What is Ehsaas?
Ehsaas is the biggest and boldest program ever launched in Pakistan to uplift marginalized people. Ehsaas is unique because of its:
- Scale: It is currently an umbrella initiative of 134 policies and programs, and the list is growing
- Multisectoral character: 34 agencies of the federal government and all federating units are tasked to implement Ehsaas
- Breadth and depth: Ehsaas addresses state capture, social protection, livelihoods and human capital development
- Process of formulation: 23 consultations were held over a 45-day planning period; 359 experts were formally consulted
- Governance and integrity Policy: The process of implementing Ehsaas began with the Governance and Integrity Policy
- Institutional arrangements: A new division has been created to implement Ehsaas and there will be a formal mechanism of engagement with the private sector
- Funding: for social protection has been doubled despite financial constraints
The Policy statement relating to Ehsaas can be accessed here.
Consultations on the Ehsaas Strategy will be ongoing in the month of September 2019.
The status of key Ehsaas initiatives are as under:
- The process of developing the National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) 2020 has been 20% completed. New data about people’s socio-economic conditions will be the basis of all benefits from 2020, onwards
- One-window Ehsaas for social protection and livelihoods will assist beneficiaries and reduce duplication and abuse (software is being developed, deployment:November 2019)
- Kifalat reforms will enable financial and digital inclusion of around 6 million women through the “One Woman One Account” initiative (procurement process ends October 15th, deployment thereafter)
- To support households during the economic transition, Food Rations initiative will support food consumption of 1 million vulnerable households (will commence deployment by September 30)
- Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net Tahafuz will assist those that have suffered a catastrophic event (project set up, procurements in the pipeline, commencement phase 1 end of October 2019). Tahafuz will also reform the individual financial assistance system of Pakistan Bait ul Mal
- 20,000 merit & needs-based undergraduate Ehsaas scholarships will commence for students from low-income families and lagging districts in September 2019
- To address stunting in children, specialized nutrition food initiative for mothers and children up to 2 years is in the final stage of planning (pilot commences in November 2019)
- Education conditional cash transfer programme is being introduced in lagging districts of Pakistan encouraging out-of-school children to acquire education. A total of 2.5 million children, half of which would be girls will benefit from this over the next 3 years
- 500 digital hubs will be established at the Tehsil level for poor families with limited opportunities. Relevant public resources and information will be made accessible to create opportunities for poor families to graduate out of poverty.
- A new policy for the differently-abled has been announced in July 2019. This will impact 2.5% of the country’s population. The NADRA-certified differently-abled will get Insaf Insurance cards and will have universal access to assistive devices. The 1% quota for disabled government employees in government accommodation, 2% quota for the disabled in Naya Pakistan housing scheme, and 2% quota in employment will be strictly implemented
- For protection of orphan children in Pakistan, for the first time, work on the new policy for orphanages, has begun to stipulate standards for these facilities and to improve quality. Four new orphanages—Dar-ul-Ehsaas—have been established in the last 1 year
- The Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council's platform is being utilized to developpartnerships with the private sector, and soon a social partnerships platform will be announced
- Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO) has been totally non-functional for the last 5 years; 57 employees have not had any role for the last 5 years. TVO has been given a new mandate and through an open advertisement process it's board is being reconstituted
- The Ehsaas Labour Expert Group has met nine times in the last three months and has issued its preliminary report. One of its recommendations, which involves incrementally bringing the informal workers into the social security net has been approved by the Cabinet for implementation. The policy entails mandatory bank accounts as the initial step to formalization and to enforce minimum wage
- The National Poverty Graduation Initiative (NPGI) was launched on July 5, 2019. This Rs. 42.65 billion NPGI is being rolled out in over 100 lagging districts across the country and will impact 16.28 million people with 50% beneficiaries being women. Loans will also be given eligible youth, differently-abled people, transgender, minorities and marginalized communities in lagging districts. As part of this, 80,000 interest free loans will be given out every month for the next 4 years and more than 220,000 asset transfers will be made
- To develop solutions for poverty at scale, the Cabinet has approved the Solutions Innovation Policy. Through a competitive process, private sector partners will be identified to provide solutions at scale. The first round of nine solution challenges will be launched by end of August, 2019
- Ehsaas TV Program and a corresponding online portal consolidating free government resources will go live by December, 2019
- Free accessibility of data will be ensured through the District Development Portal in which poverty and other socio-economic indicators across Pakistan’s districts will be available to policy makers and the public (portal developed, and last round of data is being entered, deployment October 2019)
- Pakistan Bait ul Mal (PBM) is leveraging philanthropic contributions. Through this approach a Thalassemia Centre has been established, Ramzan food package has been distributed to 18,400 families, 18,000 educational kits have been provided to students, Iftari was arranged for 50,000 people for 25 days in 2019.
- PBM is piloting new initiatives. One Great Home for old citizens has been established in Karachi. Street children have been enrolled in its Schools for Rehabilitation of Child Labour. PBM has started registrations for assistance towards Cochlear Implants. In its Women Empowerment Centers, PBM has established Management Committees to improve service delivery.
- To institutionalize integrity and good governance in safety net institutions, PASSD has issued the Ehsaas governance and integrity policy which has 27 elements. This is binding on all Ehsaas implementing agencies; read more about its status of implementation