakistani public sector universities. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sania thanked USAID for supporting 700 scholarships and for supporting capacity building in women universities to promote higher education for girls in Pakistan. She said, “Providing financial access to education for the underprivileged populations, Ehsaas is running need cum merit based Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship programme nationwide offering 200,000 scholarships (50% for girls) worth Rs. 24 Billion over 4 years. With Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships dovetailed to Ehsaas School Stipends nationwide, the unprecedented scale of Ehsaas assistance allows Pakistan, for the first time, to look holistically at measures to improve education at all ages from early schooling to under-graduate and everything in between.” Other eminent guests who joined the event were, USAID Mission Director Pakistan, Executive Director HEC, USAID officials, Vice Chancellors and students.
PM launches nationwide Ehsaas Education Stipends
Sep 1, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan formally opened the Ehsaas Education Stipends program. Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed him on the countrywide launch of Ehsaas Education Stipends for primary, secondary, and higher secondary education. The program gives stipends from age 4-22 years—i.e., from primary to the higher secondary levels. As per Ehsaas’ weighted-in-favour-of-girls stipends policy for all conditional cash transfer programs, girls get a higher stipend across all age groups, which signals the government’s intent to facilitate girls’ education. Primary school children are provided Ehsaas Education Stipends of Rs. 1,500 for boy child and Rs. 2,000 per quarter for girl child. Secondary school children are granted Ehsaas Education Stipends of Rs. 2,500 for boys and Rs. 3,000 per quarter for girls. Students of higher secondary level are given Rs. 3,500 for boys and Rs. 4,000 per quarter for girls. The Ehsaas Education Stipends program with higher incentive for girls, will encourage parents to send their children particularly girls to schools. A one-time Ehsaas graduation bonus of Rs. 3,000 is part of Ehsaas Education Stipends program to encourage girls to complete primary education. The program is operational nationwide in 160 districts.
Ehsaas inks MoUs with the Federal Ministry of Education and Provinces for Ehsaas Education Stipends
August 30, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Shafqat Mehmood, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training co-chaired the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ehsaas and Federal Ministry for Education and Professional Training. The MoU aimed to tap additional human resources for the roll out of Ehsaas Education Stipends programme. On the occasion, a second MoU was also signed between Ehsaas and National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) to mobilize eligible families to enroll their children under Ehsaas Education Stipends. There are 18.7 million out-of-school children in the country. Ehsaas Education Stipends programme has been designed in coordination with provinces, and Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training to avoid duplications; reduce disparities in primary to higher secondary education opportunities by raising attendance, school enrolment, and the school progression among out of school children particularly girls. Ehsaas is also signing MoUs with the Secondary Education and Higher Education/Colleges’ Departments of provinces for identifying and providing education stipends to the eligible families.
Sania chairs Ehsaas Nashonuma program review workshop
Aug 31, 2021 – Islamabad: Ehsaas Nashonuma held its programme review workshop in Islamabad. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the review workshop. It was attended by the implementing partner World Food Programme (WFP) and Ehsaas team. The workshop highlighted the successes of the flagship anti-stunting programme of Ehsaas. Dr. Sania Nishtar highlighted the importance of the review, noting that the Government is planning to now expand as well as scale up the programme. She also remarked that Ehsaas Nashonuma was and continues to be an evidence-driven programme. To-date, 50 Ehsaas Nashonuma Centers have been opened across 14 districts. Chris Kaye, Country Director of WFP also joined the event.
Sania visits an Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiary family in Talagang
Aug 29, 2021- Chakwal: Early morning, Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Talagang Tehsil of Chakwal to meet the newly enrolled Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries. She visited a local household who was included in Ehsaas Kafaalat through Ehsaas survey. The family had collected their first stipend of Rs. 12,000 which helped them in buying food rations. Dr. Sania sat with the family and guided them about benefits for eligible families under Ehsaas. She also asked the family to enroll their children under Ehsaas Education Stipends for quarterly stipends. While in Talagang, Dr. Sania also witnessed new registrations of children for the Ehsaas Education Stipends.
Sania issues a video message on 3 year completion of Govt and Ehsaas
Aug 27, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation has issued an official video message on the completion of three years of government and Ehsaas. She also issued an official statement on the three year performance of Ehsaas. “Ehsaas is the largest social protection program ever in history of country, and most comprehensive globally. National Ehsaas survey has been completed after a lag of 10 years, despite COVID-19. Budget for social protection has been doubled compared to any past government’s budget and 100% budget utilized over the last 3 years. 12 million families will get cash grants this year, 30% of the country’s population. Children in all classes, in every district, of all Ehsaas eligible families are eligible for Ehsaas education stipends.” Adding further, she said, “Ehsaas has been regarded by the World Bank as a program from which other countries can learn. Ehsaas has shifted the governance paradigm in the country from, as stated by Sir Michael Barber, Shift from politics of patronage to politics of performance.” Video can be watched here.
On PM’s directives, the newly formed Ehsaas Panagah Advisory Council meets for the first time
Aug 25, 2021 – Islamabad: On Prime Minister’s special directives, the first meeting of the newly formed Panagah Advisory Council was held at Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal Headquarters. Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. In line with PM’s instructions, a sixteen-member Advisory Council of Ehsaas Panagahs has recently been formed under the umbrella of Ehsaas. The Advisory Council has been assigned the mandate to provide valuable oversight on policy and strategic direction, institutionalization of audit and accountability systems, improving the quality of delivery, scalability, and sustainability of Ehsaas model Panagahs. The meeting was held in two sessions. The first session featured comprehensive orientation on the structure and standard operating procedures of Ehsaas Panagahs followed by a visit to the two Panagahs in Islamabad. “Panagahs’ (shelter homes) is one the Prime Minister’s priority programmes. Panagahs not only provide shelter to the labourers but also a two-time meal for them. To facilitate daily wagers, 22 Panagah facilities have been built up so far under Ehsaas countrywide”, said Dr. Sania.
Dr. Sania holds 7th e-Kacheri of Ehsaas
August 25, 2021 – Islamabad: In a national hook up radio programme, ‘Raabta’, Dr. Sania Nishtar held the seventh e-Kacheri of Ehsaas. She informedlisteners about the recently opened Ehsaas registration desks. 403 Ehsaas registration desks have been opened nationwide at Tehsil level, where beneficiaries can self-enroll themselves. Currently, the Ehsaas survey is on its last leg and deserving households who were missed out in the survey can visit registration desks for survey registration. Dr. Sania answered questions of listeners who connected with her on telephone. She also informed that 100 more registration desks will be opened in the next two weeks. The programme was also broadcast simultaneously through Facebook. Listen to the programmehere.
New Board of TVO meets under the Ehsaas umbrella
August 24, 2021 – Islamabad: The Trust for Voluntary Organisations (TVO) convened the meeting of its newly constituted Board of Directors (BoD). TVO is one of the executing agencies of Ehsaas, which has been revitalized after six years under the Ehsaas framework. Prior to the board meeting this morning, Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the Board members and briefed them on the overarching Ehsaas framework. After a preliminary briefing, Dr. Sania left the meeting. The Board meeting then formally commenced its first proceedings for the whole day. Several important matters were discussed and decided, including the annual action plan, budget and institutionalization of audit systems. The Board also elected Syed Ghazanfar Abbas Jilani, Federal Secretary (R) as a Chairperson, while elected Tariq Khan Baluch, Development Specialist and Hidayat Ullah Khan, Development Expert as the two Vice Chairpersons.
Sania convenes review of Ehsaas Tahafuz scale-up
Aug 23, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM along with Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division Muhammad Ali Shahzada convened a meeting to review preparations for the nationwide expansion of Ehsaas Tahafuz. The project steering committee of Ehsaas Tahafuz has recently approved the expansion of Tahafuz to 14 public sector hospitals in all federating units. The Ehsaas team working on the scale-up of Ehsaas Tahafuz briefed the meeting about the current progress. Ehsaas Tahafuz is Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net being introduced under the umbrella of Ehsaas.
Sania reviews preparations for the upcoming Ehsaas Portal
Aug 23, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting with Ehsaas team to review preparations for the forthcoming Ehsaas portal. Through the web-portal, the people who have been registered through Ehsaas survey or Ehsaas Registration Desk will be able to find their eligibility under Ehsaas. By simply entering their Computerized National Identity Card numbers (CNICs), people will be able to check their eligibility status under Ehsaas Kafaalat and Ehsaas Emergency Cash-II. Currently, the preparations for launch of Ehsaas portal are in final stages. The portal will be launched next week. Secretary Ismat Tahira was also present in the meeting.
Noor-ul-Haq Qadri opens Ehsaas Nashonuma Center in Mula Gori Tehsil of Khyber
Aug 21, 2021 – Khyber: Federal Minister of Religious Affairs, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri opened Ehsaas Nashonuma Center in Mula Gori Tehsil of Khyber Tribal District. Ehsaas Nashonuma programme is a health and nutrition conditional cash transfer programme which aims to address stunting in children under 23 months of age. So far, 50 Ehsaas Nashonuma centers have been established at Tehsil level health facilities across 14 districts including Khyber to provide specialized nutrition food for pregnant and lactating women and children under 23 months, conditional cash transfer on quarterly basis, immunization, antenatal care/postnatal care and awareness sessions. At the center, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri also interacted with the staff and beneficiaries.
Sania chairs the 51st Board meeting of BISP
Aug 20, 2021 – Islamabad: Under the Ehsaas umbrella, the 51st meeting of the of the BISP board was held at BISP Headquarters, Islamabad. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the meeting. During the meeting, the Board deliberated upon various important agenda items related to the expansion of cash transfer programmes being executed by BISP under the Ehsaas framework. A vibrant discussion took place, deep dive analysis was carried out and many important decisions were taken by members of the board. The meeting was attended by Ismat Tahira Secretary BISP, Muhammad Ali Shahzada Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, and senior officials of Finance Division, Economic Affairs Division and NADRA. Amongst private sector members, Zaffar A Khan, Syed Salim Raza, Qazi Azmat Isa, and Dr. Ahsfaque Hasan Khan attended the meeting. Members participated in the meeting both physically as well as virtually
PM announces expansion of Ehsaas Koye Bhooka Na Soye Food Trucks
August 20, 2021- Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the expansion of ‘Ehsaas Koye Bhooka Na Soye’ (EKBNS) program. He also inaugurated the four food trucks that would serve free food to daily wage earners across Multan, Gujranwala and Lahore. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar SAPM and Managing Director Pakistan-Bait-ul-Mal (PBM), Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokhar briefed the PM on the EKBNS expansion plan. Ehsaas has been running 12 trucks in 5 cities (Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad and Peshawar) and based on lessons learnt the program is being expanded to 7 cities with the addition of 4 more trucks for Multan, Gujranwala and Lahore, taking the total number of trucks to 16. Prime Minister announced that by October 2021, the EKBNS operations will be expanded to all four provinces, AJK and GB with the overall fleet of 40 food trucks in 29 cities that will feed 40,000 people every day and 1.46 million people, annually.
Sania opens second session of ‘The Pakistan Inequality Debates’
August 13, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited as a Chief Guest in the second virtual session of the Pakistan Inequality Debates, entitled “Policy as a Driver of Inequality: Centering People for Inclusive Policy”. The debate was based on UNDP Pakistan’s National Human Development Report 2020: The Ps of Inequality: People, Policy and Power. The session was held as part of a series of national and provincial webinars, “The Pakistani Inequality Debates” that feature eminent thought leaders and policy makers. Speakers who joined the session together with Dr. Sania were—Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Former Governor SBP; Knut Ostby, Resident Representative, UNDP Pakistan; Dr. Hafeez Pasha, Lead Author NHDR 2020; and Dr. Abid Suleri, Executive Director SDPI. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sania stated, “This fiscal year is very important for us, as the new Ehsaas survey is being completed, based on which a number of programs will be scaled up nationwide for 14 target groups. In addition to the survey, we have completed Phase-1 of ‘Ehsaas BRI’, the building and rebuilding institutions initiative, we have put in place new programs—and we have done all this in tandem with the roll out of COVID-19 Ehsaas emergency cash, through which we reached out to nearly 40% of the country’s households.”
Sania chairs Ehsaas Rehribaan webinar on microfinance for vending carts
August 12, 2021 – Islamabad: For addressing the challenge of financing street vendors, PIDE and Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) organized a webinar for concerned stakeholders. Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the webinar. The webinar aimed to create awareness among the microfinance community about the commercial prospects of financing street vendors and government facilitation in viable product development under Ehsaas Rehribaan. Other speakers who joined the webinar were— Amer Ali Ahmed, Chairman CDA; Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque, VC PIDE; Syeda Shafaq Hashmi, Administrator MCI; and Presidents of Microfinance Banks and Institutions. Zia Banday, Focal person, Ehsaas Rehribaan Initiative briefed the participants on the potential of street economy. U Microfinance Bank and Apna Microfinance Bank, pioneers in cart financing, presented their successfully launched products. “Ehsaas Rehribaan is a pioneering experience in Pakistan, whereby a multi-partite engagement of federal and local governments along with think tank and microfinance institutions are collectively structuring a sustainable intervention for enhancing street livelihoods”, said Dr. Sania.
Sania opens international workshop organized by PARC and ICIMOD
August 11, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar was a chief guest at the international consultation workshop on, “Crop mapping and zoning for strengthening sustainable agricultural practices, policy support and livelihood improvement through Earth observation applications in Pakistan”. The workshop was organized by Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Islamabad. Addressing the opening session, Dr. Sania stated, “Agricultural is and will remain the absolute priority of our government. That is why, agriculture is a whole of the government multisectoral agenda, as embedded in the Ehsaas framework.” She further added, “Being an agrarian economy, we strongly need to invest in research, modernization of hardware and software in agriculture, and focus on sustainability of the agri- sector.” Participants from national, provincial and non-governmental organizations working in the areas of agriculture, climate change, food security, water and irrigation participated in the workshop. Other eminent speakers who joined the opening session were Pema Gyamtsho, Director General, ICIMOD, Nepal; Bashir Ahmed, Director, Climate, Energy and Water Research Institute (CEWRI), PARC; Faisal Qamar, Group Lead Food Security, ICIMOD; and Muhammad Ismail, Country Representative, Pakistan Office, ICIMOD.
Sania visits the recently opened Ehsaas Registration Desks in Lahore
August 7, 2021 – Lahore: Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Lahore to review the recently opened Ehsaas Registration Desks. Under Ehsaas framework, the registration desks will open nationwide in the month of August. Families in need, whose survey has not been conducted for some reason can self-enrol themselves in Ehsaas programme through registration desks. To-date, the Ehsaas survey is 98.14 percent complete throughout the country. However, the survey is currently underway in Lahore. Dr. Sania also reviewed the pace of survey activities in Lahore. To review the registration desk operations, Dr. Sania visited Comprehensive High School in Garhi Shahu area of Lahore. She also interacted with staff and women who were waiting for registration. Women had come to Ehsaas desks with CNICs in their hands for registration. Dr. Sania also oversaw details of a woman being enrolled at the desk. Currently three registration desks are fully functional in Lahore. Four more Ehsaas desks will open next week in Lahore Cantt to facilitate self-registration.
Sania reviews Ehsaas Survey and Ehsaas School Stipend enrolments in Lahore
August 7, 2021 – Lahore: While in Lahore, Dr. Sania Nishtar reviewed the pace of survey activities in Lahore. To-date, the Ehsaas survey is 98.14 percent complete throughout the country. However, the survey is currently underway in Lahore. She visited a local household in Ghoray Shah, Tezab Ahata area of Lahore to oversee their survey enrolment under Ehsaas. Later, Dr. Sania also met with children and their mothers to oversee new enrolments of children for the Ehsaas School Stipends. “Ehsaas education stipends are being scaled-up to secondary and higher secondary levels as well”, Dr. Sania stated. During the visit, Dr. Sania was joined by Secretary Ismat Tahira and other senior officials of Ehsaas.
Dr. Sania speaks at a WPL dialogue for South Asia
August 5, 2021 – Brussels: Dr. Sania Nishtar joined a select group of senior women leaders at the Women Political Leaders (WPL) Dialogue for South Asia. The theme of the dialogue was, “Policy Innovations and Solutions in support of Healthy Women and Healthy Economies”. The WPL dialogue discussed the important links between women’s contributions to health, economic growth, and gender equity. The dialogue brought together political and health experts from South Asia to discuss innovations and solutions that are helping to drive transformative policy changes and advance gender equity, both in local health systems and across the broader society. Together with Dr. Sania, other panellists were Felicia Knaul, Director Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas, Professor Miller School of Medicine, First Lady University of Miami, United States of America; Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, Member of Parliament, House of Representatives Indonesia; President Geneva Council for International Affairs & Development, Member WPL Board; Shandana Gulzar Khan, Chairperson & Member of National Assembly, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Pakistan; and other outstanding personalities from South Asia with renowned international expertise.
Steering Committee of Ehsaas Tahafuz ratifies programme scale-up to all federating units
August 5, 2021 – Islamabad: The project steering committee of Ehsaas Tahafuz came to the table to deliberate on the national scale-up of the programme. Chaired by Dr. Sania Nishtar, the meeting discussed and approved the expansion of Tahafuz to 14 public sector hospitals across all federating units, treatment packages to be covered by service provider hospitals and grievance redressal and patient service mechanism. The committee also reviewed and approved the terms of reference of the Tahafuz expert committee. Ehsaas Tahafuz Steering Committee has been tasked to provide managerial and strategic oversight to Ehsaas Tahafuz. The meeting was held at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). Together with committee members and Tahafuz team, Secretary Muhammad Ali Shahzada and Senior Joint Secretary of the Division, Niaz Muhammad Khan also joined the meeting.
Hartwig Schafer congratulates Ehsaas on its incredible role
Aug 4, 2021 – Islamabad: Hartwig Schafer, South Asia Regional Vice President (SARVP), the World Bank visited Ehsaas offices. Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Ehsaas team welcomed the SARVP and his delegation. She briefed them on the deep-rooted reforms embedded in the design and roll out of Ehsaas programmes, policies, reforms and initiatives. Schafer congratulated Ehsaas for leading an incredible role not just amid COVID-19 pandemic but also in building back better post-COVID. The meeting aimed to discuss the Bank’s ongoing engagements with the government of Pakistan’s Ehsaas. “Many lessons can be learnt by developed and developing countries from the social protection and poverty alleviation experience of Ehsaas”, commented Schafer. He assured full assistance of the World Bank to antipoverty efforts undertaken under Ehsaas. He also praised the Ehsaas 50% plus benefits policy for women and girls. Hartwig Schafer was leading a delegation consisting of high-ranking officials from the World Bank- Najy Benhassine, Country Director; Gailius J. Draugelis, Operations Manager; and Amjad Zafar, Senior Social Protection Specialist.
UN Women Country Rep calls on Dr. Sania Nishtar
Aug 2, 2021 – Islamabad: UN Women Country Representative, Sharmeela Rassool, called on Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM at Ehsaas offices. The meeting explored areas of synergy and collaborations under Ehsaas. In her welcome remarks, Dr. Sania stated, “We have introduced a number of initiatives under Ehsaas that are aimed at promoting gender mainstreaming and empowering women.” UN Women Country Representative highly lauded the “Ehsaas 50% plus benefits policy” which ensures that at least 50% of all beneficiaries targeted by the programme across initiatives are women. Other senior officials from UN Women country office also joined the meeting. UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Sania opens Pak Korea Nutrition Center under Ehsaas Framework
August 1, 2021 – Faisalabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar opened the Pak Korea Nutrition Center (PKNC) at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF). Established under the Ehsaas framework (Policy # 59), the national nutrition center, ‘PKNC’ is the first of its kind, meant to address the malnutrition issue that has hit more than 50 percent of the population. Dr. Sania also thanked government of Korea for their collaboration. At the university, Dr. Sania was warmly welcomed by the Vice Chancellor of UAF, Professor Dr. Iqrar Ahmed Khan. Addressing the launching ceremony, Dr. Sania said, “I am particularly keen on exploring the feasibility of developing a school meals programme under the Ehsaas framework in collaboration with University of Agriculture Faisalabad. PKNC will guide the policy direction to address the issue of malnutrition in the country.” Adding further, she said, “Tackling malnutrition is also embedded in the Ehsaas strategy post- COVID-19.”
Ehsaas awards 1868 Undergrad Scholarships at University of Agriculture Faisalabad this year
August 1, 2021 – Faisalabad: Dr. Sania was invited by University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) to launch the Pak Korea Nutrition Center (PKNC) under the Ehsaas framework. During the visit to UAF, Dr. Sania was also briefed about the disbursement of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships. In total 1,868 Ehsaas scholarships were given to students of UAF this year. Fifty percent of scholarships went to girls. Dr. Sania also awarded Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships among students of UAF. She interacted with awardees to gain insights on Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Policy. “For the academic year 2020/21, total 92,003 scholarships worth Rs. 8.4 Billion are being awarded nationwide”, said Dr. Sania.
Ehsaas opens 7 new Panagahs in July
July 31, 2021 – Islamabad: As part of Prime Minister’s initiative, Ehsaas opened 7 new Panagahs in the month of July 2021. Out of newly operationalized seven Panagahs, five have been set up in Nushki, Washuk, Kharan, Quetta and Chaman areas of Balochistan and 2 in Swat and Abbottabad districts of KP. Managing Director, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) inaugurated these new Panagahs. The “Ehsaas Panagahs” is one of the priority programmes of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Collectively, 22 Ehsaas Panagahs have been set up nationwide, so far under the direct supervision of PBM. These model Panagahs of Ehsaas provide free of cost, one star plus bed and breakfast facility with meals and essentials to daily wage earners and labourers.
PM approves the One Window Ehsaas Policy
July 31, 2021 – Islamabad: The Prime Minister has approved the One Window Ehsaas Policy. “With One Window Ehsaas policy in place, the aim is to deliver services through a single window, a one-stop shop”, stated Dr. Sania Nishtar. The overarching Ehsaas Strategy stipulated the creation of “One-Window Ehsaas” (Policy # 4) to enable delivery of the multiple Ehsaas programs through a single window, and to address issues in social protection programs. The policy entails six sets of actions: firstly, a One Stop Shop, the Ehsaas Physical Center; secondly, back office digital interface; thirdly, a public facing digital information and services platform; the fourth component is a mobile app; the fifth component is the integrated database; and finally, the Ehsaas One-Window Beneficiary Selection and Targeting Policy. Collectively, the six pillars of One Window policy will increase cohesiveness and coordination across the different programmes offered by different implementing organizations and will improve beneficiary experience. Policy can be accessed here.
Sania makes a surprise visit to Holy Family Hospital to stocktake Ehsaas Tahafuz
July 30, 2021 – Rawalpindi: Sitting under the Ehsaas umbrella, Tahafuz is a patient centric, shock-oriented programme that caters to one-time catastrophic health costs for those who lack ability to bear the heavy expenditures. To stocktake the progress of Ehsaas Tahafuz operations, Dr. Sania Nishtar made an unannounced visit to Tahafuz Desk in Holy Family Hospital (HFH), Rawalpindi. During the visit, she met with patients and their attendants, technical team of medical experts, hospital administrators and programme verifiers. Dr. Sania also visited Emergency, Ophthalmology and ICU wards and took feedback of patients and their attendants about the medical support extended through Tahafuz. “Patient feedback and first-hand insights will help in the Ehsaas Tahafuz scale-up, later this year”, said Dr. Sania. To-date, 612 deserving patients have been served at HFH, Rawalpindi. To facilitate patients in need, a facilitation desk has also been established at the HFH to identify the eligible beneficiaries for Tahafuz.
PM approves the six monthly plan of Ehsaas
July 30, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM called on Prime Minister Imran Khan to brief him on the next six monthly plan of Ehsaas. PM was briefed on the programs and initiatives that will be launched under the umbrella of Ehsaas in next six months. During the meeting, PM approved the detailed six-monthly plan of Ehsaas. Dr. Sania also briefed the PM on the progress of Ehsaas in setting up model Panagahs under ‘Mazdoor ka Ehsaas’. To-date, 22 model Ehsaas Panagahs have been established in the country. PM emphasized to well maintain the standards of Ehsaas Panagahs. Panagahs not only provide shelter to daily wage earners but also a two-time meal to them.
Cart Financing Window Opens under Ehsaas Rehribaan Initiative in Islamabad: Sania
July 29, 2021- Islamabad: The Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative is being set up in Islamabad under the specific direction of the Prime Minister. Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Ehsaas Rehribaan site in G-11 Markaz, Islamabad. She interacted with street vendors and reviewed the ongoing street vending interventions under the initiative. Representatives of three microfinance banks, namely U- Microfinance Bank, Apna Microfinance Bank and Mobilink Microfinance Bank were also present at the site. They briefed Dr. Sania about various microfinancing facilities available for vendors under Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative. “With the successful launch of the Ehsaas Rehribaan project in G-11 and G-10 commercial areas of Islamabad, government is aiming for the methodical and phased scale-up of the initiative”, stated Dr. Sania. At present, street vendors in G-11 and G-10 areas are getting regularized through the acquisition of pre-approved design carts either on their own account or through microfinance loans. Later on, the initiative will be expanded to the entire capital.
Dr. Sania highlights Ehsaas Tahafuz at WHO’s High Level Global Talk Show
July 28, 2021 – Islamabad: This World Hepatitis Day 2021, Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the high-level global talk show hosted by World Health Organization (WHO). The theme of World Hepatitis Day this year was “Hepatitis can’t wait” conveying the urgency of efforts needed to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. Contributions and stories from countries from different WHO regions were showcased at the event. Speaking in the panel alongside WHO’s senior leadership, Dr. Sania reflected on the lessons learned from the innovations developed under government of Pakistan’s Ehsaas Tahafuz programme. She also highlighted government of Pakistan’s efforts towards combating viral hepatitis. Further, she talked about the recent government policy which mandates the use of auto-disable syringes; this policy has been approved by Cabinet. Alongside Dr. Sania, other panelists were: Dr. Hala Zayed, Minister of Health and Population, Egypt; Dr. Enkhbold Sereejav, Minister of Health Mongolia; and Arnaldo Medeiros, Vice-Minister for Health Surveillance at the Ministry of Health, Brazil.
Preps underway for Ehsaas targeted commodity subsidies initiative
July 24, 2021 – Islamabad: As chair of the steering committee that oversees the Ehsaas targeted commodity subsidies initiative, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting with the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP). The meeting aimed to understand new regulations which allow open and closed framework agreements with multiple vendors. Dr. Sania also visited several retail settings to plan for the Ehsaas targeted commodity subsidies initiative. The visit gauged digitization readiness of grocery retailers that is an execution prerequisite. “Field learnings will inform Ehsaas policy to mobilize stakeholders”, said Dr. Sania.
Sania highlights Pakistan’s role in bolstering girls’ education at SCO Forum
July 20, 2021 – Beijing: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Forum on, ‘Women’s Education and Poverty Reduction’ held in Beijing. In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of SCO, the Forum was hosted by All China Women’s Federation in cooperation with the Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the SCO and SCO Secretariat in Beijing. In her speech, Dr. Sania remarked, “Progress is simply not possible without women. This principle sits at the core of Ehsaas. We therefore have Ehsaas 50%+ benefits for women and girls’ policy, which means that in each of Ehsaas’ programs more than 50% of the benefits are dedicated for women and girls.” She further added, “Ehsaas also has a new policy to incentivize girls’ education, which is evidenced in a recent decision to grant a higher stipend for girls in our education conditional cash transfer program.” Other speakers were– Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, First Lady of Uzbekistan, Deputy Prime Minister of Tajikistan, First Lady of Afghanistan, Vice President of Iran, USG of the UN & Executive Director of UN Women, Secretary-General of SCO, President of the Congress of Women of Kyrgyz Republic, and President of Mongolian Women’s Federation.
Sania convenes meeting on the forthcoming Ehsaas Digital Hunar
July 16, 2021 – Islamabad: With yesterday being an international youth skills day, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting with the technology team of Ehsaas on the forthcoming Ehsaas Digital Hunar programme. The Ehsaas Digital Hunar programme is aimed to empower the disadvantaged youth through digital skills, in order to make them employment ready. Pakistan currently has one of the youngest populations in the world. The Digital Hunar is being designed to deliver 3 to 6 month virtual programmes with in-demand market skills and hundred percent employability for the underprivileged youth. The programme includes the five resources: curriculum design & development; learning management system; affiliation programme with academia and private institutes; training programme; and freelance portal.
Sania held sixth e-Kacheri of Ehsaas to answer queries of beneficiaries
July 15, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM along with Ehsaas team convened the sixth e-Kacheri of Ehsaas. The e-Kacheri was broadcast through Radio Pakistan’s national hook up programme, ‘Raabta’ and Facebook, @EhsaasOffcialPK. She answered queries of Ehsaas beneficiaries who phoned her from different parts of country including Dera Ghazi Khan, Sadiqabad, Sukkur, Swat and Mianwali. Callers asked about the ongoing payments under Ehsaas Kafaalat and Ehsaas Emergency Cash-II. Talking to listeners, Dr. Sania announced that Ehsaas registration desks will be reopened throughout the country after the completion of Ehsaas survey by July 31, 2021. Full programme can be watched here.
Nigerian Delegation visits Ehsaas
July 15, 2021 – Islamabad: A delegation of senior officials from Nigeria was briefed on Ehsaas at the meeting hosted by Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. The delegation comprised of of over 30 civilian and military officers enrolled in Senior Executive Course of the ‘National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies’ in Nigeria. Dr. Sania Nishtar welcomed the delegation and briefed them on the multicomponent social protection strategy and widespread operations of Ehsaas. Mainly, the meeting discussed significance of social protection at both the country and global levels in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic and explored multilateral collaborative options to foster social protection experience sharing between Nigeria and Pakistan. From Ehsaas, Secretary Ismat Tahira and Additional Secretary Capt. Saeed Ahmad Nawaz also briefed the delegation. The presentation was followed by a detailed question-and-answer session. Later, the delegation visited the first One Window Ehsaas Center in Sitara Market Islamabad to see all Ehsaas services and benefits being provided to beneficiaries under one roof.
Sania chairs the meeting of steering committee for Ehsaas Targeted Subsidies
July 14, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar convened the meeting of steering committee for the forthcoming Ehsaas Targeted Subsidies programme. The steering committee for the programme has been constituted on the instructions of the Prime Minister. The Committee has been principally mandated to oversee the execution of the targeted commodity subsidies programme. This programme will be implemented by December 2021. With Dr. Sania in chair, Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Deputy Governor SBP, President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Secretary BISP and Managing Director Utility Stores Corporation joined the steering committee meeting. They were also joined by senior officials and representatives from Finance Division, Industries and Production Division and Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited. “Coming under the umbrella of Ehsaas, Targeted Commodity Subsidies programme will be executed through collaboration with Utility stores and NBP. Based on policy articulated by the Ministry of Finance, and regulatory support by SBP, the Government will enable Ehsaas beneficiaries being identified through new Ehsaas survey to get subsidized rates”, said Dr. Sania.
ADB’s policy dialogue in Tokyo commends Ehsaas for its effective outreach and transparent delivery systems
July 14, 2021 – Tokyo: July 14, 2021 – Tokyo: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak as a sole headline presenter at the international policy dialogue hosted by Asian Development Bank Institute in Tokyo. This was a one-year follow-up event, “From Emergency to Recovery: Social Safety Nets beyond the COVID-19 Crisis.” The high-level policy dialogue aimed to promote dialogue on the future of safety nets and social protection in Asia. It brought together policymakers who discussed country experiences and lessons learned from a year of safety nets. Dr. Sania keynoted the opening session and shared Pakistan’s story of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash last year, including the challenges and breakthroughs. Tetsushi Sonobe, Dean & CEO, Asian Development Bank Institute opened the event. Other distinguished speakers included Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor to the Government of Bangladesh, Information and Communication Technology Division and Cabinet Division; Huck-ju Kwon, Professor, Asia Development Institute, Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University; and Michiel Van Der Auwera, Senior Social Development Specialist, Asian Development Bank. At the dialogue, Ehsaas programme was highly praised for its effective outreach and transparent delivery mechanisms.
PM lauds Ehsaas, NCOC and SBP for effective response to COVID-19
July 7, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated the Ehsaas Team, National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for effective response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a tweet, he also thanked God Almighty for His mercy during difficult times. The Prime Minister also shared Economist Magazine’s normalcy index which declares Pakistan amongst the best performing countries for handling Covid-19. With a score of 84.4, Pakistan ranks third amongst fifty countries tracked by the Economist Magazine for return to pre pandemic life. However, as the threat of COVID-19 continues, the government continues warning masses to ensure implementation of SOPs on the basis of confirmed reports of a definitive uptick in COVID-19 cases, percentage positivity, since last week.
Dr. Sania Keynotes UN’s another HLPF session in New York on SDGs 1, 2, 8 & 17
July 7, 2021 -New York: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM keynoted another HLPF session titled on, “SDGs in focus, Goal 1,2,8 and 17”. The session was part of the high-level political forum (HLPF) on sustainable development which is the core United Nations platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The meeting of the HLPF 2021 took place from 6 July to 15 July 2021 under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. In the session, other speakers included ECOSOC Vice President, Collin Vexin Kelapile, Permanent Representative of Botswana; ASG Maria Francesca Spatolisano of DESA; Yongyi Min, Chief, SDG Monitoring Section, UNDESA/Statistics Division; Gerda Verburg, Coordinator at Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement; Guy Rider, DG of ILO; Aloysius Ordu, Head, Africa Growth Initiative Brookings Institution; Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights; Meryame Kitir, Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation; Silvana Eugenia Vargas Winstanley, Minister of Development and Social Inclusion, Peru; Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD; and Maximo Tereo, FAO Chief Economist. Full session can be watched here.
Pakistan leads a high-level side event in New York on social protection
July 7, 2021 – New York: The Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the UN in collaboration with the Governments of Finland and Costa Rica, World Bank, UNDESA and Ehsaas hosted a high-level side event on, “An Inflection Point on Social Protection” in New York. H.E. Ambassador Munir Akram, President of Economic and Social Council chaired the event. The session was keynoted by Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM along with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, Mr. Rodolfo Solano Quiros and Under Secretary General UNDESA Mr. Liu Zhenmin. The event was held to promote the establishment of a platform involving governments and stakeholders, who, recognizing the upheaval and distress of the pandemic are considering possible options to accelerate global social protection knowledge and practice. The Permanent Representatives of Finland and Costa Rica also addressed the event and reiterated the importance of global networking in social protection. Full session can be watched here.
Dr. Nishtar and USG, UNDESA discuss ways to upscale social protection globally
July 7, 2021-New York: During her visit to New York, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM held a meeting with Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). The meeting discussed ways to upscale social protection and fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) globally. Dr. Nishtar was accompanied by the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations New York, Ambassador Munir Akram. Dr. Nishtar was in New York to represent Pakistan at the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2021. Making use of this opportunity, Dr. Nishtar joined several high-level events on the sidelines of HLPF.
Dr. Nishtar briefs Pakistani community in New York about Ehsaas programs & initiatives
July 7, 2021-New York: While in New York, Dr. Sania Nishtar met various members of the New York-based Pakistani community. She briefed about what Ehsaas entails, its components, progress underway, its priorities, partnership approach, challenges & opportunities and what success entails. Dr. Nishtar also replied to various questions from participants regarding the provision and management of funds and rule-based procedures. She also briefed them about digitally enabled Ehsaas Donations Management System which is on the anvil. Dr. Nishtar mentioned that the Ehsaas program was being run totally on apolitical basis. “The government is working to make Ehsaas fully digital in order to ensure transparency in the provision and management of funds”, she added. Pakistani expatriates richly lauded contributions of Ehsaas, particularly in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Nishtar was in New York to represent Pakistan at the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2021.
Sania represents Pakistan at UN’s high-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
July 6, 2021 – New York: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at UN’s high-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The session on, “The SDGs in time of crises: A sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery from COVID-19 as an opportunity to realise the SDGs” had a townhall format to accommodate many high-level speakers given the importance of topic and various dimensions that needed to be covered for a sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery from COVID-19 pandemic. This session was convened by ECOSOC, under the Presidency of Pakistan. Bringing Pakistan’s perspective to the table, Dr. Sania highlighted that the Pandemic has unearthed an opportunity to recast the role of the welfare state, which needs to be a major part of the re-commitment to agenda 2030. The session was moderated by Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP. The high-level political forum on sustainable development is the core United Nations platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr. Sania holds press briefing with UN correspondents in New York
July 6, 2021 – New York: Dr. Nishtar was in New York to represent Pakistan at the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2021 on Sustainable Development. During the visit, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to United Nations in New York organized a press briefing of Dr. Sania with UN correspondents at the UN Headquarters. Dr. Sania briefed UN correspondents about the Government of Pakistan’s wide ranging social protection response to COVID-19 under Ehsaas program. She also briefed them about details of the forthcoming high-level side event on social protection that was scheduled on July 7. The high-level side event, she informed, would be hosted by Permanent Mission of Pakistan to UN in New York in collaboration with the Governments of Finland and Costa Rica, World Bank, UNDESA and Ehsaas. She also responded to questions of correspondents with regard to Ehsaas program. Full footage can be watched here.
Sub-committee of PAC richly praises Ehsaas
July 1, 2021 – Islamabad: The 36th meeting of sub-committee VII of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was held with Riaz Fatyana, MNA in chair, joined by the two members: Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dreshak, MNA and Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM briefed them on Ehsaas programs and initiatives. The sub-committee commended the wide-ranging scale of Ehsaas, well-articulated strategy, multisectoral character, governance and integrity policy, rule- based procedures, and transparency measures hardwired in the design and execution of Ehsaas. The sub-committee was also briefed in the control room of the Ehsaas survey. They were informed about the integrity features. Further, Dr. Sania informed the sub-committee on an extensive process of governance reforms commenced in Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and its implementing agencies to deliver Ehsaas. The sub-committee lauded the efficient use of technology and data under Ehsaas, which underpin tracking of multisectoral programs, initiatives and policies to ensure robust governance discipline throughout its operations. PAC is the supreme parliamentary forum for accountability of federal government departments.
Dr. Sania speaks at a high level event hosted by France, WHO and WGH
July 1, 2021 – Paris: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at a high level event hosted by Government of France, World Health Organization (WHO) and Women in Global Health (WGH). Part of Generation Equality Forum, the high-level event themed, “Achieving gender-transformative policy action”. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “As the world begins to build back post-COVID, we must put women inclusion at the heart of recovery efforts.” Further, she reflected on Ehsaas 50% plus benefits policy for women that is evenly embedded in over 280 Ehsaas programs, initiatives and policy actions. At the forum, Heads of State and Government, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and youth organizations gathered to launch the Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality, announcing concrete commitments and strengthen intergenerational, multi-stakeholder partnerships to advance gender equality over the next five years.
Ehsaas hosts briefing by Global Panel on Agriculture & Food Systems for Nutrition on Foresight Report 2.0
June 30, 2021-Islamabad: Ehsaas hosted a briefing on Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition’s Foresight report, ‘Future Food Systems: For People, our planet and prosperity’. The virtual briefing principally aimed to brief policy makers in Pakistan on the latest evidence to help make food systems more resilient and able to deliver healthy, sustainable diets to all. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the session. From the Global Panel’s side, Sir John Beddington, Chair; Prof Sandy Thomas, Director and Prof Tim Benton, Co-chair, Foresight Lead Expert Group gave briefing. Thanking experts for the insightful briefing, Dr. Sania concluded, “The report has important insights to guide food systems transformation.” The briefing was also joined by Coordinators and Focal Persons on Nutrition from provinces along with senior officials and representatives from World Food Programme, UNICEF, FAO, Nutrition International and Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan.
Ehsaas Registration Desks to reopen after July 31: Sania announces in fifth e-Kacheri of Ehsaas
June30, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar held the fifth e-Kacheri of Ehsaas with Ehsaas beneficiaries. The e-Kacheri was broadcast through Radio Pakistan’s national hook up programme, ‘Raabta’, Pakistan Television and Facebook, @EhsaasOffcialPK. Connecting with masses, Dr. Sania informed that Ehsaas registration desks will be reopened after July 15, 2021. She answered queries of Ehsaas beneficiaries who phoned her from far flung parts of country. To the question, she responded that Ehsaas 8171 is currently closed and will reopen after July 15, 2021. Callers also asked about the ongoing payments under the second round of Ehsaas Emergency Cash, Ehsaas Kafaalat and Ehsaas education stipends. Full programme can be watched here.
Sania Nishtar holds open house with media at One Window Ehsaas Center
June 30, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar held an open house with print and electronic media at the One Window Ehsaas Center in Sitara Market Islamabad. Media guests were briefed about the recently opened first One Window Ehsaas Center, which is aimed at ensuring access to all the facilities and services of Ehsaas in one space. “Similar One Stop Shop Ehsaas Centers will be opened in 154 districts to serve Ehsaas beneficiaries”, said Dr. Sania while briefing media. Giving an interactive demonstration, Dr. Sania informed that One Window of Ehsaas has six pillars: firstly, a one stop shop, the Ehsaas Center; secondly, back office digital interface; thirdly, a public facing digital information and services platform; the fourth component is a mobile app; the fifth component is cognitive API architecture—the integrated database; and finally, the Ehsaas One-Window Beneficiary Selection and Targeting Policy. Prime Minister had inaugurated this first One Window Ehsaas on June 9, 2021. After the briefing, the media guests were given a round of the facility by Dr. Sania wherein they explored operations of One Window Ehsaas Center, learnt about all Ehsaas facilities, and met with staff and beneficiaries. Full footage here.
Dr. Sania inspires young entrepreneurs at the Pakistan’s Biggest Startup Cup Finale
June 29, 2021: The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Islamabad, in partnership with U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, concluded the seventh edition of the Startup Cup Finale 2021. Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited as a chief guest on the occasion. Over 500 startups competed in the various stages of the competition, which included coaching and business readiness workshops. From the final 15 startups, the first prize of 1 million rupees went to Scary Ammi, Pakistan’s first mothering community application. “Initiatives like the Pakistan Startup Cup are so important for Pakistan. With such a high percentage of youth in the country, it is important for our young population to learn entrepreneurial skills that will not only help them but also create opportunities for others as their businesses grow”, said Dr. Sania while congratulating the winners and organizers. The Startup Cup is Pakistan’s largest startup competition. This year’s event showed a unique virtual experience to those attending it.
All transgenders declared eligible in Ehsaas Kafaalat; Ehsaas school stipends extended to higher secondary level
June 28, 2021 – Islamabad: The 50th Board meeting of BISP was held under the Ehsaas framework; many important decisions were made. Board approved inclusion of all transgenders in Ehsaas Kafaalat programme. The Board also approved establishment of 154 district level Ehsaas Centers modelled on the One window Ehsaas Center in Sitara Market in Islamabad. This will enable all services to be accessed under one roof, greatly facilitating beneficiaries. Board also ratified enhancement of Ehsaas’ education stipends to secondary and higher secondary levels. The new conditional cash transfer programme is aimed at helping underprivileged families to educate their primary school going children till higher secondary level. The Board also gave approval for the signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Utility Stores Corporation for Ehsaas Targeted Subsidy programme. The Board granted approval for the budget 2021/22 as well, on the recommendation of the Finance committee.
Sania addresses a news briefing on Ehsaas survey in Lahore
June 26, 2021 – Lahore: Dr. Sania Nishtar addressed a news briefing at Commissioner’s office in Lahore. Talking to media, she said that the Ehsaas survey is currently 95% complete in the country and will be ready by July 31, 2021. “To ensure the timely completion, Ehsaas has expedited the survey activities in four out of five Tehsils of Lahore. Soon after survey completion, 30 Ehsaas registration desks will open across all five Tehsils of Lahore including the fifth Tehsil, Lahore Cantonment”, said Dr. Sania. Ehsaas registration desks, she informed, will facilitate self-registration of missed out households in the survey. Further, Dr. Sania thanked district administration, government teachers and local media for their cooperation in execution of the survey under Ehsaas. She also urged them to create awareness among masses, asserting that it is a free-of-cost survey and voluntary registration. Ehsaas survey teams are not authorized to charge any fee for surveying households. Secretary Ismat Tahira was also present. Full footage can be watched here.
Dr. Sania visits a household in Lahore to witness survey registration
June 26, 2021 – Lahore: Immediately followed by the news briefing, Dr. Sania made a visit to a local household on Dev Samaj Road, Sant Nagar area of Lahore to witness the digital process for survey registration. She met members of the household that was being surveyed under Ehsaas. She also guided them about the purpose of the national socio-economic registry survey. Further, Dr. Sania asked people to help the survey teams by sharing correct and true information when they arrive at their doorstep. “This is critical to ensure survey quality”, she emphasized.
Sania convenes meeting to review progress of PBM
June 25, 2021 – Islamabad: At the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired a meeting to review the progress of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) under Ehsaas. PBM is one of the four main executing agencies of Ehsaas with a responsibility for demand side social protection. The meeting took stock of several Ehsaas programmes being run by PBM including Bait-ul-Mal Madad, Dar-ul-Ehsaas, Model Panagahs and Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye. Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary of the Division, Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokhar, Managing Director PBM and Naseem-ur-Rehman, PM’s Focal Person on Panagahs also joined the meeting.
Ehsaas primary school graduation bonus for girls announced
June 25, 2021 – Chakwal: Dr. Sania Nishtar joined children and their mothers at Government Boys High School, Akwal in Talagang to witness new enrolments of children from poorest households under the Ehsaas education CCT. She sat with children and mothers who were waiting in the queue to get enrolled in the programme for quarterly stipends. Dr. Sania also oversaw details of a child being entered in the end-to-end digital enrolment system. Regional team of Ehsaas briefed Dr. Sania on the recently launched nationwide campaign to enrol deserving children for Ehsaas educational stipends. The campaign is being rolled out at Tehsil levels in close coordination with provinces, district administrations and key development stakeholders. “Ehsaas is also introducing a one-time graduation bonus of Rs. 3,000 to encourage girls completing primary education. The central reason for this incentive is to tackle gender disparity in education. This will also ensure that every girl child after receiving the graduation bonus gets enrolled in secondary education programme”, announced Dr. Sania while talking to local press and media.
Sania inspects Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments in Talagang
June 25, 2021 – Chakwal: Dr. Sania Nishtar, made an unannounced visit to Talagang Tehsil of Chakwal together with Ehsaas team. This was the first visit of Dr. Sania since the payments began on June 16, 2021 under the phase II of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. At the cash distribution site in Municipal Administration offices, she interacted with Ehsaas beneficiaries who had come to collect their payments. Each one of them had 8171 message on their phones to collect either emergency cash or Kafaalat handout of Rs. 12,000. All of them had been identified and declared eligible through the new Ehsaas survey. The Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements to the beneficiaries have been commenced last week. However, payments to newly enrolled Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries are underway since January 2021. Also, the payments to new enrolees being identified through Ehsaas survey are underway. Dr. Sania also witnessed the quarterly payment of Ehsaas education stipends being made to mothers of children.
Sania convenes meeting to review Ehsaas Emergency Cash -II operations
June 24, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting to review national scale cash transfer operations under Ehsaas Emergency Cash-II. The disbursements began on June 16, 2021 across the country. Beneficiaries are being identified and declared eligible through the new Ehsaas survey. The review meeting took stock of second phase of Ehsaas Emergency Cash operations in light of social media insights from the field. The meeting was joined by regional teams of Ehsaas and Heads of partnering banks- HBL and Bank Alfalah. Secretary Ismat Tahira was also present.
Sania assesses plan to upscale Ehsaas Tahafuz pilot
June 24, 2021 – Islamabad: A meeting was held at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division to assess the plan for upscaling Ehsaas Tahafuz pilot operations. Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary of the Division together with Ehsaas Tahafuz team briefed Dr. Sania on the progress and expansion of Ehsaas Tahafuz pilot. Currently, Ehsaas Tahafuz is being piloted in one hospital of Rawalpindi. Ehsaas Tahafuz has been developed on digital lines using information technology to provide immediate health care to deserving patients admitted in the hospital. Preparations are underway to expand the programme to other parts of the country.
Nutrition is embedded in the Ehsaas’ post- COVID strategy: Dr. Sania keynotes IPU meeting
June 23, 2021 – Geneva: Dr. Sania Nishtar keynoted the high-level parliamentary meeting hosted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). She presented Pakistan’s perspective on nutrition centred social protection operations. The meeting themed, “Transforming food systems for health, equity, and sustainability”. Keynoting the meeting, Dr. Sania emphasized that transforming food systems should be central to our efforts for achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. She further added that Nutrition is embedded in the Ehsaas strategy post- COVID. The pandemic has shown that it is possible to place nutrition at the heart of poverty alleviation objectives. Other eminent speakers were- Gerda Verburg, UN Assistant Secretary-General and SUN Movement Coordinator; Agnes Kalibata, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit; and QU Dongyu, Director General, FAO. The IPU is the global organization of national Parliaments, with 179 Member Parliaments out of the 193 countries in the world.
Dr. Sania invited to keynote special session of WFP Executive Board
June 23, 2021- Rome: World Food Programme (WFP) invited Dr. Sania Nishtar to keynote the special session of Executive Board. The session talked about WFP’s support to national social protection, as a way of reaching Zero Hunger. Embassy of Pakistan in Italy co-hosted this session. A number of partners were invited to speak about their perspectives on WFP’s work including Germany’s BMZ, Sweden’s Sida, and the World Bank. From Pakistan, Dr. Sania Nishtar highlighted WFP’s contribution to national social protection programmes. Outlining Ehsaas’ social protection role in post-COVID context, Dr. Sania shared that Ehsaas Nashonuma is a conditional cash transfer programme aimed at tackling stunting among children under two years of age, along with pregnant and lactating mothers.
Ehsaas to open appeal system for widows in Ehsaas Kafaalat: Sania
June 23, 2021 – Islamabad: On International Widows Day 2021, Dr. Sania Nishtar took to the twitter to announce about the special appeal system being built under the Ehsaas umbrella for widows. She said that Ehsaas commits to making special arrangements this year to open a window of appeals for widows in Ehsaas Kafaalat. The system will ensure the inclusion of deserving widows under the Ehsaas Kafaalat programme. Details of the appeal system would be shared soon. Under Ehsaas Kafaalat, women from poorest households get a monthly stipend of Rs. 2000 along with savings bank account.
Dr. Sania makes a surprise visit to One Window Ehsaas Center
June 23, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar made a surprise visit to the One Window Ehsaas Center in Islamabad. She took round of all desks, offices and outlets established at the center and interacted with staff and beneficiaries. Dr. Sania also sat with families at the center, listened to their concerns and assured them of full support from Ehsaas. This first One Window Ehsaas Centre was opened by the Prime Minister in Sitara Market of the federal capital on June 9, 2021. It aims to deliver all Ehsaas services through a single window. In this center, all Ehsaas services can be accessed at one place.
Sania Nishtar convenes the fourth e-Kacheri of Ehsaas
June 23, 2021 – Islamabad: Together with Ehsaas team, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened the fourth e-Kacheri of Ehsaas. She responded to queries of Ehsaas beneficiaries who phoned her from various remote areas of country. Callers asked about the ongoing payments under the second round of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. Dr. Sania guided listeners that beneficiaries for Ehsaas Emergency Cash are being identified the ongoing Ehsaas survey which is 94% complete. She also guided listeners about the process of enrolment under ‘Ehsaas Kafaalat for Special Persons’. The e-Kacheri was broadcast through Radio Pakistan’s national hook up programme, Raabta and Facebook, @EhsaasOffcialPK. Full programme can be watched here.
Sania visits QAU to hold a policy dialogue on Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships
June 22, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) Islamabad to hold a policy consultation on Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships with brilliant and deserving students. On the grounds of the university, Dr. Sania sat with Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship awardees of 2020-21. “I am delighted that for the FY 2020/21, total 90,000 scholarships worth Rs. 8.4 Billion are being awarded to deserving yet talented students”, said Dr. Sania. Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Dr. Muhammad Ali and other faculty members were also present. More than 50 boys and girls participated in the dialogue. Lauding the scale of the Ehsaas scholarships, the students shared that they were able to pursue their higher education only because of the support they received through Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship programme. Students who came to the table with Dr. Sania were from diverse regional and social backgrounds including Bahawalpur, Hyderabad, Khairpur, Zhob, Turbat, Gilgit, Ghizer, Chitral and AJK. They were studying in different undergraduate disciplines- Bioinformatics, Economics, Social Sciences, Archaeology, Botany and Pakistan Studies etc.
Sania convenes the 6th Risk Management & Assurance Committee meeting of BISP
June 22, 2021 – Islamabad: Under the Ehsaas umbrella, the meeting of the Risk Management and Assurance Committee of the BISP board was held in Islamabad. Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. This was the sixth meeting of the Committee. The meeting discussed risk mapping and risk mitigation strategies under the Ehsaas Risk Registry. The Committee approved the risk register and recommended future course of action against the identified risks to make the programme delivery transparent, accountable and responsive. Members of the Committee joined both physically and virtually along with Monitoring and Evaluation team. BISP is one of the 34 executing agencies of Ehsaas.
Cabinet ratifies ECC’s decision to approve increment in monthly stipend of Ehsaas Kafaalat
June 22, 2021 – Islamabad: Federal Cabinet ratified the decision of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to increase Ehsaas Kafaalat stipend and grant equivalent of an extra month of payment to all beneficiaries every year. The six month stipend will increase from Rs 12,000 to 13,000 from January 2022. Earlier on January 21, 2021, the ECC had approved the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation’s proposal on Indexation Policy for Cash Transfer that would allow the beneficiaries to receive an additional cash of Rs. 166 per month due to indexation. The mechanism shall consist of a Committee which will be chaired by Secretary Finance Division. The other members of the Committee would be Additional Finance Secretary, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Economic Advisor Finance Division, and one co-opted member for independent technical advice.
Dr. Sania meets recently supported ‘Ehsaas Rehribaans’ in G-10 Markaz Islamabad
June 21, 2021- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar visited the ‘Ehsaas Rehribaan’ site in G-10 Markaz of Islamabad to interact with street vendors who have recently been provided with improved carts to streamline local vending activities. Ehsaas Rehribaan aims to create an enabling environment for street vendors in Islamabad. During the visit, Dr. Sania walked around the vending carts and interacted with street vendors. She obtained their viewpoints on the pilot initiative and explored possibilities to improve the street vending ecosystem. Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the Rehribaan pilot is an outcome of collaboration between Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division (PASSD), Capital Development Authority (CDA), Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), ICT Administration and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE).”
Steering Committee for Ehsaas’ education CCTs endorses scale-up of stipends for secondary education
June 17, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting of the Ehsaas steering committee for the Ehsaas education conditional cash transfer programme. The steering committee was briefed on the upscaling of primary education conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme, Waseela-e-Taleem Digital to the secondary level. The programme is all set to be rolled out across all districts of the country in the first quarter of the next financial year. In the meeting, all four provinces, GB and AJK came to the table to endorse the scale-up of Ehsaas stipends for secondary education. It was fully ratified that secondary education CCT, when launched under the umbrella of Ehsaas will reduce disparities in secondary schooling opportunities by raising school attendance, enrolment, and the school progression among out of school children particularly girls.
Sania holds third Ehsaas e-Kacheri jointly through Radio Pakistan and FB
June 17, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar held the third Ehsaas e-Kacheri with Ehsaas beneficiaries. The e-Kacheri was broadcast through Radio Pakistan’s national hook up programme, Raabta and Facebook, @EhsaasOffcialPK. She responded to questions of beneficiaries who phoned her from remote areas of country. Callers asked about the second round of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. Dr. Sania apprised listeners that Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements have begun on June 16, 2021. Further, she shared that Rs.12,000 emergency cash would be provided to each of the 4 million additional households. These households will be identified through the ongoing Ehsaas survey which is 92% complete. She also guided listeners that women of eligible households would be able to collect payment upon receiving the message. Full footage can be watched here.
Dr. Sania greets Communist Party of China on centenary
June 17, 2021 – Islamabad: In commemoration of the 100 years of the Communist Party of China, the Pakistan-China Institute organized a webinar titled, “People Centred: Celebrating 100 Years of CPC”. Dr. Sania Nishtar in her keynote speech, highlighted the remarkable success of the CPC in eradicating poverty. She said that Pakistan is keen to learn from the Chinese model. Dr. Sania also congratulated the Communist Party of China on its centenary. The virtual conference aimed at learning from the Chinese experience under the CPC leadership and highlighted new dimensions to further strengthen the bilateral relationship. Other eminent speakers were H.E. Nong Rong, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan; Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman Senate Defence Committee; and Liu Genfa, Deputy Director General, Department of International Exchange and Programme Development of China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP), Shanghai.
Ehsaas opens digital platform with people centred instructional information
June 16, 2021 – Islamabad: Ehsaas opens an e-portal, “Ehsaas Digital”, for accessing information and services related to all Ehsaas programmes and initiatives. Designed to empower and facilitate a common man, this e-portal is part of the One Window Ehsaas initiative. The digital e-portal offers Ehsaas specific people centred information. “People are not interested in technical information. They have questions about how they can benefit from Ehsaas. So, we have built the Ehsaas Digital e-portal with this in view based on the questions which we get on social media about various Ehsaas programmes”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar during the press conference. Ehsaas Digital can be accessed here.
Ehsaas approves over 18,000 additional Ehsaas undergraduate scholarships 2020-21
June 15, 2021 – Islamabad: Under the Ehsaas umbrella, Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the 49th meeting of BISP Board. The meeting approved over 18,000 additional Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships for deserving students in the waiting list for FY2020-21. The board meeting was attended by Dr. Ismat Tahira, Secretary BISP; Muhammad Ali Shahzada Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, and senior officials and representatives of Finance Division, Economic Affairs Division and NADRA. Amongst private sector members, Zaffar A Khan, Syed Salim Raza, Qazi Azmat Isa, Khawar Mumtaz and Dr. Ahsfaque Hasan Khan attended the meeting. Board members came to the table both physically as well as virtually. BISP is one of the 34 executing agencies of Ehsaas.
Nishtar tracks preps for the upcoming tranche of Ehsaas Emergency Cash-II
June 15, 2021 – Islamabad: In preparation for the second phase of Ehsaas Emergency Cash, Dr. Sania Nishtar held a review meeting with the Ehsaas team. She reviewed arrangements being made countrywide for the disbursement of the upcoming tranche of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. The tranche is releasing this week. “Integrity and transparency is our top priority in these operations”, Dr. Nishtar reiterated. Under the programme, Rs. 12,000 financial assistance would be disbursed to each of the 4 million additional households. The additional households will be identified through the ongoing Ehsaas survey.
PM briefed on targeted commodity subsidies program for the poorest households
June 14, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister chaired a briefing on the Ehsaas targeted commodity subsidies program to be introduced by the government for Ehsaas beneficiaries. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM on the proposed system of providing targeted subsidies through Karyana stores in collaboration with National Bank of Pakistan. Dr. Sania informed the meeting that introduction of targeted subsidies system was aimed at providing financial assistance to Ehsaas beneficiary households for purchasing essential commodities. PM appreciated efforts to set up a system for targeted subsidies. The meeting was also attended by Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen, SAPM Dr. Waqar Masood, Dr. Shahbaz Gill, President National Bank Arif Usmani and officers concerned.
Sania chairs consultative session on Ehsaas Implementation Tracking Index
June 14, 2021: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired a consultative session in Ehsaas Implementation Tracking Index. The objective of the consultative session was to discuss methodology and data sources. Dr. Sabina Alkire from Oxford Policy and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) presented the methodology for EITI. This was followed by open discussion by participants. “While the efforts of beefing up social protection and addressing the COVID-19 related issues are being made, it is crucial to monitor the progress of Ehsaas related interventions, measure the impacts, enhance accountability and generate feedbacks for the improvement and finetuning of the program and ensure its maximum effectiveness”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar. UNDP has been partnering with Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division in developing a Ehsaas Implementation Tracking Index (EITI). OPHI is providing the technical support in this regard.
Sania convenes joint e-Kacheri through Radio Pakistan and FB
June 13, 2021 – Islamabad: Reaching out the wider national audience, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened the second e-Kacheri of Ehsaas. She was also accompanied by the Ehsaas team. Connecting with masses, Dr. Sania Nishtar replied to questions of live callers who phoned her from remote areas of country. She provided listeners with instructional and beneficiary centred information about Ehsaas programs and initiatives. The Ehsaas e-Kacheri was broadcast on Radio Pakistan’s national hook up programme Raabta as well as on Facebook, @EhsaasOffcialPK. During the e-Kacheri, Dr. Sania also listened to the issues and concerns of Ehsaas beneficiaries, guided them empathetically and assured that their issues will be resolved at the earliest. Callers also asked about the reopening of Ehsaas registration desks. Dr. Sania informed that Ehsaas registration desks are temporarily closed nationwide owing to the current wave of COVID-19 pandemic. Those who have received response from 8171 to go to registration desks, will be able to register themselves in Ehsaas when desks reopen after June 30, 2021. Full footage can be watched here.
Dr. Sania Nishtar joins Cabinet Ministers to unveil Pak Economic Survey 2020-21
June 10, 2021 – Islamabad: Pakistan Economic Survey 2020-21 was unveiled in a joint press conference by Cabinet Ministers. At the press conference, Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin was joined by SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, Minister for Industries Khusro Bakhtyar, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood and others. The Pakistan Economic Survey is a flagship report of the government which highlights the trend of macro-economic indicators, development policies, strategies as well as sectoral achievements of the economy. The overview of Pakistan Economic Survey 2020-21 contains three sub-sections i.e., Global Economic Review, Pakistan Economic Review and Executive Summary.
Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Steering Committee reviews disbursement process
June 10, 2021 – Islamabad: The project steering committee of Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship came to the table for the eighth time to review the process of scholarship disbursements for the FY2020/21. Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. For the FY 2020/21, total 69,130 scholarships worth Rs. 6.53 Billion are being awarded including 51% scholarships for girls and 4% for minorities. The need cum merit based Ehsaas scholarship covers 100% tuition fee and a living stipend. The meeting also reviewed the pattern being followed for scholarship distribution and disbursements to 119 public sector universities. The programme is on the track in its first two years of execution. In the current year 2020-21, as many as 120,000 undergraduate students applied for Ehsaas scholarship through online portal. Students from low-income backgrounds studying in undergraduate programmes across 119 public sector universities were eligible to apply.
PM opens the first One Window Ehsaas Center in Islamabad
June 9, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister opened the first One Window Ehsaas Center in Sitara Market Islamabad. Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM on services being offered through a single window, a one-stop shop. Ehsaas One Window Centers will be made in every district of the country. Under the Ehsaas umbrella, there are many programs for 14 different target groups. But often, a poor family is not aware of the benefits they are entitled to and, if they are aware, they have to go to multiple offices to seek help. In this center, all Ehsaas services can be accessed in one place. Part of Ehsaas strategy (policy action #4), One Window Ehsaas initiative has six pillars: A One Stop Shop, the Ehsaas Center; a public facing digital information and services platform; mobile app; back office consolidated digital interface; Cognitive API architecture, or the integrated national socioeconomic database; and finally, the Ehsaas One-Window Beneficiary Selection and Targeting Policy.
Sania approves Cognitive API architecture for Ehsaas’ One Window Socioeconomic Registry
June 6, 2021- Islamabad: The Cognitive API architecture for Ehsaas’ National Socio-Economic Registry 2021 is one of the six main pillars of ‘One Window Ehsaas’. With the survey, which is building the registry currently 90.5% complete nationwide, Ehsaas is firming up its plans to open data sharing and data access services for all executing agencies under Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). Data sharing will be done through the Cognitive API Architecture approach. The deployment of Ehsaas API architecture for data sharing will allow executing agencies to access data from the unified registry in real-time to validate beneficiary information. This will empower them to ascertain eligibility of potential beneficiaries. A final presentation was made to Dr. Sania Nishtar who closely oversaw this process. She praised the technical team working on Ehsaas Cognitive API Architecture approach and congratulated them.
Sania chairs 48th meeting of BISP Board
June 5, 2021- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the 48th meeting of the board BISP. The meeting approved criteria to ascertain eligibility of beneficiaries for second round of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. The board also granted approval for deployment of advanced technology tools to enhance the agility of Data4Pakistan initiative. The board meeting was attended by Dr. Ismat Tahira, Secretary BISP; Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division; and senior officials from Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs Division (EAD) and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). Among private sector members, Zaffar A. Khan, Qazi Azmat Isa and Khawar Mumtaz attended the meeting. Board members joined the meeting both physically as well as virtually.
Sania and President NBP discuss ways to firm up Ehsaas targeted Karyana subsidies
June 3, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar and President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) held two meetings this week on potential targeted Karyana subsidies initiative. Senior officials and representatives from Ehsaas and NBP also joined the meeting. The meeting discussed options to design the targeted subsidies programme for Ehsaas beneficiaries through small Karyana stores. Various options were presented to support the poorest households with government’s commodity subsidy. Issuance of debit cards to the deserving households was one of the options discussed. The objective of the upcoming programme is to help the beneficiary families of Ehsaas through provision of targeted subsidies on essential commodities.
Joint statement of ECO countries on poverty alleviation; Pakistan to take the lead: Sania Nishtar
June 2, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote the special session on, “Advancing tourism for development and poverty alleviation at the 2nd conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of Economic Cooperation Organization (PAECO) countries hosted by Pakistan. The session brought together PAECO delegates from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. In a special session, the members of the national parliaments of the economic cooperation organization issued a joint statement to cooperate on poverty alleviation. Reiterating Pakistan’s resolve to flourishing tourism for poverty alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar declared that Pakistan will take the lead in this collaborative endeavor. She emphasized on the promotion of tourism across ECO region in all its legal forms. The distinguished delegates of ECO countries jointly reaffirmed to cooperate on various aspects of common aspirations in advancing tourism for development and poverty alleviation. The member countries urged and called upon Executive Council of ECO to formulate a joint working group/committee of members of parliament so that an institutional arrangement can be established for the joint sharing of resources of the PAECO member states, in the next one year, in the overall context of advancing tourism for development and poverty alleviation.
Sania joins UN country team retreat 2021
June 2, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited by Julien Harneis, United Nations Resident United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan to speak on the UN Country Team Retreat 2021. The retreat focused on preparation of cooperation framework for 2023-27 with the country team of United Nations . As part of that, a series of discussions were held with country representatives from UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, UNIDO, Un Women, WFP and FAO. In her capacity as a Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania spoke on, ‘Pakistan’s national and provincial government capacity – What can the UN bring that others cannot?’.
Sania briefs EAC on social protection programmes of Ehsaas
June 1, 2021 – Islamabad: A second meeting of the Economic Advisory Committee (EAC) was held with four sub-groups on agriculture, CPEC, social protection and information technology. Regarding social protection, Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed EAC on the social safety and poverty alleviation programmes under Ehsaas. She made a detailed presentation to EAC on the current progress of Ehsaas and proposed plan of interventions in the next financial year. Dr. Sania leads the EAC’s subgroup on social protection. EAC commended Dr. Sania on evolving Ehsaas that is a comprehensive national program for social protection and poverty alleviation.
Sania discusses potential energy subsidy programme with Power Division
June 1, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting with Secretary Power Division, Ali Raza Bhutta to discuss targeted energy subsidies. The meeting explored various possibilities with regard to the potential energy subsidy programme for Ehsaas beneficiaries. Ideas were discussed to grant the government’s subsidy only to the targeted consumers by linking the mechanism with the database of Ehsaas survey 2021. Once the prospective programme is firmed up, the subsidy will be given to the targeted consumers who will be identified through Ehsaas survey.
Sania holds the first Ehsaas e-Kacheri
May 31, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar together with senior officials of Ehsaas convened the first e-Kacheri of Ehsaas. The event aimed to connect with Ehsaas beneficiaries and provide them with instructional information about Ehsaas programs and initiatives. Dr. Sania replied to questions of callers who connected with her on phone by calling on 051-9246334. She listened to the issues of beneficiaries, guided them and assured that their issues will be resolved at the earliest. People shared their CNIC numbers and in return were instantly provided with their eligibility and payment status. The e-Kacheri was broadcast on Facebook at @EhsaasOffcialPK. Footage can be accessed here.
Dr. Sania joins a high-level panel discussion hosted by WEF and WHO
May 27, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar joined a high-level panel discussion at the World Health Assembly side event on, “Hepatitis Elimination”. The event was hosted by World Economic Forum, World Health Organization and the Hepatitis Fund. Dr. Sania highlighted the utmost importance of commitment, adequate resources and multi-stakeholder collaboration for hepatitis elimination. “We must now build the commitment to do it, if we are to achieve our mutual objective of ending viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030”, she reiterated. The panellists were– Hala Zayed, Minister of Health of Egypt; Dr. Philippe Duneton, Executive Director, Unitaid; Wangsheng Li, Executive Director, The Hepatitis Fund; and SAPM on Social Protection Dr. Sania Nishtar from Pakistan. The session was moderated by Dr. Genya Dana, Head of Health and Healthcare, World Economic Forum. Full footage here.
Ehsaas to train children of Kafaalat beneficiaries on financial and digital literacy
May 26, 2021 – Islamabad: With SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar in chair, a meeting was held to take stock of the key findings of the qualitative study with Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries. The study was commissioned by Ehsaas in collaboration with Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. The main focus of the research was to gain insights into beneficiary saving behavior. Findings shall inform the design of a financial and digital literacy training program under the recently rolled out Ehsaas Saving Wallets initiative. Drawing on results of the qualitative study, Ehsaas beneficiaries will be trained on financial and digital literacy beside their children for better impact. During the meeting, it was strongly recommended that training will be designed in local languages utilizing beneficiary centered approach to instill greater confidence and self-efficacy amongst the women beneficiaries of Ehsaas, enabling them to fully avail the benefits of Ehsaas Savings Wallets.
ECC okays Rs 48bn for phase II of Ehsaas Emergency Cash handouts
May 26, 2021 – Islamabad: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet approved the launch of second phase of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme (EECP) worth Rs. 48 Billion, under which Rs.12,000 would be provided to each of the 4 million additional households. These 4 million additional beneficiaries will be identified through the ongoing Ehsaas survey by using higher eligibility threshold while remaining below the poverty line. The purpose is to compensate affected households for unemployment caused by COVID-19 crises. The disbursement process will be initiated within this financial year. The cash assistance will be provided through existing partner banks of Ehsaas, including Bank Alfalah in KP, AJK, and GB, and Habib Bank Limited in Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh and Islamabad through payment sites, biometrically enabled ATMs and retail Points of Sale (POS) agents, as well as through dedicated bank branches for beneficiaries with thumb amputations or biometric failures.
Dr. Sania keynotes the first High-level Women Forum held in China
May 25, 2021- Kunming: Dr. Sania Nishtar keynoted the first ‘High-level Women Forum’ held in in Kunming city of China to mark the 70th Anniversary of Pak-China diplomatic relations.
Moin ul Haque, Ambassador of Pakistan to China hosted the event. The theme of the forum was acknowledging women of Pakistan and China, particularly their role in poverty alleviation, post-Covid recovery and evidence-based intervention for socio-economic uplift of vulnerable populations. The event was attended by Ministers, Presidents of the two women associations, senior officials, female entrepreneurs and students from both countries. The Vice Governor of the Yunnan province also attended the forum as a special guest. The Embassy of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Beijing, in collaboration with All China Women Federation, All Pakistan Women Association and Yunnan Provincial Women’s Federation had co-organized the event. Dr. Sania’s keynote speech can be watched here.
PM launches Ehsaas Savings Wallets Initiative; UNSGSA Queen Maxima congratulates Ehsaas on the launch
May 24, 2021 – Islamabad, Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Ehsaas Kafaalat payment site in Islamabad launched ‘Ehsaas Savings Wallets’ (Ehsaas Bachat Accounts) pilot initiative for 7 million Kafaalat beneficiaries. PM was given the demonstration of Ehsaas Savings Wallets (ESWs). He also interacted with the beneficiary women present on the site. Financial inclusion is a central goal of Ehsaas and key to unlocking the potential of millions of the most disadvantaged women in Pakistan. Addressing the ceremony, PM congratulated Ehsaas for introducing Ehsaas Savings Wallets for 7 million women. “In Pakistan, most of the digitally and financially excluded segments are destitute women. For the first time, the poorest women in Pakistan will have the option to save their stipends”, said PM. He also thanked UNSGSA Queen Máxima of the Netherlands for her remarks at the launch of the Ehsaas Financial Inclusion Strategy when she visited Pakistan in Nov 2019. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar gave a detailed snapshot of Ehsaas broadly and the savings wallets initiative to the PM. Congratulating the roll out of flagship financial inclusion programme by the government of Pakistan, UNSGSA Queen Máxima sent a special message for Ehsaas that was delivered by H.E. Mr. Wouter Plomp, Ambassador of Netherlands to Pakistan.
Sania tracks progress of Ehsaas’ executing agencies through new M&E dashboard
May 21, 2021 – Islamabad: Immediately after Eid holidays, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a series of review meetings this past week with all four executing agencies of Ehsaas including BISP, PPAF, PBM, TVO and Ehsaas Delivery Unit (EDU). With the monitoring and evaluation dashboard of Ehsaas up and running, the review meetings tracked the progress and implementation of targets established under the performance agreements signed with the Prime Minister. Through new Delivery Unit tools strategic plans of each of the executing agencies were also thoroughly reviewed to accelerate implementation of Ehsaas in the last six weeks of the current fiscal year 2020-21.
Ehsaas Vendor Support Group meets to explore options for improving street vending ecosystem
May 21, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the fourth meeting of Ehsaas Vendor Support Group. The meeting discussed ways to improve the street vending ecosystem under ‘Ehsaas Rehri Baan’ initiative. Ehsaas Vendor Support Group has been set up at the Division of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety to coordinate the ensuing interventions in street vending. The meeting brought together senior officials from Capital Development Authority (CDA) Islamabad, Capital Territory Administration (ICTA), Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF). Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary of the Division was also present.
Sania convenes in-depth review of Ehsaas National Poverty Graduation Initiative
May 20, 2021 – Islamabad: With SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar in chair, a meeting was held with Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) to take stock of the National Poverty Graduation Initiativebeing executed under the Ehsaas umbrella. The meeting tracked progress in implementation of Ehsaas Interest Free Loan (IFL) and Ehsaas Amdan programmes. Currently, Ehsaas IFL is being implemented in 110 districts. With the recently ploughed injection of Rs. 5 Billion by the federal government, the programme is being upscaled across 28 additional districts in lagging regions (including deepening in 5 existing districts). The upscaling is grounded on the human development index ranking of districts, poverty profiling and economic needs.The meeting also discussed the progress of Ehsaas Amdan. Through Ehsaas Amdan programme, assets are given to the deserving to enable them to graduate out of poverty. Ehsaas Amdan is being implemented in 375 union councils of 23 poorest districts across four provinces of Pakistan. Secretary PASSD and CEO, PPAF were also present in the meeting. Under Ehsaas, PPAF has the responsibility for poverty graduation.
Sania reviews PBM’s performance under Ehsaas
May 20, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania conducted a stocktake meeting with the Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM), Malik Zaheer Abbas and his team to review operations for Panagahs, Ehsaas Koye Bhooka Na Soye (food truck) Dar-ul-Ehsaas (orphanages), Ehsaas Kada (Oldage homes) and wheelchair programmes for disabled. MD PBM shared that, guided by Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, efforts are underway to launch a number of new Ehsaas programmes including those on women empowerment, child protection and street beggars. Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal is responsible for demand side social protection under Ehsaas.
Provincial Minister for Education Punjab calls on Dr. Sania Nishtar
May 20, 2021: Dr. Sania Nishtar was called on by Murad Raas, Provincial Minister for Education Punjab. Murad Raas briefed Dr. Sania about the forthcoming school meals programme. Currently, Punjab Government is envisioning a large scale meals programme for school going children across the province. The meeting discussed federal-provincial collaborations for the programme of Punjab. With regard to the meals programme, Dr. Sania assured full support and cooperation of Ehsaas to Punjab Government.
Ehsaas and NBP explore ways to collaborate under Ehsaas targeted subsidies
May 20, 2021 – Islamabad: A virtual meeting was held between Dr. Sania Nishtar and President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to explore collaborations. The meeting discussed potential partnership under the forthcoming targeted subsidies programme for Ehsaas beneficiaries. Various options were discussed in the meeting including provision of subsidies through NBP debit card. The primary purpose of Ehsaas targeted subsidies is to help the under-privileged families through targeted subsidization.
Dr. Sania stocktakes TVO operations
May 19, 2021 – Islamabad: At the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Dr. Sania convened a review meeting with the management of Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO). The meeting tracked the progress to-date, and discussed ways to further accelerate implementation. The key areas of their work that came under discussion were the reconstitution of TVO Board and function of TVO to execute the Ehsaas Private Sector Engagement Policy with the private sector. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division was also present. TVO is one of executing agencies of Ehsaas.
Dr. Sania reviews cadence of Ehsaas Delivery Unit operations
May 18, 2021 – Islamabad: With the Secretary of the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and Ehsaas Delivery Unit (EDU) team, Dr. Sania Nishtar assessed the implementation and delivery of over 140 Ehsaas programmes and initiatives through the new Ehsaas monitoring and evaluation dashboard. The meeting took place at the Division. EDU is a dedicated unit to lead delivery of Ehsaas strategy. Its overall mandate is folded into four key functions including programme’s strategic roll out, monitoring and evaluation, data analytics, advisory support, and communications and stakeholder engagement, among others. The charge for end-to-end delivery of programmes, policies and initiatives ultimately rests with the respective ministries, divisions and agencies and, EDU has been mandated to coordinate and track the performance and progress.
Sania speaks at UNDP and ILO’s Global Dialogue on Social Protection for people living with HIV
May 18, 2021 – News York: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at a Global Dialogue on, “Connecting the Dots on Social Protection” via video link. Co-hosted by UNDP and ILO, the dialogue brought together stakeholders to discuss how social protection frameworks can be more inclusive of key populations and people living with HIV. The event provided an opportunity for governments, civil society, people living with HIV, key populations, employers’ organizations, workers’ organizations, insurance providers, funders and other partners to share strategies and good practice in making social protection more inclusive for key populations and people living with HIV. At the global dialogue, Dr. Sania was joined by Damaris Muhika from Central Organization of Trade Unions Kenya, Gloria Terwes Posada, from Costa Rican Social Security Fund, Costa Rica and Yok Samedy, Deputy Secretary General of General Secretariat for the National Social Protection Council. Dr. Sania’s speech can be watched here.
Dr. Sania convenes detailed review meeting with BISP
May 17, 2021 – Islamabad: To review the Ehsaas 8171 service and the ongoing Ehsaas Kafaalat operations nationwide, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a full day meeting with the BISP team working on these programmes. BISP is one of the 34 executing agencies of Ehsaas that has the mandate to run cash transfers. Secretary BISP shared details on the overall progress and the pace of target completion for Ehsaas survey that is underway, and forthcoming One Window Ehsaas initiative that is just on the anvil. Dr. Nishtar appreciated the central role of Ehsaas survey that will provide the basis for all policy interventions under Ehsaas.
PM felicitates Dr. Sania and Ehsaas team over the WB’s listing of EEC amongst the top four social protection initiatives in the world
May 16, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister congratulated Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar and Ehsaas team over the World Bank’s listing of Ehsaas Emergency Cash (EEC) program amongst the top four social protection initiatives in the world. In a tweet today, he said: “This is a milestone and well deserved international recognition.” Under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash, a stipend of Rs. 12,000 was given to as many as 15 million families each the previous year which made it the largest and most extensive social protection program in the history of the country. The World Bank released a report on global social protection responses to Covid-19 on May 14, 2021. The report is called a “living paper”, and it is a partnership effort involving 18 co-authors and a large number of contributors. The paper presented a 650-page volume, accompanying database documenting how countries and territories were planning, implementing and completing social protection measures in the context of the pandemic. Report can be accessed here.
World Bank recognizes Ehsaas Emergency Cash among top 4 social protection interventions globally in terms of number of people covered
May 14, 2021- Islamabad: The World Bank has just released a report on “global social protection responses to Covid-19”. This report is called the “living paper” and it is a partnership effort involving 18 co-authors and a large number of contributors; the paper presents a 650-page volume and accompanying database documenting how countries and territories are planning, implementing or completing social protection measures in the context of the pandemic. The report states that there has been “an exponential growth in social protection measures between March 20, 2020 and May 14, 2021 and that a total of 3,333 social protection measures have been planned or implemented in 222 countries or territories”. Pakistan ranks 4th globally in terms of the number of people covered and 3rd globally in terms of percentage of population covered amongst those that covered over 100 million people; the World Bank has stated that only “select countries have attained impressive six-digit levels” in this regard. Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash is one of them. The lead author of the paper is Ugo Gentilini, lead of Social Protection at the World Bank. The report is accompanied by an excel sheet as well to make available the larger volume of data. According to the report, Pakistan’s Ehsaas also ranked high amongst the programs that did well in terms of planned versus actual coverage rates. Report can be accessed here.
Dr. Sania visits Eidhi Home on Eid Day
May 13, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Edhi home on the first day of Eid. During the visit, she interacted with homeless girls and women, listened to their heart wrenching stories and encouraged them. She also appreciated the contributions of Edhi Foundation regarding provision of social safety to the women and girls in need. The Edhi Foundation provides, among many other services, shelter for the destitute, free hospitals and medical care, drug rehabilitation services, and national and international relief efforts.
Dr. Sania reviews EKBNS Iftar distribution operations in Islamabad
May 11, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar reviewed ‘Ehsaas Koye Bhooka Na Soye’ (EKBNS) Iftar distribution operations in the suburbs of Islamabad. She reviewed the food distribution arrangements through the food truck introduced under the EKBNS initiative. She urged the people present on the spot, to collect Iftar meal, to take precautionary measures to stay safe from COVID-19. Dr. Nishtar also talked to the daily wage labourers, both men and women, and listened to their problems. She said special arrangements had been made for distribution of Sehr and Iftar meals to the deserving through the Ehsaas Langar scheme, Panagahs and Ehsaas food trucks during the month of Ramzan. Interacting with the staff of Ehsaas Food Truck, Dr. Sania lauded them for diligently rendering Sehri and Iftari distribution services throughout the month of Ramzan.
Government of UAE gifts 49 tonnes dry ration to Ehsaas
May 7-2021 – Islamabad: The Government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) has gifted 49 tonnes of dry ration for Pakistan’s Ehsaas programme. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Dr. Sania Nishtar formally received the gift in Islamabad from the senior officials of UAE Embassy in Islamabad. The ration will be used in Ehsaas Panagahs, Ehsaas Langars, and Dar ul Ehsaas orphanages. Speaking to media, Dr. Sania thanked the Government of UAE for this generous gift to support Ehsaas Langar (soup kitchen) initiatives. PM’s Focal Person on Panagahs, Naseem-ur-Rehman was also present on the occasion.
Dr. Sania chairs third meeting Ehsaas Tahafuz Steering Committee
May 7, 2021: The third meeting of steering committee of Ehsaas Tahafuz took place at Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. The steering took important decisions with regard to scale up of the existing Tahafuz pilot, which is well underway and is giving very good results. Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary of the Division was also present. Ehsaas Tahafuz is currently being piloted in one hospital of Rawalpindi.
Sania keynotes UN-ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum 2021
May 6, 2021 – New York: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram in his capacity as the President of United Nations’ Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN-ECOSOC) convened the 7th biennial high-level Development Cooperation Forum (DCF). Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote the event. The DCF is the principal global platform for policy dialogue on development cooperation. The DCF aimed to advance international development cooperation that reduces risk, enables recovery and builds resilience in the COVID-19 period and beyond. The session brought together Liu Zhenmin, Under Secretary-General, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology, University College London and Special Advisor to Director-General of WHO; and Dr. Sania Nishtar. Keynoting the DCF 2021, Dr. Sania said, “The shared experiences of the last year and a half have hurt, challenged and changed us all. As a global community we must now appreciate that COVID-19 is threatening to wipe out the development gains of the last century—it is reversing three decades of gains in poverty eradication. A whole new generation now risks living in the shadow of poverty unless we take urgent action now.”
Dr. Sania and Dr. Faisal convene final consultation to firm up Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy
May 6, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar and SAPM Dr. Faisal Sultan held a final consultative meeting to jointly review and firm up the ‘Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy’ which is on the anvil. The said policy is being formulated to dovetail Ehsaas Tahafuz programme with the Sehat Sahulat programme of the government. The policy will provide guidelines to identify patients facing catastrophic health expenditures, who will then be assessed by the digital system, and if eligible, will be provided funding. Once the Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy gets materialized, Ehsaas Tahafuz pilot will be upscaled from one hospital in Rawalpindi to several public hospitals in the country. Currently, Ehsaas Tahafuz pilot is being executed in Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi.
Ehsaas convenes the third meeting of Ehsaas’ Vendor Support Group
May 6, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the third meeting of Ehsaas Vendor Support Group, to discuss the expansion of ‘Ehsaas Rehribaan’ pilot. The meeting brought together Amer Ali Ahmed Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA); Syeda Shafaq Hashmi, Administrator Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI); Zia Banday, Focal Person on Street Vendors’ Initiative; along with senior officials from Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA), Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF). Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary PASSD was also present. To coordinate street vending interventions, Ehsaas Vendor Support Group has been set up at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). The collaborative street vending initiative of Ehsaas aims to create an enabling environment for street vendors in Islamabad. After the successful execution of pilot project in G-11 Islamabad, the Ehsaas Rehribaan pilot will be scaled up through coverage of additional areas and regularization of more street vendors.
Dr. Sania calls on Finance Minister to discuss financial modalities of upcoming Ehsaas targeted subsidies
May 6, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar called on the Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin at the Finance Division Islamabad. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood and Secretary Finance Division also participated in the meeting. The meeting discussed the financial modalities of the upcoming Targeted Subsidy programme for Ehsaas beneficiaries through a chain of Utility Stores outlets across Pakistan and local grocery stores. The underlying rationale is to support the under-privileged and marginalized households through targeted subsidization policy with focus on poverty reduction and women empowerment.
Dr. Sania speaks to all DCs of Balochistan in presence of CS Balochistan
May 5, 2021- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar together with senior officials convened Ehsaas briefing with Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners of Balochistan. The virtual meeting was held on special invitation of Chief Secretary Balochistan. The aim of the meeting was to inform the district administrations in Balochistan about the ongoing Ehsaas programmes and initiatives and to seek collaborations for making enhancements in Ehsaas payment operations. Chief Secretary (CS) Balochistan and Secretary BISP also joined the briefing. Dr. Nishtar outlined details of multisectoral Ehsaas programmes specifically conditional and unconditional cash transfer programmes being executed in Balochistan. In particular, the ongoing Ehsaas Kafaalat operations in the province were discussed in detail. To facilitate easy payments in remote regions of Balochistan, enhancements in Kafaalat payment operations were discussed bilaterally. It was agreed that the number of Ehsaas campsites, BVS enabled bank branches and point of sales agents will be increased in far flung sub-Tehsils of Awaran, Sherani, Surab and Kech.
Sania reviews arrangements for the first One Window Ehsaas Center
May 4, 2021 – Islamabad: Part of the forthcoming One Window Ehsaas Initiative, preparations are in full swing to open the first, ‘Physical One Window Ehsaas Center’ in the federal capital. To review arrangements, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited the site along with senior officials of Ehsaas team. The first One Window Ehsaas Center opening in Islamabad will be a one-stop-shop that will integrate all Ehsaas programmes under one roof. The centre will facilitate beneficiaries to get information on all Ehsaas benefits and services available to them in one space.
Dr. Sania speaks at the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting seminar on gender equality
May 4, 2021- Manila: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at Asian Development Bank (ADB) annual meeting. The high-level virtual meeting seminar focused discussions on a woman-focused recovery for a more inclusive post-COVID 19 future. Alongside Dr. Sania, the panel included Joseph Sveglich, Economist, Economics and Research Department, Asian Development Bank; Wendy Teleki Head We-Fi Secretariat, World Bank Group; Deniz Harut, Executive Director, Sustainable Finance, Standard Chartered Bank; and Joni Simpson Senior Specialist Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination, International Labor Organisation (ILO). The session was moderated by Sharanjit Leyl, BBC. Participants discussed how to position gender equality more saliently post- COVID -19. Dr. Sania stressed on the need for gender related targets in programs, she highlighted the example of Ehsaas where there are specific time bound outcome based targets for gender mainstreaming evidenced in the Ehsaas 50% Plus Benefits (for women policy).
Dr. Sania convenes meeting on Ehsaas Tahafuz Donation management system
May 3, 2021- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar held a team meeting to review the Ehsaas Tahafuz Donation Management System which is on the anvil. The meeting reviewed efficiency and integrity features of the online portal for funds generation under Ehsaas Tahafuz globally. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division was also in attendance. Once operationalized, the donation system will also have funders’ empowerment features in terms of micro-transaction alerts, and personalized login credentials for detailed web-viewing.
Dr. Sania meets ‘Ehsaas Rehribaans’ to gains insights for refining street vending ecosystem
Islamabad – May 3, 2021: Dr. Sania Nishtar visited the ‘Ehsaas Rehribaan’ site in G-11 Markaz of the federal capital to interact with street vendors who have been provided with improved carts and training to streamline local vending activities. The collaborative street vending initiative aims to create an enabling environment for street vendors in Islamabad. During the visit, Dr. Sania walked around the vending carts and met with local street vendors. She obtained their viewpoints on the multistakeholder initiative and explored possibilities to improve the street vending ecosystem. Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, model vending carts with eco-friendly structures have recently been handed over to a select number of existing vendors in G-11.
Speaking to media during the visit, Dr. Sania stated, “In line with the PM’s vision to create an enabling environment for street vendors, ‘Ehsaas Rehribaan’ has embarked upon furthering local vending to improve overall ecology. The model vending initiative is an outcome of collaboration between Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division (PASSD), Capital Development Authority (CDA), Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), ICT Administration and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE).”
Ehsaas hosts a Labour Day webinar on e-launch of ‘Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas Report’
May 1, 2021 – Islamabad: In celebration of Labour Day 2021, Ehsaas hosted a webinar to e-launch, “Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas (MKE) Report”. The webinar was co-chaired by SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr. Sania Nishtar and SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OPHRD) Syed Zulfikar Bukhari. The newly launched MKE report recommends that every labour worker in Pakistan should be provided with the social protection and minimum standard of living. Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, Dr. Sania had established the Ehsaas Labour Expert Group (LEG), in a tripartite arrangement. The mandate of LEG was to propose evidence-based practical recommendations to safeguard workers’ welfare. The LEG brought together distinguished experts representing the government at the federal and provincial levels, employers, trade unions, academia, private sector and development partners. Labour Day webinar offered a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to sit together and deliberate on avenues for action on policy recommendations of MKE report. The panel included Dr. Aliya Khan, Labour Economist and representatives from Ministry of OPHRD, ILO, Employers Federation Pakistan, Pakistan Workers’ Federation, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Report can be accessed here.
PM inaugurates 3 important Ehsaas initiatives in GB
April 30, 2021: Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Gilgit Baltistan inaugurated the three major Ehsaas programmes in Gilgit Baltistan (GB). PM announced the provincewide roll out of Ehsaas Nashonuma, Ehsaas secondary education stipends and Ehsaas One Woman One Account initiatives across GB. So far, 8 Ehsaas Nashonuma centers have been opened in 3 districts of GB including Diamer, Astore and Kharmang. In collaboration with the provincial government of GB, a detailed roadmap has been developed to open Ehsaas Nashonuma Centers in every district of GB. Prime Minister’s “One Woman One Bank Account Initiative”, Ehsaas Bachat Account (saving account) for Ehsaas Kafalaat beneficiaries was also formally launched in Hunza Nagar district and would be scaled up later nationwide. While in Gilgit, PM also announced the first of its kind Ehsaas’ secondary education conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme for secondary school going children of deserving households. Ehsaas has already approved and budgeted for the expansion of the conditional cash transfer from the primary level to the secondary education level. The new secondary education CCT has been structured along the lines of Ehsaas Stipend policy that allocates higher stipend amount for girls as compared to boys. Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM on the ongoing Ehsaas programmes and initiatives across GB.
Dr. Sania convenes meeting of ‘Ehsaas Vendor Support Group’
Apr 29, 2021 – Islamabad: At the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Dr. Sania Nishtar presided a meeting of Ehsaas Vendor Support Group, to review the progress of ‘Ehsaas Rehri Baan’ initiative. The multistakeholder initiative is centred on improving the ecosystem for street vending. Part of the initiative, Ehsaas Vendor Support Group has been established at PASSD for coordination of the ensuing interventions in street vending. The meeting was attended by senior officials and representatives from Capital Development Authority (CDA) Islamabad, Capital Territory Administration (ICTA), Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF). Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division was also in attendance.
Sania assesses pilot operations of Ehsaas Tahafuz in Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi
April 28, 2021 – Rawalpindi: Dr. Sania Nishtar along with her team made a visit to Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi to asses pilot operations of Ehsaas Tahafuz. She held a meeting with team of medical experts, hospital administrators and programme verifiers. The meeting reviewed overall programme progress and lessons learned from the pilot execution. Ehsaas Tahafuz is premised on protecting deserving patients from catastrophic health expenditures. Enhancements are being planned to expand the scale and scope of the programme later this year. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and Vice Chancellor Rawalpindi Medical University were also present in the meeting.
Sania chairs Expert Committee meeting of Ehsaas Tahafuz
April 28, 2021 – Islamabad: A meeting of Ehsaas Tahafuz Expert Committee was convened at Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. The Expert Committee reviewed the current Tahafuz packages being offered and approved a number of newly proposed medical packages to expand the scale and scope of pilot operations. Tahafuz is Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net that covers heavy medical expenditures for the deserving. The programme is currently in pilot phase at Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division was also present.
PM opens ‘Ehsaas: Koye Bhooka Na Soye Fund’ for public donations
April 28, 2021 – Islamabad: On the Prime Minister’s special instructions, ‘Ehsaas: Koye Bhooka Na Soye Fund’ has now been established to solicit public donations for expansion of ‘Ehsaas Koye Bhooka Na Soye’ programme nationwide. Public can deposit donations in cash or through crossed cheque in favour of, ‘Ehsaas: Koye Bhooka na Soye’ through branches of any of the commercial banks operating across the country. Contributions can also be made at field offices of State Bank of Pakistan Banking Services Cooperation in 15 cities across the country. Overseas Pakistanis can also send their donations to any commercial bank in Pakistan using the account details given on the banks’ websites. Overseas Pakistanis maintaining Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) in Pakistan can also contribute to the fund through their RDAs. Talking to media, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “We are setting up a robust fund governance mechanism at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division in order to ensure that all decisions related to fund utilisation and deployment are strictly rule based and transparent.”
Dr. Sania and UNICEF explore options to expand Ehsaas collaborations
April 26, 2021 – Islamabad: A meeting of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was held with the UNICEF’s Social Policy team to discuss possibilities for more deeper engagement under Ehsaas. The meeting broadly explored options for expanding collaborations on social protection in the country, at a policy and operational level. From the UNICEF’s side, Luis Gorjon, Chief Social Policy along with senior representatives from Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI), a research institute based in Cape Town, South Africa joined the meeting.
Dr. Sania chairs the 47th BISP Board meeting
April 26, 2021 – Islamabad: The 47th board meeting of BISP was held at the BISP headquarters, Islamabad with SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar in chair. The board meeting was attended by Yusuf Khan Secretary BISP, Muhammad Ali Shahzada Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, AFS Finance Division, and representatives of EAD and NADRA. Amongst private sector members, Zaffar A Khan, Syed Salim Raza, Qazi Azmat Isa, Khawar Mumtaz and Dr. Ahsfaque Hasan Khan attended the meeting. Members participated in the meeting both physically as well as virtually.
PM distributes Ehsaas Kafaalat stipends among newly enrolled households in Murree
Apr 23, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Murree to distribute Kafaalat stipends among newly enrolled households. All new beneficiaries were paid a sum of Rs. 12,000 covering the period Jan – Jun 2021. Ruqayya, Zaitoon Fatima, Shaheen Akhtar, Shafqat Bibi, Mehreen Bibi , Amina Bibi and other new beneficiaries received Kafaalat stipends and interacted with PM. They expressed gratitude that Ehsaas Kafaalat stipends of the government would assist them with their basic needs. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was also present on the occasion. With the Ehsaas survey now 83% complete, payments to those who have been identified through the new survey have commenced throughout the country. Following the first six monthly payment of Rs. 12,000 the new women beneficiaries will get quarterly payments of Rs. 6000 on continuing basis.
Sania attends Economic Advisory Committee meeting
Apr 22, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, was invited to join the meeting of Economic Advisory Committee (EAC) as an official member. The meeting was presided by Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin. This was the first session of EAC after its reconstitution. Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Chairman FBR, Chairman BOI and Governor State Bank also participated in the meeting. The EAC meeting was also attended by the leading representatives from the private sector. It was agreed that EAC will follow a consultative process and suggest policy initiatives to optimise and further strengthen the financial and economic policies aimed at enhancing public welfare.
Dr. Sania briefs new Finance Minister on Ehsaas targeted subsidy programme
April 20, 2021 – Islamabad: A meeting was held between SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen, SAPM Dr. Waqar Masood Khan and Secretary Finance to discuss the targeted commodity subsidy programme, coming under the umbrella of Ehsaas. Dr. Sania briefed the Finance Minister on programmatic, technical and financial contours of the forthcoming programme. The aim of the targeted subsidy programme is to give financial assistance to the deserving families enrolled in Ehsaas Kafaalat so that they could buy essential food items.
SAPM Dr. Sania and SAPM Dr. Faisal discuss Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy
April 19, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar and SAPM Dr. Faisal Sultan met in Islamabad to discuss the the ‘Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy’. The policy is currently in the pipeline to dovetail Ehsaas Tahafuz programme with the Sehat Sahulat programme of the government. Once the policy is finalized, Ehsaas Tahafuz pilot will be upscaled with several public hospitals in the country to identify patients facing catastrophic health expenditures, who will then be assessed by the digital system, and if eligible, will be provided funding. Currently, Ehsaas Tahafuz is being piloted in Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi.
CM GB and Dr. Sania agree on accelerated Ehsaas collaboration in GB
Apr 17, 2021 – Islamabad: Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Muhammad Khalid Khursheed and Dr. Sania Nishtar with her team met in Islamabad. During the meeting, there was a strong agreement on the accelerated engagement around Ehsaas in GB. The CM was briefed about quality features of the Ehsaas survey, and it was explained to him how GB can benefit from the survey. The android based Ehsaas survey is currently 38% complete in GB and is progressing smoothly to accomplish by June 30, 2021. In addition, programmatic collaboration was discussed in detail to expand Ehsaas Nashonuma and primary education conditional cash transfer programme in every GB district.
Sania and UN-ASG of SUN discuss opportunities in nutrition
April 14, 2021-Geneva: Dr. Sania Nishtar held a virtual meeting with Gerda Verburg, Coordinator and UN Assistant Secretary-General, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. The meeting discussed forthcoming renewal of the SUN movement and opportunities in nutrition. Dr. Sania is a member of SUN Lead Group. The sun movement lead group has the overall responsibility for the movement’s progress towards achieving its objectives. The SUN Movement Secretariat is based in Geneva and is responsible for liaising with SUN Countries and ensuring the catalytic spirit of the Movement is embedded in the efforts of all actors.
Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Sania creates awareness on recently opened Ehsaas 8171 service
April 14, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar answered the frequently asked questions of Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries in Radio Pakistan’s national broadcast, “Raabta”. The program was held to create awareness among masses about the newly opened Ehsaas 8171 service. Dr. Sania replied to questions of listeners who connected with her on telephone. During the live program, Dr. Sania guided listeners about how the marginalized households can check their eligibility status under Kafaalat by sending their Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) numbers on the SMS code 8171. Listen here.
PM reviews Ehsaas Kafaalat disbursal operations in Sukkur, Sindh
April 16, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister during his visit to Sukkur district of Sindh visited a payment site-camp to review the Ehsaas Kafaalat disbursal operations that have just begun this week. At the site, PM joined the Kafaalat beneficiary women to witness details of biometrically enabled payments. Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM about Ehsaas Kafaalat operations in Sindh and Ehsaas 8171 service. PM also interacted with the women present at the campsite to gain firsthand insights on the multitude of Ehsaas programmes and initiatives in Sindh. Safeguarding safe and easy digital payments amid the third wave of COVID-19, Ehsaas has set up 516 specialized payment camps throughout Sindh to roll out recently opened Kafaalat payments for the period Jan 2021 – Jun 2021. Combined payment for 6 months is being made. Alongside, payments can also be withdrawn from biometrically enabled ATMs of Habib Bank across all districts of Sindh.
Ehsaas 8171 scheme opens
April 13, 2021 – Islamabad: Ehsaas has opened 8171 SMS campaign enabling the new deserving households to check their eligibility under Ehsaas Kafaalat. Dr. Sania Nishtar said that the deserving families desiring to find out their eligibility status in the Kafaalat programme should send their Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) numbers on the SMS code 8171, which is activated from today. The 8171 SMS service has been made free of charge for the public and the entire cost will be borne by Ehsaas. Ehsaas has begun the process of enrolling new beneficiaries which have been identified on the basis of the 2021 Ehsaas survey which is now 81% complete. Beneficiaries identified through the survey undergo “wealth profiling” through a data analytics mechanism to further clean the list of beneficiaries. When beneficiaries send their 13-digital CNIC number on 8171, they will either get a message that they are eligible and will be asked to collect money; or they will be informed that they are ineligible, or they will get a “wait” instruction.
Dr. Sania keynotes the book launch hosted by the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East & Africa
April 12, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote the official launch of the first edited book of the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East & Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI). The book was titled, ‘The Covid Challenge: Impact on Middle East & Africa’. On the occasion, Dr. Sania was also joined by Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Education. Other distinguished discussants included: Dr. Khalid Hussain Memon, Special Secretary Middle East, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan; Mr. Ali Javed, Additional Secretary Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan and Ambassador Rizwan- ul-Haq Mahmood, Former Pakistani Diplomat to Muscat, Abu Dhabi & Jeddah
Sania joins the World Bank’s virtual mission on Human Capital Review
April 12, 2021 – Islamabad: At the virtual mission on Human Capital Review (HCR) held by the World Bank, Dr. Sania Nishtar was joined by Lire Ersado, Practice Leader; Syud Amer Ahmed, Senior Economist; Ali Nadeem Qureshi, Social Protection Specialist; Gul Najam Jamy, Senior Social Protection Specialist; Thelma Seoeun Choi, Economist; Mina Zamand, Research Analyst; and the World Bank Consultant, Sakib Sherani (Senior Advisor). The HCR aims to support Pakistan in accelerating human capital accumulation and addressing the existing vulnerabilities and those brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic. The study analyses human capital challenges facing Pakistan and identify priority interventions and investments.
Dr. Sania convenes an online meeting with regard to bank account opening for EKBNS donations
April 12, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar convened an online consultative meeting to discuss the final modalities of the ‘Ehsaas Koi Booka Na Soye (EKBNS) Bank Account and Fund” before information about it is released publicly. The meeting was joined by senior officials from State Bank of Pakistan, National Bank of Pakistan and Ministry of Finance and Revenue. EKBNS is a new policy initiative of the federal government to eliminate hunger in the country. The recently rolled out programme provides cooked meals at designated delivery points in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Lahore and Faisalabad to labour class.
Ehsaas Kafaalat payments (Jan to Jun 2021) begin nationwide
April 12, 2021 – Islamabad: Ehsaas Kafaalat payments to beneficiaries have commenced throughout the country. Ehsaas has set up over 1600 payment camps nationwide, starting this week. Each beneficiary is being paid Rs. 12,000 covering the period January 2021 -June 2021. Combined payment for 6 months is being made. Women are collecting cash from especially set up payment camps. Payments are being made in camps so that COVID-19 SOPS can be followed there. In addition, payments can also be collected from biometrically enabled ATMs of Habib Bank in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Islamabad, and from those of Bank Alfalah in KP, AJK and GB.
PM inaugurates multi-city roll out of Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye before Ramadan
April 11, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the expansion of the Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye (EKBNS) programme to three major cities of Punjab and KP before the month of Ramadan. The upscaled EKBNS programme will serve free meals to labourers, daily wage earners and piece rate workers who cannot access Ehsaas Panagahs and Ehsaas Langars. Through a virtual groundbreaking ceremony, PM was joined by the Chief Ministers of KP, and Punjab together with Parliamentarians to inaugurate the EKBNS free food service via multiple truck kitchens in Peshawar, Lahore and Faisalabad. Each truck will feed 1500-2000 people daily on specified service points. The meals are cooked, stored and served from a truck kitchen.
Dr. Sania and Governor SBP meet to discuss the Ehsaas targeted subsidy programme
April 9, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar was called on by Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr. Reza Baqir in Islamabad. The meeting discussed progress with regard to the planning and execution of the targeted commodity subsidy programme under the umbrella of Ehsaas. This was the second meeting in the month of April to flesh out modalities of the forthcoming programme.
Sania holds a consultative meeting on Ehsaas Street Hawkers’ Initiative
April 9, 2021- Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting with Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) to explore options for the potential street hawkers’ initiative under the Ehsaas framework. The meeting took place physically as well as virtually at the Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. At the meeting, Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary of the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division; Syeda Shafaq Hashmi, Administrator MCI and Zia Banday, Focal Person on the Street Hawkers’ Initiative were also present.
Ehsaas pioneers orphanage living standards, the first in the Muslim World
Apr 8, 2021 – Islamabad: In a special launching event, Dr. Sania Nishtar unveiled the new Ehsaas’ standards for private sector orphanages. This is the first time not just in Pakistan but also across the Muslim World that such a historic initiative has been taken by the government for the welfare of orphans and deserving children. The aim is to minimize variation in the orphan care and to support private sector orphanages in raising their service standards nationwide. Predicated under the policy no. 37 of Ehsaas strategy, the 25-point living standards have been tailored to needs of orphan care centers. A stakeholder committee had been put in place under the umbrella of Ehsaas by Dr. Nishtar in 2019 to stipulate “Living Standards for Orphanages and Child Care Centers” in the country. The committee formally met 17 times last year, and after taking stock of the on-ground situation, finalized these standards which will now be notified and shared with provinces for endorsement. Full document can be accessed here.
Sania appraises Ehsaas Tahafuz operations at Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi
Apr 7, 2021 – Rawalpindi: To commemorate the World Health Day 2021, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited the Ehsaas Facilitation Center in Holy Family Hospital (HFH), Rawalpindi to appraise operations of the Ehsaas Tahafuz that is currently in its pilot phase. During the course of the quick appraisal visit, Dr. Sania held a meeting with Ehsaas Tahafuz’s technical team of medical experts, hospital administrators and programme verifiers, took stock of the progress and gained firsthand insights for programme expansion later this year. At the venue, Dr. Sania was welcomed by Dr. Shazia Zeb Medical Superintendent of HFH and her team. Alongside, Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and other senior officials from Ehsaas Tahafuz team were also in attendance. Currently, the programme is patient centric and caters to one-time high health costs for those who lack ability to bear the heavy expenditures.
Sania talks about the “Invisible Scaffold” at the World Bank-IMF spring meetings 2021
April 5, 2021: At the World Bank-International Monetary Fund annual spring meetings 2021, a webinar was held titled, ‘the IMF’s Engagement on Social Protection’, wherein SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to present Pakistan’s perspective on bolstering social safety nets. The event aimed to showcase the IMF, development partners, the WBG and member countries’ efforts to implement more effective social protection programs, strengthen social safety nets, and protect the most vulnerable from economic shocks and the potential adverse effects of reforms. Addressing the meeting, Dr. Nishtar highlighted Pakistan’s social protection policy initiatives- the aspiration and challenges and how the government of Pakistan demonstrated commitment to addressing them. Along with Dr. Nishtar, Roger Nord, Deputy Director Institute for Capacity Development, IMF; Antoinette Sayeh, Deputy Managing Director, IMF; Fernanda Brollo, Senior Economist, IMF; Brooks Evans, Economist, IMF; and Tanja Goodwin, Senior Country Economist, World Bank Group came to the table to launch a Capacity Development Talk on the IMF’s engagement on social protection, with a particular focus on Pakistan and Ecuador.
Sania reviews ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ operations in Rawalpindi
April 4, 2021 – Rawalpindi: Dr. Sania Nishtar visited ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye'(EKBNS) food distribution point in Murree Road, Rawalpindi to review truck kitchen operations. At the venue, she inspected the quality of food and service and interacted with beneficiary men and women being served. Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the concept of truck kitchens, EKBNS was launched by the Prime Minister on March 10, 2021 to serve free meal boxes twice a day to daily wage earners in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. On special instructions of PM, the programme is now being expanded to three other cities before the holy month of Ramadan. Across Lahore, Faisalabad and Peshawar, EKBNS mobile trucks carrying cooked food will visit the localities of labourers and hospitals to distribute free meals.
Ehsaas to introduce stipends in July to promote secondary education
April 3, 2021 – Islamabad: With SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar in chair, the board approved the first of its kind Ehsaas’ secondary education conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme for deserving households to send their children to secondary schools. The programme will be rolled out nationwide across all districts in July 2021. The new programme has been structured along the lines of Ehsaas Stipends policy that allocates higher stipend amount for girls as compared to boys. This policy decision by the BISP board is an extension of Ehsaas’ primary education CCT, Waseela-e-Taleem Digital, expanding it to the secondary level.
Dr. Nishtar keynotes the IBA panel discussion on sustainable development
April 3, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar keynoted a panel discussion titled ‘Sustainable Development: Inequality and Inclusive Growth’ that took place amongst UNDP Pakistan Resident Representative Knut Ostby, IBA Executive Director Dr. S. Akbar Zaidi, and SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood. Speaking at the panel, Dr. Sania briefed about Pakistan’s social protection landscape, the role of the Ehsaas Programme, and some of the challenges that were addressed along the way. Further, she remarked that the programme was linked with the theory of change. She mentioned that digital capabilities established in 2019 as part of Ehsaas’ poverty alleviation framework were adopted to deliver Ehsaas emergency cash during the pandemic, in particular, a new biometric payment system.
Three Federal Ministers come to the table to discuss Ehsaas’ targeted subsidy programme
April 2, 2021 – Islamabad: Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Muhammad Hammad Azhar and Dr. Ishrat Hussain Advisor to PM for Institutional Reforms and Austerity came to the table to discuss the modalities of Ehsaas’ targeted commodity subsidy programme. Aiming to benefit the disadvantaged populations, the federal government is introducing targeted subsidies for Ehsaas beneficiaries through IT integration between Ehsaas and Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan.
Governor SBP calls on Dr. Sania Nishtar
Apr 2, 2021- Islamabad: Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr. Reza Baqir called on Dr. Sania Nishtar at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. The meeting discussed progress with respect to the planning of the upcoming Ehsaas’ targeted commodity subsidy initiative.
Sania Nishtar represents Pakistan at the World Bank’s annual meeting
Apr 1, 2021: Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the high-level ministerial roundtable with Ministers from around the world as part of expert panel on “Financing SDG2: Addressing Hunger and Malnutrition in the wake of COVID-19”. The roundtable took place virtually at the World Bank Headquarters, during the World Bank Annual Meeting. Speaking in the panel, Dr. Sania outlined Pakistan’s current approach to malnutrition using the Ehsaas’ social protection lens. The expert panel brought together SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar and Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, Indonesia; Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance, Rwanda; Karina Gould, Minister for International Development, Canada; Dag-Inge Ulstein, Minister for International Development, Norway; Norbert Barthle, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany; and Atsushi Mimura, Deputy Director-General of the International Bureau, Ministry of Finance, Japan.
Sania chairs the 5th Risk Management and Assurance Committee meeting of BISP Board
April 1, 2021 – Islamabad: The meeting of the Risk Management and Assurance Committee of the BISP board took place at BISP headquarters in Islamabad. The meeting was presided by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. This was the fifth meeting of the committee under the umbrella of Ehsaas. The members of the board committee joined both physically and virtually.
Sania visits TVO to meet board members and management
March 31, 2021 – Islamabad: The Trust for Voluntary Organisations (TVO) convened its 138th board meeting under the umbrella of Ehsaas. Before the meeting, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited TVO and spoke to board members and management. Being one of the executing agencies of Ehsaas, TVO has been revitalized under the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division to execute initiatives under Ehsaas policy action number thirty-six. This policy action is specifically meant to run partnerships with NGOs to upscale successful programmes for the most marginalised segments. A 13-member Board of Directors governs the affairs of TVO. The Board consists of three ex-officio members i.e., representatives of the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs Division. Also included in the board are 10 individuals from the private sector who have distinguished themselves in any field of endeavour.
Sania convenes meeting with UNDP to discuss options for more deeper collaborations
March 29, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Nishtar convened a virtual meeting with UNDP Pakistan to discuss options for more deeper collaborations between Ehsaas and UNDP Pakistan. From the UNDP side, Knut Ostby, Resident Representative; Aliona Niculita, Deputy Representative and Ammara Durrani, Assistant Resident Representative, Development Policy Unit came to the table. Additional Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division was also present.
Dr. Sania and Shehzad Arbab meet to discuss progress of Ehsaas
March 29, 2021 – Islamabad: At the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, a meeting was held between SAPM Dr. Sania and SAPM on Establishment Shehzad Arbab to discuss the progress of Ehsaas. Dr. Nishtar briefed Arbab about the progress of Ehsaas Delivery Unit and Ehsaas’ dashboards to evaluate performance and transparency of Ehsaas programme and it’s executing agencies.
Ehsaas conducts telephonic survey with Kafaalat beneficiaries
March 28, 2021- Islamabad: To ascertain which mode of communication is most beneficial for Kafaalat beneficiaries, Ehsaas conducted a telephonic survey over the weekend. Results indicated that the most beneficial route of communication with Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries is the 8171 SMS campaign. 87% of people attended the call, which was a good response rate. It was observed that in majority of cases, Ehsaas beneficiaries had access to phones in the house.
Dr. Sania joins the launching ceremony of the Human Security Institute
March 27, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar launched The Human Security Institute (THSI) that is a think tank of National and International competence working for the cause of Human Security at all cadres. A wide array of stakeholders and practitioners, academicians, civil-military, bureaucrats, members of business community and civil society, federal ministers, and diplomats from friendly countries participated in the ceremony. Dr. Nishtar was invited as a special guest and chair of the panel discussion on ‘Importance of Human Security in 21st Century’.
SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joins a high-level panel hosted by IPC-IG
March 25, 2021: At the high-level panel discussion convened by International Policy Center for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), ODI and GIZ, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar presented a complementary policymaking viewpoint from Pakistan, based on her work overseeing large-scale social protection programme delivery during and prior to Covid-19 as the Special Assistant of the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection. The panel brought together leading international experts to discuss the findings emerging from the ODI-GiZ study and wider evidence to share policy learning on adaptive social protection to date. Along with SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, panelists included Francesca Bastagli, Director Equity and Social Policy, and Principal Research Fellow, ODI; Bessie Msusa, Chief Economist in the Poverty Reduction and Social Protection Division at the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Malawi; Lynette Maart, National Director, Black Sash, South Africa; Ugo Gentilini, Global Lead Social Assistance, World Bank; and Armando Barrientos, Professor of Poverty and Social Justice at the Global Development Institute, Manchester University.
Sania chairs Ehsaas Governance Observatory’s stock take meeting
Islamabad – March 24, 2021: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired a stocktake meeting for the Ehsaas Governance Observatory.The Governance Observatory was established in June 2020 to monitor adherence to the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy, which was Cabinet approved in November 2019. Governance Observatory aims to review and improve governance systems and practices of all four executing agencies which are instrumental in implementing Ehsaas programs and initiatives. The purpose is to build systems that strongly discourage corruption, and to promote efficiency, transparency and accountability for results and compliance with rules. All four executing agencies of Ehsaas including BISP, PPAF, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal and TVO came to the table together with Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Additional Secretary PASSD, and officials from Ehsaas Delivery Unit. Speaking to the press, Dr. Nishtar said, “Today, a new metric was also included in the framework of the Governance Observatory. We took a decision that no Ehsaas implementing agency will be allowed to get a post-facto approval on its budget.”
Nishtar joins consultative meeting on Direct Cash
March 24, 2021-Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar along with senior Ehsaas officials joined a consultative meeting on the ‘Re-launching of Direct Cash’ with Centre for Economic Research in Pakistan, London School of Economics and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The meeting discussed modalities for lump sum transfers, data on continuing and new eligible beneficiaries of various districts who are eligible for the graduation offer and relevant policy details.
Dr. Sania speaks on Human and Food Security at National Security Workshop
March 22, 2021- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak on “Human and Food Security, Population Bulge & Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan”, at the National Security Workshop organized by Institute for Strategic Studies Research & Analysis (ISSRA), National Defence University (NDU). The workshop aimed to discuss and comprehend the dynamics of National Security of Pakistan. Participants of National Security Workshop included parliamentarians, senior civil and military officials, and prominent members from civil society.
Sania visits G-11 Markaz Islamabad to review the street hawkers’ economy
Mar 22, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to G-11 Markaz in Islamabad to interact with street vendors. The visit aimed to review street hawkers’ economy first hand and to realize the positive role and potential of street vendors in supporting poverty alleviation efforts. During the visit, street vendors informed Dr. Nishtar about various operational issues being faced by them in the market. Syeda Shafaq Hashmi, Administrator Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad and Zia Banday, Focal Person Street Vendors’ Initiative were also present on the occasion. To improve the operating environment for street vendors through multi-stakeholder engagement, Ehsaas is collaborating with Islamabad Municipality, CDA and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE).
CM Gilgit Baltistan inaugurates Ehsaas Nashonuma Centre in Kharmang
March 21, 2021- Kharmang: Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Khalid Khursheed opened Ehsaas Nashonuma Centre in Kharmang district of Gilgit Baltistan. In the first phase of Ehsaas Nashonuma programme, 48 Nashonuma Centres are being opened in 13 districts of the country at the district and tehsil level health facilities. Ehsaas Nashonuma is a three-year programme that is fully funded by the federal government of Pakistan. The programme is pegged on improving nutrition and health in the first thousand days of life, that is the most critical period in early childhood development, starting at conception and finishing at age of two. Every quarter, conditional cash-transfers are being provided to the poorest pregnant and lactating mothers and children under two years; Rs. 1,500 for a boy child and mother, and Rs. 2,000 for a girl child.
Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme averted an economic catastrophe: IPC-IG
Mar 20, 2021 -Brazil: A new report released by the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) found that Pakistan’s innovative emergency cash programme helped avert an economic catastrophe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report titled, “What’s next for social protection in light of COVID-19: country responses” focuses on experiences from countries in Asia, including Pakistan, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Latin America and the Caribbean. The deep dive into social protection responses to the COVID-19 crisis highlights Pakistan’s efforts to tackle poverty amidst the biggest global crisis in more than a century and provides overall lessons for the future including shock-responsive and universal social protection. The report analyses how the COVID-19 pandemic was a watershed period for Pakistan in terms of government functioning: making it more agile, data-driven, experimental, and ambitious. The full report is available for download here.
Sania reviews execution arrangements for One Window Ehsaas Center in Islamabad
Mar 19, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar spent an afternoon on site reviewing execution arrangements for the One-Window Ehsaas Physical Center. Senior officials and representatives from all Ehsaas executing and partnering agencies including BISP, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Saylani Welfare International Trust, NADRA, HBL and Bank Alfalah were in attendance. All preparations are in final stages to soon open the first of its kind Ehsaas Center in Islamabad where all Ehsaas services will be available under one roof to facilitate the needy.
SAPM Dr. Sania and Federal Minister Hammad Azhar witness the deployment of Ehsaas targeted subsidy pilot
Mar 19, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar and Federal Minister Muhammad Hammad Azhar visited Utility Store in G-9 Markaz, Islamabad to witness the deployment of Ehsaas targeted subsidy pilot with Ehsaas recipients.Ehsaas and Utility Stores Corporation have been working together to integrate their IT systems so that they can identify Ehsaas beneficiaries and deliver targeted commodity subsidy to them. This is in line with the government’s commitment to make subsidies targeted to benefit the disadvantaged.
Ehsaas steering committee approves transition of Waseela-e-Taleem Digital to secondary level schooling
March 19, 2021- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the steering committee meeting of Waseela-e-Taleem Digital wherein the committee members and experts took a decision to roll out an education stipend programme for secondary education under Ehsaas. Through engaging discussions, the meeting took stock of existing secondary stipend programmes in the country. It was discussed that the upcoming programme for secondary school stipends will be designed and executed in close coordination with provinces to avoid duplications. Currently, there are 18.7 million out of school children, in the age group 6 to 16, in the country. According to Demographic and Health Survey 2017 (Kaplan and Meier estimates), dropout rate is highest for the poorest two quintiles in secondary education. Hence Ehsaas is working on a financial access to secondary education programme.
Dr. Sania speaks at the Islamabad Security Dialogue
March 18, 2021- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar spoke at the Islamabad Security Dialogue 2021 on, ‘Instituting a human security paradigm’ organized by the National Security Division. The dialogue provided a platform for critical thinking and robust intellectual discourse on some of the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing Pakistan and the wider region. Alongside Dr. Nishtar, other panelists were – SAPM on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam and CEO Centre for Learning Law and Business Ihsan Ghani.
Ehsaas completes IT integration with Utility Stores Corporation
March 18, 2021 – Islamabad: The government has taken a fundamental decision that subsidies should be targeted to benefit the poor rather than being untargeted. Previously, untargeted subsidy programmes contributed to increase in inequality. Under the untargeted subsidies, the benefits were enjoyed indiscriminately by both rich and poor. Hence, targeted subsidy programmes are more effective, as the benefit of subsidies flows exclusively to those in need. Currently, the federal government is introducing targeted subsidies for Ehsaas beneficiaries through IT integration between Ehsaas and Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan (USC). Dr. Sania Nishtar visited the USC Headquarters and reviewed the final status of integration. Detailing in a press statement, Dr. Nishtar said, “I am very happy to see that the Information Technology teams of both USC and Ehsaas have worked very hard. The process of integration is now seamlessly working, and this will enable USC to identify Ehsaas beneficiaries giving them targeted subsidies on certain food items.”
Sania chairs final meeting on the Ehsaas Private Sector Engagement Policy
March 17, 2021 – Islamabad:At the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the final meeting on the upcoming Ehsaas Private Sector Engagement Policy (EPSEP). The objective of EPSEP is to engage and facilitate non-government stakeholders to leverage their technical, financial, entrepreneurship and outreach support to amplify impact of Ehsaas. The policy highlights the types of support, the engagement model for each type of support, and the safeguards put in place to address risks of partnerships that may form under the agreement. EPSEP is applicable to five groups including private sector organizations (PSOs), non-government organizations, foundations, academia, and individuals. The policy covers the engagement process, governance, and monitoring and evaluation mechanism for different engagement types. “Ensuring integrity and transparency, EPSEP is premised on effective conflict-of-interest management”, said Dr. Sania.
Ehsaas Tahafuz and Sehat Sahulat will work together towards the goal of UHC: Nishtar
March 15, 2021 – Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired a webinar on Sehat Sahulat programme which was organized by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE). Speakers included Dr. Faisal Rifaq, CEO Sehat Sahulat Program, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination; Dr. Shabnam Sarfraz, Member Social Sector, Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives; Dr. Mahmood Khalid, Health Economist, PIDE; and Dr. Sara Rizvi Jafree, Assistant Professor, Forman Christian College, Lahore. The webinar aimed to examine the efficacy of Sehat Sahulat programme in terms of its structure, methodology for the identification of the poor, outreach, impact and challenges. “Ehsaas Tahafuz and Sehat Sahulat will work together towards the goal of Universal Health Coverage”, said Dr. Nishtar.
Nishtar meets Finance Minister to flesh out details of targeted commodities scheme
March 15, 2021-Islamabad: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar met Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh at Finance Division in Islamabad. The meeting aimed to deliberate further on and flesh out details around the targeted commodities scheme. The targeted commodities scheme is currently being conceptualized in line with instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan to benefit the deserving households.
Nishtar called on by Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan
March 11, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was called on by H.E. Kuninori Matsuda, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan. The meeting took place at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. Alongside, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Muhammad Ali Shahzada, senior officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and representatives of Japanese Embassy were also present.
Govt taking measure for women inclusion in economic development: Nishtar
March 10, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar said that Pakistani women are very talented, goal-oriented, and entrepreneurial. Therefore, she said, that the current government is taking multiple initiatives for enhancing their role in the development of the country. She said that many components of Ehsaas program are dedicated to empower women and uplift their living standards. She was addressing as chief guest at the International Women’s Day event organized by Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI). Mishal Hussain Malick Chairperson Peace and Cultural Organization, Salma Marwat Khan Jeep Rally Champion, , Ayesha Gull ASP Traffic Police Islamabad, and large number of women from all walks of life including university students participated in the event.
March 10, 2021-Islamabad: A ground-breaking ceremony of ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ (EKBNS) was held in the federal capital wherein Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the two Ehsaas food trucks that would serve free cooked food at various points across twin cities, Rawalpindi and Islamabad including public places, slums and hospitals. The meals will be cooked, stored and distributed from trucks’ kitchen. As per estimates, each food truck will feed around 2000 people daily. Food will be distributed 7 days a week, 365 days a year, two times a day. EKBNS is a new policy initiative of the federal government to eliminate hunger in the country. The initiative is an extension of Ehsaas Langar Policy and it aims to distribute cooked meals at designated delivery points to people in need especially those at risk of or experiencing hunger. PM congratulated the Ehsaas programme and Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal administration for the successful launch of the pilot initiative.
Sania convenes policy discourse for prospective commercialization of specialized nutritious food under Ehsaas
March 10, 2021 – Islamabad: With SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar in chair, Ehsaas convened a consultative meeting on, ‘Prospective Commercialization of the Specialized Nutritious Foods (SNFs) Policy’ with Ehsaas Nashonuma stakeholders. The meeting aimed to discuss the viability of commercialization of SNF. In the meeting, regulatory and fiscal hurdles were outlined and recommendations were discussed to manufacture and bring specialized nutrition food to the shelves of retail stores and pharmacies at affordable prices. Nutrition is multisectoral element of Ehsaas and commercialization of SNF is included in the Ehsaas strategy as Policy #65 ‘Specialized nutrition food made available for stunted and wasted children in a cost- effective manner’. The meeting brought together stakeholders from federal and provincial governments, the World Food Programme along with other international development partners, and private sector to provide technical inputs for SNF commercialization policy framework for Pakistan, including specific practical steps to bring SNF to all sectors of the market.
Sania Nishtar speaks at the IWD webinar hosted by FAO
March 8, 2021: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at the International Women’s Day webinar on, “Food Systems and Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” hosted by Food and Agriculture Organization. The event celebrated the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world especially in sustaining food systems and better nutrition, shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Nishtar highlighted the Ehsaas 50% plus benefits policy to benefit lives of disadvantaged women and girls across all Ehsaas initiatives.
Nishtar keynotes IWD virtual forum organized by Pak Embassy in US
March 8, 2021: ‘Pakistani-American Women Leaders: Change-makers and Innovators’- virtual forum was convened by Pakistan’s Embassy in Washington DC. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was a keynote speaker at the forum. Dr. Asad Majeed Khan, Pakistani Ambassador in US hosted the event. Many eminent Pakistani American women participated in the webinar including Shaista Mahmood, Founder Pakistan Women Council; Shimmi Kidwai, Director, TCF USA; and Bushra Amiwala, Youngest Muslim elected official in USA amongst others. Ervin Massinga, Senior Advisor Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, US Department of State also spoke at the event.
Sania joins global women leaders at the IWD webinar hosted by Athena40
March 8, 2021: Focused on ‘Women’s Leadership in Times of Crises’, an international webinar was hosted by Athena40, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar connected with women leaders live from the USA, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa to discuss the virtues of women’s leadership and how women can bring back trust, vision and accountability in a world that is so uncertain. Launched by the London-based non-profit Global Thinkers Forum, Athena40 is a platform connecting and recognising women from around the world. The Pakistan Panel was hosted by Ambassador Attiya Mehmood.
Nishtar shares the women centred post-COVID Ehsaas Strategy at the WEF’s IWD event
March 8, 2021: At the World Economic Forum’s virtual global event themed, “Women, Leadership and a Pandemic”, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar shared details about the gender responsive post-Covid Ehsaas Strategy in particular, higher stipend amount for girls under Ehsaas’ education and nutrition conditional cash transfer programmes. The session opened a discussion with the community of global shapers including Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand; Winnie Byanyima, Undersecretary-General of the United Nations; and Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA amongst others.
Sania joins The Lancet series panel on International Women’s Day
March 8, 2021: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at the webinar around, ‘The Lancet Series on Women and Children Undernutrition Progress’. The session was organized by Aga Khan University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and International Center for Equity in Health. Panel reflected on The Lancet series’ findings and implications through distinct lenses, including COVID-19 response and recovery, food systems, and financing for nutrition. Dr. Nishtar shared the multisectoral Ehsaas approach to address health and nutrition, particularly Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council and Ehsaas Nashonuma to tackle nutrition and stunting issues prevailing in the country.
PM briefed on proposed Ehsaas food stamp programme
March 8, 2021- Islamabad: In a meeting at the PM House, the Prime Minister gave directions to proceed with the detailed conceptualization of a new programme under Ehsaas to target commodity subsidies. The meeting was attended by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, Minister for Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Industries Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Adviser to PM on Institutional Reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM Waqar Masood, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir, secretaries and senior officers of the relevant ministries. PM was given a detailed briefing on the proposed Ehsaas food stamp programme. Dr. Nishtar in the detailed briefing to the PM, informed about the methodology and contours of the proposed programme. Ehsaas’ direct subsidy programme aims to give financial assistance to the poorest populations so that they could buy essential items.
Ehsaas working to improve ecosystem for Street Hawkers
Islamabad – March 4, 2021: Aimed at setting up a collaborative framework for the forthcoming Ehsaas Street Hawkers’ Initiative, an MoU was inked in a meeting held at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) in presence of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar between PASSD and a multitude of stakeholders. Under the terms of memorandum, Ehsaas has joined hands with Capital Development Authority (CDA), Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA), Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) to collaboratively steer the design and execution of the Ehsaas Street Hawkers’ Initiative. The memorandum is centred on improving the ecosystem for street vending in Islamabad. According to conservative estimates, there are around 20,000 street vendors operating in Islamabad, who are generating annual net income up to Rupees 9.6 billion. Ehsaas’ support for street vendors is in line with Prime Minister’s vision of welfare state based on Riyasat-e-Madina model. In this regard, PASSD is collaborating with city authorities and research institute to organize street vending in a more sustainable manner.
Pak-China collaboration around poverty alleviation on the anvil
March 2, 2021 – Islamabad: H. E. Nong Rong, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan called on SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Muhammad Ali Shahzada was also present. During the meeting, Chinese Ambassador and Dr. Sania discussed a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which is being framed between the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division of Pakistan aimed at establishing a platform for collaboration around poverty eradication. Speaking to the press after the meeting, Dr. Sania said, “We are working on the final details of the MOU. The Framework will provide both countries an opportunity to capitalize on sharing of experiences in poverty eradication.”
One Window Ehsaas opening soon
Feb 26, 2021 – Islamabad: At the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a final consultative meeting with all four executing agencies of Ehsaas to discuss the policy and roll out plan for the forthcoming One Window Ehsaas operations. Part of One Window Ehsaas Initiative, preparations are underway to open the first of its kind, ‘Physical One Window Ehsaas Center’ in Islamabad and inaugurate ‘Ehsaas Digital’ by end of March 2021. In this regard, Ehsaas is currently in process of structuring and integrating One Window Ehsaas, which is a single- service operation to avoid duplication and ensure improved access to multisectoral Ehsaas initiatives. The initiative comprises of ‘Physical One Window Ehsaas Centers’, interlinked Ehsaas services through Ehsaas e-portal, Ehsaas Android app, deployment of cognitive API architecture for data sharing, standardization of beneficiary targeting and alignment of program beneficiary populations.
Ehsaas awarded for steering transparent Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements at NFEH’s 13th International CSR Summit and Awards-2021
Feb 25, 2021 – Islamabad: At the 13th International CSR Summit and Awards 2021 organised by the National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH), Ehsaas was conferred with Special Annual CSR Award 2021 for steering transparent Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements in 2020. The summit was inaugurated by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar who was the chief guest. “I’m glad that almost half of the population of our country benefited from Ehsaas programme amid COVID-19,” Dr. Sania said, recalling how offices of the Ehsaas programme had remained open to dispense emergency cash assistance when almost all the country was closed as a part of the lockdown measures.
Rs. 5 billion being ploughed into Ehsaas Interest Free Loan
Feb 25, 2021 – Islamabad: Islamabad – February 25, 2021: With the new injection of Rs. 5 Billion to upscale Ehsaas Interest Free Loan (IFL) programme, being ploughed by the government of Pakistan, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a review meeting with the Ehsaas’ executing agency, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF). Primarily, the meeting assessed the progress of the IFL in 110 existing districts and discussed the roadmap to upscale the programme across 28 new districts in lagging regions. Launched in July 2019, Ehsaas IFL is the country’s biggest programme for poverty graduation, which will impact 14.7 million vulnerable people in four years with half of them women including youth, persons with special needs, transgender, minorities and marginalised communities. Overall, Ehsaas interest-free loans worth Rs. 41.9 billion have been disbursed to 1.19 million borrowers so far, of which 45 percent are women across the country.
Radio Program Raabta: Sania Nishtar answers FAQs on Ehsaas Survey and Kafaalat
Feb 24, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar answered the frequently asked questions (FAQs) of Ehsaas beneficiaries in Radio Pakistan’s national broadcast, “Raabta”. The program is held every Wednesday to create awareness among public about the importance of ongoing Ehsaas survey and new enrolments under Ehsaas Kafaalat through survey. During the live program, Dr. Nishtar replied to questions of listeners who connected with her on telephone. She urged listeners to cooperate with the survey teams when they come at their doorstep for Ehsaas registration and share correct information. The program can be listened every week at 9 am. Listen here.
Dr. Nishtar holds news conference to open Ehsaas survey in Sargodha
Feb 24, 2021 – Sargodha: Addressing a news conference in Sargodha, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar formally opened Ehsaas survey in the district. With the accelerated execution of the Ehsaas survey post-COVID-19, this was the fifth news briefing by Nishtar in a month. “The new Ehsaas survey has begun in all seven Tehsils of Sargodha while it is 70% ready nationwide and would realize by June 2021 to enrol 7 million households living in extreme poverty”, Dr. Nishtar said. Further, she urged district administration, government teachers and local media to create awareness about the survey among the public, stating that it is a free-of-cost and voluntary process and therefore, the people cooperate with the survey team by sharing correct and accurate information. Later, Dr. Nishtar visited the site of the survey in adjoining area of Sargodha to meet beneficiaries and enquired about the survey process and performance of enumerators. Full footage can be watched here.
Seventh Steering Committee Meeting for Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship approves Rs. 6.53 Billion for 67,000 scholarships in 2020-21
Feb 22, 2021 – Islamabad: The steering committee for Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship met with the SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar in chair to stocktake the progress and approve the budget for the academic year 2020-21. In this regard, the committee approved a budget of Rs. 6.53 Billion for 67,000 need and merit based undergraduate scholarships nationwide. Members of the committee discussed that 111,685 undergraduate students (42,430 applications of girls) have applied for scholarships through online application portal which publicly closed for applications on Nov 30, 2020. The meeting also reviewed the field execution of the programme with 125 public sector universities. Dr. Nishtar emphasized to expedite the process for scholarship distribution and disbursements for the academic year 2020-21. The scrutiny of new applications is currently under-way and it is anticipated that final selection process will be completed by April 2021. The committee was informed that the portal will be re-opened for fifteen days in the second week of March 2021 to facilitate students from medical universities in the public sector.
Nishtar chairs Ehsaas Amdan’s first anniversary review meeting
Feb 18, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the stocktake meeting with Ehsaas Amdan implementing partners. The meeting virtually tracked the progress of Ehsaas Amdan being implemented in 388 rural union councils of 23 poorest districts across the four provinces. Last year in February, the Prime Minister had launched Ehsaas Amdan programme to enhance the livelihoods of downtrodden segments of society. In the meeting, target oriented detailed discussions took place with partners. All Amdan partners presented holistic overview of their respective performance along with the operational challenges being confronted by them in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. “Addition of new districts should be purely on already set criteria and according to human development ranking of the districts”, said Dr. Nishtar. She further emphasized the need to be responsive to the circumstances and needs of potential beneficiaries. Both Dr. Nishtar and Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) stressed the need to fast track progress.
Sania Nishtar joins the SBP hosted panel on ‘Banking on Equality Policy’
Feb 16, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the panel on ‘the Banking on Equality Policy’ hosted by State Bank of Pakistan. The virtual session held practical discussions amongst the participants to help fine-tune the policy and develop the future implementation roadmap in light of stakeholders’ feedback. Alongside Dr. Nishtar, other speakers on the panel included Governor State Bank Dr. Reza Baqir, Deputy Governor State Bank, Sima Kamil and Chairman Nadra Usman Yousaf Mobin The Banking on Equity Policy is State Bank of Pakistan’s flagship policy initiative for introducing a gender lens within the financial sector through targeted measures to bring a shift towards gender friendly business practices, and improve women’s financial inclusion in the country.
Dr. Nishtar releases a compilation of 40 instructional videos to create awareness for new enrollees in Ehsaas Kafaalat
Feb 15, 2021 – Islamabad: Payments to new Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries who are being enrolled through the ongoing Ehsaas survey have commenced last week. To create awareness among masses in this regard, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar has released a series of 40 beneficiary centered videos on twitter. These instructional videos will provide information and guidance to public, facilitating them to participate in Ehsaas. In the talking head videos, Dr. Nishtar has answered frequently asked questions (FAQs) in simple language. In particular, videos describe the FAQs of public, including details of new Ehsaas survey and outline process of enrolments and payments to new Kafaalat recipients. The video release is available on the official twitter handle of Dr. Nishtar; @SaniaNishtar.
Sania Nishtar chairs the Design Committee meeting of Ehsaas
Feb 12, 2021 – Islamabad: Under the chair of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, Technical Design Committee of Ehsaas met to discuss important agendas relating to One-Window Ehsaas, graduation bonus for girls enrolled in the primary education under the conditional cash transfer programme, Waseela -e-Taleem Digital and Indexation Policy of Ehsaas Kafaalat. The meeting took place at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad with members of the Design Committee.
Nishtar briefs Advisor Establishment on Ehsaas’ digital dashboards
Feb 12, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar met with the Advisor Establishment, Shahzad Arbab to apprise him of efforts being done under Ehsaas to track delivery against performance contracts with the Prime Minister, and the digital dashboards and delivery unit ecosystem that have been developed to enable it. Shahzad Arbab lauded the data and technology centered social protection initiatives launched under Ehsaas to ensure transparency and integrity.
Nishtar opens Ehsaas Survey in Lahore to identify deserving families
Feb 11, 2021 – Lahore: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar opened the Ehsaas survey in Lahore that will be accomplished by June 2021. Addressing a media briefing, Nishtar said that an ongoing survey for the Ehsaas programme is currently 70% complete in the country, adding that 7 million deserving households are being brought into the fold of Kafaalat through the fully transparent survey. “Ehsaas survey is being executed in Lahore based on a hybrid approach. With the transparency and integrity at its core, the survey is being rolled out in collaboration with provincial government of Punjab, Punjab Education Department and district administration Lahore. Ehsaas partnering firm, SDPI will provide technical assistance to 1,350 teachers from provincial education department Lahore who are being trained to serve as enumerators”, said Nishtar while describing the survey approach. Full footage can be watched here.
SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar encourages awardees of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship in Lahore
Feb 11, 2021 – Lahore: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar sat with students of University of Education in Lahore who were awarded Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship in 2019-20 and sought their feedback on the scholarship policy. The consultation created an open platform to exchange ideas on how students in need can increasingly benefit from the merit and need based scholarships of Ehsaas. Dr. Sania also responded to several questions of students with regard to Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship programme. Ehsaas Scholarship recipients from Lahore appreciated that the programme has financially supported large number of deserving students to access undergraduate education. In 2019-20, around 1,700 students (51% girls) from University of Education were awarded the Ehsaas scholarship.
PM visits Kallar Syedan Tehsil of Rawalpindi to meet new Kafaalat beneficiaries
Feb 10, 2021 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Kallar Syedan Tehsil of Rawalpindi to witness Kafaalat enrolment and to interact with the new beneficiaries. PM, sitting under an old Banyan tree along with the beneficiaries of Kafaalat, said that the financial assistance was aimed at easing up the difficulties of deserving people. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar in a briefing to the PM said that 68 per cent of the Ehsaas survey had been completed in the country, which would be finalized by June. 7 million deserving beneficiaries who are being identified through the new survey will be given Rs. 2,000 a month on a continuing basis, to assist them with their basic needs. Women beneficiaries of Kafaalat namely Nasreen Bibi, Allah Rakhi, Amina Bibi and others on the occasion talked to PM and expressed gratitude that Ehsaas programme is proving helpful in mitigating their financial ordeal.
Ehsaas approves standards for private sector orphanages
Feb 4, 2021 – Islamabad: In a special meeting chaired by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, the standards for private sector orphanages were approved. This is the first time that such an initiative has been taken. Pakistan has a very vibrant philanthropy sector and there are a number of orphanages in the private sector which have mushroomed all over the country. However, there is no consistency in services provided in these orphanages and the care provided is of varying quality. Taking cognizance of this, Ehsaas strategy had stipulated under its policy no. 37 that standards would be developed for orphanages. For this purpose, a committee was established in 2019. The committee was headed by Chairperson Khubaib Foundation and all major NGOs hosting orphanages were members of the committee in addition to Parliamentarians. The committee held 17 formal meetings and 70 side sessions. The meeting formally approved standards and it was decided that these standards will be notified for all orphanages in the federal area and will be shared with provinces asking them to implement.
29,961 individuals removed from BISP list: Sania
Feb 2, 2021 – Islamabad: BISP has exited an additional 29,961 individuals from its list of beneficiaries, following the data cleaning exercise 2020 under Ehsaas Governance framework. In a tweet, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar revealed that additional 29,961 individuals have been made ineligible for receiving the cash assistance as per availability of more data in 2020. Among those removed from the BISP list of beneficiaries included 15,326 pensioners, 273 government employees, 9,991 high income individuals (as documented by FBR data) and 4,371 employees of autonomous agencies (as per data of 30 out of 74 agencies), Dr. Nishtar disclosed. Earlier in the year 2019, BISP exited 820,165 individuals from its beneficiaries’ list out of which 142,556 were government servants.
International development partners’ delegation visits Jamrud and Peshawar to see Ehsaas in field
February 1, 2021 – Peshawar: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was accompanied by H.E. Christian Turner, British High Commissioner; Najy Benhassine, Country Director World Bank; Xiaohong Yang, Country Director Asian Development Bank; Julien Harneis, UN Resident Coordinator; Androulla Kaminara, Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan; and Lire Ersado from the World Bank on the visit to Khyber Tribal District and Peshawar, where they took stock of the multisectoral Ehsaas interventions and met beneficiaries. The foreign delegation had expressed an interest to see multi-sectoral Ehsaas interventions in the field. The visit began with the inauguration of Ehsaas Nashonuma Center at Civil Hospital in Jamrud, Khyber Tribal District. Dr. Nishtar formally opened the Nashonuma centre with a curtain raising. Following it, the delegation visited a survey site in outskirts of Peshawar to oversee the digital registration of the local household through Ehsaas survey. Later, the delegation also joined the children and their mothers in Peshawar to witness new enrolments of deserving children in Waseela-e-Taleem Digital. The high-level delegation was especially inspired by the success of the Ehsaas programme that was completed in one and a half years’ time and were fascinated by its transformative characteristics they saw in in KP.
Sania Nishtar holds media briefing on Ehsaas Survey and enrolment of new beneficiaries in Sahiwal
Jan 29, 2021 – Sahiwal: Addressing a media briefing in Sahiwal, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar said that an ongoing survey for the Ehsaas programme is currently 28% complete in Sahiwal Division and 47.7% complete in Punjab, adding that deserving and destitute people are being brought into the fold of Kafaalat through the fully transparent survey. “No fee for the Ehsaas survey is being charged”, she added. Further, Dr. Sania said that foundation of the Ehsaas programme has been laid purely on non-political basis and the first six months of 2021 would be a milestone for the welfare of deserving people. The Ehsaas survey will conclude in June 2021 nationwide. Later, she also interacted with newly enrolled Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries along with awardees of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship and borrowers of Ehsaas Interest Free Loan. SAPM Shahbaz Gill, Secretary BISP and Vice Chancellor University of Sahiwal also joined the media briefing. Full footage of the briefing can be watched here.
PM distributes Ehsaas scholarship and interest free loan cheques in Sahiwal
Jan 29, 2021 – Sahiwal: Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed a public gathering in Sahiwal and launched few development projects. Amongst other engagements, he also interacted with Ehsaas beneficiaries. At the site, PM distributed cheques of Ehsaas interest free loans and Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship among the selected number of deserving beneficiaries and students from Sahiwal Division. Governor Punjab and Chief Minister Punjab were also present at the occasion. Addressing the ceremony, PM said that Sahiwal would be provided best facilities in the fields of health, education, road infrastructure and social welfare. “Since its launch in March 2019, the different initiatives of Ehsaas including Kafaalat, Waseela-e-Taleem Digital, undergraduate scholarships, interest free loans and several others have been implemented in Sahiwal Division to uplift the marginalized populations”, he added. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar said that Ehsaas programme is totally apolitical and Rs. 179 billion emergency cash had been disbursed in the country last year under Ehsaas, with 504,000 households benefiting in Sahiwal Division.
Ehsaas opens facilitation desk for Ehsaas Tahafuz pilot in Holy Family Hospital
Jan 27, 2021, The ‘Ehsaas Tahafuz Facilitation Desk’ was officially opened by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar at the Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi, the pilot site for Tahafuz. Dr. Sania was joined by Dr. Muhammad Umer VC of Rawalpindi Medical University, Dr. Shazia Zeb Medical Superintendent of hospital, Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and other senior officials from Ehsaas team. “It is such a pleasure to open the first of its kind initiative in the country that aims to cover catastrophic health expenditures for deserving patients. Tahafuz will cover the cost of pre-approved treatment packages”, said Dr. Sania. Currently, Tahafuz is in the pilot phase and is being implemented collaboratively with the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi to identify patients facing catastrophic health expenditures, who are not covered by Sehat Sahulat Card or are in hospital not enrolled in Sehat Sahulat programme; they are assessed by the system, and if eligible, will be provided funding by allocating donations to the patient.
Radio Program Raabta: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar begins weekly program on Ehsaas Survey and Ehsaas Kafaalat
Jan 27, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar will be reaching out the wider national audience every Wednesday through Radio Pakistan’s live program, “Raabta”. The program aims to educate people about the objectives, approach and status of Ehsaas survey and Ehsaas Kafaalat. Dr. Sania will reply to questions of listeners who can connect with her on telephone by calling directly at 051-9206995 and 051-9215206. Talking to people in today’s program, Dr. Sania said, “Ehsaas is conducting a door-to-door survey all over the country so that data can be gathered about the socioeconomic status of households. Ehsaas survey is currently 65 percent complete in the country and is progressing smoothly to accomplish by June 2021. According to the Ehsaas policy, the results of survey will facilitate proper targeting of 7 million poor households for Ehsaas Kafaalat.” The program can be listened every week at 9 am. Listen here.
Sania holds policy dialogue on Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship in Women University Mardan
Jan 25, 2021- Mardan: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Women University Mardan to hold a policy dialogue with Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship awardees of 2019-20. She was warmly received by the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Ghazala Yasmeen and faculty members. More than 100 young girls participated in the dialogue, which provided a space to exchange ideas on how young girls from rural areas can increasingly benefit from the Ehsaas’ merit and need based scholarship. Dr. Sania also answered a number of questions related to details of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship program. Last year, 400 girls from Women University Mardan had applied, out which 124 were awarded the Ehsaas scholarship. Overall, 50,762 students have benefitted from the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships worth 4.9 million in 2019-20. In total, 200,000 scholarships would be awarded over the four years to deserving students in 125 public universities. It represents a paradigm shift in the government’s scholarship policy.
SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar addresses a press conference on Ehsaas Survey in Mardan
Jan 25, 2021 – Mardan: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar addressed a press conference with local media reporters, journalists and district administration to brief them about the ongoing Ehsaas poverty census in the area. “Ehsaas poverty survey currently stands 71% ready in Mardan, 45% in KP and 65 percent in the country and successfully continues to accomplish by June 2021. Once the Ehsaas survey gets finalized, the enrollment of new Ehsaas beneficiaries will be based on eligibility verification from the new database”, shared Dr. Nishtar. She also acknowledged the provincial government, district administration and police department for their support and cooperation. Accelerating the pace of Ehsaas poverty census, a new model has been deployed in KP to conduct the survey in partnership with provincial education department. Through an android based application, the survey teams are collecting the data of households at the doorstep. Later, Dr. Nishtar visited a survey site in Gujar Garhi area of Mardan to review the demo of the survey. She also interacted with the survey team and a native household being surveyed in the local setting. Full footage of the press conference can be watched here.
President convenes meeting to expedite the process of registration for the differently-abled
Jan 21, 2021 – Islamabad: The President Dr. Arif Alvi convened a meeting to expedite the process of registration of the differently-abled. He said that the existing procedure of certification and registration was quite slow and cumbersome which needed to be simplified for the facilitation of the differently-abled people. For Ehsaas, this is an important step in the process to grant Ehsaas Kafaalat stipends to the eligible differently-abled. The meeting was attended by the SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination, Dr. Faisal Sultan, Chairman NADRA, Usman Yousaf Mobin, and senior officials of the Ministry of Health. Dr. Sania briefed the meeting that the survey on the disabled under the Ehsaas programme would be completed by the end of June 2021. The Chairman NADRA shared that over 339,000 differently-abled persons had been registered with NADRA.
President Dr Arif Alvi being briefed about initiatives being taken for the Persons with Disabilities, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, on 21-01-2021
Steering Committee of Ehsaas Tahafuz met to take stock and approve measures to accelerate progress of the pilot
Jan 21, 2021 – Islamabad: The second meeting of the Ehsaas Tahafuz Steering Committee was chaired by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). Based on the recommendations of ‘Poverty Expert Committee’ for Tahafuz, the members of the steering committee discussed and approved the beneficiary eligibility determination mechanism; treatment packages to be covered; and selection of service provider hospitals in line with programme assessment criteria for expanding Tahafuz pilot. The committee also directed to expedite the process for the development of ‘Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy’ that is currently in the pipeline to dovetail Tahafuz with the Sehat Sahulat programme of the government. The Tahafuz Steering Committee has the mandate to provide managerial and strategic oversight to the Tahafuz programme.
Sania Nishtar inaugurates ‘Ehsaas Tahafuz Project Unit’ at PASSD
Jan 21, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar inaugurated the ‘Ehsaas Tahafuz Project Unit’ that has been established to manage the execution of Ehsaas Tahafuz. As part of institutional arrangements for effective programme management and implementation, the Ehsaas Tahafuz unit is housed in Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. At the occasion, the team working on the Tahafuz pilot phase also briefed Dr. Nishtar on the progress of the programme. A 12-member team has been hired following hiring procedures of the government to fulfil the technical demands of the programme. “Ehsaas Tahafuz Project Management Unit is an important element in institutional arrangements and a crucial determinant of efficiency in Tahafuz programme delivery. It includes transparent mechanisms put in place for the purpose of coordinating, planning; financial management; procurement and provision of technical and implementation support”, said Dr. Nishtar.
PM launches Ehsaas Kafaalat in South Waziristan; reviews the status of Ehsaas survey in the district
January 20, 2021 – South Waziristan: Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to South Waziristan launched Ehsaas Kafaalat programme in the district and reviewed the status of first-ever digital survey in the district. The Ehsaas National Socioeconomic Registry (NSER) survey based on which the Ehsaas Kafaalat and many other stipends will be given to deserving people in the district has already commenced on January 9, 2021.“Ehsaas enumerators are going house-to-house with tablets to collect district-wide information”, said SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar while briefing PM on the status of Ehsaas survey. “This is the first time the population of South Waziristan will benefit from a transparent and rule based social protection program. Over 25 percent population of the district will benefit from Ehsaas in 2021.”, she further added. Later, PM also oversaw payment to select number of Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries through Ehsaas’ digital payment system.
Sania keynotes the virtual launch of the Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020
Jan 20, 2021 – Bangkok: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote the virtual launch of the Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020. The report is a joint effort of FAO, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. Other eminent speakers included Emorn Udomkesmalee, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University and Chair of the IFPRI Board of Trustees; Minister of Agriculture, Solomon Islands; and John Aylieff, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, WFP. Addressing the launch event, Dr. Sania said, “The response to the pandemic in Pakistan has been multi-sectoral. We must ensure a holistic approach to address nutrition and expand safe access to high-impact programmes.” After discussing the most recent data on SDG2 indicators, the report focuses on the special theme of maternal and child diets, and the importance of using a systems approach to improve those diets. Full report can be accessed here.
Cabinet Committee briefs PM about measures being taken to ensure the supply of Covid-19 vaccine this quarter
January 19, 2021 – Islamabad: The Cabinet Committee for the procurement of coronavirus vaccine gave briefing to the PM about measures being taken to ensure the supply of vaccine in current quarter of this year. Minister for Industries Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Special Assistant for Health Dr. Faisal Sultan and Special Assistant for Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar attended the meeting. The Prime Minister directed to speed up measures for the procurement and supply of the approved coronavirus vaccines.
SAPM Sania Nishtar joins advocacy seminar on breastfeeding at Aiwan-e-Sadr
Jan 18, 2021 – Islamabad: President Dr. Arif Alvi hosted a seminar at Aiwan-e-Sadr to promote exclusive breastfeeding, which is the most cost effective way to address malnutrition and is highly supportive for Ehsaas Nashonuma programme. “If a newborn baby is given breastmilk within the first hour of life, it increases his chances of survival and good health, acts as a natural vaccine against diseases, and is regarded as nearly perfect mix of nutrients by physicians. This is the best care that can be provided to our children during their initial days,” Dr. Alvi said. Aside from President Dr. Alvi and SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, the event was attended by Dr. Faisal Sultan, UNCEF Country Director Aida Girma, National Programme Manager of the Nutrition Program Dr. Baseer Achakzai, as well as noted parliamentarians, representatives of UN organizations, civil society, media, and social activists. Speaking at the event, Dr. Sania highlighted how the Ehsaas programme, through its 48 Ehsaas Nashonuma Centres is contributing to fulfilment of the nutritional needs of children in Pakistan.
Sania speaks to hawkers in Islamabad to gain policy insights
Jan 17, 2021 – Islamabad: In preparations for the upcoming Street Hawkers’ Initiative under Mazdoor ka Ehsaas, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar spent this weekend speaking to hawkers in Islamabad to gain policy insights. She took a round of the small roadside markets in Islamabad, met the hawkers and people present there, and enquired about their problems. “People’s voices are important for effective policy design and implementation”, she said. During interaction, Dr. Sania also apprised hawkers about the Ehsaas Interest Free Loan programme launched by the government for the graduation of poor.
Ehsaas convenes consultation on standardized beneficiary targeting for the upcoming One Window Ehsaas service
Jan 16, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a consultative meeting at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) with all four executing agencies under the stewardship of Ehsaas to develop a collaborative perspective on standardized beneficiary targeting that is one of the components of One Window Ehsaas. Along with Secretary PASSD, Mohammad Ali Shahzada, MD Pakistan Bait ul Mal, Aon Abbas Buppi, and CEO of PPAF, Qazi Azmat Isa attended the meeting. Under the Ehsaas framework, social protection programmes are delivered through respective executing agencies and Ehsaas strategy stipulates that their impact can be maximized through integrated beneficiary service delivery.
Ehsaas digital survey launched in Rawalpindi
Jan 15, 2021 – Rawalpindi: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar inaugurated the Ehsaas survey in Rawalpindi that is being rolled out under the teacher based model. To kick off the survey, Dr. Sania held a press conference with the media and local government teachers at DC Office Rawalpindi to brief them on the end-to-end digital approach and progress with regard to the Ehsaas survey. “This is the first ever computer aided survey that continues in various districts across the country to enrol deserving households in Ehsaas. Overall, the survey is currently 63 percent complete and is progressing smoothly to accomplish by June 2021”, said Dr. Sania. Later, she also visited a village in Tehsil Kahuta of Rawalpindi along with survey team to witness the digital enrolment of a family in survey. At the site, she also interacted with women, listened to their issues and assured full cooperation.
Chief Minister GB calls on SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar to discuss collaborations
January 13, 2021 – Islamabad: The new Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan, Khalid Khurshid called on SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar at Ehsaas Offices in Islamabad. He expressed keen interest to scale up the Ehsaas Nashonuma model of centers across all Tehsils of the province. After the call, they also had a workshop to discuss the next steps for collaboration under Ehsaas Nashonuma.
Sania Nishtar chairs eligibility committee meeting of Ehsaas Tahafuz
January 13, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the eligibility committee meeting of Ehsaas Tahafuz. The committee discussed and revised the eligibility ceiling with regard to the policy on protection against catastrophic health expenditures under Tahafuz programme.
Sania Nishtar convenes meeting with Chairman CDA to flesh out Street Hawkers’ Initiative
January 12, 2021- Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting with Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) to flesh out details of the potential street hawkers’ initiative under Ehsaas. The meeting took place at the Division of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety. At the meeting, Secretary of the Division and Mayor of Islamabad were also present.
‘Ehsaas Delivery Unit’ inaugurated to coordinate results-based operations
January 12, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar inaugurated the Ehsaas Delivery Unit (EDU) in Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) that has been established to track the cadence of delivery across several components of Ehsaas programme. The unit was formally opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Secretary of the Division, Muhammad Ali Shahzada together with EDU team was also present at the ceremony to kick off the new unit. “The EDU will also track implementation of the goals and targets established under the “Performance Agreement” recently signed with the Prime Minister”, said Dr. Sania. EDU is a dedicated unit to lead delivery of Ehsaas strategy. The unit’s overall mandate is folded into four key functions including programme’s strategic roll out, monitoring and evaluation, data analytics, advisory support, and communications and stakeholder engagement, among others. Following Government of Pakistan’s policies and procedures, a relevant team has been hired in the unit to coordinate cross ministerial, interprovincial and intersectoral implementation of Ehsaas.
Ehsaas organizes meeting to discuss next steps for Data4Pakistan Portal
January 11, 2021 – Islamabad: A meeting was held with the team working on Ehsaas Data4Pakistan portal at the Ehsaas premises. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. The meeting discussed next steps for strengthening and quality enhancement of the district development portal. Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, Data4Pakistan is the first initiative of its kind in the country that provides open and public access to a spatial interactive portal that has poverty estimates for every district in Pakistan, along with over 120 development and policy indicators.
Ehsaas Nashonuma steering committee meets for the first time to discuss the roadmap for scaling it up; 48 Nashonuma Centres in 13 districts
January 11, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the introductory meeting of Ehsaas Nashonuma steering committee at Ehsaas’ premises. At the meeting, two federal ministries and six provincial ministries came to the table along with Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, the World Bank, World Food Programme, World Health Organization, Asian Development Bank, UNICEF, Federal Expanded Programme for Immunization, PPAF and Nashonuma operations team from BISP. The steering committee members were briefed on the progress of Ehsaas Nashonuma programme that is being implemented in partnership with the provinces and World Food Programme. Alongside, the steering committee’s ToRs, strategic avenues for scaling up the programme, lessons from the first phase, priorities for quality enhancements, adaptations and integrations introduced in the design and roll out of the programme were discussed. 48 Ehsaas Nashonuma Centres across 13 districts are being established countrywide at the district and Tehsil level health facilities to provide all the services under one roof through the programme.
Dr. Sania launches Ehsaas survey in South Waziristan; briefs local tribal Jirgas
January 9, 2021 – South Waziristan: SAPM made a visit to Wana, South Waziristan to launch Ehsaas survey and meet local tribal jirgas. “I appeal to tribal Jirgas to facilitate survey teams when they go door to door in the region to collect household data. Poverty profiling of the households is being done through a computer aided system and would be completed in the next few months,” Dr. Sania stated while addressing a Jirga, adding that government has executed the new Ehsaas survey on apolitical basis so that no deserving family is left out from the flagship social protection programme. Further, she said, “Ehsaas National Socio-economic Registry Survey is nondiscriminatory in nature and has been rolled out nationwide to benefit the vulnerable irrespective of their religion, ethnicity or area. Tribal people should participate in the survey to get benefits from a multitude of conditional and unconditional cash transfer programmes under Ehsaas.”
Dr. Sania Nishtar meets local tribal Jirgas in Tank
January 9, 2021 -Tank: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Tank district in KP along with Ehsaas team to meet the local tribal jirgas. The survey is 65% complete in Tank. She briefed the elders and influentials of tribal jirgas on the purpose and end-to-end digital approach of ongoing Ehsaas survey. “Ehsaas has launched a new digital survey in southern districts of KP including Tank to benefit deserving households through Ehsaas”, said Dr. Sania. During the visit, she also held a media briefing with the local press and media in Tank to describe the methodology and approach adopted for the Ehsaas survey. She answered the questions of the local media regarding Ehsaas survey and several cash transfer programmes under Ehsaas for the underprivileged. Earlier, Dr. Sania visited a local household in Christian Hospital Colony, Tank to examine the digital registration process through the survey. Full footage of media briefing can be accessed here.
Sania inspects progress of Ehsaas survey in Dera Ismail Khan
Jan 8, 2021- Dera Ismail Khan: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Dera Ismail Khan and briefed local media on the ongoing Ehsaas survey in the district. She interacted with the local press and media to create awareness on the Ehsaas National Socio-economic Registry survey. Later, Dr. Sania visited a survey site outside the district in Thoya Fazil area to inspect the digital registration process of the local household through survey. “The survey is currently 22 percent complete in Dera Ismail Khan and is progressing smoothly to accomplish soon. Nationwide, the Ehsaas survey on poverty profiling stands 61% complete and will be concluded before June 2021”, the statement quoted Dr. Sania as saying. Connecting with the masses in Dera Ismail Khan, Dr. Sania also appeared in the Radio Pakistan’s Ehsaas special programme and apprised listeners about ongoing Ehsaas initiatives including survey in southern districts of KP. Full footage of media briefing can be accessed here.
Ehsaas Cash payments to families of dead beneficiaries ongoing till Feb 28, 2021
January 7, 2021- Islamabad: Following the due diligence process, Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments to families of eligible dead beneficiaries have been ongoing since December 2020 and so far, 24,829 families have withdrawn cash nationwide. Overall, 169,107 applications were received by Ehsaas till September 30, 2020 out of which 65,954 have been processed; of these 5,024 cases were ineligible. Furthermore, of the currently approved 60,930 applications, payments are currently being made to 23,464 families and bank accounts of 12,637 families are being opened and analysed this month. Also, SMS messages featuring details of payments to next of kin of dead beneficiaries are being sent accordingly. The scrutiny of 103,153 applications is presently ongoing and once the due diligence is completed, the disbursements will be made to all eligible applicant families till February 28, 2021.
PM briefed about ‘no one goes to sleep hungry’ initiative planned under Ehsaas
January 6, 2021- Islamabad: The Prime Minister Imran Khan presided over a briefing meeting about the measures for Ehsaas “no one goes to sleep hungry” programme. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM in detail about the initiative. The Prime Minister was told that as per his vision, the provision of meals would be ensured through Ehsaas under a coordinated strategy after the identification of areas facing the danger of food shortage. PM while appreciating proposal of providing food to deserving people stressed to ensure on priority basis the identification of such areas where people were deprived of two-time meals due to economic hardships. Dr. Sania also briefed the PM about Ehsaas Donor Portal under which besides the receipt of donations at individual and institutional levels, the donors would also be able to get details of expenditures through digitalised and automated system. After the completion of preparatory work, this programme will be launched by the end of first quarter of current year.
Sania convenes the maiden meeting of Ehsaas steering committee for Waseela-e-Taleem Digital
Jan 6, 2021 – Islamabad: A maiden meeting of the Ehsaas steering committee for Waseela-e-Taleem Digital, an education conditional cash transfer programme was convened under the chair of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. The steering committee members were briefed on the massively reformed Waseela-e-Taleem Digital that has been scaled up through end-to-end digitization, cost effective changes in institutional infrastructure, new stipend policy, and nationwide expansion across all districts. The steering committee reviewed the programme performance, discussed the way forward and explored options to enhance the outcomes of the programme capitalizing on conditionalities introduced in the programme. The meeting brought together members of the steering committee from Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Education and Professional Training, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Education Departments from provinces including AJK and GB who were joined by Waseela-e-Taleem Digital operations team.
Dr. Sania Nishtar joins participants of 113th National Management Course
Jan 4, 2020: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar conducted a review session with participants of 113th National Management Course at National Management College Lahore. The session was part of the mandatory training for civil servants organized by the Establishment Division. Dr. Sania reviewed the work of the group of specialized domain training workshop of the course comprising senior officers who had developed a national policy and strategy paper on social protection. During the session, she also briefed the audience about new directions in social protection.
Sania says Ehsaas will invite hackers to identify digital security vulnerabilities
Dec 30, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the joint meeting of Risk Assurance and Management, and Audit Committees of BISP board, where a number of agenda items were discussed. Since Ehsaas’ operations are largely digital, it is critical to ensure that IT safety measures are in place; more than 100 steps have been taken to secure the IT system in that regard over the last 2 years, since she took over, Dr. Sania informed the committee members. “We will be organizing a hackers competition inviting ethical hackers to outline our vulnerabilities”, she said. Ehsaas will be the first public sector entity to implement a Vulnerability Disclosure Policy that is intended to give ethical hackers clear guidelines for submitting potentially unknown and harmful security vulnerabilities. The discussion of the Risk Committee mainly centered on internal and external audits, Ehsaas Risk Registry, Error Fraud and Corruption Framework, implementation of security safeguards within the organization and setting up of the Cyber Control Wing. Also, under observation were Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and Observatory and how the organization was faring against 23 indicators of the policy and observatory to gauge the performance of BISP.
Provincial Minister of Punjab for Livestock and Dairy Development calls on Dr. Sania Nishtar
Dec 30, 2020 – Islamabad: Provincial Minister of Punjab for Livestock and Dairy Development, Sardar Hasnain Bahadar called on SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. He shared important insights about the importance of livestock for improving the lives of the disadvantaged under Ehsaas Amdan. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Muhammad Ali Shahzada and Secretary BISP, Yousuf Khan were also present.
Dr. Sania spot-checks the quality of service at Tarlai Panagah in Islamabad
Dec 27, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made an unannounced visit to Tarlai Panagah (shelter home) in Islamabad. The visit meant to spot-check the quality of food and shelter services being provided to needy labourers. During the visit, she interacted with the labourers and staff at the Panagah and checked the compliance of prioritized catering and living standards.