UN Women Country Rep calls on Dr. Sania Nishtar

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

All transgenders declared eligible in Ehsaas Kafaalat; Ehsaas school stipends extended to higher secondary level

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 Initiative being 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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’

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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

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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’

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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

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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

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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

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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 nationwidePublic 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

https://youtu.be/J2u5e4HtQVo

PM reviews Ehsaas Kafaalat disbursal operations in Sukkur, Sindh

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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’

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Dr. Sania Nishtar pays a surprise visit to an old age home

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Dec 24, 2020 – Islamabad: To explore what the government needs to do to support private sector that runs old age homes, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a surprise visit to an old age home in suburbs of Islamabad. She was accompanied by Managing Director Pakistan Bait ul Mal. At the old age home, she met with the elderly people living there without families and reviewed facilities.

Dr. Sania Nishtar convenes a half day strategy session to plan new Kafaalat reforms

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Dec 24, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a half day strategy session to plan the second generation reforms under the Ehsaas Kafaalat. The session was attended by the BISP team responsible for the implementation of Kafaalat programme. BISP is one of the 34 executing agencies of Ehsaas. The meeting featured a working session on improving the quality of service for Kafaalat beneficiaries, which later presented recommendations for onward reforms.

President chairs a conference on national initiatives to address gender based discrepancies

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Dec 23, 2020 – Islamabad: Chairing a conference on national initiatives to address gender based discrepancies and for the promotion of legal, economic and social empowerment of women, President Dr. Arif Alvi said that women could not be empowered without their economic empowerment. Speaking at the closing session of the event, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar outlined myriad measures taken under the Ehsaas 50%+Benefits Policy to stipulate equality and socio-economic transformation of disadvantaged women. The conference was also attended by Law Minister Farogh Nasim, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood, Information Minister Shibli Faraz, SAPM on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan, and others.

Ehsaas holds a consultative meeting on data protection bill

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Dec 23, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas held a consultative meeting with the World Bank to discuss the data protection bill. The discussion took place at the BISP headquarters and was attended by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, senior officials of Ehsaas and experts from the World Bank.

Ehsaas Tahafuz and Ehsaas Delivery Unit meetings take place under the chair of SAPM Dr. Sania

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Dec 21, 2020 – Islamabad: At the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened two back to back Ehsaas meetings. The first meeting was held with Ehsaas Tahafuz team to take stock of progress and review where last-minute snags need to be addressed before the pilot execution. The second meeting took place with the Ehsaas Delivery Unit team to review the cadence of delivery across several components of the Ehsaas program. In both meetings, Secretary PASSD and Joint Secretary PASSD were also in attendance.

SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chairs the 44th meeting of BISP board

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Dec 18, 2020 – Islamabad: The 44th board meeting of BISP took place at the BISP headquarters in Islamabad. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. BISP is one of the 34 implementing agencies of Ehsaas. Since Dec 2018, when Dr. Sania took over as a board chair, 15 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 Secretary BISP, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, and senior officials and representatives from the Finance Division, Economic Affairs Division, NADRA and private sector.

Ehsaas hosts a knowledge sharing session on digital and financial inclusion with experts

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Dec 18, 2020 -Islamabad: Ehsaas virtually hosted a knowledge sharing session on, ‘Digital & Financial Inclusion’ with global experts and international practitioners. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the session together with Ehsaas team. The session aimed to discuss transition towards opening of mobile wallets for Ehsaas beneficiaries, who are at the bottom of the pyramid. With the view to review and reflect on experiences and lessons gained, the session brought together practitioners from South Africa, Bangladesh, Columbia and Pakistan.

Dr. Sania visits a Panagah in Rawalpindi

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Dec 18, 2020 – Rawalpindi: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited a Panagah (shelter home) in Raja Bazar, Rawalpindi. She interacted with the residents and inquired about their well-being. She also took round of the Panagah to see the infrastructure and facilities. Chairman Rawalpindi Development Authority briefed her about the arrangements made at the facility to serve food and shelter to the deserving in this extremely cold weather. Dr. Sania appreciated the state of cleanliness and well managed facilities at the Panagah. Talking to newsmen, Dr. Sania said that Prime Minister has instructed the launch of more Panagahs for the deserving and in the next phase, Panagahs across the country would gradually be remodeled.

Sania inaugurates digitally enabled Ehsaas survey in Sialkot

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Dec 17, 2020 – Sialkot: Under the newly introduced model, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar inaugurated the digitally enabled Ehsaas survey, in Pakistan’s most industrialized district, Sialkot. The inaugurated model is principally centred on the fast-track approach to implement the survey across Sialkot in collaboration with provincial school education department of Punjab under the technical supervision of Ehsaas. The new survey is being rolled out in all areas of Sialkot through computer assisted approach. While in Sialkot, Dr. Sania also held an interactive briefing with the media to brief them on the progress and constraints with regard to the ongoing national Ehsaas survey. “The entire survey registry is expected to be completed across the country before June 2021”, shared Dr. Sania. Later, she also visited a local household in the Sialkot Tehsil of the district to oversee the digital enrolment of the family through survey.

WB doubles its assistance for Ehsaas; PM briefed in a meeting with SAPM Dr. Sania and Country Director WB

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Dec 14, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan was briefed that the World Bank (WB) has doubled its assistance for Ehsaas, which would ensure social protection of maximum deserving people through the program. The PM was told this during a meeting with SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar and Country Director World Bank Najy Benhassine, who called on him. The World Bank’s Country Director declared the Ehsaas program as a flagship social protection program of the government and a role model for other countries. The PM directed Dr. Sania to formulate a comprehensive strategy for the expansion of Ehsaas program.

President appreciates the Ehsaas Kafaalat Policy for Special Persons

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Dec 14, 2020 – Islamabad: Chairing a meeting at the Aiwan-e-Sadr , about the registration of special persons, President Dr. Arif Alvi appreciated measures being taken under ‘Ehsaas Kafaalat Policy for Special Persons’ to address the needs of special persons and encourage their active participation in the society. He also underlined the need for simplifying the process of registration of special persons to facilitate them. The meeting was attended by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, Chairman National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Usman Yousuf Mobin and other senior officials. The President was briefed by Dr. Sania and NADRA Chairman on the steps currently being taken for the registration of special persons.

Dr. Sania makes early morning surprise visits to Kafaalat campsite and Panagah in Islamabad

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Dec 11, 2020 – Islamabad: Early morning, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a surprise visit to the campsite at Karachi Company, Islamabad. During the visit, she interacted with agents of partnering bank- HBL and Kafaalat beneficiary women who had arrived to withdraw Kafaalat cash. During the visit, Dr. Sania was pleased to find that the two police functionaries meant to be there on time were present and were fulfilling their duties. It was followed by another surprise visit to Panagah at G-9, Islamabad. At the Panagah, she witnessed that all the staff including shift incharge and accountant were there in office. The cleaner was cleaning and a houseboy was changing sheets and everything was in order. Dr. Sania was informed that more than a 100 daily wagers had slept in the Panagah last night.

Dr. Sania and Country Director WB conduct a global knowledge sharing session on one window delivery

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 Dec 11, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar and Country Director, The World Bank Pakistan, Najy Benhassine conducted a knowledge sharing session on one window delivery models. The session brought together international experts from around the world to exchange global experience and best practices centred on one window solutions. “Ehsaas is structuring One Window operations which is a single-window information and service approach for better access to multiple Ehsaas programs. This global experience sharing will help us refine our One Window strategy”, said Dr. Sania.

Sania Nishtar addresses a street vending webinar organized by PIDE

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Dec 10, 2020 -Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited by PIDE to address a webinar, ‘Street Vendors in Islamabad – Voices from the Ground’.  The event was meant to present voices of both regulators and regulatees of local street economy. Addressing the webinar, Dr. Sania said, “Thank you PIDE for your work in the area of ‘Street Vending’—a critical contributor to livelihood promotion for the poor.” She further added, “Thanks for conducting a recent street vendors’ survey and sharing details. It will result in a more participatory approach for a strive to resolve this intractable issue.” Other expert panelists who came to the table were- Shahid Mahmood Member Planning Capital Development Authority, Shafaq Hashmi Chief Officer Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad, Zia Banday Senior Fellow PIDE, Fazal Hayat Coordinator of Street Vendors’ Survey Team, and Bedar Bakht and Muhammad Sajid Street Vendors from Karachi Company Islamabad. PIDE has teamed up with Ehsaas to establish an evidence-based support for the government to streamline governance and livelihood of street vendors in Pakistan.

Sir Michael Barber’s independent report says Ehsaas represents shift from politics of patronage to politics of performance

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Dec 10, 2020 – Islamabad: Islamabad: In a press conference jointly hosted by Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MOIB) Pakistan, Sir Michael Barber connected virtually from UK to unveil his independent report entitled, ‘The Ehsaas Programme: Shift from politics of patronage to politics of performance’, together with SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar and Federal Minister for MOIB, Shibli Faraz. The full footage of the press conference can be watched here. Sir Michael Barber is the Chairman and Founder of Delivery Associates. He is one of the world’s leading education reformers, and from 2001 to 2005 was Chief Advisor on Delivery to Prime Minister Tony Blair. His Ehsaas report mainly analyses the first year of the Government’s flagship programme. Outlining the initial steps taken to establish the programme to be transparent, multisectoral and results-driven, it goes on to highlight some of the major achievements to date. The full report can be accessed here.

Sania Nishtar visits a payment campsite in Kahuta to meet Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries

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Dec 10, 2020 – Islamabad: Together with senior Ehsaas officials, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made an early morning visit to the payment campsite in Kahuta to meet Kafaalat beneficiaries. The visit holistically reviewed Kafaalat operations in the field so that evidence-based improvements can be made where needed. Dr. Sania also reviewed special arrangements that were made with regard to prevention against spread of the COVID-19. She was briefed on Kafaalat payments in the area by Assistant Commissioner, Kahuta and Assistant Director of Ehsaas in Kahuta. Later, Dr. Sania also visited a biometric ATM at the local branch of partnering bank, HBL to witness Kafaalat cash withdrawals.

Sania tracks the status of Ehsaas Delivery System

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Dec 9, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar held a meeting with Ehsaas team to track the status of Ehsaas Delivery System that is end to end digital. During the meeting, she thoroughly reviewed the status of implementation of more than 140 Ehsaas  actions, initiatives and programs. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and Additional Secretary PASSD were also present in the meeting.

Advisor Finance and SAPM Dr. Sania discuss options with regard to wheat subsidy

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Dec 9, 2020 – Islamabad: A meeting was held between the Advisor Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar at the Ministry of Finance in Islamabad. The Advisor Finance and Dr. Sania discussed different options with regard to the wheat subsidy. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division Secretary Finance also joined the meeting.

Sania briefs Prime Minister about progress of various Ehsaas initiatives

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Dec 8, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar met with the Prime Minister Imran Khan to give an overview of the progress of several social protection and poverty alleviation initiatives under the umbrella of Ehsaas. The PM was briefed on the data analytics and data cleaning system within Ehsaas, status of Ehsaas Kafaalat payments and integrity promoting measures, phase wise execution of Ehsaas Survey, and the upcoming Ehsaas Tahafuz and One Window Ehsaas initiatives. Dr. Nishtar also briefed the PM about amendments being made in laws of Pakistan Bait ul Mal in terms of its mandate to support Panagahs.

Dr. Sania Nishtar convenes a meeting to review preparations for the upcoming Ehsaas Tahafuz

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Dec 8, 2020: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar along with Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division Muhammad Ali Shahzada convened a meeting to review preparations for Ehsaas Tahafuz. The Ehsaas team working on the upcoming program briefed Dr. Sania on progress for the pilot roll out of Tahafuz. Concluding the meeting, Dr. Sania commented, “Tahafuz is Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net being introduced under the umbrella of Ehsaas. We are close to completing Tahafuz operations to protect the vulnerable against catastrophic health expenditures.”

Sania joins the annual meeting of the SUN Lead Group 2020

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Dec 7, 2020: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to join the annual meeting of the SUN Lead Group (SLG) 2020 in her capacity as a lead group member. The participants met virtually to decide on the continuation of the SUN Movement into its next phase. The SLG is appointed by the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres. Its 28 members guide the SUN Movement in its mission toward a world free from malnutrition, in all its forms, by 2030. Along with Dr. Sania Nishtar, other SLG members include; Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina President of the African Development Bank from Nigeria, David Beasley Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Annette Dixon Vice President World Bank Group Human Resources from New Zealand, Chris Elias President Global Development of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Shenggen Fan Chair Professor of China Agricultural University from China, Henrietta H. Fore Executive Director of UNICEF and Chair of the SUN Movement Lead Group, Sophie Healy-Thow Youth Leader from Ireland, Shinichi Kitaoka President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency and several others.

Sania visits Ehsaas Kafaalat campsite in Mianwali to review payment operations

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Dec 5, 2020 – Mianwali: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar along with Ehsaas team made a visit to the Ehsaas Kafaalat campsite and ATM facilities in Mianwali to review payment operations in the district. At the campsite, she met with Kafaalat beneficiary women to identify payment issues and provide easy solutions. The visit also featured meetings with regional stakeholders, district administration and the partnering bank- HBL. Since the payments have begun at the start of this week, Dr. Sania and her team is in the field everyday to gain insights for improving the quality of the massive Ehsaas Kafaalat disbursal operations in the country.

Ehsaas launches web-portal for Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries to report biometric failures

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Dec 4, 2020 – Islamabad: Safeguarding specialized measures to resolve payment issues being faced by recipients of Ehsaas Kafaalat, a web-portal has been launched by Ehsaas to receive complaints of biometric failures. The new portal has been designed to solicit applications of Kafaalat beneficiaries in an easy four-step process. As part of the complaint mechanism, Deputy Commissioners, Assistant Commissioners, staff of partnering banks- Habib Bank Limited and Alfalah Bank and field staff of Ehsaas will be able to generate complaint applications of biometric failures by entering full name, Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) number and contact number of beneficiary along with his or her own contact number to facilitate easy tracking and follow up. With the submission of online application, the portal instantaneously auto-generates the unique reference number for each Kafaalat applicant. Portal here.

 

Sania meets Ehsaas Kafaalat recipients at a school-site camp in Kallar Syedan Rawalpindi

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Dec 4, 2020 – Rawalpindi: To meet Kafaalat beneficiaries and gain insights, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited a school-site camp in Kallar Syedan Tehsil of Rawalpindi. During the visit, she met with women who were waiting for their turn to receive payment. She sat with them in the queue, listened to their problems, and assured easy solutions. She also advised the bank and Ehsaas regional staff to process payments speedily so that Kafaalat recipients do not have to wait too long for collecting their stipends. Senior representatives of district administration Rawalpindi were also present at the site.

 

President convenes meeting on financial inclusion with Ehsaas, SBP and other stakeholders

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Dec 4, 2020 – Islamabad: The President of Pakistan Dr. Aif Alvi convened two back-to-back meetings; one on financial inclusion for the differently abled and the other centered on financial inclusion for women. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar and Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir joined for the briefing since State Bank and Ehsaas have an important role in both areas. Other stakeholders including Chairman Pakistan Banks Association (PBA)/President Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Muhammad Aurangzeb and the CEOs/Presidents of 27 leading banks of the country also participated via video-link. Addressing the meeting, President Dr. Alvi emphasized that it was essential to bring differently-abled and women into the mainstream and empower them socio-economically.

Sania meets Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries in Hazro

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Dec 3, 2020 – Attock: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Ehsaas Kafaalat payment camp in Hazro. At the site, she met with Kafaalat beneficiaries who were waiting for their turn to receive payment. “It was heartbreaking to hear the stories of women lining up to receive Kafaalat cash. Most of them were wives of daily wage earners and had a sick member in the family, but it was also deeply humbling to learn how much they value Ehsaas cash, said Dr. Sania while talking to media. Later, she met with Kafaalat recipients at Habib Bank’s ATM in Hazro to get their feedback on the quality of service. During the visit, she was accompanied by Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of the area.

Ehsaas Kafaalat Policy for special persons launched; 2 million households to benefit

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Dec 3, 2020 – Islamabad: This international day of special persons, the Ehsaas Kafaalat Policy is being expanded to benefit 2 million families with at least one disabled person. Taking to twitter @ImranKhanPTI, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “Two million families will benefit under the new ‘Ehsaas Kafaalat Policy for Special Persons’. They will be eligible for a monthly stipend of Rs. 2000. This is a step toward a disability-inclusive, and sustainable post COVID-19 world.” The 7 million families which are currently eligible under Ehsaas Kafaalat fall under the poverty ranking threshold of 29 that is determined by the Proxy Means Test. Under the new “Ehsaas Kafaalat for Special Persons Policy”, this threshold is being increased to 37 for such households with at least one special person. These households will now be eligible to get Ehsaas Kafaalat cash. “Ehsaas believes in an inclusive approach to ensure that special persons in our society are not left behind and they can assess equal opportunities. Realizing the Ehsaas’ commitment to uplift the special persons, each family with a special person will now get Rs. 2000 per month through Kafaalat. Only one benefit per family will be given”, said SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar.

Ehsaas and Provincial Health Ministry of Punjab discuss collaborations on Nutrition projects

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Dec 2, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas convened a meeting with Provincial Minister for Health Punjab Dr. Yasmeen Rashid and Secretary Health Punjab. The meeting was chaired by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. The virtual session featured useful discussions to collaborate and ensure there is no duplication vis-a-vis Ehsaas Nashonuma and Nutrition Project of the provincial government of Punjab.

SAPM Dr. Sania visits HBL branch in Islamabad to assist beneficiaries with Ehsaas Kafaalat payments through ATM

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Dec 2, 2020 – Islamabad: To oversee Kafaalat cash withdrawals through ATM, Dr. Sania went to an HBL branch located at Melody Market in Islamabad. During the visit, she assessed the quality of cash withdrawal services through ATMs, interacted with Kafaalat beneficiaries and explained to them how to withdraw Kafaalat cash and check their balance on an ATM. “The Ehsaas digital payment system encourages women to go to biometric ATMs and branches of banks, empowering them through financial inclusion, said SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar while briefing media. “I would encourage Kafaalat beneficiary women to withdraw cash through ATM machines of designated partner banks, wherever possible. It will not just protect them from corrupt financial mistreatment, but bank branches and ATMs also serve them with a receipt detailing transparent record of available cash balance in their saving accounts”, she further added.

Sania visits newly opened Ehsaas Kafaalat Payment Site in Tarnol; reviews construction work of Tarnol Panagah

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Dec 1, 2020 – Islamabad: The Ehsaas Kafaalat tranche for the period July 2020 – December 2020 has been released this week. With the release of Kafaalat tranche nationwide, biometrically enabled payment operations have also been mobilized in the entire country to serve Kafaalat recipients. To review arrangements, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to a Kafaalat Payment site in Tarnol area of Islamabad. At the site, she met with Kafaalat beneficiaries who had arrived to collect Rs. 12,000 payment for the period July 2020-December 2020. She also witnessed biometrically driven cash withdrawal demonstrations along with COVID-19 protective safeguards. Later in the day, Dr. Sania also visited Panagah (shelter home) being built in Tarnol. She took round of the site and reviewed the progress of construction work. Aon Abbas Buppi, Managing Director Pakistan Bait ul Mal gave an overview of the construction work being done at the site. PM’s Focal Person on Panagah Naseem ur Rehman and other senior officials were also present.

International policymakers applaud Ehsaas’ whole of the government approach at UNDP’s #NextGenGov event

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Nov 30, 2020: UNDP hosted a high-level webinar on ‘#NextGenGov- Whole of the Government Integrated Social Protection Policy Response to COVID-19’. The regional learning session brought together senior policymakers spearheading ‘whole of government’ approach in their social protection policies and systems to reflect on the lessons of COVID-19. Three countries were invited- Pakistan, Malaysia and Canada. Together with SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, Dr. Jamila Mahmood, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Pia Andrews Advisor to Government of Canada shared the ‘whole of government’ experiences in their respective countries. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sania outlined the experience of Ehsaas Emergency Cash and how the programme pioneered a new policy approach. She described how a ‘whole of the government approach was adopted to deliver emergency cash assistance to 15 million vulnerable countywide.

Ehsaas Kafaalat tranche commences countrywide; Sania reviews field operations with stakeholders

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Nov 30, 2020 -Islamabad: With the commencement of Ehsaas Kafaalat tranche countrywide,  SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar met with the Ehsaas team to review operational matters first thing in the morning. “Integrity and transparency is our core priority in these operations, she emphasized. Later in the day, Dr. Sania virtually convened operational meeting with field stakeholders. This time we are encouraging beneficiaries of Ehsaas Kafaalat to also use ATMs for receiving payments. The first report from the field (Punjab & Sindh) after a few minutes of opening of payments shows more withdrawals from ATMs compared with withdrawals through agents”, said Dr. Sania while addressing the meeting.

UN Resident Coordinator calls on SAPM Sania Nishtar

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Nov 30, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was called on by Julien Harneis, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan at Ehsaas Headquarters in Islamabad. The meeting was just a courtesy call. Secretary BISP Yusuf Khan was also present on the occasion. Thanking the UN Resident Coordinator for his visit, Dr. Sania said, “Ehsaas values its collaboration with the UN system.”

SAPM Dr. Sania and Minister for Information Shibli Faraz review Ehsaas Communications Strategy

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Nov 30, 2020 – Islamabad: A meeting was held between SAPM Dr. Sanai Nishtar and Minister for information & Broadcasting Shibli Faraz to review Ehsaas’ beneficiary centred and instructional-in-nature communications strategy. The meeting explored how best the two Ministries could exploit synergy with regard to the role of Ehsaas communications. In the meeting, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Secretary Ministry for Information and Broadcasting, Principal Information Officer and other senior officials from Ehsaas and Information Ministry were also present.

Ehsaas Kafaalat payments for July-December kick off. PM briefed on integrity measures taken to protect the payment system

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Nov 27, 2020 -Islamabad: Prime Minister visited the Ehsaas Kafaalat Payment site at Jinnah Sports Complex in Islamabad to kick off payments to 7 million beneficiaries. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM about several measures that have been taken to improve the quality of payments and to ensure protection against cyber-attacks. This time round, women can access banks and take money out from ATMs. The Ehsaas Kafaalat payment will be made in phases. Phase-I has commenced today where payments would start for 4.3 million women beneficiaries. Each beneficiary will be paid Rs. 12,000 covering the period Jul-Dec 2020. PM has already given approval to increase this number to 7 million women. Payments to additional beneficiaries will be made Dec 2020 onwards and the process will be completed in the current fiscal year. During the visit, the PM was also shown the trial run of the operations of “Ehsaas One Woman One Bank Account”. From next year onwards, Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries will have the option of either drawing their money or saving money into digital wallets.

Sania discusses matters related to Nutrition with Coordinator SUN Movement

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November 26, 2020: Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation held a virtual meeting with Gerda Verburg, Coordinator and UN Assistant Secretary-General, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting discussed several important matters related to Nutrition. 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.

Dr. Sania speaks at AKU’s webinar on women in science and global health

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November 25, 2020: Aga Khan University Institute for Global Health and Development hosted a webinar on Women in Science and Global Health. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was invited to speak at the webinar alongside Anita Zaidi Professor, Division of Women and Child Health, AKU and President of Gender Equality, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The event was moderated by Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, distinguished University Professor & Founding Director, Institute for Global Health and Development, Aga Khan University.

Dr. Sania shares details about Ehsaas Nashonuma at World Prematurity Day event hosted by UNICEF

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Nov 25, 2020 -Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak as a guest of honour at an event hosted virtually by UNICEF Pakistan. The theme of the event was, “Together for babies born too soon – Caring for the future.” Speaking at the event, Dr. Sania shared details about the recently launched Ehsaas Nashonuma programme with a view to building synergy. Other speakers included Dr. Nausheen Hamid from Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination, Prof. Dr. Irfan Waheed Head of Neonatology at Children’s Hospital Lahore, Prof. Dr. Syeda Batool Head of Gynaecology at PIMS Islamabad, Prof. Dr. Rubina Sohail Head of Gynaecology at Services Hospital Lahore and Aida Girma Country Representative UNICEF Pakistan.

SAPM Sania Nishtar connects with Chief Secretary KP to discuss the progress of Ehsaas Survey in KP

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Nov 25, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar along with senior official of Ehsaas connected with Chief Secretary KP and Provincial Minister of Education KP in a high-level virtual meeting. The meeting discussed progress and constraints with regard to the Ehsaas survey underway in KP under the new model. “With regular stocktakes, the already good momentum of the Ehsaas Survey will accelerate further”, commented Dr. Nishtar. She also thanked the KP government for all their support and facilitation in the execution of the Ehsaas survey across the province.

Sania Nishtar on the list of BBC 100 Women 2020

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November 24, 2020 – Islamabad: The BBC has revealed its list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2020. This year 100 Women is highlighting those who are leading change and making a difference during these turbulent times. This is an absolute honour for Pakistan that this year’s BBC list includes SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, who leads Ehsaas programme along with Sanna Marin, who leads Finland’s all-female coalition government and Sarah Gilbert, who heads the Oxford University research into a coronavirus vaccine. This distinction has been conferred upon Dr. Sania for her work and contribution in poverty alleviation, global health and development. “The dramatic impact of Covid-19 presents us with a once-in-a-generation chance to build a fairer world and bring an end to poverty, inequality and the climate crisis. For this, women must be equal, empowered stakeholders”, said Dr. Sania. The list of BBC 100 Women can be accessed here.

Ehsaas and UNDP think through ways to work together on digital governance

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November 23, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar met with UNDP Pakistan team led by Tariq Malik, Chief Technical Advisor on Digital Governance. The meeting aimed to think through ways in which digital interventions can help Ehsaas in improving quality of Ehsaas survey data, case management, and grievance redressal systems.

Sania reviews a 3-year technology transformation plan for Ehsaas

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Nov 23, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a half-a-day meeting with Secretary Yusuf Khan to review the three year technology transformation plan for Ehsaas program. The technology transformational plan was presented by the new DG technology. The review meeting took stock of the progress so far and discussed clear milestones for the next three years.

Sania appeals to citizens during visit to Peshawar, asks them to participate in the Ehsaas Survey

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Nov 21, 2020 – Peshawar: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Ehsaas team officials visited Peshawar today to track Ehsaas Survey interventions rolled out three months back as part of the new survey model in KP. While in the provincial capital, Dr. Nishtar was briefed about the progress of an ongoing Ehsaas National Socioeconomic Registry Survey operations in various districts of KP including Malakand, Karak, Tank, D.I. Khan, Bannu, Hangu, Kohat, Swabi and Peshawar. Following the briefing, she went to an Ehsaas Survey site at Sikandarabad, Peshawar to oversee the ongoing Ehsaas survey activities. At the site, she witnessed the Ehsaas survey demonstration with  a local household and made an appeal to families across the country. “Please collaborate with survey staff when they come to your houses and help them access data, which becomes the basis of the socioeconomic status and that determines eligibility/entitlements with regard to the Ehsaas program”, she said.

SAPM Dr. Sania interacts with Bank Alfalah’s retailers at a Kafaalat preparatory training in Peshawar

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Nov 21, 2020 – Peshawar: Ehsaas’ partnering bank, Bank Alfalah had organized a series of technical training sessions this week for their retail agents in KP, GB and AJK. This training was part of preparations for the upcoming tranche of Ehsaas Kafaalat to be released next week. The training sessions basically aimed to train the Bank Alfalah retail agents to better execute digital payments to Ehsaas beneficiaries in the field. To connect with the bank’s retail agents from the field, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited a training site in Peshawar. During the visit, she interacted with the Bank Alfalah staff and retail agents and listened to their experiences with regard to the biometrically enabled Ehsaas Kafaalat disbursements in the field. Dr. Nishtar advised retail agents to ensure utmost transparency in making cash disbursements to the Ehsaas Kafaalat families. Bank Alfalah is responsible for Ehsaas disbursements to Kafaalat beneficiaries in KP, GB and AJK.

SAPM Dr. Sania joins HBL Konnect retailers at a Kafaalat preparatory training in Islamabad

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Nov 20, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas’ partnering bank, Habib Bank Limited (HBL) had organized a series of technical training sessions this week for their Konnect retail agents in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. This training was part of preparations for the upcoming tranche of Ehsaas Kafaalat to be released next week. The training basically aimed to train the HBL Konnect retail agents to better execute digital payments to Ehsaas beneficiaries in the field. To connect with retail agents from the field, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited a training site in Islamabad. During the visit, she interacted with the HBL staff and Konnect retail agents and listened to their experiences on the biometrically enabled Ehsaas Kafaalat disbursements in the field. Dr. Nishtar advised retail agents to ensure utmost transparency in making cash disbursements to the Ehsaas Kafaalat families. HBL is responsible for Ehsaas disbursements to Kafaalat beneficiaries in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.

Sania conducts a meeting to review the integrity features of the upcoming Ehsaas Tahafuz

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November 18, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired a meeting with the team working on the design of the Ehsaas Tahafuz pilot. The meeting reviewed the integrity and transparency features of Ehsaas Tahafuz program. “Giving priority to transparency is key in forthcoming Ehsaas Tahafuz. We are making sure the system is fully watertight from integrity perspective”, said Dr. Nishtar. The Ehsaas team has been working for the last year and a half to set up institutional arrangements and the technological backbone for this shock oriented safety net under the Ehsaas umbrella. Tahafuz aims to protect people from catastrophic health expenditures and is being pilot tested in one hospital, this quarter, following which it will be scaled up in the last quarter of the year 2020-21.

Poverty Alleviation Division and Ministry of National Food Security explore partnership options to serve poor

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November 17, 2020 – Islamabad: Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and Ministry of National Food Security and Research came to the table to explore partnership options. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. The meeting discussed ways about how the two Federal Ministries could exploit synergies to serve people better. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Muhammad Ali Shahzada and Secretary National Food Security and Research, Ghufran Memon were also in attendance. The Ministry of National Food Security & Research is mainly responsible for policy formulation, economic coordination and planning in respect of food grain and agriculture.

Prime Minister’s COVID Relief Fund sets a precedent: transparent expenditure trail of 4.8 billion revealed

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November 16, 2020 – Islamabad: The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Policy Committee overseeing the Prime Minister’s COVID Relief Fund to review fund utilization details. The fund was established in March 2020 to raise funds for COVID 19 affectees. The fund received generous donations from within Pakistan and overseas. 4.8 Billion accumulated in the fund of which 1.08 was donated by international donors and 3.8 billion was contributed domestically. Earlier this year, the PM had publicly announced two policies with respect to this fund, committing that these funds would be disbursed through Ehsaas Emergency Cash to assist COVID 19 job loss affectees. Secondly, a “matching funds policy” was announced which stipulated that for every rupee donated into the fund, Rs. 4 would be matched by the Government. To fulfill this promise, Rs. 19.55 Billion have been matched by the Government—in total 24.43 billion. This amount has supported 2 million families, each of which received Rs. 12,000 each as Ehsaas Emergency cash through this funding stream (out of the total of 15 million who received Ehsaas Emergency cash).

PM approves increase in Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries to 7 million

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Nov 14, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has granted approval to increase the number of beneficiary households of the Ehsaas Kafaalat program from 4.6 million to 7 million. PM’s approval came in a meeting regarding preparations for the Ehsaas Kafaalat. Addressing the meeting, the PM said that the pandemic has adversely affected the poor populations and there is a dire need for furthering the scope of the Ehsaas program. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the meeting that the COVID-19 crisis has increased the adversities of the marginalized segments worldwide and many countries have provided economic packages for the public good. She said that Pakistan is one of those countries which successfully fought against the pandemic and emergency cash assistance allocated by the government for the public welfare are being widely lauded by international organizations and the United Nations. The meeting was also attended by PM’s Finance Adviser Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and other senior officers. The Ehsaas Kafaalat is a flagship social protection program of the government that provides monthly cash stipend of Rs. 2,000 along with saving bank account to the disadvantaged women across the country.

PM announces countrywide roll out of Ehsaas’ Taleemi-wazaef; inaugurates Dar-ul-Ehsaas during visit to Turbat

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November 13, 2020 – Turbat: The Prime Minister during his visit to Turbat was briefed by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar about the nation-wide rollout of Ehsaas’ Taleemi-wazaef for primary school going children under Waseela-e-Taleem Digital program. The PM joined the children and their parents to witness new enrolments of deserving children in Waseela-e-Taleem Digital. Following a briefing on the recent deep-rooted reforms introduced in Waseela e Taleem Digital under the umbrella of Ehsaas, Prime Minister oversaw details of a girl child being entered in the end-to-end digital system. At the site, he also witnessed the payment being made to the child’s mother. PM also inaugurated newly established Dar-ul-Ehsaas for the orphans and poor children of southern Balochistan where free shelter, food and education would be provided. He also met with students of Turbat University who were awarded Ehsaas undergraduate scholarships last year.

SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joins UNDP’s Future of Development Strategy Lab hosted by UNDP

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Nov 12, 2020: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the ‘Future of Development Strategy Lab on Futures and Complexity’ hosted by UNDP New York. Future of Development Lab brought together a diverse mix of experts from very different professions and walks of life to explore possible future trajectories for development. Other international experts included Aaron Maniam from Singapore,  Achim Steiner from Germany, Anne Marie Slaughter from USA, Azeem Ahar from UK, Sir Geoff Mulgan from UK, Herve Berville from France, Ian Goldin from South Africa, Luiz Alberto Oliveira from Brazil, Rebecca Ennonchong from Cameroon and Yoko Akama from Japan. The discussions revolved around different perspectives on possible futures, emerging trends and issues that will affect the international agenda and the choices leaders will have to make to adapt to this endlessly dynamic COVID-19 pandemic environment. The Strategy Lab has been set up by UNDP as an informal conversation among the participants.

Dr. Sania addresses a news conference to unveil details about nationwide rollout of massively reformed Waseela-e-Taleem, under the Ehsaas umbrella

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Nov 12, 2020 – Islamabad: While unveiling details about nationwide rollout of Waseela-e-Taleem, under the Ehsaas umbrella, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar addressed a news conference. She stated that PM will launch Ehsaas ‘Taleemi-Wazaef’ tomorrow in Balochistan which will aid out of school children nationwide. Pakistan has been running an Education Conditional Cash Transfer for primary school going children called Waseela-e-Taleem since 2012 in selected districts. Now, this program is being expanded nationwide, representing a major quantum change. Sharing further details of the reformed program, Dr. Nishtar said, “Over the last year and a half, a comprehensive and deep-rooted reform was designed and deployed as a result of which far reaching changes have been made in the program. First, end-to-end digitization of a number of processes, which were previously managed manually. Secondly, cost-effective changes institutional infrastructure was developed to expand this program nationwide and reliance on NGOs was eliminated. Because of this, operational cost has been reduced from 8% to 3%. Third, the stipend given to children has been modified as per Ehsaas’ new Stipend policy. Children of poorest families will now be provided conditional cash grants of Rs. 1,500 for boy child and Rs. 2,000 per quarter for girl child on attainment of 70% attendance in school. Finally, and most importantly, the program is being expanded to all districts of the country.” Full Footage here.

Ehsaas and ADB explore future collaborative options

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Nov 11, 2020: SAPM Dr. Sania together with Ehsaas officials convened a consultative meeting with Asian Development Bank (ADB) team led by Shixin Chen, Vice President, ADB. The meeting featured discussions to explore options for collaboration between Ehsaas and ADB in future. Xiaohong Yang, Country Director ADB Pakistan was also present. Participants joined the meeting both physically and virtually.

Ehsaas and SBP discuss transition of Ehsaas payments to Micropayment Gateway

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Nov 11, 2020: A meeting was held between Ehsaas and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to discuss possible transition of Ehsaas digital payment system to the SBP led Micropayment Gateway. The meeting was chaired by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. From SBP, Dr. Reza Baqir, Governor came to the table along with Sima Kamil, Deputy Governor.

Ehsaas and HBL work out modalities for the next tranche of Ehsaas Kafaalat

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Nov 11, 2020: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting with Habib Bank Limited (HBL) team led by President HBL Muhammad Aurangzeb. HBL is a partnering bank of Ehsaas for biometrically enabled digital payments to Kafaalat beneficiaries across Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. The meeting discussed the working modalities of the upcoming release of Ehsaas Kafaalat tranche in the next week. The tranche will be comprised of Rs. 12,000 each for Kafaalat beneficiaries covering a period of six months (July 2020- Dec 2020).

Dr. Sania Nishtar addresses National Consultative & Advocacy meeting on Trans Fat Elimination in Pakistan

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Nov 11, 2020- Islamabad: At the National Consultative & Advocacy meeting on Trans Fat Elimination in Pakistan, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to address the keynote. The meeting was co-hosted by Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and World Health Organization. Keynoting the event, SAPM Dr. Nishtar emphasized on the critical need to finalize an updated National Action Plan and achieve consensus among all key stakeholders on legislative and administrative actions required for TFA elimination in Pakistan.

BISP Board meets for the 43rd time under the chair of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar

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Nov 10, 2020 – Islamabad: The 43rd board meeting of BISP was held at the BISP headquarters under the chair of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. BISP is one of the 34 implementing agencies of Ehsaas. The board deliberated upon an extensive 19-item agenda including expansion of Ehsaas Nashonuma, opening of mobile wallets for Ehsaas One Woman One Account initiative, establishment of Cyber Crime Control Wing, agreement with NADRA to ensure easy payments to next of kins under Ehsaas Kafaalat, constitution of steering committees for Ehsaas Nashonuma and Ehsaas Talemi-Wazaef and accident insurance coverage for monitoring teams of Ehsaas Talemi-Wazaef. A vibrant discussion took place, deep dive analysis was carried out and many important decisions were taken in the meeting. The board meeting was attended by Yusuf Khan Secretary BISP, Muhammad Ali Shahzada Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Ghufran Memon Secretary Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination, Additional Secretary (Exp.) Finance Division, and representatives of NADRA and EAD. Amongst private sector members, Zaffar A. Khan, Qazi Azmat Isa and Khawar Mumtaz attended the meeting.

Sania Nishtar keynotes Pak-China Institute’s conference on ‘Poverty Alleviation, COVID-19, and CPEC’

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November 9, 2020 -Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was a chief guest and keynote speaker at a virtual conference on ‘Poverty Alleviation, COVID-19, and CPEC’ co-hosted by Pakistan-China Institute (PCI) and Center for Chinese Legal Studies, Lahore University for Management Sciences (LUMS) as part of PCI’s ‘Friends of Silk Road’ Initiative. The conference hosted eminent speakers from Pakistan and China and a large audience consisting of students, faculty, and researchers from all over Pakistan. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation, The conference featured an insightful discussion on Pakistan’s existing Poverty Alleviation Strategy, COVID-19’s impact on Pakistan’s fight against poverty, and CPEC’s role vis-à-vis alleviating poverty in the neighbouring countries. The main purpose of the conference was to explore the Poverty Alleviation Strategy of China in an attempt to understand how Pakistan can learn from and employ China’s best practices. Dr. Sania Nishtar shared Ehsaas’ poverty alleviation strategy and termed that framing the issue of poverty with the Chinese experience is a ‘welcome and relevant initiative’.

Dr. Sania Nishtar hails advent of first ever MRCP (UK) PACES exams in Pakistan

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Nov 9, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited as a chief guest at a dinner hosted by the British Council in honour of the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians UK team for bringing first ever MRCP (UK)  Clinical exams, PACES to Pakistan. Dr. Sania who herself is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London was pleased to see the highly prestigious MRCP exam starting in Pakistan. Other distinguished guests included Amir Ramzan Country Director British Council, Lt. Gen. Nigar Johar Surgeon General and Maj. Gen. Imran Fazal Director General Medicine Pakistan Army. From the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians UK, a very senior team of examiners including Dr. Donald Farquhar International Medical Director for MRCP Exams, Prof. Charles Twort, Dr. Peter Newman, Dr. Tanzeem Raza O.B.E. and Dr. Roderick Harvey were joined by their team in Pakistan led by Prof. Aamir Ghafoor Khan Lead Examiner for PACES in Pakistan and Head of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar. In Pakistan, the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians UK conducted the clinical exam of the MRCP UK between Nov 6-8, 2020. Pakistan is the first country in the world where these international exams have been held in an era of COVID-19.

Sania Nishtar keynotes the #SheLovesTech Pakistan 2020 National Finals

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November 7, 2020: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was asked to keynote the National Finals #SheLovesTech 2020; a globally acclaimed women-centric technology start-up competition in Pakistan. CIRCLE, a revolutionary tech start-up from Pakistan, organized National Finals, now the largest in the world. Connecting with incredible women entrepreneurs leading tech start-ups, Dr. Sania stated, “Economic empowerment of women is central to the agenda of Ehsaas.” In this edition, CIRCLE  hosted #SheLovesTech in 10 cities (Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad Sukkur, Multan, and Faisalabad etc) across Pakistan, in addition to AJK, while working with different NGOs, academic institutes, incubators and ecosystem partners across the country. CIRCLE also brought key incubators and stakeholders on board to execute the local rounds of the competition.  CIRCLE was supported by HBL, Pakistan’s leading bank to take #SheLovesTech Pakistan and grow women in technology.

Sania convenes Ehsaas Governance Observatory meeting to track the policy compliance

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November 7, 2020 – Islamabad: To monitor compliance to Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and track progress, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting attended by the ancillary organizations of the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) namely BISP, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Trust for Voluntary Organizations and Higher Education Commission. From PASSD, Muhammad Ali Shehzada, Secretary PASSD, Dr. Ismat Tahira, Additional Secretary PASSD along with senior officials also joined the meeting. Chairing the meeting, Dr. Sania said, “The meeting is part of regular Ehsaas reviews to assess status of compliance and progress against the Governance and Integrity Policy baseline before final one-year stock take that will be conducted in Dec 2020.” She then continued, “Implementation of the Ehsaas Governance Policy and Observatory is underway since last year. Since the roll out of the governance policy and observatory, the Ehsaas entities have shown improvements in the execution of the governance reforms and we are trying to make their systems as robust as possible. Transparency and integrity is at the heart of policy and observatory.”

SAPM Dr. Sania and Minister Omer Ayub convene a meeting on power subsidies

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November 6, 2020 – Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and Federal Minister for Power, Omar Ayub Khan convened a meeting to work out modalities of using Ehsaas data for power subsidies. Secretary Power Division, Ali Raza Bhutta and other senior officials were also present.

Ehsaas conducts meeting with experts to discuss indexation of cash transfers

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November 6, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas organized a virtual consultative meeting with experts from the World Bank to explore options around indexation of cash transfers in the Ehsaas Kafaalat programme. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. “A policy decision on the indexation of cash transfers is critical in the context of COVID-19 related economic impact”, said Dr. Sania.

Sania lauds trainees of Ehsaas Women Empowerment Centre; listens to voices of the least heard segment

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November 5, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Ehsaas Women Empowerment Center (WEC) in Burma Town, Islamabad. The WEC operates under the supervision of Pakistan Bait ul Mal that is one of the four main executing agencies of Ehsaas. At the centre, Dr. Nishtar met with deserving yet talented girls and women who were enrolled in complimentary skills training courses- computer literacy, beautician, dress designing and making, and hand and machine embroidery etc. She listened to the voices, concerns and suggestions of the girls. During the visit, the SAPM was joined by Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and Managing Director Pakistan Baitul Mal. As part of major reforms brought under Ehsaas, the training courses offered by all 157 WECs in the country will be certified by National Technology Board by the end of this year. This will significantly enhance the credibility and acceptance of the women’s livelihoods skills in local economy. Every year, as many as 250 girls are graduated from each WEC to start their business or a job.

Ehsaas convenes meeting to brush up the pilot execution plan of upcoming Tahafuz

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Nov 4, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas team working on the upcoming Tahafuz came to table under the chair of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar to review and brush up the pilot execution plan of the programme. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and Additional Secretary PASSD were also present. “Extensive one-year long work has been done on Ehsaas Tahafuz, Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net. This programme is aimed at protecting people from catastrophic health expenditures and is being pilot tested in one hospital, this quarter, following which it will be upscaled in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2020-21”, said Dr. Nishtar.

Sania stocktakes Ehsaas Undergrad Scholarships in field to review the success

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Nov 4, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited National University of Technology (NUTECH) for policy consultation with the faculty and students who had been awarded Ehsaas Undergraduate scholarship last year. At the venue, Dr. Nishtar interacted with students to gain insights on their educational aspirations and key problems being confronted by them. Dr. Hassan Jalil Shah, Advisor Human Resource Development Division Higher Education Commission (HEC), Rao Muhammad Azhar, Project Director Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship and Rector NUTECH University were also present on the occasion. “To make the Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship programme more responsive, the voices of students are critical” said Dr. Nishtar. Students who were awarded scholarship last year and those who had applied this year gave very valuable suggestions about the programme. Overall, 49 eligible students of NUTECH were awarded Ehsaas scholarships in the year 2019-20.

Sania oversees new enrolments of children in Waseela e Taleem

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Nov 4, 2020 – Islamabad: To oversee the new enrolments of deserving children in Waseela-e-Tasleem (WeT) programme, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar along with Ehsaas team visited Islamabad Model School for Girls and Mubeen Shah Model School for Boys at Jhang Syedan in the outskirts of Islamabad. During the visit, she met with the teachers, parents and children. WeT, the education conditional cash transfer programme has been ongoing for the last 8 years. The programme has undergone a massive reform with technology, now hardwired in its design, to checkmate collusion and pilferage. Sharing details of recently introduced reforms, Dr. Nishtar stated, “All institutional arrangements have been made to expand WeT, nationwide in all districts of Pakistan. 4 million primary school going children will benefit from this next year. And, under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the stipend for girls has been increased to Rs. 2,000 per quarter whereas the stipend for boys has been increased to Rs. 1,500 per quarter.”

Sania briefs masses about an ongoing Ehsaas Survey in radio programme Rabta

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November 3, 2020- Islamabad: In the Radio Pakistan’s Ehsaas special episode of programme ‘Rabta’ that is a daily national broadcast, Dr. Sania Nishtar apprised listeners about an ongoing Ehsaas Survey in the country. She said, “Ehsaas is conducting a door to door survey all over the country to collect data about the socioeconomic status of households. The survey is being done through a computer assisted approach.” She then explained, “An android-based tablet application designed for geotagged survey is being utilized to capture real-time household data for this purpose. Enumerators are going door to door and collecting information at the doorstep. Further, registration desks have so far been opened in every Tehsil of 57 Districts. These desks are facilitating those households to register themselves that were missed during the survey.” Listen here.

Dr. Sania Nishtar explores options with PIDE for street vending legislation

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November 2, 2020 – Islamabad: Street Vendors, have remained an integral part of the urban economy around the world. In this context, PIDE organized a webinar in which a number of experts spoke about the context in which the street vending legislation is being developed in Pakistan. Experts included Zia Banday, Development Consultant & Initiator of Street Vendors Protection Project; Ahmed Bashir, Author of Street Vendors’ Protection Bill from Ahmed Bashir & Associates Law Firm; Umer Gilani from Law & Policy Chambers Firm; and Naveed Abbasi President, Khokha Association Islamabad. Experts and advocates talked about the need for comprehensive legislation. Vice Chancellor PIDE Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque moderated the session. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar had been invited to keynote the webinar. Addressing the keynote, Dr. Nishtar said, “We had an initial consultation on the subject in March 2020 following which COVID-19 overtook everything but now we are resuming this dialogue. PASSD will work very closely with PIDE to bring this legislative bill for the protection of street vendors and to channel this bill in the government system.” She also termed this as a very important area for empowering the urban poor.

Turkey’s world-renowned chef and internet celebrity Burak Ozdemir visits a Panagah in Islamabad

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October 31, 2020 – Islamabad: Upon his arrival in Islamabad, the Turkish Chef Burak Ozdemir visited a Panagah (shelter home) at Tarlai. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and PM’s Focal Person on Digital Media, Dr. Arsalan Khalid were also present at the Panagah. With over 476,000 followers on Twitter and a whopping 17.2million followers on Instagram, Burak is well known for his videos on serving massive portions of Turkish dishes worldwide. Few days ago, Burak in his video message on social media had shared that he would visit Pakistan this month. Sharing his plans, the renowned chef had said that he wanted to come to Pakistan and meet the people himself.  At the Panagah, demonstrating his culinary delights, the celebrity chef served meal to people present and this was his only culinary demonstration in Pakistan during the four-day visit.

Dr. Sania joins Eid Milad un Nabi celebrations with children at Darul Ehsaas Orphanage

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October 30, 2020 – Islamabad: To meet and greet Eid Milad-un-Nabi to the resident orphans being supported under Ehsaas, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Dar-ul-Ehsaas Centre (Orphanage) at H-13 in Islamabad. A special Milad ceremony was organized by the children of Dar-ul-Ehsaas. Dr. Nishtar distributed gifts among the children and interacted with them over the lunch. On the occasion, Aon Abbas Buppi, Managing Director Pakistan Bait ul Mal was also present. “This is the first time in the history of the country that Ehsaas Orphans and Orphanges’ Committee has developed basic operating standards to ensure quality care and service at all orphanages in the country. These standards are in their last stages of finalization and will be implemented soon nationwide”, said Dr. Nishtar. Dar-ul-Ehsaas Centres by Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal provide quality care and education to orphans across Pakistan. There are more than 50 Dar-ul-Ehsaas Centres in the country and each centre supports hundred deserving children.

Dr. Sania celebrates Eid Milad un Nabi with labourers at Panagah

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October 30, 2020 – Islamabad: In connection with Eid Milad-un-Nabi, special Milad events under the aegis of Ehsaas were organized by Pakistan Bait ul Mal in all Panagahs of the federal capital. Joining religious celebrations to pay homage to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Panagah at Mandi More in Islamabad and spent the special day with labourers and daily wage earners. Prayers, naats and speeches all took place before the special lunch was served at the culmination of the Milad event. COVID-19 safety measures and social distancing were the hallmarks of the ceremony. This was Dr. Nishtar’s first public appearance after her recent recovery from COVID-19.

Closing Date of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship applications extended till Nov 30

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October 29, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar has announced an extension in the last date to submit Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship applications for the year 2020-21 till November 30, 2020. Earlier, October 30, 2020 was the last date for the submission of online scholarship applications. However, given the COVID-19 fronted delays in admission process at several public sector universities in the country, the last date for Ehsaas scholarship applications has just been revised. The decision will facilitate maximum number of fresh undergraduate students to apply for this scholarship opportunity. Since the online application portal reopened on Sep 5, 2020 as many as 30,000 applications have been received in the system so far. The Ehsaas undergraduate Scholarships are targeted at students from low income families (less than Rs. 45,000 a month) and marginalized regions to assist them in their undergraduate studies. Eligible students can apply through an online portal: https://ehsaas.hec.gov.pk/.

Dr. Sania joins the first meeting of the Lancet–Chatham House Commission on population health post COVID-19

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October 29, 2020 In her capacity as one of the Commissioners, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the first meeting of Commissioners of the Lancet – Chatham House Commission on improving population health post COVID-19. The meeting aimed to map the shared drivers of pandemic protection, population health, and environmental sustainability as the basis for developing a framework to identify key actions to drive equitable improvements in human and planetary health. Other distinguished Commissioners who came to the table were- Professor Tim Benton, Royal Institute of International Affairs Chatham House London, Dr. John Amuasi, Professor at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Ghana; David P. Fidler Senior Fellow for cybersecurity and global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and the James Louis Calamaras Professor of Law (emeritus) at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Amandine Garde, Professor of Law at the University of Liverpool; and James Wilsdon, Digital Science Professor of Research Policy at the University of Sheffield. The Commission is co-chaired by Professor Theresa Marteau, Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge, Director of Studies in Behavioural and Psychological Sciences at Christ’s College, Cambridge; and Harry Rutter, Professor of global public health at the University of Bath.

Dr. Sania virtually chairs the 42nd BISP board meeting

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October 23, 2020: The 42nd meeting of the BISP Board was convened at the BISP headquarters in Islamabad. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar virtually chaired the meeting. The board accelerated necessary approvals for the six month Ehsaas Kafaalat tranche to be released in this quarter. Only the time sensitive agenda was discussed in the meeting. The larger 42nd Board will be convened next month.

Dr. Sania Nishtar shares transparency measures hardwired in Ehsaas Emergency Cash at the Stanford CDDRL and Delivery Associates online panel

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October 21, 2020: Dr. Sania highlighted how Pakistan leveraged transparency and rule-based execution to garner public trust in Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme at the live panel webcast hosted by Delivery Associates and the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University. The session was titled, ‘how to build public trust in government’. At the occasion, Dr. Nishtar was joined by a team of panellists-  Sir Michael Barber, 1st Chair of Office for Students, regulator of HE in England and Founder, Delivery Associates; Francis Fukuyama, Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute, and Mosbacher Director, CDDRL Stanford; Audrey Jiajia Li, a Chinese nonfiction writer and broadcast journalist; and Anna Grzymala-Busse, Professor of Political Science at Stanford.

Sania addresses Gairdner Global Perspectives Panel- SDGs & GH through the Pandemic Lens

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October 21, 2020: At the Gairdner Global Perspectives Panel titled, “SDGs & Global Health through COVID-19 lens”,  SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar shared Pakistan’s lessons from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme and the potential of end-to-end digitization to be equally and constructively disruptive for the health sector. Other eminent speakers on the panel were- Cleopatra Mugyenyi, Director, Africa Regional Office, International Center For Research On Women; Zulfiqar Bhutta, Inaugural Robert Harding Chair in Global Child Health & Inaugural Ibn Sina Scholar in Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children; Co-Director, SickKids Centre for Global Child HealthQuarraisha Abdool Karim, Associate Scientific Director, CAPRISA; Professor, Clinical Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York; Professor, Public Health, Nelson Mandela Medical School; Pro Vice-Chancellor (African Health), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and Salim Abdool Karim, Director, CAPRISA; CAPRISA Professor in Global Health, Columbia University, New York; Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. The Gairdner Global Perspectives Symposium was held in partnership with International Development Research Centre, Grand Challenges Canada Centre for Global Health – Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, and SickKids Centre for Global Child Health.

SAPM Sania joins Ministers of South Asian Countries at the World Bank-IMF virtual roundtable

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October 21, 2020: During the virtual roundtable, “Unleashing the South Asian Century Through Human Capital For All” hosted by World Bank Group-IMF, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar discussed how Pakistan is expanding social protection post COVID-19. The event brought together Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, Acting Minister of Finance, Afghanistan; A H M Mustafa Kamal, FCA, MP, Minister, Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh; Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, Minister of Finance, Bhutan; Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of Finance, Maldives; Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada, Special Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Nepal; Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Education, Sri Lanka; and Minister of Women and Children’s Development of India. The event discussed a proposed framework for action to achieve human capital acceleration in South Asia, through an engaging discussion bringing together policymakers, civil society leaders, private sector participants, and development partners.

Dr. Sania leads panel discussion at the WEF’s Jobs Reset Summit 2020

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October 21, 2020, Speaking at the Jobs Reset Summit 2020 hosted by the World Economic Forum, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar emphasized that social protection must be a right. The theme of the session was, “a new vision for social protection”. Along with Dr. Nishtar, other panellists included Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Belgium; Mike Mansfield, Program Director Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, Aegon, Netherlands;  Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, United Nations, Switzerland; and Gene Zaino, Founder and Executive Chairman, MBO Partners, USA. The session was moderated by Faisal Islam, Economics Editor from BBC News, United Kingdom. The discussions focused on challenges and opportunities for updating existing social safety nets in both low and high income countries.

Sania Nishtar keynotes a Health Services Academy event on ‘Economic aspects of COVID -19’

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October 20, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sani Nishtar was invited to keynote the consultative meeting hosted by Health Services Academy Pakistan. The meeting aimed to discuss ‘Economic Aspects of COVID-19 in Pakistan’. Dr. Nishtar connected virtually to keynote the event and shared lessons from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash that was rolled out by the government amid COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Ali Hamandi Health Economist, World Bank Washington D.C; Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Professor & Co-Director, Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto; Dr. Awad Mataria Director, Universal Health Coverage, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Eastern Mediterranean; and Dr. Assad Hafeez Vice Chancellor, Health Services Academy, Islamabad also spoke at the event.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi opens Ehsaas Langar in Multan

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October 18, 2020 – Multan: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi inaugurated the Ehsaas Langar (soup kitchen) in Multan that serves cooked food twice daily to 1,000 people. The Ehsaas Saylani Langar has been opened at the main bus station in Multan. Vehari Chowk is an ideal place for the Langar as labourers and daily wage earners congregate to earn daily wages. As part of the Ehsaas framework, the Ehsaas Langar has been established in a public private partnership with zero cost to the government. The partnering trust (SWIT) will manage the production and distribution of food.

Sania represents Pakistan at the World Bank’s poverty open event ‘End Poverty Day 2020: Surmounting Setbacks’

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Oct 17, 2020 – Washington: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited by the World Bank Group to speak at an online poverty event, ‘End Poverty Day 2020: Surmounting Setbacks’ during the Annual Meetings to highlight current challenges to poverty reduction and the urgency of redoubling our efforts to end poverty. The event focused on a fast, broad-based response to COVID-19 to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response and health care systems. Together with Dr. Sania Nishtar, the team of distinguished panellists included the World Bank Managing Director for Operations Axel van Trotsenburg; Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy to mobilize the private sector response to COVID; CSO leaders from FCV countries- Lamis Al-Iryani from Yemen and Orzala Nemat from Afghanistan; Dominic Raab, UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs; Sarah Colenbrander, Director of ODI’s Climate and Sustainability program and Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change & Development, Bangladesh; and Ngwashi Christabel Apholung from Cameroon. The session was moderated by Larry Madowo of the BBC.

Ehsaas celebrates World Poverty Day; event highlights social and environmental protection linkages

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October 17, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas hosted a high-level virtual event to celebrate the World Poverty Day. The event brought together four executing agencies of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD)- BISP, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) and Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO) along with beneficiaries of various priority programmes of Ehsaas. The main highlight of the occasion was an engaging interaction with beneficiaries of various mainstream Ehsaas programmes and initiatives particularly Ehsaas Kafaalat, Ehsaas Interest Free Loans, Ehsaas Amdan and Ehsaas Nashonuma. This session was followed by an insightful conversation with partner NGOs of TVO. Later in the day, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal and spent the day with Ehsaas beneficiaries. Dr. Sania sat and interacted with them to gain insights on their aspirations and key problems being confronted by them. She listened to their concerns and assured full cooperation to address their problems. “To make the Ehsaas programme more responsive, the voices of the marginalized are critical”, said Dr. Nishtar.

Sania joins the ‘Regional Conversation on Social Protection’ hosted by UNESCAP

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October 15, 2020 -Bangkok: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific  (UNESCAP) to speak as part of the Regional Conversation on Social Protection: “A Right for All, or a Privilege for a Few?” Along with Dr. Nishtar, the high-level dialogue featured eminent personalities from across the region including Mr. Guy Ryder, ILO Director General; H.E. Ms. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Fiji; H.E. Mr. Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community; Ms. Haiyani Rumondang, Director General of Industrial Relations and Worker’s Social Security, Ministry of Manpower, Indonesia; Ms. Sarah Cook, Director, Institute for Global Development, University of New South Wales; and Mr. Michael Cichon, Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Governance at UNU, Maastricht. The  UNESCAP is one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It was established in order to increase economic activity in Asia and the Far East, as well as to foster economic relations between the region and other areas of the world. The Commission is composed of 53 Member States and nine Associate members, mostly from the Asia and Pacific regions.

PM visits upgraded Panagah at G-9 Islamabad, dines with labourers

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October 16, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Panagah (shelter home) at G-9 in Islamabad and appreciated the improvement in infrastructure, and living and catering standards to serve the down-and-out people with dignity. The PM also interacted with the daily wagers over the dinner and inquired about facilities being provided to them at the Panagah. “The government would never worry about the funding of such facilities, if it succeeded to win the people’s confidence regarding efficiency and transparency as it would attract the donors to join the noble initiative”, said the PM. He then continued, “The employment opportunities would grow manifold in the country consequent to the government’s ongoing economic policies.” At the occasion, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) Aon Abbas Buppi and Senator Faisal Javed were also present. “The remodelling of G-9 Panagah in the federal capital is in fact the enforcement of the improved quality standards which would later be emulated across the country”, said SAPM Dr. Nishtar.

Sania presents post COVID-19 Ehsaas strategy at an Asian intergovernmental event

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October 14, 2020 – Chiang Mai: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar addressed the webinar, How can we reduce inequalities in later life as societies aged? co-organized by Asian Development Bank, HelpAge International and ESCAP. The largest regional intergovernmental platform with 53 Member States and 9 associate members, ESCAP has emerged as a strong regional think-tank offering countries sound analytical products that shed insight into the evolving economic, social and environmental dynamics of the region. The objective of the webinar, taking Asia’s population ageing into consideration, was to strengthen clarity and consensus about the priority steps governments can take to reduce inequality among older people in two dimensions: healthy longevity and income security. Alongside the presentation by Dr. David E. Bloom, Professor of Economics and Demography, Harvard University from Harvard University, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was joined by Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Senior Advisor at the Khazanah Research Institute, Malaysia. Bringing post COVID-19 Ehsaas perspective to the table, SAPM Dr. Nishtar shared steps being taken by the government of Pakistan to address the needs of the elderly during the COVID-19 crisis more broadly as part of social protection under Ehsaas.

SAPM Sania Nishtar reviews upgradation work at G-9 Panagah

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October 14, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Panagah located at G-9 in Islamabad. The visit aimed to review the upgradation work at the Panagah that is in its final stages of completion under the supervision of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal. During the visit, MD Pakistan Bait -ul-Mal briefed the SAPM about changes being made to improve living standards of G-9 Panagah. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and other senior officials of Ehsaas were also present at the occasion.

Sania outlines measures to address tokenism in policymaking at 2020 WLGH Conference

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October 13, 2020 – Washington: At the 2020 Women Leaders in Global Health Conference (WLGH), SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to join the high-level plenary panel, ‘Making Policy with a Gender Lens – Spotlight on South Asia’. The panel brought together some of the most powerful women in South Asia’s public sector to explore how gender influences their work, how they have helped advance the equality agenda, and what having women at the decision-making tables means for people’s health and wellbeing across the region. Leading the panel discussion, Dr. Nishtar outlined measures to address tokenism in policymaking. She emphasized on the power of data disaggregation by gender and its use for accountability. Alongside Dr. Nishtar, the panel included Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP Speaker from Bangladesh Parliament, Suraya Dalil, Director Special Programme on Primary Health Care from World Health Organization and Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for South-East Asia from World Health Organization.

Sania addresses high-level South Asian event at World Bank-IMF Annual Meeting

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October 13, 2020 – Washington: During the World Bank Group-IMF Annual Meeting, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar participated as a panellist in an event, ‘Protecting South Asia’s Poor and Vulnerable Against COVID-19 and Beyond’. The South Asian event focused on the social protection programs as a cornerstone of relief and longer-term recovery. This virtual event was a direct contribution to the central theme of the Annual Meetings of Supporting a Resilient Recovery: building resilience, improving inclusion, promoting economic growth, and sustaining businesses and jobs. At the high-level panel, Dr. Nishtar was joined by Special Economic Advisor to the PM of Nepal, Executive Director of BRAC Bangladesh, Professor of Cornell University and Indian Minister for Textiles and Minister for Women and Child Development. Sharing the scale and ambition of Ehsaas in the context of COVID-19, Dr. Nishtar highlighted the new Ehsaas post COVID-19 strategy, fast-tracked live news socio-economic registry to make it shock responsive, and acceleration of programs to address the needs of the vulnerable, particularly those in the informal sector.

Sania and CM KP Mehmood Khan agree on the roadmap to upgrade Panagah standards across KP

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October 9, 2020 – Peshawar: During her visit to KP, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar met Chief Minister KP Mehmood Khan in Peshawar. The meeting discussed roadmap for upgradation of Panagahs in KP. Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Aon Abbas Bappi was also present. Prime Minister Imran Khan has given special instructions to upgrade the standards of Panagahs countrywide. Federal and KP governments agreed to collaborate on improving the standards of Panagahs and identified areas of collaboration to implement Panagah standards developed by Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal under Ehsaas. Details were discussed for federal provincial partnership and coordination to improve standards of Panagahs in KP. In the first phase, living and catering standards of existing Panagahs in KP will be improved along the lines of those formulated for Islamabad Panagahs. In this regard, MoU will be signed soon between Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal and the Government of KP. The cost sharing arrangement in this regard have also been agreed upon.

Sania reviews Ehsaas Registrations Desks in Charsadda

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October 9, 2020 – Charsadda: While in KP, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Charsadda to review the Ehsaas Registration Desks. Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the special purpose registration desks are being mobilized in all districts where phase one of the Ehsaas National Socio-economic Registry Survey has been completed. The purpose is that households whose survey has not been conducted for any reason can come forward to self-register themselves in the Ehsaas programme. Charsadda is one of the districts in KP where registration desks have been opened in every Tehsil. Dr. Sania visited the registration desks to see operations. She interacted with staff who were present and with both men and women who were lined up for registration. Dr. Sania spent a lot of time with the people especially finding out about difficulties they were facing during the registration process.

Sania reviews Ehsaas data security arrangements at NTC Headquarters

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October 8, 2020- Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar along with senior officials of Ehsaas IT team visited National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC)  headquarters to review Ehsaas data security arrangements. Managing Director NTC, Brig. (R) Viqar Rashid Khan and NTC senior officers warmly welcomed the SAPM and Ehsaas team. Dr. Nishtar visited the National Data Center at NTC and appreciated the establishment of the Cloud based Tier-III, ISO certified National Data Center (NDC). The SAPM praised NTC’s support to Ehsaas for providing the necessary connectivity and data centre facilities for initiatives taken by Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. Ehsaas is moving swiftly on a dynamic digital Social Ecosystem for facilitating the disadvantaged populations.

Dr. Sania keynotes international meeting hosted by Indonesian government

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October 8, 2020 – Jakarta: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote the “International Webinar on Integration and Digitization of G2P Programs” in Indonesia. The webinar was hosted by the Ministry of National Development Planning, Republic of Indonesia. The event was attended by Indonesian central and regional policymakers, academia and research institutes, civil society organizations, development partners, and delegates from countries that have carried out similar transformations. Keynoting the meeting, Dr. Sania Nishtar outlined that financial and digital inclusion for 7 million individuals (90% women) is one of the seven, time bound outcome-based goals of Ehsaas. “We believe savings, payments, insurance, and credit have a significant impact on individuals’ abilities to escape poverty”, she said. Further adding, she shared, “Access to formal credit can help the poor break free from a cycle of debt that perpetuates poverty; digital and financial inclusion agenda and use of mobile phones are particularly relevant in this regard.”

SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar briefs PM on Panagah upgradation and expansion plan

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October 5, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran chaired the meeting to discuss the remodelling and expansion plan for Panagahs. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM on current year’s plan to upgrade Panagahs in Islamabad to one star bed and breakfast facility with meals, essentials, hygiene and security and to expand them across the country. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Additional Secretary PASSD, Managing Director Pakistan Baitul-Mal and other senior officers attended the meeting.

Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council meets under the chair of the Prime Minister

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October 5, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting of Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council (PNNCC). PNNCC is country’s coordination body at federal level on nutrition and all allied matters. The federal government of Pakistan has institutionalized the inter-ministerial PNNCC, chaired by the Prime Minister Imran Khan and there are 8 Cabinet Ministers in the Council. This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the inter-ministerial PNNCC has been created to steer nutrition specific agenda in the country. Dr. Sania Nishtar SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation is the Vice-Chair and hosts the secretariat of the Council. Other Cabinet Members in the Council are: Syed Fakhar Imam Minister for National Food Security and Research, Asad Umar Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Dr. Fehmida Mirza Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination, Shafqat Mehmood Minister for Education and Professional Training, Abdul Razak Dawood Advisor to the PM on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Advisor to the PM on Finance and Revenue, Malik Amin Aslam Khan Advisor to the PM on Climate Change, Dr. Faisal Sultan SAPM on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Chief Secretaries of all four provinces, GB and AJK, Federal Secretaries and experts from UNICEF and SUN. To provide visibility of nutrition specific data across the country, the Ehsaas Nashonuma portal and dashboard unveiled in the meeting can be accessed here.

Pakistan one of the top ranked countries in Asia with highest response to social protection amid COVID-19: International Policy Center for Inclusive Growth

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October 5, 2020: At a global e-conference hosted by the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), Pakistan was labelled as one of the top ranked countries in Asia having the highest response to social protection amid COVID-19 pandemic. This new study was conducted by UNICEF, UN and IPC-IG to assess social protection response in Asia focusing on an extensive mapping and overview of how social protection measures were deployed by the countries in Asia and the Pacific region in the response to the COVID-19 crisis.  The study reveals that Pakistan covers highest number of responses to social protection in Asia through Ehsaas Emergency Cash. “Afghanistan included many humanitarian interventions; hence Pakistan tops the list”, says Marina Andrade, researcher from IPC-IG team. Social protection.org is the key initiative of IPC-IG which is supported by Governments of Australia and Germany and is an influential forum of social protection. The country panel on Asia Pacific brought together SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, Bapak Maliki, Director of Poverty Alleviation and Social Welfare Indonesia and H.E. Theng Pagnathun, Delegate of Royal Government of Cambodia in charge of Director General of Planning who discussed social protection responses to COVID-19 in their respective countries.

President Dr. Arif Alvi emphasizes the need for developing a centralized national database on all diseases, including breast cancer

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Oct 2, 2020- Islamabad: Chairing a meeting at Aiwan e Sadar, regarding data collection of Breast Cancer in Pakistan, President Dr. Arif Alvi said, “Pakistan currently lacks a comprehensive centralized database on health issues and there is a need to make integrated data available to effectively combat diseases.” SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Dr. Faisal Sultan and MD Pakistan Bait ul Mal also attended the meeting. SAPM Dr. Sania underscored the need to rasie awareness among the people about the breast cancer.

Dr. Sania reviews progress of Ehsaas Governance Observatory

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October 2, 2020 -Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting to review the progress on the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and Observatory that was officially approved by the Cabinet and launched in November 2019. The policy is binding on the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and its executing agencies- the BISP, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, and Trust for Voluntary Organizations. With an aim to discourage corruption and ensure rule-based control on the use of public resources and to promote efficiency, transparency, and accountability of results, Ehsaas has institutionalized this Governance Policy and Observatory as one of its 135 programs and policy initiatives. Taking stock of the progress of all four executing agencies of PASSD, Dr. Nishtar commented, “Work on the Ehsaas Governance Observatory has been ongoing for the last one year. We did a progress review today; the one year-stock take against the December 2019 baselines will be taken in December 2020. All Poverty Division agencies implementing Ehsaas are meant to comply with the Governance and Integrity Policy. The Ehsaas Governance Observatory is meant to gauge the status of compliance with the Policy. We accord high priority to integrity in governance and delivery.”

Ehsaas and PBM set key milestones for the next quarter

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Oct 1, 2020- Islamabad: A meeting was held with Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) to discuss the key milestones for the next quarter under the Ehsaas framework. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. Dr. Nishtar was joined by Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Additional Secretary PASSD, Managing Director PBM and Deputy Managing Director PBM. PBM is one of the executing agencies of Ehsaas responsible for demand side social protection.

Steering Committee of Ehsaas Tahafuz shapes up the pilot roll out plan

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Oct 1, 2020- Islamabad: The steering committee of Ehsaas Tahafuz came to the table to shape up the pilot roll out of the this upcoming program. The meeting was chaired by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and Additional Secretary PASSD were also present. Tahafuz is a precision safety net designed to protect the vulnerable against catastrophic shocks through one-time financial assistance.

SAPM Sania Nishtar chairs the third Ehsaas Risk Management and Assurance Committee meeting

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September 30, 2020 – Islamabad: To step up and step forward with the agenda to establish the Cybercrime Wing within Ehsaas, the third Risk Management and Assurance Committee meeting was convened at Ehsaas office. The meeting was chaired by SAPM Sania Nishtar. The committee discussed the process for the establishment of Cybercrime Wing. SAPM, Sania Nishtar said, “The move has been taken to protect masses from frauds being done under the name of the Ehsaas program.” The Cybercrime Wing is being set up at BISP (one of the executing agencies of Ehsaas) with the objective of using digital technology to tighten the noose around the fraudsters who deceive Ehsaas beneficiaries.

President and CEO of Nutrition International presents their Nutrition strategy to Ehsaas

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September 30, 2020 – Ottawa: President and CEO of Nutrition International, Joel Spicer together with his global and country teams came to the table with Ehsaas to discuss areas of collaboration. Joel Spicer gave virtual presentation to SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar on the strategy and work of Nutrition International across Pakistan over the past 19 years. In the meeting, Dr. Nishtar was also joined by Dr. Mandana Arabi, Vice President Global Technical Services, Ann Witteveen, Vice President, Operations and Dr. Shabina Raza, Country Director Pakistan. Nutrition International works in Pakistan to improve the health of the vulnerable, especially women and children, through better nutrition.

Deadline of Ehsaas Cash payments extended: Payments to those with biometric failure and to the families of dead to continue till Oct 30, 2020

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September 30, 2020 – Islamabad: Taking to twitter, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar has announced that Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments to those with biometric failures and families of dead beneficiaries will be continuing nationwide till October 30, 2020. However, the previously defined last date for filing applications till September 30, 2020 remains unchanged. Applications are closing today for beneficiaries facing biometric issues and families of dead. Formerly, September 30, 2020 was the last date for disbursements to eligible beneficiaries under Ehsaas Emergency Cash. But for now, aiming to facilitate smooth payments, the last date of cash disbursements has been extended till the end of October 2020 as long as the application is submitted till September 30, 2020. Expediting the payment process to remaining Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries, the listing and inspection procedures are underway and customized payment responses to all eligible applicants will be sent accordingly so that emergency cash transfer operations across the country get completed within due time frame.

 

Dr. Sania Nishtar highlights Ehsaas nutrition approach at an event hosted by Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition and FAO

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September 29, 2020 – Rome: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at the online launch event for the Global Panel’s new Foresight 2.0 report: ‘Future Food Systems: For people, our planet, and prosperity’, co-hosted by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, and FAO in Italy. Being a member of the Global Panel’s High-Level Stakeholder Group who had contributed to Global Panel’s report, Dr. Nishtar shared her perspectives of the report alongside Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, WHO and Diane Holdorf, Food Director World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Speaking at the high-level panel, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Policy makers must address planetary and dietary challenges simultaneously, since they are so fundamentally interlinked. The report makes concrete recommendations on the practical steps which need to be taken in a process of transition, leading to a transformed future food system. And, food system transformation cannot be achieved without ‘pro-poor’ policies that support economic growth as well as social protection policies.” Further adding, she said, “Tackling nutrition in the country, the Government of Pakistan has institutionalized the inter-ministerial ‘Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council’ (PNNCC), chaired by the PM and there are 8 Cabinet Ministers in the Council. Another substantive initiative is the recent launch of Ehsaas Nashonuma that is a conditional cash transfer program pegged on addressing stunting and nutrition outcomes among children under two years of age, and pregnant and lactating mothers.” The newly launched Global Panel’s report can be accessed here.

Pakistan and Chile co-host a high-level poverty event at UNGA; PM Imran Khan along with 5 Heads of State demonstrate commitment to tackle poverty

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September 24, 2020 – New York: Pakistan and Chile co-hosted a very special event today titled, ‘Poverty at a crossroad: using leadership and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)’ at this year’s UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York to address the use of MPI and leadership to build back better as poverty reduction is currently at a crossroad. This high-level event was virtually convened on behalf of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN.org), a South-South network of senior officials from 60 national governments and 20 international institutions that champions the use of multidimensional poverty measures alongside monetary measures at both the national and global levels. The session was co-hosted by Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Pakistan and Karla Rubilar, Minister Social Development and Families, Chile. The event brought together expertise and policy influence from 6 heads of State- Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Sebastian Piñera, President of Chile, Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, Juan Orlando Hernández, President of Honduras and KP Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal. Pakistan is emerging as a global leader in poverty alleviation. At the occasion, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan addressed the event through a video message. Ehsaas being the massive social protection and poverty alleviation programme in the history of Pakistan was showcased to create awareness and work on the poverty alleviation discourse in collaboration with leaders from around the world. Full footage here.

Pakistan’s COVID-19 response globally lauded at high-level CGD event

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Sep 22, 2020 – Washington D.C.: A high-level global thinktank, Center for Global Development (CGD), hosted an international forum, ‘Coping with COVID-19: The Pakistan Experience’ that brought together Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and Dr. Reza Baqir, Governor of the State Bank to exhibit the success of the Pakistan’s smart lockdown strategy and Corona relief package tackling COVID-19 restrictions. In this high-level panel discussion, the three panellists were virtually joined by two international experts, Dr. Kalipso Chalkidou from Global Health team at CGD and Dr. Alan Gelb who leads a workstream on the use of digital ID systems for safety nets in Pakistan and other countries. SAPM Dr. Nishtar shared the know how gained through the design and roll out of Ehsaas Emergency Cash, as well as the operational challenges encountered and how they were addressed. International experts highly lauded Pakistan’s whole of the government approach to address the socio-economic damage induced by the Corona crisis. They acknowledged the digital capabilities that were leveraged for the implementation of Ehsaas Emergency Cash which led to better outcomes than most other countries. Centred in Washington D.C. and London, CGD extends worldwide advisory support capitalized on policy and research to alleviate global poverty and make better lives.

SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar inspects the upgradation work at Peshawar More Panagah and Langar

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September 21, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited the Panagah and Langar at Peshawar More, Islamabad along with Ehsaas team. The visit aimed to inspect the upgradation work of Panagah and Langar being administered by Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM). Managing Director PBM, Aon Abbas Buppi briefed Dr. Nishtar about the remodelling work underway at the facility to serve the labourers with dignity and quality. Dr. Nishtar also took round of the Panagah and Langar, and interacted with labourers. As per instructions of the Prime Minister, after the remodeling of first Panagah at Tarlai in the first week of September 2020, the prioritized living and catering standards are being implemented in all five Panagahs of Islamabad. Panagahs not only provide shelter to labourers but also meals for them.

Sania Nishtar keynotes the SCB Women in Tech event celebrating women entrepreneurs

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Sep 21, 2020 – Karachi: Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan invited SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar to keynote the closing event of Women in Tech program that celebrated aspiring women entrepreneurs. The event announced names of winners of the program. Some seven women led companies won up to Rs 1.5 million in seed grants. Inspiring young women entrepreneurs, Dr. Nishtar remarked, “To ensure that women beneficiaries are not underrepresented, ambition of Ehsaas is to skew critical initiatives towards women, by ensuring that at least 50% of all beneficiaries targeted by the program across initiatives are women. To assist with this, the fifty percent and plus benefits for women are squarely embedded in all 140 Ehsaas programs, police and initiatives.” Standard Chartered had launched Women in Tech (SCWomenInTech) in Pakistan in March 2019. This program is aimed to promote the economic and social development of women in Pakistan through innovation or technology led entrepreneurship.

Dr. Sania releases an instructional video on the Ehsaas Emergency Cash – Facilitation Portal

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September 17, 2020 -Islamabad: “All eligible Emergency Cash beneficiaries with biometric challenges who will apply through the new Ehsaas Facilitation Portal will receive fresh disbursement messages with date and bank branch details from 8171 service and the process is being expedited nationwide to facilitate easy payments”, explained SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar in her recently tweeted instructional video. The instructional video describes how applications can be submitted online on the portal (http://complaints.pass.gov.pk/) following three easy steps. Beneficiaries faced with biometric issues just need to provide name, CNIC number and phone number for the application. With the submission of these credentials, the applicant will get the tracking number for each application. As part of the process, beneficiaries will be contacted soon by Ehsaas on the given phone numbers to facilitate payments in the last two weeks. Payments to families of dead beneficiaries and those with biometric verification issues will continue till September 30. The video can be watched here.

Ehsaas opens portal to facilitate emergency cash beneficiaries in last 15 days

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September 16, 2020 -Islamabad: Taking measures to resolve payment issues being encountered by eligible applicants of Ehsaas Emergency Cash, an online portal has been introduced under the banner of Ehsaas. Officially, emergency cash transfers under Ehsaas have sunset countrywide on Sep 15, 2020, however, disbursements to families of dead beneficiaries and those confronted with biometric verifications will go on till Sep 30, 2020. To assist with this, the new portal has been opened online to solicit applications from eligible beneficiaries in a simple three- step process. As part of the easy solution, all applicants with issues in biometric payments can now create their applications by entering name, CNIC number and contact number on the portal. With the submission of online application, the portal instantaneously auto-generates the unique reference number for each applicant. In line with rule -based procedures, applicants are being contacted by Ehsaas on the phone numbers keyed in at the time of web-applications. “All people with biometric challenges who will apply through this new application portal will receive new disbursement messages with date and bank branch details from 8171 service and the process is being expedited nationwide to facilitate easy payments”, reiterated SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. The portal can be accessed here.

EU Heads of Missions briefed about flagship Ehsaas

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September 16, 2020 -Islamabad: Heads of Missions of the European Union and Member States commended Ehsaas as the largest and most extensive social protection intervention in the country. This was expressed at the Ehsaas briefing hosted by Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan H.E. Androulla Kaminara in Islamabad. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to brief the EU diplomats about the successes, digital innovations and useful lessons from the Ehsaas programme that is comprised of more than 135 multi-sectoral policies, actions and initiatives. Outlining details of Ehsaas and particularly Ehsaas Emergency Cash, Dr. Nishtar highlighted commitment of the government towards welfare of the disadvantaged in the country. “Digital infrastructure set up over the course of the last year to implement Ehsaas was drawn upon to carry out the Rs. 203 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash within just ten days of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Leveraging digital innovations, the emergency cash program is delivering one-time cash assistance of USD 75 each to 16.9 million needy families across Pakistan which given family size, benefits more than 109 million people”, shared Dr. Nishtar. Heads of EU Missions to Pakistan showed profound interest to strengthen collaboration between Ehsaas and European Union Missions to Pakistan.

Dr. Sania Nishtar addresses global virtual event to launch ‘The Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission Report’

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September 15, 2020: The Lancet Commission on Reframing Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries (NCDI) for the Poorest Billion (Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission) hosted a global virtual event to launch the Commission’s report and spark a new movement around one of the world’s biggest and most neglected health disparities: NCDIs that kill and disable millions of people in the poorest countries. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was a panellist on session titled, “NCDI and Poverty: How Do We Change Business as Usual? In this high-level panel discussion, Dr. Nishtar was joined by Matshidiso Moeti from WHO AFRO, Lea Kilenga from Africa Sickle Cell Organization and Agnes from Binagwaho, Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission. Addressing the panel, Dr. Nishtar highlighted, “For too long, we have neglected NCDs & injuries for those in poverty. WHO needs to broaden beyond the 4×4 framework for NCDs.” The event marked the publication of the Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission report, which provides the clearest picture yet of the burden of NCDs and injuries on the world’s poorest billion and calls for urgent action to address it. The report can be accessed here.

Ehsaas shifts to accrual accounting system

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September 15, 2020 – Islamabad: Under the overarching Ehsaas framework, BISP becomes the first organization in the social sector institutions of the government to adopt modern and efficient way of maintaining its financials on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Accrual basis. In line with the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy that is binding on the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and its ancillary organizations, books of accounts within BISP are being shifted from legacy cash to accrual basis. Commenting on this institutional reform, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar tweeted, “Sitting under the umbrella of Ehsaas, we have successfully launched first phase of transition to accrual accounting within BISP for improving financial planning and management in accordance with best international practices.” Continuing, she said, “Adopting accrual accounting for financial reporting is intended to further the credibility and resilience of public finances under Ehsaas and helps to unlock the benefits of programme resources.”

SAPM Sania Nishtar connects with senior management of UNDP Global to explore potential synergies

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September 14, 2020: To explore options for strategic collaboration around digitally centred social welfare in Pakistan, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation connected with senior management of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global. In the virtual meeting, Dr. Nishtar was joined by Head of Strategic Innovation UNDP Global, Giulio Quaggiotto, Innovation Specialist UNDP Asia Pacific Alexandru Oprunenco and Resident Rep a.i. UNDP Pakistan Aliona Niculita. The meeting discussed potential synergies between Ehsaas and UNDP on the future of governance for poverty, social safety and digital transformation.

Sania Nishtar visits Ehsaas projects in Multan over the weekend

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September 12, 2020 – Multan: As disbursements of Ehsaas Emergency Cash draw close to the conclusion throughout the country by September 15, 2020, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution point at Aligarh Model School and College in Multan to gain insights from the field. In the campsite, biometrically enabled payments were being made to eligible beneficiaries through several booths operated by authorized retail agents of partnering bank. Dr. Nishtar spoke to several beneficiaries who had come to withdraw emergency cash, listened to their problems and issued instructions to Ehsaas team to facilitate easy payments at the earliest. Later, Dr. Nishtar visited the Ehsaas Langar adjacent to the main bus terminal of Multan that is in its final stages of construction to open next week. The district government of Multan collaborated with Ehsaas to provide the site for Langar. The Langar when ready, will serve cooked food twice daily to 1,000 labourers.

Sania Nishtar visits Ehsaas Nashonuma Centre and reviews Ehsaas survey operations at Rajanpur

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September 11, 2020 – Rajanpur:  Aiming to inspect the quality of service delivery in the field under newly launched Ehsaas Nashonuma programme, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Ehsaas Nashonuma centre at Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Jampur in district Rajanpur. She was joined by Country Director World Food Programme, Christopher Kaye and senior officials from Ehsaas. At the venue, Dr. Nishtar was briefed on various services being provided to pregnant and lactating Ehsaas beneficiaries and their children under one roof. The SAPM interacted with the staffers and beneficiary women present at the facility and watched an awareness video on addressing stunting in children that had been made in Saraiki language. Later in the day, Dr. Nishtar together with her team reviewed ongoing Ehsaas National Socio-economic Registry survey operations in the field at Jampur through a live demonstration. The survey is currently under way in all Tehsils of Rajanpur. Checking the quality of the survey exercise, she enrolled the household herself at their doorstep through an android based application.

Dr. Sania Nishtar directs the formation of Cyber Crime Wing for Ehsaas

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September 8, 2020 – Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar has approved the formation of the Cyber Crime Wing. “In order to protect the interests of Ehsaas beneficiaries, I have directed the management to expedite the establishment of the “Cyber Crime Wing” in BISP for the purpose of preventing and controlling incidents where criminal elements commit fraud using digital technology,” said Nishtar in a tweet post. Those involved in the fraud will be dealt with an iron hand, she vowed. The Cyber Crime Wing will be set up at BISP with the aim of using digital technology in cracking down on the corrupt elements who fool the masses with deception and forgery. Dr. Nishtar has directed Ehsaas management to complete the process for formation of this wing as soon as possible.

Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship portal reopens to receive online applications for academic year 2020-21

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September 8, 2020 – Islamabad: The Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship portal has been reopened to receive fresh applications for the academic year 2020-21. All students with family income less than 45,000, studying in any year of an undergraduate program in any of the 119 public sector universities recognized by Higher Education Commission (HEC) are eligible to apply. Eligible students can apply through an online portal: https://ehsaas.hec.gov.pk/. The portal is open to new applications till October 30, 2020. Every year, 50,000 students from low-income families will be awarded Ehsaas scholarships for 4 to 5-year undergraduate degree programs. For the year 2019-20, scholarships worth Rs. 4.827 billion were awarded to 50,762 undergraduate students nationwide. Commenting on the paradigm shift in the scholarship policy of the government, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “This program represents three major paradigm shifts. First, this is the largest-ever needs-based scholarship program. Second, it is the largest-ever national scholarship program and third, it is focused on enhancing the earning potential of recipients.”

PM visits the remodelled Panagah at Tarlai Islamabad

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September 7, 2020 – Islamabad: In line with his vision of developing Pakistan as an Islamic welfare state, PM visited the newly upgraded model Panagah at Tarlai Islamabad. Following the PM’s directives to re-model Islamabad based Panagahs last month, this is the first prototype shelter home that has been overhauled in less than a month with improved infrastructure, and catering and living standards to serve the daily wage earners and laborers with dignity and quality. In the next quarter, the prioritized service delivery standards will be replicated across the board in all 5 Panagahs of federal capital and will be expanded countrywide later. Addressing labourers being served at the Panagah, the PM stated, “The poor don’t have voice and they will never object. This is our duty to service them with quality and dignity.” At the occasion, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM about remodelled administrative structure and improved service standards at Panagah. “Leveraging on IT capabilities, the living standards have been restructured in collaboration with Pakistan Bait ul Mal featuring enhanced infrastructure for food catering and living, security protocols, standardized capacity, organized HR, eligibility criteria, effective monitoring, regulated donations and financial details.” The Prime Minister also took round of the facility and interacted with labourers and daily wagers over the dinner. Footage here.

Sania Nishtar keynotes a webinar on Digital Health in COVID-19: Sharing Experiences of COMSATS’ South Asian Member States

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Sep 7, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote at a webinar on, Digital Health in COVID-19: Sharing Experiences of COMSATS’ South Asian Member States. Addressing the webinar, Dr. Nishtar shared social protection experience from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program that was rolled out nationwide to tackle socio-economic crunch induced by COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash not only offers a way forward during the COVID-19 crisis, but also learnings for the post COVID-19 interventions. The program has reached out nearly half the population of world’s fifth populous country’, said Dr. Nishtar.  At the webinar, Dr. Nishtar was joined by High Commissioners of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

New World Bank Country Director calls on SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar

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Sep 7, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was called on by Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director at Ehsaas offices in the federal capital. This was the first visit of Benhassine since he took the charge as the World Bank Country Director to Pakistan. Welcoming Benhassine, Dr. Nishtar apprised him about the flagship Ehsaas program that is aimed to reduce inequality, invest in people, and lift lagging districts. “Ehsaas is about the creation of a ‘welfare state’ by countering elite capture and leveraging 21st century tools- such as using data and technology to create precision safety nets; promoting financial inclusion and access to digital services; supporting the economic empowerment of women; focusing on the central role of human capital formation for poverty eradication, economic growth and sustainable development; and overcoming financial barriers to accessing health and post-secondary education.” The courtesy call also discussed post COVID-19 collaborations. Benhassine applauded the scale and depth of multifaceted Ehsaas programs, policies and actions.

Dr. Sania reviews Ehsaas operations in Neelam Valley, visits affected households

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September 5, 2020 – Neelam Valley: Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited the Jura sector near the Line of Control in Neelam Valley to review arrangements for Ehsaas Cash disbursal to all families residing in villages around the LoC. Dr. Nishtar oversaw digital disbursement of Rs. 12,000 Ehsaas Cash handouts to vulnerable families living along the LoC. The SAPM interacted with women who came at the Jura Bazar site to collect cash grants. Under Ehsaas, the government is disbursing some Rs. 3 billion among all the families residing in 219 villages across the LoC. “All families in 219 villages across LoC in AJK are under the persistent risk of unprovoked attacks and have sacrificed their lives, livestock, and properties. So, all families in these villages have been included in the Ehsaas program”, said Dr. Nishtar. She also met with victim families in Jura Bazar who had suffered severe damage to their properties as a result of unprovoked attacks by Indian troops. Dr. Nishtar lauded measures being taken by the district administration and Pakistan Army for provision of financial assistance to poor along the LoC.

SAPM Dr. Nishtar visits newly upgraded Panagah at Tarlai to review arrangements

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Sep 3, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited the newly upgraded Panagah (shelter home) at Tarlai to review arrangements. Leveraging IT infrastructure, the catering and living standards at the Panagah have significantly been improved to serve the daily wage earners with utmost dignity and safety. The upgradation work is just nearing the completion under the supervision of one of the key executing agencies of Ehsaas, Pakistan Bait ul Mal (PBM). Following the approval of Ehsaas Panagah Strategy by the Prime Minister in August 2020, this is the first Panagah in the federal capital that that has been revamped with the improvement and expansion in scope of services particularly boarding & lodging, and dining. Other Panagahs in Islamabad will be revamped soon on the same standards. During the visit, MD PBM Aon Abbas Buppi briefed SAPM Dr. Nishtar on the progress of renovation and restructuring in progress at the facility. At the Panagah, Dr. Nishtar sat with labourers being served and took dinner with them. She also interacted with labourers to get their feedback on the service delivery. The SAPM was accompanied by Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Additional Secretary PASSD and Focal Person on Panagahs at the occasion.

Dr. Sania’s article published in Project Syndicate gets coverage in 11 countries

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September 2, 2020: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation has penned an op-ed titled, ‘How cash transfers prevent lockdown tragedies’ that was published in Project Syndicate on August 19, 2020. The same article has been translated in 9 languages and published in 11 countries worldwide including Thailand, Jordan, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tonga, Middle East and Pakistan. Narrating her Ehsaas Emergency Cash experience, Dr. Nishtar stated, ‘COVID-19 has decimated livelihoods worldwide, squeezing the middle class and pushing low-income households into abject poverty. Social-protection programs such as Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash offer not only a path forward during the pandemic, but also valuable lessons for the future. We are deeply humbled to have supported more than 14.69 million COVID-19 lockdown affected families to-date.’ Read op-ed here.

Radio Program Raabta: Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship portal re-opening on Sep 5 to receive fresh applications

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Sep 2, 2020 -Islamabad: Participating in Radio Program Raabta, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar apprised listeners about the Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship application portal that is re-opening on Sep 5, 2020 to receive applications for the academic year 2020-21. Taking live calls of Ehsaas Emergency Cash applicants, she guided them about their eligibility and withdrawal mechanism in the emergency cash program. During the program, Dr. Nishtar was assisted by Cash Expert Ahmer Athar and MIS Expert Rana Khurram from Ehsaas team. Listen here.

Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Sania advises Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries to report Fake SMS messages on helpline: 0335-1058050/51

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September 1, 2020 – Islamabad: Speaking to beneficiaries and applicants of Ehsaas Emergency Cash in a radio program, Raabta, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar shared details about the reporting process for fake SMS messages offering financial assistance in the name of Ehsaas. She advised listeners not to pay attention to such false messages that come from any number other than 8171. All Ehsaas correspondence with beneficiaries takes place only through its official SMS code service 8171. “To report fraudulent SMS complaints, Ehsaas has deployed two mobile lines for general public: 0335-1058050 and 0335-1058051. People are encouraged to report all false SMS messages relating to Ehsaas on the given numbers so that measures can be taken against criminal elements.” Listen here.

Radio Program Raabta: Govt extends date of Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments till Sep 15; Dr. Sania

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August 31, 2020 – Islamabad: Interacting with listeners on national hook up radio program, Raabta, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar announced extension in the deadline for receiving the payments under Ehsaas Emergency Cash till September 15 for convenience of eligible applicants. “Relatives of the deceased and beneficiaries facing bio-metric verification issues will be able to receive their due payments up to 15 days (till September 30) after the extended closing date, Dr. Nishtar shared this while answering phone calls in live program. Earlier, the closing date for the payments was August 31 which has now been extended up to mid of September. Listen here.

Sania joins SUN Lead Group Consultation on the SUN Strategy 3.0

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Aug 31, 2020 – Geneva: For the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Executive Committee to brief the SUN Lead Group on the process to develop the draft 3.0 strategy and the key shifts proposed in the draft strategy, a consultative meeting was convened virtually by SUN Secretariat. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the meeting in capacity of Lead Group Member together with Gerda Verburg, Coordinator of the SUN Movement and Assistant Secretary-General. The consultation was moderated by Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director UNICEF and Chair SUN Lead Group. Addressing the meeting, Dr. Nishtar said, “We need to sharpen the way, we communicate what SUN does, especially at the government level. This can be rallied as a starting point for funding and other actions.” The SUN 2.0 strategy (2015-2020) ends this year. A Movement-wide consultation is taking place between 4 August and 4 September 2020, collecting feedback to shape SUN’s future direction together.

Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship portal will open on Sep 5 to receive applications for year 2020-21

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August 31, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship steering committee came to the table for the sixth time to review the progress for the academic sessions 2019-20 and strategize next steps for 2020-21. The meeting conferred the overall progress of the Ehsaas scholarships worth Rs. 4.827 billion being awarded to 50,762 undergraduate students (38% girls) for the year 2019-20. The steering committee also took stock of the pattern followed for scholarship distribution and disbursements to 119 public sector universities. It was decided that the Ehsaas application portal will open on Sep 5, 2020 to receive applications for the year 2020-21. The Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship project is being governed by the steering committee, co-chaired by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar and Chairman HEC Dr. Tariq Banuri. Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Overall, 50,000 undergraduate scholarships (50% girls) will be given every year to enhance financial access to higher education for the deserving. This four-year, Rs. 24 billion scholarship programme will support 200,000 students from low income backgrounds.”

Radio Program Raabta: Payments to families of dead beneficiaries and those with biometric issues to continue for a month after Aug 31; Dr. Nishtar

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August 28, 2020 – Islamabad: Speaking to applicants of Ehsaas Emergency Cash in a radio program Raabta, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar shared details about the appeal process for families of deceased beneficiaries. She informed listeners that in order to facilitate emergency cash beneficiaries with biometric issues and families of deceased beneficiaries, the Ehsaas disbursements will be continued for a month even after August 31, 2020. As part of appeal process, families of dead beneficiaries are required to send out an application for payment facilitation in the name of Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation along with death certificate and CNIC details of their dead family member along with those of eligible family member straight to Ehsaas offices at, F-Block, Pak Secretariat, Islamabad. Responding to questions of listeners on phone, she said that the scrutiny of received applications is in process as per the procedure and a formal reply to all applicants will be sent out soon. Listen here.

Governor SBP along with Deputy Governor calls on Dr. Nishtar

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August 27, 2020 – Islamabad: Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr. Reza Baqir  along with Sima Kamil, Deputy Governor SBP called on Dr. Sania Nishtar at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. This was a courtesy call to introduce newly appointed Deputy Governor SBP to Dr. Nishtar. The meeting also discussed long term goals built into the successful design of Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme to strengthen safety net and enhance financial inclusion in the country. The Governor and the Deputy Governor richly lauded Ehsaas Emergency Cash and assured full support and cooperation to Ehsaas.

Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Sania expresses resolve to fight against fraudulent deductions on the ground

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August 27, 2020 – Islamabad: Radio Pakistan held the fourth episode of the special interactive talk on ‘Ehsaas Emergency Cash in its program Raabta. Through this week, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar is the special guest in the national hook up program. In today’s Raabta, she interacted with listeners from far flung areas of the country and replied to their questions about Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments in the field. She began the program by announcing the analysis of emergency cash applicants’ data and requests received through the radio 4471 SMS feed. Responding to the complaint of Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiary against fraudsters, she assured that no one is allowed to fraudulently deduct any money from Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements to vulnerable families and all fraudsters will be dealt according to the law. Listen here.

SAPM Sania field tests mobile wallet opening to introduce cashless banking for Ehsaas beneficiaries

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August 27, 2020 – Islamabad: To field test the innovative proposition of opening mobile wallets for Ehsaas beneficiaries, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Secretary Yousaf Khan and other Ehsaas officials visited Islamabad Model College for Girls, Tarlai. Implementation of this special purpose proposition is in its testing stages. The test demonstration took place with Ehsaas beneficiaries at the Ehsaas Emergency Cash campsite in collaboration with partnering banks of Ehsaas- HBL and Bank AlFalah. “Through this innovative cash withdrawal facility, beneficiaries of Ehsaas Kafaalat will be able to open mobile wallets that will serve as fully functional cashless banking accounts”, said Dr. Nishtar while briefing media. At the Ehsaas campsite, she met with the partnering banks’ agents and Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries present there to review the quality of ongoing disbursal arrangements. She also listened to their concerns and gave on spot instructions to Ehsaas officials to facilitate them for easy cash transfers.

SAPM Sania Nishtar oversees the ongoing renovation at Tarlai Panagah in Islamabad

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August 27, 2020 -Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Secretary Yousaf Khan and other senior Ehsaas officials paid a surprise visit to Tarlai Panagah located in suburbs of the federal capital. The visit aimed to oversee the upgradation work being carried out to overhaul the Panagah. During the visit, Dr. Nishtar took round of the shelter facility and reviewed the current renovation arrangements. Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the repair and renovation of Panagah is being managed by Pakistan Bait ul Mal that is one of the key executing agencies of Ehsaas. The ongoing upgradation is nearing the completion and the facility will be re-opened for labourers and the deserving next week.

Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Sania guides eligible applicants to collect cash before August 31 from nearest campsites and bank branches

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August 26, 2020 – Islamabad: In the Radio Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash special program ‘Raabta’ that is a daily national broadcast, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania stated that transfer of cash assistance of Rs.12,000 to deserving families under Ehsaas Emergency Cash program is closing on August 31, 2020. She guided beneficiaries facing issues in payments and demonstrated the process for registered applicants to check eligibility status on the live ‘Ehsaas Emergency Cash Know Your Status Portal’. All callers who had registered themselves through 8171 and connected with Dr. Nishtar in the live program through phone were apprised of their eligibility status on the spot, by entering Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) CNIC numbers on the portal. Elaborating the disbursement mechanism, Dr. Nishtar guided eligible applicants to collect the emergency cash from the nearest Ehsaas campsites and designated bank branches. Dr. Nishtar will be connecting with the national audience every morning this week through Raabta. Listen here.

Radio program Raabta: Dr. Sania announces re-opening of Ehsaas registration desks following closure of Ehsaas Emergency Cash

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August 25, 2020 -Islamabad: Connecting with listeners in radio program Raabta, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar announced that those people who could not apply for Ehsaas Emergency Cash would be able to benefit from other Ehsaas programs as per the rule based procedures through Ehsaas self-registration drive. Continuing she said, “Although Ehsaas Emergency Cash is closing on August 31, 2020 but there are many other social protection and poverty alleviation programs running nationwide under Ehsaas including Kafaalat, Langars, undergraduate scholarships, Amdan, interest free loans and many others for the deserving.” She answered several queries of listeners regarding Ehsaas in an hour long live program. Listen here.

Dr. Sania holds a meeting to firm up Ehsaas individual financial assistance policy

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August 25, 2020 – Islamabad: The meeting of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) was held to firm up the individual financial assistance policy under the umbrella of Ehsaas. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation chaired the meeting. Secretary PASSD, Managing Director Pakistan Bait ul Mal (PBM) and other senior officials from Pakistan Bait ul Mal were also present. The meeting thoroughly reviewed the individual financial assistance system currently in place at the PBM and gave recommendations to make it more comprehensive and responsive. Under the Ehsaas framework, PBM is responsible for the execution of demand side social protection. The poor, widows, destitute women, orphans and disabled persons are supported through general assistance, education, medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Ehsaas and UNICEF join hands to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week 2020

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August 25, 2020: This World Breastfeeding Week, Ehsaas and UNICEF joined hands to raise awareness amid COVID-19 around supporting breastfeeding for a healthier planet. Informative material was jointly designed and disseminated countrywide to educate masses about the importance of breastfeeding. World Breastfeeding Week is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanise action on themes related to breastfeeding. The week is celebrated every year from 1-7 August. Taking to twitter, Dr. Sania Nishtar connected with wider audience and emphasized, “ breastfeeding is vital to boost young children’s immunity against diseases.”

Sania keynotes PIDE webinar on ‘Financing the Social Protection’

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August 24, 2020 – Islamabad: Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) organized a webinar on ‘Financing the Social Protection: Possibilities & Practices’. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to join as chief guest and keynote speaker. The webinar aimed to explore options to assess financial plans to provide social assistance to all deserving, in the wake of coronavirus. In her keynote, Dr. Nishtar shared details about Ehsaas Emergency Cash that was rolled out by the government in response to COVID-19 pandemic. She stated that the Rs. 203 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme has capitalized mainly on digital capabilities to impact lives of 16.9 million poverty-stricken families. The guest speakers included Benjamin A. Olken, an American Economist and Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Director Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, Naureen Adnan from Centre of Excellence CPEC, Safdar Sohail from SPRC, Nasir Iqbal and Shujaat Farooq from PIDE. The event was moderated by Nadeem ul Haque, Vice Chancellor PIDE.

Dr. Sania Nishtar holds a radio program Raabta to guide Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries

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August 24, 2020 – Islamabad: Given the closure of Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments on August 31, 2020, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation along with representatives from Ehsaas team held the Radio Pakistan’s live program, Raabta. She responded to questions of listeners who connected with her on telephone by calling directly at 051-9206995. Educating beneficiaries, Dr. Nishtar highlighted the supplementary measures being taken under Ehsaas to facilitate payments to families of the deceased beneficiaries and those facing biometric issues. She apprised listeners that in order to facilitate emergency cash beneficiaries with biometric issues and families of deceased beneficiaries, the Ehsaas disbursements will be continued for a month after August 31, 2020. Dr. Nishtar will be reaching out the wider national audience every morning this week through radio program. Listen here.

Ehsaas newsletter highlights 15-month remarkable journey of social protection in Pakistan

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August 21, 2020 – Islamabad: Celebrating its 15-month journey, Ehsaas has released a newsletter that looks back at several successful Ehsaas launches, institutional reforms and strategic partnerships under the whole-of-the government Ehsaas program. The Ehsaas Newsletter (March 2019 -August 2020) highlights 15-month journey of government’s efforts to scale up social protection in the country. Remarking the release of the newsletter, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar commented, “This newsletter is distinctive as it looks back at the ambitious journey of Ehsaas relationships and partnerships premised on tackling multidimensional poverty in Pakistan. The newly released edition of Ehsaas Newsletter also reflects the international recognitions earned by this widely praised programme.” The digital issue of Ehsaas Newsletter can be accessed Here.

SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joins a panel discussion on temporary basic income with Head of Strategic Engagement UNDP

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August 21, 2020 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was invited to join the panel discussion with George Gray Molina, Head of Strategic Engagement and Chief Economist, UNDP Latin America and Shah Muhammad Azhar, Economic Policy Analyst, UNDP Pakistan at a webinar hosted by UNDP. The panel discussed ‘Temporary Basic Income- Global Lessons & Implications for Pakistan’. Dr. Nishtar highlighted Pakistan’s social protection experience under Ehsaas Emergency Cash, real time lessons and its inter-linkages with temporary basic income.

Sania visits Panagahs in Islamabad along with experts to plan renovation

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August 20, 2020 -Islamabad: Taking immediate steps to plan renovation of the shelter and basic amenities being provided to labourers and the poor at Panagahs, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar along with a team of experts visited Panagahs in Islamabad. The team inspected the two shelter facilities situated at Mandi More and G-9/4 in the federal capital. In light of findings of the team, the practical steps will be chalked out to equip Panagahs with improved standard facilities and run them in a dignified manner. At the occasion, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, and Managing Director Pakistan Baitul Mal were also present. Panagah is a free lodging and food facility for labourers launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan under the Ehsaas programme. More than 100 Panagah facilities have been built up by the Government to facilitate laborers and daily wagers who need shelter.

SAPM Sania Nishtar convenes Ehsaas Poverty Expert Committee meeting to get an overview of upcoming Tahafuz

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August 19, 2020 -Islamabad: A consultative meeting of Ehsaas Poverty Expert Committee was convened at Ehsaas offices. The meeting was part of preparations for Ehsaas Tahafuz that will be launched in the coming months under the umbrella of Ehsaas. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. During the course of meeting, the poverty expert committee reviewed the groundwork and operating model for the upcoming Tahafuz. Work has been completed to develop Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net that will cover heavy medical expenditures for the deserving.

Dr. Sania Nishtar joins media briefing with Cabinet Colleagues on government’s two-year performance

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August 18, 2020 -Islamabad: A team comprising six members of the federal cabinet briefed the media on the two-year performance report of the present government. The briefing to the media was given by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, Minister Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, Adviser to the PM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar. Imran Khan had taken the oath as Prime Minister on August 18, 2018. Speaking to the print and electronic media about the 15-month journey of Ehsaas, Dr. Nishtar said, “During the course of the last 15 months, Ehsaas, the largest social protection and poverty alleviation programme was profiled at many international events and has been richly praised worldwide. Adding further, she said, “Ehsaas programme will be further expanded and its access to the masses will be ensured.” Footage of the press conference can be watched here Also, a video documentary on government’s two-year performance highlighting Ehsaas can be watched here.

SAPM Sania Nishtar speaks at Harvard Pakistan Forum 2020

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August 16, 2020 -Islamabad: Harvard Pakistan Forum (HPF) was held on August 13-16, 2020 virtually. The conference aimed to provide a platform for better understanding Pakistan’s socio-economic context. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to join the panel discussion on COVID-19 and Pakistan’s Domestic Economy. The panel discussed the most immediate concerns of domestic businesses, credit constraints, change in compensation policies, adapting to a world with social distancing. The discussion also focused on the segments of the labour market most prone to the economic consequences of the virus and steps, different stakeholders can take to help. Dr. Nishtar highlighted details about the digital ways adopted under Ehsaas programme to provide for basic needs of the vulnerable & mitigate against more permanent economic consequences of COVID-19. In this engaging panel discussion, Dr. Nishtar was joined by Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Omer Ahmed, CEO of Artistic Miliners, Naz Khan, Head of Strategy at KE and Shehryar Bakhsh, CEO of HKB.

Governor Sindh disburses cheques of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship among 145 engineers of tomorrow

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August 14, 2020 – Karachi: On the occasion of 74th Independence Day of Pakistan, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail awarded scholarships to students of Dawood University of Engineering and Technology (DUET) Karachi under the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship program. He distributed cheques of scholarship among 145 engineering students. Addressing the gathering of deserving yet brilliant students, Governor Sindh said, “Ehsaas program is the largest social sector program in the history of Pakistan which has no precedent. Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship program for needy and promising students is an initiative that would help them to study in the field of their choice without any financial problem.” Taking to twitter, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar thanked the Governor for hosting engineers of tomorrow at the Governor House. She noted, “50,700 students have benefited from Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships in the year 2019/20 and the call for 2020/21 will open shortly.”

Prime Minister unveils groundbreaking Ehsaas Nashonuma program

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August 13, 2020 -Khyber Tribal District: Prime Minister Imran Khan launched a new program, Ehsaas Nashonuma that will tackle stunting and improve the nutrition of the poorest children in Pakistan, emphasising that there is no place for malnutrition in twenty first century Pakistan. The inaugural officially took place at Ehsaas Nashonuma Center set up in Dogra Headquarter Hospital, Khyber Tribal District. Prime Minister visited the center and interacted with the staff, and beneficiary women and their children present at the registration, anthropometry, awareness, and specialized nutritious food distribution counters at the centre. At the launch event, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation briefed the PM about the wide-ranging services being provided under Ehsaas Nashonuma. Under the program, every quarter conditional cash-transfers will be provided to the poorest pregnant and lactating women and those with children under two years old, totalling PKR 1500 for each boy child and PKR 2000 for each girl child. Ehsaas Nashonuma is being launched in the first phase in nine districts, including Khyber, Upper Dir, Bagh, Ghizer, Hunza, Kharmang, Kharan, Badin, and Rajanpur. Thirty-three Ehsaas Nashonama centers will be established at Tehsil level health facilities to provide all the program’s services under one roof.

Dr. Sania Nishtar visits Panagah in Islamabad to plan upgradation

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August 10, 2020- Islamabad: Following official approval of Panagah Strategy by the Prime Minister Imran Khan on August 9, 2020, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Panagah (shelter home) situated at Mandi More in Islamabad. As per PM’s directives, the visit aimed to plan upgradation of facilities being provided at Panagah. Dr. Nishtar took round of the facility and interacted with staff and labourers present. During the visit, Dr. Nishtar was joined by Focal Person Panagah Naseem ur Rehman, MD Pakistan Bait ul Mal Aon Abbas Buppi and Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division Ali Raza Bhutta.

Orphanages Expert Group meets for the 13th time with SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar to review living standards

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August 10, 2020- Islamabad: Orphanages Expert Group met for the 13th time with PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar to give final shape to living standards for orphanages and child care centers. The group reviewed living standards for orphanages for the first time. The standards will be formalized soon for notification and implementation. Last year, in July 2019, the 11-member committee was constituted for orphanages by Dr. Nishtar to support and protect orphans under Ehsaas. The group was tasked to develop basic standards to ensure quality service at orphanages. Members of Ehsaas Orphanages Committee are prominent operators of orphanages from all across Pakistan. This is the first time that the government is taking steps to improve boarding standards for orphanages as this aspect of public service delivery had been neglected in the past.

PM approves Panagah Strategy to expand the scope of shelter homes initiative

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August 9, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved Panagah Strategy to expand the scope of his initiative Panagah (shelter homes) across the country, in line with his vision of developing Pakistan as an Islamic welfare state. In a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation presented a strategy for administrative structure of the shelter homes to improve their management and service. Approving the strategy, PM underscored the need to prioritize service delivery with quality and dignity in these shelter homes for daily wage workers who have free accommodation and meals while being away from home and can send back wages to families. SAPM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, Focal Person on Panagahs, Naseem-ur-Rehman, Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal Aon Abbas Buppi and other senior officials also attended the meeting.

Ehsaas survey kicks off in KP; Sania herself enrols first household in Malakand

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August 8, 2020 – Malakand: The official kick-off of Ehsaas Survey in KP, took place at Malakand. Ehsaas is conducting a door to door survey all over the country so that data can be gathered about the socioeconomic status of households. This has become critical after COVID 19 since livelihoods of people and their socioeconomic status has been affected. Survey is being done through a computer assisted approach. Malakand and Karak have been selected as sites where the survey will be conducted first. Since this is an end to end digital survey, training is critical. The Ehsaas survey is being conducted in close collaboration with the Provincial government of KP, Provincial Education Department of KP and the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. Today, the week-long training of master trainers ended in Malakand. The training was conducted in Government High School No.1 Thana with the help of the District Administration. Following completion of the training, data collection was tested. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar together with her team inaugurated the roll out of survey in KP through a live demonstration of a survey sampling, done right there with a family residing in the vicinity of the school. Earlier on, she conducted an interactive session with master trainers and answered their queries. The master trainers would now head back to fields to further train the 1,000 supervisors and enumerators in KP for conducting the survey across the province.

Sania joins the 3rd meeting of Population Taskforce under the chair of President of Pakistan

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August 6, 2020 -Islamabad: In her capacity as a member of the Federal Task Force on Population, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the 3rd meeting of task force under the chair of President, Dr. Arif Alvi at Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad. The meeting discussed detailed targets and road map to coordinate reproductive health efforts in Pakistan. The meeting was attended by Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noor ul Haq Qadri, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr. Faisal Sultan, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan, Caretaker Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Mir Afzal, provincial chief secretaries, Country Director Population Council Dr. Zeba Sathar, Representative UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Lina Mousa, and provincial ministers and secretaries of population welfare departments.

Sania Nishtar joins a ministerial roundtable hosted by UN Women in Bangkok

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August 5, 2020 – Bangkok: Dr. Sania Nishtar joined a high-level virtual ministerial roundtable with Ministers from around the world as part of the expert panel to jointly share experiences of several countries in ensuring a gender-inclusive response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery measures. The roundtable discussion was hosted by Phumzle Mlambo Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. The primary goal of the discussion was to foster cross‐regional knowledge‐exchange and sharing of best practices to realize progress on SDG 5 in the midst of the COVID‐19 pandemic with a specific focus on women’s participation in the COVID‐19 response and gender‐inclusive packages. Dr. Sania Nishtar spoke in the panel on “response and recovery”. She outlined details about Pakistan’s remarkable efforts which have resulted in early disease decline as well as support for poorest families whose lives were adversely affected by COVID 19. She said that 61% of Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements were to women. More broadly, she added that Ehsaas is addressing women’s priorities through the economic response strategy. The expert panel brought together Special Assistant to Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, the Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Tourism of the Lebanese Republic, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Director General of the Pension Department of the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

Dr. Sania inspires women entrepreneurs at the meeting of FPCCI Standing Committee on women empowerment

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August 5, 2020 – Lahore: The third meeting of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) central standing committee on women empowerment and development took place in Lahore. PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar virtually joined the meeting as a keynote speaker. Motivating entrepreneurial women, Dr. Nishtar said, “Foundational to Ehsaas is the realization that it is critically important to ensure that the program is responsive to needs of women in the country, who comprise 49% of total population. The ambition of Ehsaas is to skew critical initiatives towards women, by ensuring that at least 50% of all beneficiaries targeted by the program across initiatives are women. Therefore, Ehsaas encompasses several social protection and poverty alleviation initiatives targeted towards women, including interest free loans (50% women), Amdan (60% women), undergraduate scholarships (50%) and Kafaalat (7 million women), thus opening doors to rights and opportunities.” Further, highlighting Ehsaas Emergency Cash experience, Dr. Nishtar added that 61% of Ehsaas Emergency Cash has been disbursed to women. The meeting was convened by Dr. Shehla Javed Akram, Founder President of Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lahore Division.

Ehsaas convenes consultative meetings with partner banks to explore ways to promote financial inclusion

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Aug 4, 2020 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation convened virtual meetings with the leadership of both the partner banks, Habib Bank of Pakistan Limited and Bank Alfalah at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. The consultative meetings explored ways to promote use of digital wallets during the Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements to promote financial inclusion, which Ehsaas regards as a key pillar of poverty graduation.

Dr. Sania represents Pakistan at the 11th Korea – SAARC Seminar convened by the Government of Korea

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Aug 3, 2020 – Islamabad: At the 11th Korea – SAARC Partnership Seminar convened by the Government of Korea on the theme of public health and poverty alleviation in the time of COVID-19, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar outlined how the Government of Pakistan addressed both the COVID-19 health issue and its socio-economic fall out. Highlighting the experience of Ehsaas Emergency Cash in her keynote address via video link, Dr. Nishtar said, “We are committed to addressing rising inequality and attainment of Sustainable Development Goals in a post COVID-19 world.” Footage can be accessed here.

Sania meets and greets labourers on the second day of Eid at Ehsaas Langarkhana in Peshawar

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Aug 2, 2020 -Peshawar: On the second day of Eid, Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited the Ehsaas Langarkhana (soup kitchen) in Peshawar to meet and greet labourers. Her appearance was a pleasant surprise for labourers present at the Langarkhana. She interacted with people and listened to their issues. “Sitting with labourers and seeing first-hand what Ehsaas Langar does to feed those who could not travel back to their homes to celebrate Eid with families is really touching,” said Dr. Nishtar. Ehsaas Langar in Peshawar provides cooked food to 1,200 people on daily basis. This free food facility is situated in front of the main bus terminal in Peshawar to serve labourers and daily wage earners.

Sania celebrates Eid with the destitute women and girls at Edhi Home

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Aug 1, 2020 -Islamabad: Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Edhi home to celebrate the first day of Eid with the destitute women and girls. Taking advantage of the visit, Dr. Nishtar spent quality time with the homeless girls and women and listened to their heart rending stories. She thanked the Edhi Foundation for the work they do to provide social safety to such women and girls. “Organizations like Edhi Foundation are one of few social safety institutions in Pakistan that provide shelter to children and the homeless women with dignity, said Dr. Nishtar while paying tribute to services of Edhi Foundation. 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 addresses keynote at the Ehsaas Scholarship distribution event hosted by KMU

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July 30, 2020 – Peshawar: Khyber Medical University organized Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship distribution ceremony in Peshawar for medical and allied health students. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was a chief guest at the event. In her keynote address via video link, Dr. Nishtar congratulated all students who were awarded Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship. “This scholarship focuses on enhancing the earning potential of the recipients. Past scholarships were aimed at postgraduate programs. The Ehsaas scholarship funds under-graduate education, because the evidence suggests that it is the surest way to enable people to rise out of poverty, and it contributes the most to income generating potential”, she said. 341 deserving bright students studying at Khyber Medical University including girls and students from tribal districts of KP were granted merit cum need based Ehsaas scholarship. Footage can be watched here.

Ehsaas and the World Bank explore collaborative avenues to expand the scope of Ehsaas

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July 30, 2020 – Islamabad: Under the leadership of Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Ehsaas and The World Bank teams came to the table to explore collaborative options. Drawing on lessons of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program, the online meeting discussed ways to expand social protection program in Pakistan under the overarching Ehsaas framework.

International development partners congratulate Dr. Sania for releasing the flagship report on Ehsaas Emergency Cash

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July 30, 2020 -Islamabad: Ehsaas hosted a webinar with donors, international development partners and UN agencies to share key findings of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Report penned by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation. Convening the virtual meeting, Dr. Nishtar shared her experience around the design and implementation of Ehsaas Emergency Cash that will support 16.9 million families affected by the COVID-19 induced economic shutdown with cash handouts of Rs. 12, 000 each. Dr. Nishtar was joined by country directors and heads of International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and other agencies. Development partners richly praised the report and congratulated Dr. Nishtar and the entire Ehsaas team for taking the lead to reach out to multi-million deserving households in a transparent, cost-effective and fast manner. It was suggested to convene another round of cross-country experience sharing session around Ehsaas Emergency Cash.

President hosts a reception in collaboration with Ehsaas to pay tribute to services of health workers in COVID-19

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July 29, 2020 – Islamabad: President Dr. Arif Alvi hosted a reception at the Presidency in Islamabad to pay tribute to the health workers and paramedical staff for their dedicated services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reception was organized in collaboration with Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal that is an executing agency of Ehsaas program. At the event, President Dr. Alvi was joined by First Lady Samina Alvi, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, Managing Director Pakistan Bait -ul-Mal Aon Abbas Buppi, representatives of International Rescue Committee, dozens of health workers along with family members of those who have lost their lives during the anti-COVID-19 services. President Dr. Arif Alvi termed frontline workers as heroes of nation who had offered COVID-19 related duties at hospitals across the country. Earlier, the President also distributed souvenirs among the family members of martyred health workers and Eid gifts among those serving COVID-19 related duties. Acknowledging services of health workers, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “During the pandemic, the government has played a commendable role to strengthen health sector by enhancing testing capacity from 450 per day to 80,000 per day, increasing number of laboratories from 3 to 128, training of 100,000 health workers and addition of 2,000 ICU beds.” While highlighting the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program, she added that it would benefit almost half of the country’s population.

Dr. Sania Nishtar convenes consultative meeting to give structure to Panagahs

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July 29, 2020 – Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a consultative meeting at Ehsaas offices to give structure to Panagahs (shelter homes) and expand their scope and quality countrywide. The meeting discussed the course of action for the way forward. The implementation of the same will commence next week.  At the occasion, Zulfi Bukhari, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, PM’s Focal Person on Panagahs, Nassem-ur-Rehman, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Hamza Shafqaat and Aon Abbas Buppi, Managing Director, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal were also present.

Dr. Sania joins the Cabinet Committee meeting on Utility Stores Corporation to review the utilization of subsidy amount

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July 29, 2020 – Islamabad: The cabinet committee on Utility Stores Corporation met to review the utilization of the subsidy amount. The meeting was convened by Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production and he was joined by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation. Managing Director, Utility Stores Corporation gave a detailed presentation to the committee on its current working capital and total utilization of funds for the subsidy. During the meeting, Dr. Nishtar outlined ideas to ensure enhanced transparency safeguards in utilization of subsidy amount.

 

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to Pakistan calls on Dr. Sania Nishtar

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July 29, 2020 -Islamabad:  Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was called on by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to Pakistan, Noriko Yoshida along with her team to Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. This was just a courtesy call. The meeting discussed options to offer social protection to refugees drawing further on the Ehsaas Emergency Cash experience.

Sania discusses matters pertaining to SUN Movement with Coordinator and UN Assistant Secretary-General in Geneva

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July 29, 2020 -Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation virtually connected with Gerda Verburg, Coordinator and UN Assistant Secretary-General, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss matters pertaining to SUN Movement. The meeting discussed the next phase of the Movement, ‘SUN 3.0 from 2021 to 2025’, SUN Lead Group 2020 commitments and post COVID-19 global reimagination of the nutrition landscape.

Dr. Sania presents Ehsaas Emergency Cash Report to President Dr. Arif Alvi

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July 28, 2020 -Islamabad: In a meeting that took place at Aiwan-e-Sadar in Islamabad, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar presented the Ehsaas Emergency Cash report to President, Dr. Arif Alvi. The President of Pakistan highly lauded her for authoring this comprehensive report that features lessons from the real time evaluation of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program. Dr. Nishtar thanked the President for all the applause and encouragement.

Dr. Nishtar releases an explanatory video on ‘Ehsaas Know Your Status web-portal’ to facilitate applicants of Ehsaas Emergency Cash

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July 28, 2020 – Islamabad: To facilitate applicants as well as vol­unteers of Ehsaas Emer­gency Cash program enabling them to check online status of their applica­tions, Ehsaas has introduced ‘Ehsaas Emergency Cash – Know Your Status Web-Portal’. The portal can be accessed here. Demonstrating the process for registered applicants to check eligibility status, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation has tweeted an explanatory video. All applicants who have registered themselves through 8171 can now easily check their eligibility status by entering Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) CNIC number on the portal. If eligible, they can collect their cash from the nearest Ehsaas payment centres. The video can be watched here.

Newly released edition of ‘Ehsaas Newsletter’ underscores the journey of this ground-breaking program amid COVID times

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July 27, 2020 – Islamabad: Connecting with wide-ranging stakeholders, Ehsaas has released the second volume of the newsletter. This electronic newsletter looks back at the Ehsaas’ progress from Jan 01, 2020 to Jun 30, 2020. It marks the launch of a number of new social protection and poverty alleviation initiatives under the overarching Ehsaas framework. The newsletter innovatively outlines the response of the government during the period to address COVID-19 challenges in the country. Early in the year 2020, Pakistan administered nationwide COVID-19 emergency measures which adversely impacted livelihoods of labour class. To mitigate the economic hardships being experienced by many workers, the government introduced the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program within ten days of the lockdown to extend cash handouts of Rs. 12,000 to 16.9 million families in need. The newsletter provides a link to the recently launched report on Ehsaas Emergency Cash. Noting the release of the newsletter, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar commented, “The primary purpose behind the release of this newsletter is to foster transparency and share knowledge with all stakeholders and partners about major developments related to Ehsaas initiatives and programs.” The newly released issue of Ehsaas newsletter can be read here.

 

Dr. Sania visits newly set up Ehsaas Nashonuma Center in Khyber Tribal District to reviews arrangements

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July 24, 2020 -Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar together with her team visited the Ehsaas Nashonuma Center that has recently been set up in Khyber Tribal District at District Headquarter Hospital, Dogra. She reviewed arrangements being made at the center for the upcoming Ehsaas Nashonuma programme. At the center, Dr. Nishtar was briefed on various services for pregnant and lactating Ehsaas beneficiaries and their children under two years of age to prevent stunting. The key services included registration of beneficiaries through Ehsaas Nashonuma app, growth monitoring, immunization and treatment, awareness sessions, distribution of specialized nutritious food and biometric cash grant disbursement through ATM.  Dr. Nishtar interacted with the staff and beneficiary women present at the center and sat with them to watch an awareness video on addressing stunting in children that had been made in Pashto language. Ehsaas Nashonuma is a conditional cash transfer program, specifically designed to prevent stunting in children. The Prime Minister will launch Ehsaas Nashonuma programme next month.

Ehsaas Labour Expert Groups convenes eleventh meeting in 13 months

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July 23, 2020 -Islamabad: As part of ‘Mazdoor ka Ehsaas’, a meeting of the Ehsaas Labour Expert Group (LEG) was convened with federal government departments, provincial governments, international development partners, researchers, the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labour rights groups, and representatives of workers and employers from across Pakistan. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. The meeting discussed the key recommendations of the final report furnished by the LEG along with way forward for extension of social protection services to the informal labour sector in Pakistan. The LEG report has been finalized and will be released in the public domain by the end of this week. The report recommends to bring the informal workers inside the formal network, address exploitation of labour, and enforcement of minimum wage, as pledged by the Constitution of Pakistan. Dr. Nishtar lauded the expert group for their commendable work. Since the constitution of the LEG on May 1, 2019 by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, this was the eleventh meeting of the group.

Ehsaas signs MoU with Aga Khan Foundation

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July 23, 2020 -Islamabad: Ehsaas signed an MoU with Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan for the launch of upcoming Ehsaas Nashonuma programme across Gilgit-Baltistan. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation witnessed the signing ceremony. From the Aga Khan Foundation, Iqbal Walji, Chairman Aga Khan foundation and Akhtar Iqbal, CEO were present at the occasion. Under the MoU, Aga Khan Foundation will collaborate with Ehsaas in setting up six Ehsaas Nashonuma Centres in 2 districts of Gilgit Baltistan namely Ghizer and Hunza. The Ehsaas Nashonuma Centres are part of a new community health and nutrition initiative to address stunting in children. Under the programme, Ehsaas will provide conditional cash grant and awareness sessions to pregnant and lactating Ehsaas beneficiaries and their children under two years of age for consumption of Specialized Nutrition Food (SNF).

Ehsaas and Punjab discuss ways to exploit synergy with regard to Ehsaas social protection assistance

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July 23, 2020 -Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation convened a virtual meeting with Chairman Planning and Development (P&D) Punjab, Chairman Punjab Social Protection Authority and Secretary Poverty Alleviation and  Social Safety Division on strengthening federal-provincial partnerships and exploiting synergy under overarching Ehsaas framework. The meeting discussed collaborations in the social protection and human capital development initiatives. Addressing the meeting, Dr. Nishtar commented, “It is critical to minimise duplication and double dipping with regards to government’s Ehsaas social protection assistance.”

Ehsaas and ADB deliberate poverty graduation approaches in a virtual meeting

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July 23, 2020 -Islamabad: A virtual meeting of Ehsaas was held with Asian Development Bank to discuss poverty graduation approaches in context of Pakistan. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and her team was joined by Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Pakistan, Xiaohong Yang. The meeting discussed opportunities and approaches to expedite the roll out of ADB supported poverty graduation program under Ehsaas for the poor segments of the population. Dr. Nishtar said, “Approaches to “graduation” from poverty

Ehsaas conducts a Zoom session with experts from Aga Khan University to exchange views on stunting in Pakistan

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July 23, 2020 -Islamabad: A Zoom session led by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar was held with Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutta, Founding Director, Institute of Global Health at Aga Khan University, South Central Asia, East Africa and United Kingdom and his team. Mr. Bhutta presented global stunting situation along with quantitative findings of Pakistan sub-national study around stunting distribution patterns. The discussion analysed change in stunting patterns since 2011 looking at various drivers for improvement including economic growth, contributions by the social and health sectors. In her concluding words, Dr. Nishtar stated, “The sub-national results of stunting patterns are important for policy and most interesting to expand the scope of upcoming Ehsaas Nashonuma programme that is aimed to prevent stunting in children under 2 years of age.”

Ehsaas organizes a 5 day training of lead trainers to roll out NSER in KP

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July 22, 2020 -Islamabad: Ehsaas organized a 5 day training of lead trainers for the roll out of Ehsaas National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) in KP. The training was held in collaboration with Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and provincial government of KP. To train the lead trainers for conducting door to door NSER survey across KP, the five day training (July 20-24, 2020) was conducted at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. These lead trainers will further train supervisors and enumerators for conducting survey. On the third day of training, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar conducted an interactive session with participants from KP and answered their queries with regard to National Socioeconomic registry update. She said that NSER would help government to devise better social welfare and poverty alleviation policies and programs through better targeting of the poorest of the poor. Dr. Nishtar encouraged the lead trainers to perform their assigned duties with full commitment and dedication.

Cabinet appreciates first of its kind report on Ehsaas Emergency Cash authored by Dr. Sania Nishtar

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Islamabad -July 21, 2020: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation presented Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme report to the Federal Cabinet. It is for the first time that a programme report has been presented with a detailed methodology of the design and insights from real time evaluation. The Prime Minister paid rich tribute to the report. Authored by the Ehsaas leader, Dr. Nishtar, the report shares the knowledge gained in designing and implementing a massive national program in real time, in a context of complexity and uncertainty, with speed. It also outlines the operational challenges encountered and the means of their mitigation. Commenting on the flagship report, Dr. Nishtar remarked, “Public accountability and transparency are the underlying motivation for this report. I believe that a culture of transparent and evidence-based decision-making is necessary to reform governance in Pakistan. Integrity, transparency and openness have to be ingrained in government institutions and processes in order for democracies to deliver for their people”. The report can be accessed here.

Federal Government expands the budget of Ehsaas Emergency Cash to Rs. 203b: SAPM Dr. Nishtar addresses a press conference

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July 16, 2020 – Islamabad: Speaking at a press conference alongside Information Minister, Shibli Faraz, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said that the funding of Ehsaas Emergency Cash has been increased by the federal government from Rs. 144 billion to Rs. 203 billion. With this enhanced scope, as many as 16.9 million families, or around 109 million individuals, practically half the country will get benefit from these cash handouts. Further, Dr. Nishtar highlighted, “This is fully transparent, rule and merit based, and apolitical cash transfer program of Pakistan based on demand based assistance seeking mechanism. Sindh province gains the most from this program which shows its apolitical nature.” Terming the Ehsaas Emergency Cash as the biggest social protection program rolled out in Pakistan’s history, she said that it has been commended internationally. So far, 12.86 million Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries across the country have received one-time cash assistance of Rs.155.64 billion. Full footage of the press conference can be watched here:

Dr. Sania Nishtar chairs a webinar discussion organized by UNDP on social protection in the context of COVID-19

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July 16, 2020 -Islamabad: United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Pakistan hosted a webinar on the theme of social protection as it relates to inequality in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Ehsaas Emergency Cash as the peg. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the webinar discussion. In her opening remarks, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Ehsaas Emergency Cash is the most extensive and transparent social protection operation, ever undertaken in the history of Pakistan. Given the overall success of program and its massive demand amid COVID-19,  the government has expanded its target to reach 16.9 million beneficiaries with an increased budget of Rs. 203 billion. The webinar brought together rich perspectives of federal and provincial governments, international development partners, civil society and private sector around the social protection experiences. Participants highly lauded it that as compared to social protection initiatives taken in other countries, Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has gained international recognition for disbursing in time cash assistance in a well-organized manner and at a larger scale.

Dr. Nishtar illustrates the newly introduced Ehsaas mechanism for payments to families of deceased beneficiaries

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July 14, 2020 -Islamabad: To ease out the payment process for families of deceased beneficiaries who are eligible, Ehsaas Emergency Cash has introduced a new mechanism. Illustrating the supplementary process, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar has released an instructional video on twitter. As part of  the new mechanism, families of dead beneficiaries are required to send out an application in the name of Dr. Sania Nishtar with CNIC details of their dead family member along with those of eligible family member straight to Ehsaas offices at Islamabad. The video can be watched here.

Dr. Sania Nishtar briefs PM on upcoming ‘Ehsaas Nashonuma’ program

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July 13, 2020 – Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and briefed him about the upcoming ‘Ehsaas Nashonuma’ program. Nashonuma is a conditional cash transfer program, specifically designed to prevent stunting in children. Under the program, 31 Nashonuma centers will open in 9 districts in the following weeks. World Food Programme (WFP) is the implementing partner of Ehsaas for this program. The Prime Minister will launch Ehsaas Nashonuma program in next few weeks. During the briefing, the PM advised Dr. Nishtar to further expand the scope of Ehsaas program in the context of COVID-19.

Sania visits Pakistan Agriculture Research Center to explore multi-sectoral collaborations for Ehsaas

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July 11, 2020 -Islamabad: “Within the government, multi-sectoral collaboration is critical for the success of Ehsaas program”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation during her visit to Pakistan Agriculture Research Center (PARC) in Islamabad. The visit aimed to explore how the potential and expertise of this prestigious institution can be tapped to build capacity and offer livelihood opportunities to Ehsaas beneficiaries. Dr. Muhammad Azeem Khan, Chairman, PARC briefed Dr. Nishtar about the land management and amelioration strategies to support farmers under agricultural research and development programs. At the occasion, Dr. Nishtar was also joined by Engineer Shamim-ul-Sibtain Shah, Director General NARC, Dr. Sarfraz Ahmad, Member National Resources Division, PARC, Director Land Resources, Dr. Shahid Massud Gul, Nasir Mehmood Cheema, Director Special Initiator, Dr. Tariq Sultan Incharge Compost Processing Unit, Dr. Amjad, CEO PATCO and other scientists.

Ehsaas Langar & Panagah App available on Google Play Store

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July 9, 2020, Andriod version of ‘Ehsaas Langar and Panagah App’ is now available on Google Play Store, providing useful information about Ehsaas Langars (soup kitchens) and Panagahs (shelter homes) across the country. It enables geographic locations of welfare organizations to be mapped when they are photographed through the App, so that there is better coordination of relief efforts and no duplication. Underserved areas will also be identified through the App. The Ehsaas App can be downloaded here. Creating awareness about functions of Ehsaas Langar & Panagah App, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation tweeted an instructional video. The video can be watched here.

Ehsaas launches ‘Ehsaas Emergency Cash-Know Your Status’ web-portal to facilitate registered applicants

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July 8, 2020, Ehsaas has launched ‘Know Your Status’ Portal which has been especially designed in collaboration with NADRA to offer an easy window to people registered with Ehsaas Emergency Cash to check their eligibility. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation tweeted, “All applicants who have registered themselves through 8171 or Prime Minister’s Labour Portal can now easily check their eligibility status by entering CNIC number on the portal. If eligible, they can collect their cash from the nearest Ehsaas payment centres.” The portal can be accessed here.

Dr. Sania briefs foreign diplomats on Ehsaas Emergency Cash: Pakistan’s social protection response to COVID-19

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July 2, 2020 -Islamabad: Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a virtual briefing on the country’s social protection response to COVID-19, Ehsaas Emergency Cash program that brought together heads of diplomatic missions, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Country Representatives and Charge de Affairs from around 60 countries. Dean of Diplomatic Corps, H.E. Atadjan Movlamov was also present. Briefing foreign diplomats, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar who heads Ehsaas program reflected on various dimensions of the USD 1.16 billion program particularly the scale and design, speed of deployment, transparency safeguards and real-time evaluations that are hardwired in the success of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. She apprised all participants that the program has provided one time cash assistance (USD 75 each) to 12.30 million families in just 11 weeks, following rule based approach. Diplomats richly praised the Ehsaas Emergency Cash that it took lead in radically expanding social safety nets to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 in Pakistan. They offered broader collaboration to the government of Pakistan to further expand this apolitical program. Closing the briefing, Foreign Secretary, Sohail Mehmood acknowledged the success of Pakistan’s social protection program and said that another interaction will be planned very soon to share the final report of Ehsaas Emergency Cash.

Sania Nishtar joins President Buhari of Nigeria and Antonio Gutteres during launch of UN’s Poverty Eradication Alliance

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July 1, 2020 – Islamabad, Pakistan: Ending poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is at the heart of the government’s vision for Pakistan. This was the key message delivered by Dr. Sania Nishtar to the United Nations yesterday in a speech to the General Assembly on behalf of the Government of Pakistan. Dr. Nishtar, who is Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and head of the Ehsaas program, delivered the speech via video link as part of the virtual inauguration of the Alliance for Poverty Eradication, a new global body designed to address poverty from all possible angles, and serve as a forum for networking, information-sharing, and bridge-building. The Alliance for Poverty Eradication is a flagship initiative of the President of the UN General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, who also spoke at the event alongside UN Secretary-General António Guterres and representatives including Heads of State from over 30 countries. Dr. Nishtar was one of the opening speakers along with Secretary General Gutteres, President Buhari of Nigeria, and President of ECOSOC. Dr. Nishtar’s full speech can be watched here.

Governor Sindh Imran Ismail inaugurates Ehsaas Langar in Umerkot

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June 30, 2020 – Umerkot: Governor Sindh Imran Ismail opened the Ehsaas Langar in Umerkot district of Sindh. This Langar provides cooked food to 300 people on daily basis. The facility has been set up in a public private partnership wherein government will provide on-ground facilitation with a zero cost. All production and distribution of food will be managed by the partnering organization, Saylani Welfare International Trust (SWIT). At the occasion, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail lauded the free food services in the country being provided by Ehsaas program under the leadership of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. Yousuf Lakhani, President, SWIT was also present at the inauguration. As part of Ehsaas framework, Langars are aimed to serve meals to poorest segments of the society particularly labour class. Ehsaas ensures that the food served at the Langar is hygienic and is provided to people in ample proportions with dignity.

Dr. Nishtar chairs the 40th board meeting of BISP

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June 29, 2020 -Islamabad: The 40th meeting of the BISP board was held at BISP headquarters in Islamabad. Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Chairperson, BISP convened the board meeting. Since Dr. Nishtar took over as a board chair in November 2018, as many as 10 board meetings (>statutory requirement) have been held; agendas are prepared well by board sub-committees and Conflict of Declarations are signed by each board member at each board meeting.

Dr. Sania takes to twitter to celebrate the achievement of Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment target among 12 m beneficiaries

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June 29, 2020 -Islamabad: The federal government has successfully completed the Ehsaas target of emergency cash disbursement among 12 million daily wagers with overall disbursement of Rs. 145.29 billion across the country. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar took to the twitter to celebrate the achievement of this Ehsaas milestone. In her tweet, she said, “Given the overall success of Ehsaas Emergency Cash and its massive demand amid these unprecedented times, the government has set out a new target of over 16.163 million beneficiaries. In the following tweet, she added, “Emergency Cash distribution to the deserving would continue after June 30, 2020. The payment process under Ehsaas would continue till disbursement of financial assistance to over 16 million lockdown affected people in line with the set target.”

PM announces the Rs. 3bn Ehsaas Cash Package for all families living close to the Line of Control

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June 26, 2020 -Muzaffarabad:  Addressing a ceremony in Muzaffarabad, the Prime Minister Imran Khan announced Ehsaas Cash Package for all 138,275 families living in 219 villages close to the Line of Control (LoC). Under the specialized cash assistance package worth Rs. 3 billion, all the resident families along the LoC have been declared entitled for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash and Ehsaas Kafaalat programs. Women of all those families would receive monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 besides an emergency cash of Rs 12,000. Speaking to the valiant families living beside the LoC, the Prime Minister stated, “I am grateful today that we have been given an opportunity to help the people living around LoC braving hardships and economic losses due to cross border firing.” The ceremony was attended by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Ali Amin Gandapur, Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) President, Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister AJK, Raja Farooq Haider. PM also gave away Ehsaas Cheques to the entitled families from LoC.

Dr. Sania shares real-time evaluation of Ehsaas Emergency Cash with policymakers from Asia

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June 25, 2020: UNDP Regional Innovation Hub in Bangkok organized NextGenGov online Summit – Asia Pacific with policymakers from across Asia to capitalize on sharing of experiences with regard to innovations in governance & public service delivery in the COVID-19 context. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was a speaker at a session themed, “Voices from Governance trenches: 5 bureaucrats from 5 countries”. Dr. Nishtar shared lessons from the real time evaluation of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program. Addressing the summit, she stated, “Real-time evaluation had been embedded in the roll out of the Ehsaas Emergency cash program that is the government of Pakistan’s response to the COVID-19. This was designed to provide immediate feedback from the field so that mitigating action could be taken in real time.”

SAPM Sania Nishtar and CM KP Mehmood Khan open Ehsaas Langar in Peshawar

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June 24, 2020 -Peshawar: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation along with Chief Minister KP, Mehmood Khan and Chairman Saylani Welfare International Trust, Maulana Bashir Farooqui inaugurated the Ehsaas Langar in Peshawar that serves cooked food twice daily to 1,200 people. The Ehsaas Saylani Langar has been opened in front of the main bus terminal. Old Haji Camp Adda is an ideal place for Langar as labourers and daily wage earners congregate to earn daily wages. The government of KP collaborated with Ehsaas to provide the site for Langar. This whole set up has been established in a public private partnership with a zero cost to the government and the partnering trust (SWIT) will manage the production and distribution of food. Dr. Nishtar thanked CM KP, Mehmood Khan and Chief Secretary KP, Kazim Niaz for their collaboration in providing the space for Ehsaas Langar.

Dr. Sania Nishtar and CM KP Mehmood Khan review arrangements at Ehsaas payment site in Peshawar

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June 24, 2020 -Peshawar: During her official visit to Peshawar, Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Chief Minister KP and Chief Secretary KP visited the Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution site at Government High School No. 1 in Peshawar to observe how the disbursements were being made to labourers, piece rate workers, daily wagers and workers who have been laid off by factories  and employers owing to COVID-19 lockdown. They reviewed the payment arrangements at the site and interacted with beneficiaries. Till today, Ehsaas has disbursed Rs. 138.09 billion emergency cash among 11.404 million deserving households countrywide.

Dr. Sania pays an unannounced visit to Swabi to observe Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments

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June 24, 2020 – Swabi: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar paid a surprise visit to Ehsaas payment site in Swabi and interacted with people who had come to withdraw emergency cash. Interacting with beneficiaries, Dr. Nishtar commented, “There is a certain percentage of people who have not collected the cash handouts yet despite being eligible and we are trying to ascertain why have they not collected their payments.” She then continued, “Over the weekend, we conducted a survey and found out that many eligible beneficiaries had not received their payment messages from 8171 which is why, SMS messages were resent to all those beneficiaries. I have come here to see, if the payments have begun to all those deserving whom we have sent repeated messages to ensure that they withdraw money at the earliest”.

PM opens assistance through Ehsaas Rashan Portal, PM’s COVID Web-portal and the Ehsaas Langar and Panahgah App

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June 22, 2020 – Islamabad: The Prime Minister presided over a meeting during which he was briefed about commencement of operations through the Ehsaas Rashan Portal. During this briefing, the PM COVID web-portal for donations, and the Ehsaas Langar and Panahgah App were also unveiled. Special Assistant to the PM, Dr. Sania Nishtar conducted the briefing. Federal Minister for Information, Shibli Faraz and SAPM Asim Bajwa were also present during the briefing. The PM’s focal persons on Panah Gahs, Naseem-ur-Rehman and the PM’s Focal Person for the PM Fund, Khursheed Alam also attended. Federal Secretaries and heads of organizations including Furqan Ahmed Sayed from Pepsi Co, Mohammad Ali Tabba from Lucky Cement, Atif Bajwa from Alfalah Bank, Arif Usmani from NBP, Bashir Farooqui from Saylani Welfare Trust and Quraish Mehmood from Urban Properties were also present. Inspiring other donors to come forward and support government initiatives while presiding the meeting, the PM stated, “Transparency is most critical in the use of donor funds; we are ensuring that there is visibility of every penny donated through the PM’s COVID Fund Portal.” Earlier, several donors including Pepsi Co, Lucky Cement, Bank Alfalah and Saylani Welfare International Trust committed to donate cumulatively 12 million meals to deserving beneficiaries by signing MoUs with Ehsaas. These donors have signed MOUs and non-disclosure agreements with Ehsaas and have received beneficiary data for ration disbursement in specific geographies under the Ehsaas Rashan program.

Ehsaas signs MoUs with donors to commence operations through Ehsaas Rashan Portal

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June 22, 2020, Prior to the commencement of operations through Ehsaas Rashan Portal, the donor organizations including Pepsi Co, Lucky Cement, Bank Alfalah and Saylani Welfare International Trust committed to donate cumulatively 12 million meals to deserving beneficiaries by signing MoUs with Ehsaas. In a ceremony organized at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad, heads and senior officials of these four donors signed MOUs and non-disclosure agreements with Ehsaas to receive beneficiary data for ration disbursement in specific geographies under the Ehsaas Rashan program. Witnessing the signing of MoUs, Dr. Sania Nishtar remarked, “The Ehsaas Rashan program is principally a means to link private sector organizations willing to donate food rations, to government verified beneficiaries. The role of government is primarily that of onboarding credible donor organizations, verifying beneficiaries, and providing donor organizations list of verified beneficiaries to conduct targeted disbursement of ration.” The signing ceremony was followed by a briefing to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of donors that have partnered on this important initiative.

PM visits Ehsaas Emergency Cash Disbursement Centre in Larkana

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June 17, 2020 – Larkana: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Disbursement Centre at Sachal Colony, Larkana. The PM, on the occasion, interacted with emergency cash assistance recipients and inquired about their financial condition, particularly in the context of COVID-19. Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM that the Ehsaas Emergency Cash of Rs. 60 billion is being distributed among a total of 5 million deserving families in the Sindh. Dr. Nishtar then continued, “In Larkana alone, around 185,000 families would be benefited from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash and 115,000 of them have already been provided the cash assistance.” “Total sum of Rs 2.2 billion would be distributed among the deserving families in Larkana and for the purpose about 36 cash distribution centres have been established in Larkana”, she added. The Prime Minister was also accompanied by Governor Sindh, Imran Ismail, Federal Minister for Privatization, Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Syed Ali Zaidii, SAPM on Information Lt. Gen. (Retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Sindh President, Haleem Adil Shaikh. Footage can be watched here.

PM apolitically decides to increase the share of Sindh in Ehsaas Emergency Cash from 22.45% to 31%

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June 17, 2020- Karachi: Participating in a televised media talk led by the Prime Minister Imran Khan during the visit to Karachi, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar said that the major chunk of Rs 60 billion earmarked for Sindh under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme is being distributed among the 50 million needy families across the province. Adding further she said, “In Categories II & III of Ehsaas Emergency Cash, provincial quotas are population based. However, in Categories IV & V that is funded by PM’s COVID relief fund, all eligible applicants are being supported on PM’s directions. Therefore, deserving individuals in Sindh will gain the most from this apolitical decision as the share of the province has now been increased from 22.45% to 31%.” Further, Dr. Sania Nishtar who leads Ehsaas programme shared the final breakdown of federally-funded Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries by federating units. She said that the overall number of individuals to be supported under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme has now been increased from 12 million to 16.16 million. The media talk can be watched here.

Ehsaas Saylani Langar opens in Swat amidst COVID-19 pandemic

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June 17, 2020 – Swat: Under the public private partnership, fourth Ehsaas Saylani Langar has been opened in Swat. Currently, the newly opened Langar in Swat serves packed food two times daily to around 1,500 people amid COVID-19 emergency. People are pleased with the food quality and degree of respect with which they are being served. Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “This is the first Ehsaas Saylani Langar inaugurated in KP. Ehsaas strongly realizes that Corona crisis has aggravated poverty that has adversely impacted laborers and daily wagers the most. Principally, this food aid facility will help ease the food burden of urban poor across Swat district.”

PM visits Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursement centre at Lahore

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June 13, 2020 – Lahore: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursement centre in Lahore and inspected the transfer of cash to the deserving people. PM also interacted with emergency cash beneficiaries and enquired about their livelihood conditions particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM that around 1.3 million people would be provided emergency cash assistance under PM’s COVID Fund. Chief Minister Punjab, Usman Buzdar was also present at the occasion. Footage can be watched here.

Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries cross the 10m mark in nine weeks

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June 11, 2020 – Islamabad: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has served more than 10 million beneficiaries since nine weeks of its commencement. The program was launched on April 9, 2020, to extend immediate cash assistance of Rs. 12,000 each to Covid-19 lockdown affected families. While talking about the ongoing process of Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “By the grace of Almighty Allah, we have been able to achieve 10 million mark in cash distribution. With the help of district administrations of provinces, law enforcement agencies, NADRA and partner banks, we will meet our target to serve 12 million by the end of this month.” As per provincial and regional breakdown available on the online Ehsaas disbursements portal, till today, an amount of Rs. 52.70 billion among 43.42 million beneficiaries in Punjab, Rs.36.63 billion among 30.34 million beneficiaries in Sindh and Rs.22.69 billion has been distributed among 18.45 million beneficiaries of KP. Further, an amount of Rs.2.12 billion has been disbursed among more than 0.172 million beneficiaries in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Rs. 6.5 billion among 0.497 million beneficiaries of Baluchistan, Rs. 0.88 billion among  more than 70,000 beneficiaries in Gilgit-Baltistan and Rs.0.56 billion among more than 46,000 beneficiaries of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Ehsaas comes up with supplementary payment solution to serve beneficiaries with biometric issues

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June 4, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas has introduced a supplementary payment solution to facilitate beneficiaries of Ehsaas Emergency Cash who are eligible but were facing problems in withdrawing money owing to defying biometric identification. The supplementary solution has done away with the biometric verification of fingerprints from NADARA offices. Now, beneficiaries with this issue will be paid exclusively in the designated bank branches of partner banks without biometric verification. Two banks are partnering with Ehsaas for emergency cash transfers- Habib Bank Limited is serving in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and Bank Alfalah across KP, GB and AJK. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation took to the twitter (@SaniaNishtar) and released an instructional video on the newly introduced Ehsaas solution to biometric issues. The video can be watched here.

Ehsaas commences emergency cash transfer to tribal daily wage earners across Waziristan

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June 3, 2020 – Islamabad: Pakistan’s COVID-19 safety net response, Ehsaas Emergency Cash, has disbursed more than 117.49 billion Pakistani Rupees among 96.63 million vulnerable families across Pakistan. Recently, Ehsaas has commenced distribution of emergency cash to daily wage earners, pie rate workers, labourers, and small shopkeepers across North and South Waziristan areas of KP as well. These beneficiaries had applied for the cash assistance through 8171 SMS service. Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “Through 8171, total 61,164 SMS were received from North Waziristan and 62,499 from South Waziristan. Now, biometrically verified payments have begun to beneficiaries in Waziristan after ascertainment of their eligibility through NADRA’s data analytics using unique national identification numbers and drawing on the wealth proxies such as travel history, taxes, billing, assets ownership data and government employment status.”

Dr. Sania presents real-time lessons of Pakistan’s COVID-19 safety net response in her keynote address at ADB’s webinar

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June 2, 2020, The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) organized a webinar themed, “Casting Wider Safety Nets to Reach Asia’s Most Vulnerable: Real-time Policy Recommendations during the Covid-19 Pandemic” in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation joined the webinar as a keynote speaker. Presenting real-time lessons of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program that is government of Pakistan’s safety net response amid COVID-19 shutdown, Dr. Nishtar said, “In two months, the program has distributed more than Rs.115 billion in cash to 9.5 million families, representing the most extensive social protection intervention in the history of the country. The program’s success is driven by its comprehensive approach to implementation based on leveraging existing Ehsaas systems and strengthening social safety nets, which helped to ensure that vulnerable households were provided with immediate cash support.” The webinar was joined by government officials from various countries who were directly engaged in the design and implementation of Covid-19 fiscal safety net responses as well as development practitioners, researchers, and innovators to share their ideas about reaching the most vulnerable.

International donors widely applaud Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash transfer program amid COVID-19 pandemic

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June 1, 2020, Ehsaas hosted a virtual meeting with international donors, UN Agencies & other stakeholders to apprise them with regard to Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution- update & potential way forward. The meeting discussed the program in terms of its, scale, speed of deployment and results along with transparency measures safeguarded by the government to reach out to the daily wage earners and labourers. The meeting was joined by Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director World Bank, Xiaohong Yang, Country Director Asian Development Bank, Julien Harneis, UN Resident Coordinator, Annabel Gerry, Country Director DFID, Board members and other stakeholders. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. Briefing donors, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Within Pakistan, the Ehsaas program has taken the lead in radically expanding social safety nets to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19. The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program which was launched within just 10 days of lockdown, has been the key social protection intervention of the government to support those effected. 12 million households from across the most vulnerable groups were identified through a combination of the existing socioeconomic registry maintained by Ehsaas, and SMS registration with stringent verification processes.” Donors and other stakeholders widely applauded the case of Ehsaas Emergency Cash amid COVID-19 crisis and appreciated that the case of Pakistan provides a good insight to other countries.

Dr. Nishtar outlines process via video link for reaching out to 6 million category-4 beneficiaries through PM-COVID19 funded Ehsaas Emergency Cash

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May 19, 2020 -Islamabad: Immediately following the newly launched disbursal to category-4 beneficiaries through PM-COVID19 fund by the Prime Minister, Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation tweeted an explanatory video to elaborate the entire process for identification and payments to category-4 Ehsaas beneficiaries. Explaining the process, Dr. Nishtar assured, “The existing principles, processes and data analytics that have been applied to Ehsaas Emergency Cash categories 1-3 will be fully deployed in the use of PM COVID-19 donor funds for identification of category-4 beneficiaries. Rule-based criteria will be fully adhered to. The procedure of identification will be fully apolitical and free from human interference. All disbursements will be made after biometric verification and there will be full transparency in deployment of funds.” Watch here.

PM COVID 19 Funded-Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursal commences to Job-loss affectees

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May 18, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has formally launched the Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements to job-loss affectees through PM COVID-19 Fund. To inaugurate the disbursal process, Prime Minister visited an Ehsaas cash distribution site at Sports Complex, Islamabad where the first batch of job-loss/livelihood-loss affectees received cash assistance of Rs. 12,000 each through Ehsaas Emergency Cash system. The Prime Minister inquired from beneficiaries about the financial impacts in the aftermath of the Covid-19 emergency. “The government has taken different decisions to continue economic activities and has opened different sectors,” he said. PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar and other senior officials also accompanied the PM. Dr. Nishtar briefed the PM about the entire Ehsaas Emergency Cash process for identification of beneficiaries and payments through PM COVID-19 Fund.

Ehsaas serves 7.512 million families in a month, distributes Rs. 91.611 billion; 163,419 category-3 beneficiaries paid out worth Rs. 1.961 billion

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May 11, 2020 – Islamabad: Since last Friday May 8, 2020 Ehsaas has commenced disbursements to beneficiaries under category 3 of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program. Till today, 163,419 category 3 beneficiaries identified through district administration have been paid out Rs. 1.961 billion. Concurrently, payments to category 2 beneficiaries, who entered the program through 8171 SMS service, are also underway. So far, 2.945 million category 2 beneficiaries have been served Ehsaas Emergency Cash worth Rs. 35.347 billion. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation remarked, “The emergency cash transfers are providing purchasing power to labour class to buy food rations and meet their needs.”  Payments to category 1 that includes regular Kafaalat beneficiaries have almost been completed with Rs. 54.303 billion paid out to 4.403 million beneficiaries. Cumulatively, so far, 7.512 million deserving families under categories I, II and III of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program have collected financial assistance of Rs.12,000 each that sums up to Rs. 91.611 billion.

Disguised in Burqa, Sania visits Ehsaas Payment sites

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May 8, 2020 -Islamabad: With the commencement of payments to category-3 beneficiaries on May 8, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation covered herself in Burqa and made an unannounced visit to the Ehsaas payment site at Nurpur Shahan in the outskirts of Bari Imam, Islamabad. She toured the site to get a first-hand look at the precautionary measures and biometric disbursement services being offered to Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries that fall under categories-2 and 3. While talking to the media, Dr. Nishtar commented, “This visit in disguise was intended to assess the campsite arrangements in terms of quality of services, transparency and accuracy in payment system and adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures.” She then continued, “Beneficiaries of the program are mainly the labour class whose means of income are badly affected by COVID-19 restrictions. I strongly believe that it adds value to policymaking when you go in the field and interact with people on your own to gain first-hand knowledge.” Footage here:

Dr. Sania reviews arrangements at newly opened NADRA centers in Islamabad

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May 4, 2020 -Islamabad: On the approval of the federal government, National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) offices have resumed operations today countrywide to facilitate beneficiaries of Ehsaas Emergency Cash who were facing problems in withdrawing cash due to faulty biometric identification and registration of deaths of eligible family members. To get first-hand information about the facilitation being extended to Ehsaas beneficiaries by NADRA, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar reviewed arrangements at newly opened NADRA registration and facilitation center in Islamabad.  Chairman NADRA, Usman Yousaf Mobin was also present during the visit. Talking to press, Dr. Nishtar announced, “Easy solutions will be provided to Ehsaas Emergency Cash recipients within 24 hours to complete biometric identifications & death registrations. Death registration fee of Rs. 50 has also been waived off to facilitate beneficiaries.”

PM launches web-portal for COVID-19 livelihood-loss-affectees

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May 2, 2020 -Islamabad: The Prime Minister launched a web-portal soliciting applications from those who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and announced to commit the PM’s COVID-19 Relief fund to those who will qualify for aid. While opening the portal, the PM said, “I have made the decision that my COVID 19 fund will be used to give emergency cash to those who have lost their livelihoods, as a result of the COVID 19 crisis. I am opening a web-portal so that we can begin receiving applications. Those who will qualify for assistance will get Emergency Cash of Rs. 12,000. I encourage all of you to donate. For each rupee donated by the donors, 4 rupees will be committed by the Government”. Speaking to the media after the opening of the portal, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “We feel honoured that the Prime Minister has entrusted Ehsaas to utilize these funds.” She said, further adding, “To-date, Ehsaas Emergency Cash of Rs. 83 billion has been distributed among 6.8 million families in a transparent manner.”  To apply for assistance, the web-portal can be accessed here.

 

Country Director, WFP Pakistan calls on SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar to seek Ehsaas collaborations against COVID-19 context

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April 29, 2020 -Islamabad: Chris Kaye, Country Director for World Food Programme Pakistan together with his team called on Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation at Ehsaas Offices in Islamabad. The meeting discussed several potential collaborations around supporting the vulnerable families with regard to COVID-19 and post COVID-19 context. From Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Yousaf Khan, Secretary BISP was also present at the occasion.

In the interest of transparency Ehsaas launches Emergency Cash Information Portal; All applicants to get responses within 15 days: Dr. Sania

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April 24, 2020 -Islamabad: To ensure transparency, Ehsaas has launched the information portal, making details of Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements available to the public. The approval for the launch of this portal had been accorded by the Prime Minister Imran Khan on April 22, 2020. While addressing a press conference along with Dr. Shahbaz Gill on the official release of information portal at Press Information Department, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “The portal transparently reflects the amount released to Ehsaas partner banks for payments to eligible families, and the number of families who have withdrawn money.” To explore real time data relating to disbursements, the portal can be accessed here. About responses to all applicants under categories 2 and 3, Dr. Nishtar announced that applicants of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program would receive the final SMS regarding payment of the amount or rejection based on their eligibility within the next 15 days. Full Footage of press conference can be watched here.

Global SUN Movement lauds the multisectoral approach of Ehsaas to tackle malnutrition amid COVID-19 emergency

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April 23, 2020 -Islamabad: Through a virtual meeting, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation connected with Gerda Verburg, Coordinator and UN Assistant Secretary-General, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting focused on Nutrition, COVID-19 and multisectoral platforms. Dr. Nishtar briefed the multi-sectoral & multi-stakeholder approach being followed under Ehsaas to address nutrition issues in the wake of COVID-19. Verburg lauded the nutrition specific initiatives and collaborations being undertaken by Pakistan to tackle challenges posed by COVID-19 and said, “The spread of COVID-19 has unprecedented effects on nutrition globally. Pakistan’s example of bringing over 100 different actors together on Covid-19 and nutrition is very inspiring and we encourage other countries to do the same.” 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.

Dr. Sania Nishtar addresses a press conference on Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments: Rs. 68.885 billion disbursed among 5.74 families

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April 23, 2020 – Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said that Rs. 68.885 billion have been disbursed among 5.74 million deserving families under the first two categories of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program. Addressing a press conference together with Dr. Shahbaz Gill, the SAPM said that 80 per cent of the payment process under the first category of the program has been completed while payments are being speedily made for the second category (SMS beneficiaries).  Dr. Sania said that around 35 million applicants were rejected after scrutiny on the basis of different parameters like wealth profiling, poverty score database, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) statistics, more than one family member applicants, etc. Also, for payments to third category of beneficiaries, lists are being finalised through the help of district administrations, she added. Full Footage here.

PM approves the launch of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Information Portal

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April 22, 2020- Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the launch of an information portal relating to Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements. With great transparency, it will outline the amounts given to partnering banks for disbursements to beneficiaries, and the number of beneficiaries who have taken out money. Dashboards in the portal will give details about the number of beneficiaries served in each of the three categories with provincial, district and tehsil wise breakdowns. The portal will be made public to enable people to access information in real time. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation briefed the PM on this innovative portal. In two weeks, Ehsaas has distributed Rs. 65.249 billion emergency cash to 5.437 million families.

The electronic link of the portal will be made available this week.

Prime Minister visits Ehsaas cash distribution point in Rawalpindi; appreciates arrangements

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April 22, 2020 -Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, which is aimed at providing financial assistance to the deserving and weaker segments of society in this testing time, is being run completely on the basis of transparency and merit. The Prime Minister expressed these views during his visit to Ehsaas Emergency Cash campsite in Rawalpindi. On the occasion, Special Assistant to PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, briefed the PM about the procedure of Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution among the deserving and the safety measures being taken in the wake of coronavirus. The Prime Minister appreciated the arrangements made for the distribution of emergency cash. The PM was also joined by Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Federal Minister for Railways during the visit.

Prime Minister opens the Ehsaas Rashan Portal

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April 21, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan opened the Ehsaas Rashan Portal to facilitate the private sector in providing food rations to the most vulnerable affected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Through the portal, the role of government will be to facilitate match-making between donors and beneficiaries (e.g., on geographic basis) and provide data of eligible beneficiaries to donors. Appreciating the initiative, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “Ehsaas Ration Portal will enable philanthropists, charity organizations and other non-government organizations to reach out to deserving families, besides ensuring establishment of a transparent and merit based distribution system for rashan.” Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar reiterated, “The role of the government is entirely match-making between credible donors, and eligible beneficiaries.” To facilitate the process, Ehsaas has developed a web-based portal, accessible here.

Rs. 59.718 billion disbursed under Ehsaas Emergency Cash program

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April 21, 2020 – Islamabad: The disbursement of Rs. 12,000 cash handouts to daily wagers and labourers under Ehsaas Emergency Cash program is ongoing with special COVID-19 protective measures at campsites. Reflecting on the progress of the initiative, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “In 13 days, we have distributed Rs. 59.718 billion countrywide to 4.976 million deserving families as part of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. The unprecedented initiative is designed to provide cash assistance of Rs 12,000 to 12 million deserving families across the country. The government has allocated Rs. 144 billion for this purpose.”

Ehsaas Emergency Cash- Deadline for registration ends; Rs. 56.968 billion paid out to 4.747 million families in 12 days

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April 20, 2020 – Islamabad: 8171 SMS service to identify category-2 and 3 beneficiaries for Ehsaas Emergency Cash program closed on April 19, 2020. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “The total number of the applicants registered for seeking cash assistance under the program is 139.197 million of which 55.47 million are unique CNICs. The analysis is underway and payment messages will go to new recipients in phased-manner over next 15 days.” Currently, disbursements are being made to category 1 and 2 beneficiaries and in last 12 days, Rs. 56.968 billion has been spent under Ehsaas Emergency Cash to provide Rs. 12,000 each to 4.747 million deserving families.

Radio Program “Raabta”- Payment notifications to all applicants registered for Ehsaas Emergency Cash will go in two weeks: Dr. Sania

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April 20, 2020-Islamabad: Speaking in a radio program “Raabta” that is a national broadcast, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar has said, “Till April 19 that was the deadline for SMS registration, Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program has received total 139.197 million valid SMS on 8171 including 55.474 million SMS that are unique CNICs.” Answering questions, she added, “Notifications to all applicants registered for emergency cash will be sent out in two weeks following due diligence. Dr. Nishtar advised applicants to stay at home and not to visit campsites until they receive customized notification from 8171 to collect payment. For registering complaints, she encouraged people to contact Ehsaas helpline 0800-26477.” Listen here:

Rs. 55.039 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash transferred to 4.586 million families in 11 days

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April 19, 2020 – Islamabad: It has been 11 days, since Ehsaas began cash distribution to low-income households in all provinces of Pakistan including Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. So far, Ehsaas has transferred Rs.55.039 billion to 4.586 million families to cater to their financial needs in the wake of ongoing Coronavirus situation. Under the program, Rs.12,000 is being distributed to each eligible family. Talking about the SMS campaign 8171, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “ Ehsaas SMS service launched by the Prime Minister on April 1, 2020 to register Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries under categories 2 & 3 is closing today. All deserving people particularly daily wagers and laborers are encouraged to send CNIC numbers to 8171 before the campaign closes at midnight.”

Dr. Nishtar holds a surprise interaction with Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries in federal capital

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April 19, 2020-Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited Ehsaas Emergency Cash campsites at Sports Complex and G-9/2 areas in the federal capital. This was part of her visits to check the quality of emergency cash distribution in the field without prior intimation. At campsites, Dr. Nishtar interacted with labourers who were turning up with payment messages from Ehsaas to collect Ehsaas Emergency Cash. Each one of them had a heart-wrenching story of being out of work for the last several weeks. Talking about her interaction with beneficiaries, Dr. Nishtar, said, “I paid surprise visits because it is important to have an eye on issues in the field to ensure that we resolve them in real time.” She also appreciated the efforts of local administration, ICT and Police for managing security of campsites. The footage can be accessed here.

SAMSUNG CSC

Ehsaas Emergency cash worth Rs. 53.336 billion distributed to 4.444 million marginalized households in 10 days

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April 18, 2020 -Islamabad: Under the Government of Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program, daily wage workers who are unable to earn a living these days due to #COVID19 crisis are being given Rs. 12,000 so that they can buy rations for next few months while they stay home to be safe. In ten days, Ehsaas has distributed Rs. 53.336 billion to 4.444 million marginalized households. Acknowledging the facilitation in emergency cash distribution being extended to Ehsaas by law and security agencies and district administrations countrywide, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “In a remarkable show of national solidarity, law & security agencies are helping the disabled; schools, gymnasiums, town halls & wedding pavilions have opened their doors to host payment camps, to serve Ehsaas Emergency Cash recipients. We are thankful to all of you for your compassion & partnership.” For now, 114.98 million SMS have been received through 8171 service while the scrutiny is on-going and the deadline for registration is Sunday April 19, 2020.

Rs. 49.685 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash paid out to over 4.14 million needy families since April 9

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April 17, 2020 – Islamabad: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program payments are underway since April 9, 2020 providing Rs. 12,000 financial assistance to 12 million deserving families. So far, Rs. 49.685 billion have been paid out under the initiative to over 4.14 million families. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “ Applying for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash is simple and people in need can check their eligibility by sending CNIC number to 8171. The registration for the emergency cash initiative would be closed on April 19 midnight.” To-date, more than 103 million applicants have already registered for the program on the Ehsaas’ designated number 8171 by text messaging their CNICs. For questions regarding registration and payments, people can call on Ehsaas helpline 0800-26477 from 9 am to 5 pm.

 

President Dr. Arif Alvi distributes ration packs among Railway Coolies at a ceremony organised by Ehsaas

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April 16, 2020 -Islamabad: Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal organized a ration distribution ceremony for the coolies (loaders) of Pakistan Railways. Addressing the ceremony at Rawalpindi Railway Station, President Dr. Arif Alvi  expressed hope that the Pakistani nation would successfully sail through the COVID-19 crisis as multiple challenges in the past had transformed it into a brave and steadfast nation. With the cooperation of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, the bulky ration packs containing all basic food items, were provided by the donors. Minister for Railways, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Aun Abbas Buppi and Country Director Islamic Relief, Umair Hassan also attended the ceremony besides the railway loaders. Speaking at the event, Dr. Nishtar said, “Under Ehsaas, an Emergency Cash Program had been launched to support 12 million needy families and the ration distribution scheme would also be launched by next week”.

Ehsaas commences 8171 SMS service campaign for the deaf; Ehsaas Emergency Cash worth Rs. 44.194 billion disbursed to 3.682 families in 7 days

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Ehsaas has released an informative video for the deaf about 8171 SMS service for Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme. “This is aimed to communicate details of the SMS campaign through sign language to the people with hearing impairment so that they can equally benefit from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation. Footage can be accessed here. In 7 days, Ehsaas has disbursed Rs. 44.194 billion to 3.682 million deserving families and has commenced payments to male beneficiaries in Category 2 of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. Most of them are daily wagers without day jobs for the last one month. These beneficiaries have been enrolled in the programme through 8171 Ehsaas SMS service. During biometrically enabled payments, social distancing is strictly being implemented. As many as 93.2 million SMS have been received. The analy­sis is underway and the deadline for registration in the programme is April 19, 2020 midnight.

Dr. Sania Nishtar visits Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution campsite in Islamabad

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April 15, 2020- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited the cash distribution campsite at IMCG Girls College located at G-10/4, Islamabad and interacted with beneficiaries who had come to collect their payments. Each one of them had a customized message on their phone addressed to them with their names to visit the nearest payment centre on April 15, 2020 and collect emergency cash handout of Rs. 12,000. Briefing media about these Ehsaas category-2 beneficiaries in need, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Each one of these beneficiaries was either the wife of a labourer whose livelihood has been badly affected by the coronavirus crisis or is a domestic worker herself who has been laid off by the employers. Without any food, they are at the brink of running out food rations. So, this Rs. 12,000 assistance comes to them at a very critical time.” Footage here.

Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment commences to category-2 enrolled through 8171; Rs. 37.608 billion emergency cash disbursed by Ehsaas to 3.134 million families

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April 15, 2020 -Islamabad: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has commenced disbursements to the second category of beneficiaries today. All of them have been enrolled through 8171 SMS service. They were declared eligible based on their profiling checks in the national socio-economic database as well as the wealth profiling checks. The Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment notifications will go to new Ehsaas Emergency Cash recipients registered through 8171 in a staggered manner over the next seven days. In the initial batch, women will get payments and in next batches, men will start getting payments. SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “To-date, 83.61 million SMS have been received. The analysis is underway and the deadline for registration is April 19, 2020 midnight”. By 5:30 pm today, Ehsaas has disbursed Rs. 37.608 billion emergency cash to 3.134 million deserving families.

Branchless banking retailers incentivised by the Cabinet; Ehsaas Emergency Cash SMS registration will continue till April 19: Dr. Sania

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April 14, 2020: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has been ongoing for the last 6 days. More than 2.739 million people have received cash assistance of Rs. 12,000 each that sums up roughly to Rs. 32.87 billion until now. The registration process to receive the emergency cash of Rs. 12,000 per family distributed under this scheme is SMS driven, and this has been ongoing for the last two weeks. To-date, 78.44 million SMS requests have been received. “It is possible that several people from one family apply, hence the number of families applying may be less than this number”, said Dr. Sania. hsaas has announced that the SMS campaign will be opened till 19th of this month. Dr. Sania also explained that, “In order to incentivize branchless banking operations from operating in the current difficult environment, the Cabinet has approved waiver of advance withholding tax on commission collected under section 233 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 from branchless banking agents”. “We are striving to do all we can to make sure that bonafide branchless banking operators keep their operations open so that maximum number of people are facilitated” she said.

Dr. Sania vows stern action against fraudsters arrested

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April 13, 2020 – Islamabad: As the Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution scales up countrywide, so does the resolve to fight embezzlement and fraudsters on the ground. On several complaints by the people, 36 looters have been arrested in Punjab, while 26 of them were arrested in Sindh and 10 in KP for illegally deducting money from the cash they paid to deserving people under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme. Overall 64 FIRs have been registered countrywide against these 72 fraudsters. They would be dealt according to the law. Caveating fraudsters, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “No one would be allowed to illegally deduct any money from Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment to low-income families. Ehsaas is being supported by all state agencies on the ground to fight corruption. We are tracking FIRs in police stations and I want strict action against all fraudsters.” Vowing to fight corruption till her last breath, she stated, “I have also written a stern letter directing officials in Ehsaas regional offices to ensure transparency and full payments to beneficiaries.”

Rs. 25.68 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursed in the last 5 days. 2.095 million low income families supported

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April 13, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas continues disbursing Emergency Cash on the fifth day of its operations to benefit the deserving people from all the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, through allocating quota as per census. Since April 9, Ehsaas has distributed Rs. 25.68 billion to 2.095 million families all over Pakistan and the programme will reach out to a total of 12 million people in next two weeks. In emergency cash distribution, social distancing is a priority & Ehsaas is striving to safeguard COVID-19 precautionary measures. Out of the planned 17,000 biometrically enabled Ehsaas cash distribution points, 9,419 have been currently been deployed countrywide. To prevent overcrowding of cash receivers, the number of cash distribution centres and counters is being increased. SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “In first phase of the programme, 4.5 million Kafaalat beneficiaries would be paid emergency cash this week while cash transfer to 7.5 million Category -2 beneficiaries being identified through 8171 SMS service will commence by the end of this week.”

Rs. 21.28 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash withdrawn in the last 4 days. 1.77 million poverty-stricken families helped: Dr. Sania Nishtar

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April 12, 2020- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation briefed the media about on-the ground progress of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments. “It has been 4 days, since Ehsaas started one-off cash distribution of Rs. 12,000 each to the low-income households in all provinces of Pakistan including GB and AJK. As of April 12, 2020, Rs. 21.28 billion has been disbursed to 1.77 million individuals. Currently, as many as 8,995 cash payment points have been deployed out of 17,000 cash payment points to be opened countrywide to reach out to 12 million needy households”, she said. Ehsaas Emergency Cash program is the largest ever social protection and relief operation in the history of Pakistan aimed to help alleviate sufferings of low-income households, who have been distressed by the coronavirus shut down across the country. The government has deployed biometric technology along with other COVID-19 precautionary measures, to ensure the safe and transparent delivery of emergency cash to poverty-stricken families.

Dr. Sania spends time on a Sunday in the Ehsaas Emergency Call Centre

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April 12, 2020: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash advertisements appeared in newspapers today and there was a sudden surge in the number of incoming calls in the Ehsaas call centre. To get better sense of what callers were asking about Ehsaas Emergency Cash, Dr. Sania Nishtar, who leads the Ehsaas program sat with call centre operators today and interacted with callers on the phone.  “I wanted to hear first-hand about people’s complaints pertaining to Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution, so that we can make improvements in the program in real time”. On average 1,500 calls are being received on daily basis in the call centre and this number has increased since the advertisement appeared. Staff in the Ehsaas Call Centre is regularly briefed about the program so that they can answer questions with clarity. Dr. Sania thanked Call Centre staff for their dedication and hard work and spent a lot of time with the staff to get insights and boost their morale. For queries, the Ehsaas Call Centre can be reached out at 0800-26477.

Ehsaas disburses Rs. 16.588 billion to 1.382 million people in 60 hours amidst COVID-19 crisis. 40 retailers arrested

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April 11, 2020- Islamabad: With special instructions of the Prime Minister, the Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments have been started countrywide on Apr 9, 2020 to financially aid more than 12 million deserving families whose incomes are adversely affected by the Coronavirus lockdowns. Since the Ehsaas cash distribution began two days ago, as many as 1.382 million families all over the country have withdrawn Rs.12,000 each that cumulatively sums up to Rs. 16.588 billion.  Out of the planned 17,000 biometrically enabled Ehsaas cash distribution points, 7,317 have been opened countrywide with special protective measures for COVID-19 to facilitate speedy cash payments to those in need. According to details, overall cash distributions are running smooth across the country except few cases. 40 Ehsaas Emergency Cash retailers have been arrested over swindling beneficiaries in different ways in some parts of the country particularly Sindh, South Punjab and KP. Talking about few cases reported on mismanagement and corruption, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation stated, “I have written a stern letter to Ehsaas regional officials countrywide to stringently ensure transparent operations in emergency cash disbursements. I shall not tolerate any mismanagement or embezzlement and will continue fighting corruption till my last breath.”

Prime Minister visits Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment site in Peshawar to reviews arrangements

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April 10, 2020 – Peshawar: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment point in Peshawar and reviewed arrangements. He was briefed by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation about the measures being taken by the government for provision of financial assistance to poor in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The PM also oversaw Emergency Cash handout of Rs. 12, 000 each to families of daily wagers. He appreciated the provincial government of KP’s steps against Coronavirus saying in the present situation, the focus of government must also be on provision of relief to the weak and poor segments of the society. The distribution of Rs 12,000 each to the deserving families under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme had started across the country, including the KP on April 9, under a transparent digital payment mechanism. Under the programme, the government would disburse some Rs. 144 billion among the poor and deserving families across the country. Some 2.2 million poor families have been identified in the KP, who would be facilitated directly from the programme. Around 3,500 Ehsaas cash payment points have been set up across KP.

Social distancing is priority as Ehsaas commences Emergency Cash Payments

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April 9, 2020 – Islamabad: Safeguarding all precautionary measures, the payment process under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program has begun to support the deserving families affected by the lockdown. The safety and security of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries arriving to collect cash assistance is the top priority of the government. With opening of as many as 17,000 digital payment points, the biometrically enabled payment operation has commenced countrywide across all provinces including GB, AJK and Islamabad Capital Territory. All these cash transfers are being made after biometric verification of each beneficiary through NADRA. Under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash framework, an immediate cash relief of Rs. 12,000 will be extended each to families of daily wage earners, whose livelihood has been badly affected by the corona-induced economic downturn. Overall, Rs. 144 billion will be disbursed to more than 12 million families during the next two and a half weeks. For now, as many as 46.38 million people have sent SMS requesting to become beneficiaries of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program. To monitor the payment operations, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited HBL Konnect outlets in Bari Imam area of Islamabad and met with spouses of piece rate workers who had gathered to collect cash handouts under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program. Footage here.

Dr. Sania interacts with laborers to ascertain how Ehsaas Emergency Cash can benefit them

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April 6, 2020 – Islamabad: To ascertain how labourers and daily wagers are making use of Ehsaas Emergency Cash service 8171, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar went to F-7 Markaz in the federal capital and interacted with labourers’ congregation in the market. She talked to labourers and informed them about various aspects of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program from generating the SMS message to comprehending the subsequent communication and then to navigate the payment system. Speaking to laborers, Dr. Nishtar assured, “We will mobilize volunteers who can go to these places of laborer’s congregations so that they can message on their behalf.” Footage here.

Radio Program – Raabta: Transfer of Ehsaas Emergency Cash assistance to deserving families would begin this week: Dr. Sania

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April 6, 2020 – Islamabad: In the Radio Pakistan’s COVID-19 special program ‘Raabta’ that is a daily national broadcast, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania stated that transfer of cash assistance of Rs.12,000 to deserving families under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program would begin this week. She said deserving people should send an SMS to 8171 and so far over 34 million messages have been received through this service. Under this programme, a deserving family will get a one-time assistance of Rs.12,000 to cater daily needs for four months. Elaborating the eligibility criteria to listeners, she said there will three types of messages in response of people’s SMS like eligible, ineligible, or contact to the concerned district administration. She said those, who will get a message asking to contact the district administration, can also register themselves online at the web-portal: Listen here: 

Dr. Sania Nishtar addresses a press conference with regard to Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program

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April 5, 2020 -Islamabad: Addressing a press conference with Press Information Department, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation explained beneficiary identification process, SMS campaign & its process flow, district level verification procedure, wealth profiling criteria, & payment mechanism designed for Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program. She briefed the media that the payment process under the program would start this week to support the vulnerable segments of society, affected due to lockdown amid Coronavirus threat. This program will benefit the deserving people from all the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan. “Existing 4.5 million Kafaalat beneficiaries, who were getting regular cash transfer of 2000 rupees per month, would be given additional one thousand rupees; hence, they too would get a tranche of Rs. 12,000 covering four months. Further, higher eligibility or poverty threshold would be considered to identify 4 million beneficiaries through the national socioeconomic databases, while another 3.5 million people would come from districts”, she added. Footage here

Radio Program- Raabta: Dr. Nishtar introduces Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program S