The Ehsaas program is a poverty-elevation program launched on March 27, 2019, by the government of Pakistan. The program has helped millions of people in Pakistan so far. It was the first megaproject ever launched in Pakistan to help people experiencing poverty, students, widows, orphans, people without homes, and other deserving people. It did not only focus on financial aid but on skill development as well.
The ehsaas program includes a long list of programs. Each has its benefits for the citizens, eligibility criteria, and application process.
Overview of the Ehsaas Program
The Ehsaas Program is a comprehensive social protection and poverty alleviation program launched by the Government of Pakistan. It is designed to address the needs of the most vulnerable segments of society, including women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The program aims to provide a safety net for the poor and marginalized communities by providing them with financial assistance, healthcare, education, and housing.
The program has a multi-dimensional approach, which includes the provision of cash transfers, interest-free loans, healthcare services, food assistance, and education. The program is based on the principle of “no one left behind,” which means that every individual, regardless of their social or economic status, should have access to basic services and facilities.
Objectives of the Ehsaas Program
There are several objectives of program, including reducing poverty and inequality, ensuring social protection and welfare, and providing access to basic services. Let’s take a closer look at these objectives.
Reducing Poverty and Inequality
A society with inequality can not survive in the longer run. The primary objective of the Ehsaas Program is to reduce poverty and inequality in Pakistan. It aims to target the most vulnerable segments of society, including women, children, and small businesses, and provide them with support to improve their standard of living. The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program provides financial assistance to eligible families to help them meet their basic needs. By providing financial assistance to the poorest families in the country, the program aims to reduce poverty and inequality and improve the overall well-being of these families.
Ensuring Social Protection and Welfare
Social protection and welfare of the society are necessary for any countries prosperity. It ensures the social protection and welfare for the Middle class and poor. The program provides a range of social protection services, including food assistance with Ehsaas Rashan Program, health and education services, and skills development programs. These services are designed to help poor families and individuals overcome the challenges they face and improve their living standards.
Providing Access to Basic Services
Basic necessities of life are right of everyone. The program provides free health and education services to eligible families, ensuring that all children have access to quality education and healthcare. The program also provides vocational and technical training to eligible individuals in order to enhance their employability and improve their economic condition. By providing access to basic services, the program aims to promote social and economic inclusion and help deserving populations achieve greater self-sufficiency.
In summary, the Ehsaas Program has several objectives, including reducing poverty and inequality, ensuring social protection and welfare, and providing access to basic services. The program is designed to target the most deserving of society and provide them with the support they need to improve their standard of living.
Design and Implementation of the Ehsaas Program
The program is designed and implemented in a way that maximizes its impact and ensures that it reaches the most deserving people. Let’s take a closer look at the design and implementation of the Ehsaas Program.
Targeting and Selection of Beneficiaries
There is a range of targeting mechanisms to identify the most deserving families and individuals in the country. These mechanisms include poverty scorecards, which are used to assess the socio-economic status of households, as well as other criteria such as gender, disability, and geographic location. Once the beneficiaries are identified, the program uses a range of delivery mechanisms, including cash transfers, food assistance, health and education services, and skills development programs.
The Ehsaas Program takes a multi-dimensional approach to poverty reduction, addressing not only the economic aspects of poverty but also the social and human development aspects. By taking a multi-dimensional approach, the program aims to address the root causes of poverty and ensure that beneficiaries are equipped with the skills and resources they need to improve their standard of living.
Monitoring and Evaluation
There is a robust monitoring and evaluation framework in place to ensure that the program is achieving its objectives and delivering results. The program conducts regular monitoring and evaluation activities to assess the effectiveness of its interventions and identify areas for improvement. The program also uses technology-based solutions, such as the Ehsaas App, to improve the delivery of services and ensure transparency in the selection and distribution of benefits.
Collaboration and Coordination
The Ehsaas Program is implemented through a range of government and non-governmental organizations, which collaborate and coordinate to ensure the effective delivery of services. The program also engages with communities and local leaders to ensure that the needs of beneficiaries are identified and addressed. By collaborating and coordinating with a range of stakeholders, the program is able to maximize its impact and ensure that the most vulnerable segments of society are reached.
In summary, the design and implementation of the Ehsaas Program are designed to ensure that the program maximizes its impact and reaches the most vulnerable segments of society. Through its multi-dimensional approach, monitoring and evaluation framework, and collaboration and coordination with a range of stakeholders, the program aims to reduce poverty and inequality in Pakistan and improve the overall well-being of its beneficiaries.
List of Components or programs under Ehsaas Program
There are several programs under the Ehsaas program. Below are few of them with basic definition.
Sehat Card is a health insurance initiative under the Ehsaas Program that provides free medical treatment to the families in Pakistan. The program covers medical expenses for hospitalization, surgery, and other critical medical needs.
Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program
Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program provides monthly food rations to poor families in Pakistan, with the aim of preventing food insecurity and malnutrition.
Ehsaas Kafalat Program
Ehsaas Kafalat Program is a social protection initiative that provides financial assistance to the deserving women in Pakistan, with the aim of helping them become financially independent. The program offers cash transfers and support services such as vocational training and healthcare.
Ehsaas Emergency Cash
This program provides one-time cash assistance to families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program aims to help eligible households meet their basic needs and cope with the financial impact of emergencies.
Ehsaas Micro-Credit for Daily Wage Workers
Ehsaas Micro-Credit for Daily Wage Workers is an initiative that provides microfinance loans to the daily wage workers in Pakistan. The program aims to help workers become financially independent by providing them with access to credit and other support services, such as training and mentorship.
Rural Transformation Policy for Poverty
Rural Transformation Policy for Poverty is an Ehsaas initiative that aims to reduce poverty and promote rural development in Pakistan by investing in rural areas and promoting job creation. The policy focuses on implementing structural changes and improving infrastructure, agricultural productivity, and access to markets and financial services.
Support to the Marginalized or Tahafuz Widow Integration
It is an Ehsaas initiative that provides financial assistance and support to marginalized segments of society, including widows, persons with disabilities, and transgender individuals, to help them become self-sufficient and integrate into mainstream society.
Governance Reforms in Safety Net Institutions
Governance Reforms in Safety Net Institutions is an Ehsaas initiative that focuses on improving the management and performance of safety net institutions in Pakistan. The program aims to enhance transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the delivery of social protection services, including cash transfers, health, and education.
Ehsaas Youth skill development program
The Ehsaas Youth Skill Development Program is aimed at providing vocational training and job opportunities to young people in Pakistan. The program aims to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to secure employment and improve their economic prospects, thereby reducing poverty and promoting social inclusion.
Ehsaas Food Card
The Ehsaas Food Card provides households with a monthly stipend for the purchase of essential food items. The card is designed to improve food security and reduce the risk of malnutrition among low-income families in Pakistan.
Pledges to Ehsaas
Pledges to Ehsaas is an initiative that aims to encourage individuals, organizations, and corporations to make financial or in-kind donations to support the Ehsaas program’s various initiatives. The pledges can be made through the Ehsaas online portal or by contacting the relevant authorities. The donations are used to fund social protection initiatives and poverty reduction programs across Pakistan.
Policy to Support the Most Marginalized Groups
The Policy to Support the Most Marginalized Groups aims to provide targeted support and resources to vulnerable and marginalized communities in Pakistan. It seeks to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion, with a focus on women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The policy aims to create an inclusive society where everyone has access to basic necessities of life.
8171 Tracking Portal
The Ehsaas Tracking Portal App helps beneficiaries track their payments and application status in real-time. It has improved transparency and accountability in the delivery of social welfare payments.
Ehsaas Online Education
The Ehsaas Online Education provides free online education to disadvantaged students across the country. It aims to bridge the digital divide and improve access to education for all.
Schools for the Marginalized
The Ehsaas Schools for Marginalized Children initiative aims to provide education to out-of-school children in underprivileged areas. It offers free education, books, and uniforms to children who cannot afford them.
Ehsaas Thela is a mobile cart initiative under the Ehsaas Program that provides affordable and nutritious food to the urban poor. These carts operate in different areas and offer hygienic and affordable meals to those who cannot afford to buy food from restaurants.
Graduation and Interest-Free Loans
The Graduation and Interest-Free Loans program aims to provide financial assistance to the vulnerable population for initiating their small-scale business ventures. The program targets the poorest households and provides them with interest-free loans along with training and support services to ensure the success of their business.
Ehsaas Nashonuma is a program under the Ehsaas initiative that aims to provide a comprehensive package of health and nutrition services to mothers and young children in their critical first 1,000 days of life.
Orphanages Policy and Reform
The Ehsaas Program has launched the Orphanages Policy and Reform initiative to improve the lives of orphaned and abandoned children across Pakistan. This initiative aims to provide a safe and nurturing environment for vulnerable children, with a focus on education, healthcare, and psychological support. It also focuses on strengthening the existing institutional framework for orphanages and ensuring accountability and transparency in their operations.
Ehsaas Clean Cooking Stoves
Ehsaas Clean Cooking Stoves is an initiative to provide clean and efficient cooking stoves to households living below the poverty line. The program aims to reduce indoor air pollution, decrease the reliance on traditional fuels such as wood, and improve the health of women and children who are most affected by indoor air pollution
One Window Ehsaas App
One Window Ehsaas App is a user-friendly mobile application designed to provide a streamlined and efficient process for beneficiaries to apply for Ehsaas programs and services. It allows individuals to easily access information about available programs, eligibility criteria, and required documents, and to submit applications and receive updates on their status. The app also provides a platform for feedback and complaints, helping to improve the transparency and accountability of the Ehsaas program.
Commercialization Policy for Specialized Nutrition Food
The Ehsaas program’s Commercialization Policy for Specialized Nutrition Food aims to improve the availability and affordability of specialized nutritious food for poor populations, particularly children under the age of two and pregnant and lactating women.
Ehsaas Rashan Portal
Ehsaas Rashan Portal is an online platform launched under the Ehsaas program to provide transparent and efficient distribution of ration (food supplies) to the eligible and needy households across Pakistan. The portal enables the beneficiaries to apply for and receive electronic vouchers, which can be used to purchase essential food items from registered merchants.
Ehsaas Garbage Rickshaw
The initiative involves providing rickshaws to people from low-income households, who collect garbage from various areas and dispose of it properly. The project also includes awareness campaigns to promote hygiene and waste management practices.
IT hubs and Incubators in 450 BISP offices
The Ehsaas Program aims to establish Information Technology (IT) hubs and incubators in 450 offices of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). This initiative seeks to promote digital literacy and entrepreneurship opportunities among the marginalized population, particularly women, by providing access to training, mentorship, and resources for technology-based startups.
Ehsaas Amdan (Income) Program
Ehsaas Amdan (Income) Program is a new initiative under the Ehsaas umbrella, aimed at providing employment and livelihood opportunities to poor and vulnerable households. The program is designed to create jobs and promote entrepreneurship in various sectors, including agriculture, livestock, fisheries, small and medium enterprises, and cottage industries.
The Ehsaas Undergraduate Student Scholarship is a need-based financial assistance program that aims to provide access to higher education for students from low-income families. The scholarship covers tuition fees and a monthly stipend to cover living expenses for the duration of the degree program.
Ehsaas Artisans to Fashion Houses
The Ehsaas Artisans to Fashion Houses program aims to promote traditional artisans by providing them with market access through partnerships with well-established fashion houses. The program also provides training to improve the artisans’ skills, designs, and product quality to meet modern market demands.
Data4Pakistan (District Development Portal)
Data4Pakistan is a district development portal initiated under the Ehsaas program to provide policymakers and the general public with access to data-driven insights and information on various socioeconomic indicators. It aims to promote evidence-based decision-making and to enhance transparency and accountability in the development process.
Ehsaas TV is a digital TV channel launched by the Pakistani government under the Ehsaas program. It aims to educate and create awareness among the public about the different initiatives and programs under the Ehsaas program. It broadcasts various shows related to education, health, poverty alleviation, and social welfare.
Ehsaas Langar is a program that provides free meals to the poor and needy across the country through the establishment of Langar Khanas (food houses) and mobile food trucks. The initiative aims to address hunger and malnutrition among marginalized communities in Pakistan.
Ehsaas Tahafuz is a social protection initiative under the Ehsaas Program that aims to provide protection to vulnerable segments of society through various interventions, such as interest-free loans, insurance, and asset transfers. The program targets the poorest and most marginalized groups, including widows, orphans, the disabled, and elderly citizens.
Targeting Mechanisms for the Ehsaas Program
One of the key elements of the program is its targeting mechanism, which is used to identify the most vulnerable families and individuals in the country. The Ehsaas Program uses a range of targeting mechanisms, including poverty scorecards, to identify the beneficiaries. Let’s take a closer look at the targeting mechanisms used by the Ehsaas Program.
The Ehsaas Program uses a poverty scorecard to assess the socio-economic status of households. The scorecard is a tool that measures poverty based on a range of indicators, including income, education, housing conditions, and access to basic services. Based on the scorecard, households are assigned a poverty score, which is used to determine their eligibility for the program.
Geographic targeting is another measure to identify beneficiaries. This involves identifying the most impoverished regions in the country and targeting the program’s interventions in these areas. This approach ensures that the program reaches the most vulnerable communities, particularly those in remote or underserved areas.
Gender and Disability Targeting
The Ehsaas Program also targets vulnerable groups such as women and persons with disabilities. The program recognizes that these groups are often disproportionately affected by poverty and are therefore in need of targeted interventions. The program includes specific initiatives to empower women and promote their economic and social inclusion, as well as to improve the access of persons with disabilities to essential services.
Proxy Means Testing
Proxy means testing approach to identify beneficiaries involves using a set of proxy indicators, such as household assets and educational levels, to estimate a household’s income and determine their eligibility for the program. This approach is particularly useful in cases where detailed income data is not available.
In summary, the Ehsaas Program uses a range of targeting mechanisms to identify the most vulnerable families and individuals in the country. These mechanisms include poverty scorecards, geographic targeting, gender and disability targeting, and proxy means testing. By using these targeting mechanisms, the program is able to ensure that its interventions reach the most vulnerable segments of society and make a meaningful impact in reducing poverty and inequality in Pakistan.
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Impact of the Ehsaas Program on Poverty Alleviation, Social Protection, Education and Health and Small Businesses
The program has been implemented since 2019 and has already made a significant impact in reducing poverty and improving the lives of millions of Pakistanis. It has significant role in Social Protection, Education and Health, and Small Businesses.
The Ehsaas Program provides cash transfers to the most vulnerable families and individuals in the country. These cash transfers are provided on a monthly basis and are intended to support the basic needs of the beneficiaries, such as food, health, and education. The cash transfers have been particularly effective in reducing poverty and improving the well-being of the beneficiaries.
Livelihood support is aimed at improving the economic well-being of the beneficiaries. The program provides interest-free loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as vocational training to enable them to start their own businesses. These interventions have helped to create new job opportunities and improve the income levels of the beneficiaries.
Empowering women and promoting their economic and social inclusion is one of the primary goals of program. The program provides cash transfers to women who are the primary breadwinners in their families, as well as vocational training to enable them to start their own businesses. These interventions have had a positive impact on the economic and social status of women in Pakistan.
Targeting the Most Vulnerable
One of the key objectives of the Ehsaas Program is to target the most vulnerable segments of the population. The program uses a range of targeting mechanisms, including the National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER), to identify the beneficiaries who are in need of assistance. By targeting the most vulnerable, the program has been able to provide social protection to those who need it the most.
Improving access to education for the beneficiaries through scholarships to children from poor families to enable them to access education is one of the goals. These scholarships cover the cost of tuition fees, books, and uniforms. In addition, the program provides vocational training to young people, enabling them to acquire skills that are in demand in the job market. These interventions have had a positive impact on education in Pakistan, enabling children from poor families to access education and acquire the skills they need to succeed in life.
The program provides free health insurance to the beneficiaries, which covers the cost of medical treatment and medicines. In addition, the program provides financial assistance to pregnant and lactating women, enabling them to access essential healthcare services. These interventions have had a positive impact on health in Pakistan, enabling the beneficiaries to access healthcare services that they would otherwise be unable to afford.
It provides financial assistance to small businesses in the form of interest-free loans. The loans are targeted towards small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling them to cover their operational costs and sustain their businesses. This financial assistance has had a significant impact on small businesses, enabling them to continue their operations during the pandemic and avoid layoffs.
Training and Technical Assistance
The Ehsaas Program also provides training and technical assistance to small businesses, enabling them to improve their operations and increase their profitability. The program offers training in areas such as marketing, financial management, and digital skills, helping small businesses to adapt to the changing business environment. This training has enabled small businesses to improve their competitiveness and increase their revenues.
Impact on Small Businesses
The program’s financial assistance has enabled small businesses to continue their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, avoiding layoffs and ensuring their survival. The program’s training and technical assistance have enabled small businesses to improve their operations, increasing their competitiveness and profitability.
Role in Economic Development
Small businesses play a vital role in the economic development of Pakistan, providing employment opportunities and contributing to the country’s GDP. The Ehsaas Program’s interventions targeted towards small businesses have played a crucial role in supporting their growth and sustainability, contributing to the overall economic development of the country.
Challanges to Ehsaas Program
While the program has shown promising results since its launch, it faces several challenges that hinder its full implementation and effectiveness. Let’s take a closer look at some of the challenges facing the Ehsaas Program.
One of the significant challenges facing the Ehsaas Program is funding. The program is a vast initiative that requires a significant amount of financial resources to operate effectively. While the government has allocated substantial funds for the program, there are concerns about the sustainability of funding in the long run. The program may face a shortage of funds in the future, leading to difficulties in implementing its interventions fully.
The Ehsaas Program’s targeting mechanisms are crucial to ensuring that resources are allocated to the most deserving beneficiaries. However, there are concerns that the current targeting mechanisms may not be effective in identifying the most vulnerable segments of the population. Some critics argue that the current targeting mechanisms may miss the intended beneficiaries, leading to the resources being allocated to those who do not need them.
The program’s interventions are vast and require effective coordination and implementation at different levels of government. However, there are concerns that the implementation of the program may not be consistent across different regions and districts. This inconsistency in implementation may lead to inequitable distribution of resources and a lack of transparency in the program’s operations.
Political interference is another significant challenge facing the Ehsaas Program. There are concerns that political interference may lead to a bias in the allocation of resources, with resources being allocated to the political constituencies of those in power rather than the intended beneficiaries. This political interference may also lead to a lack of accountability and transparency in the program’s operations.
Lack of Awareness
Despite the government’s efforts to promote the program and its interventions, there are concerns that some eligible beneficiaries may not be aware of the program’s existence or how to access its resources. This lack of awareness may lead to the intended beneficiaries not receiving the resources they need to improve their standard of living.
In summary, the Ehsaas Program faces several challenges that hinder its full implementation and effectiveness. These challenges include funding, targeting mechanisms, implementation, political interference, and lack of awareness. Addressing these challenges will be crucial to ensuring that the program achieves its objectives and benefits the most vulnerable segments of the population.
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Future of the Ehsaas Program
It has already shown promising results in alleviating poverty and improving the standard of living for the country’s most vulnerable segments of the population. However, the program’s future is still uncertain, and there are several factors to consider when assessing its long-term sustainability and effectiveness.
One of the critical factors in determining the future of the Ehsaas Program is the availability of continued funding. The government has already allocated substantial funds for the program, but ensuring its long-term sustainability will require a consistent allocation of resources. It is crucial to prioritize the Ehsaas Program in the national budget and explore alternative sources of funding to ensure its continuity.
Expansion of Interventions
The Ehsaas Program has already implemented several interventions aimed at alleviating poverty and improving the standard of living for the most vulnerable segments of the population. However, to ensure its long-term effectiveness, the program must continue to expand its interventions and adapt to changing circumstances. The program must keep up with the changing needs of the population and continue to develop innovative solutions to address poverty and inequality.
Improvement of Targeting Mechanisms
To ensure that the resources allocated through the Ehsaas Program reach the most vulnerable segments of the population, the program must improve its targeting mechanisms. This will require a more comprehensive and accurate identification of the intended beneficiaries and the adoption of innovative technologies to streamline the targeting process.
Strengthening of Implementation
The effectiveness of the Ehsaas Program depends on the quality of its implementation. Therefore, the program must strengthen its implementation mechanisms and ensure consistency in the delivery of its interventions across different regions and districts. This will require effective coordination and collaboration between different levels of government and the private sector.
To ensure the long-term sustainability, it is crucial to create public awareness about its interventions and benefits. The government must invest in public education campaigns to inform eligible beneficiaries about the program’s existence and how to access its resources.
In conclusion, the future of the Ehsaas Program will depend on several factors, including continued funding, expansion of interventions, improvement of targeting mechanisms, strengthening of implementation, and public awareness. Addressing these factors will be crucial to ensuring the program’s long-term sustainability and effectiveness in alleviating poverty and improving the standard of living for the country’s most vulnerable segments of the population.
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Criticisms and Controversies Surrounding the Ehsaas Program
Like any large-scale social program, the Ehsaas Program has faced criticisms and controversies since its inception. Here are some of the most significant criticisms and controversies surrounding the program:
The Ehsaas Program has faced criticism for its targeting mechanisms, with some arguing that the program does not reach the intended beneficiaries effectively. Some eligible beneficiaries have reported difficulties in accessing the program’s resources, while others have claimed that the program does not target the most vulnerable segments of the population effectively.
While the government has allocated substantial funds for the program, some critics argue that the funding is still inadequate to address the scale of poverty and inequality in the country. They argue that more significant investment is needed to ensure the program’s long-term sustainability and effectiveness.
Some critics have suggested that the Ehsaas Program is primarily driven by political motivations, with the government using it as a tool to secure votes and increase its popularity. They argue that the program’s interventions may not be based on the most pressing needs of the population and that its implementation may be influenced by political considerations.
There have been reports of corruption and mismanagement in the implementation of the Ehsaas Program. Some beneficiaries have reported cases of discrimination and exploitation, while others have complained about delays in receiving the program’s resources.
While the Ehsaas Program has shown promising results in alleviating poverty and improving the standard of living for the most vulnerable segments of the population, some critics argue that its impact is still limited. They argue that more comprehensive and sustainable solutions are needed to address poverty and inequality in the country.
In conclusion, the Program has faced several criticisms and controversies since its inception, with some questioning its effectiveness, targeting mechanisms, funding, and political motivations. Addressing these criticisms and controversies will require a concerted effort by the government, civil society, and the private sector to ensure that the program’s interventions are based on the most pressing needs of the population, and its implementation is transparent and accountable.
The Ehsaas Program has had a significant impact on social protection, education, health, and small businesses in Pakistan. The program’s various interventions, including cash transfers, health and education support, livelihood assistance, and women empowerment initiatives, have contributed to reducing poverty and inequality in the country. The program’s role in supporting small businesses has played a crucial role in promoting economic development, providing employment opportunities, and contributing to the country’s GDP. It serves as a model for other countries looking to improve social protection, reduce poverty, and promote economic development. With continued support and funding, the program can continue to make a positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable segments of the population in Pakistan.