ISLAMABAD: The government will provide a subsidy of Rs1,000 per month to 20 million families on the purchase of essential items under the Ehsaas Rashan Programme
The ambitious subsidy programme was announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan a day prior to provide relief to the poor amid surging inflation in the country.
The publication said that the Ehsaas programme and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) have developed a technology-led, targeted subsidy disbursal programme.
According to the programme design, Ehsaas Rashan will cover 20 million households across Pakistan with a poverty score of less than 39 and an income of Rs31,500 per month. They will be given a 30% subsidy on the purchase of groceries.
As many as 20 million families identified through the recently completed Ehsaas survey will benefit from the programme. They include those already registered with the Benazir Income Support Programme. Overall, 130 million people will benefit nationwide, which is 53% of the population.
The Ehsaas initiative has developed a digitally enabled mobile point of sale system in collaboration with NBP to serve beneficiaries through a network of kiryana stores designated by the bank, all over the country.
This technology-led subsidy disbursal programme will digitise parts of the retail sector as there will be use of real-time data for decision making.
The use of a digital platform will help track utilisation of a subsidy by each beneficiary at product and geography level, which will provide much-needed transparency in the process.
It will help make beneficiaries and store owners more digitally adept. Under the federal-provincial cost sharing arrangement, the budget of the programme for the next six months is Rs120 billion this fiscal year. The federal government and all participating federating units will share fiscal resources under a ratio of 35:65.
The governments of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK have already agreed to participate in the programme. In Sindh and Balochistan, the federal share of a subsidy worth Rs350 will be given to each eligible household.
The registration process
For online registration of beneficiaries, Ehsaas will open a registration portal next week.
Registered individuals will then be given a ration card through which they will be able to purchase flour, pulses, ghee or cooking oil from nominated grocery or Utility Stores on a 30% subsidy.
To check fraud, the registered grocery stores and beneficiaries will undergo a rigorous verification process. Deserving buyers will have to undergo a two-step verification.
First, NADRA will verify the deserving persons through their computerised identity cards using the buyers’ mobile numbers, and second, a one-time password (OTP) will be sent to buyers’ phones. The store will verify the OTP before selling the subsidised ration.