PM Imran’s Ehsaas Program makes global headlines as best in Asia Pacific

The program has been praised globally for its effective outreach and transparent delivery mechanisms, according to the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.

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The International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) on Monday lauded Prime Minister Imran Khan for the success of his Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program. The program has been praised globally for its effective outreach and transparent delivery mechanisms.

In addition, IPC – IG has termed Pakistan as one of the best countries in Asia when it comes to the “highest number of responses to social protection” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 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 response to the COVID-19 crisis. The study revealed that Pakistan covered the 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 is the key initiative of IPC-IG which is supported by the governments of Australia and Germany and is an influential forum of social protection.

With the moderation from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the opening panel discussion had a regional focus particularly on Asia and the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Read more: COVID-19 and Ehsaas Emergency

The country panel on Asia Pacific brought together Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Bapak Maliki, Director of Poverty Alleviation and Social Welfare Indonesia and 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.

Sharing the scale and ambition of Ehsaas Emergency Cash, Dr. Nishtar said, “Within 10 days of COVID-19 lockdown, the government of Pakistan had launched the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme, providing urgent cash payments to over 15 million households.

About the Ehsaas Program

The Ehsaas program, launched on April 1st, 2020, offers financial support to millions of families hit by the pandemic. The Ehsaas Amdan (Income) programme involves giving away small “assets” to those who live below the poverty line so that they can earn a living and escape from the shackles of poverty. Local media reports that this is the “biggest and boldest programme” ever launched in Pakistan to uplift marginalized people.

“The program has achieved the goal of successfully reaching out to millions of needy families across the country, making it an exceptional effort during this time of crisis,” reports Siasat News.

The IPC-IG’s conference titled ‘Turning the COVID-19 Crisis into Opportunity: What’s Next for Social Protection’, mentioned Pakistan’s effort via the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program in response to COVID-19 as “exemplary in the Asia Pacific region”.

Read more: EHSAAS: A so-called welfare program

The Policy Head of IPC-IG, Kathrin Oellers, while speaking at the conference, stated that countries like Pakistan that have pre-existing adaptive social protection programs have a better chance of reducing the devastating effects of COVID-19. The social protection program has been successful mainly because of its outreach and effective delivery system, confirms Siasat News.

Oellers further added that the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis shows us the importance of social protection programs for mitigating its consequences.

She stated that since the repercussions of COVID-19 have unequally affected countries, social protection is a crucial tool to support the poorest and most vulnerable of those around the world.

In this regard, Prime Minister Khan’s newly launched Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program has been lauded. Further, the program has been termed exemplary for achieving the goal of successfully reaching out to millions of needy families across the country.

Read more: Can ‘Ehsaas’ program embrace street children?

“The urgency of the COVID-19 crisis has shown us the relevance of SP programs in fighting consequences of the pandemic,” Oellers noted further. Academic Shahra Razavi too stated that “the consequences of COVID-19 have been affecting countries in an unequal way. Social protection is a crucial tool to support the poorest and most vulnerable during these difficult times”.


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