The Ehsaas Program has been dubbed the international standard for the establishment of a progressive welfare state by Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSIIS). The program is former PM Imran Khan’s flagship initiative to counter poverty.
Ehsaas Program is a world-leading anti-poverty initiative to uplift the most vulnerable individuals, according to a working paper published by Stanford University titled “Frameworks for a Developmental Welfare State: Lessons From Pakistan’s Ehsaas Program.”
The Ehsaas Program was introduced in 2018 by the Pakistani government, which is led by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The initiative aims to combat the nation’s poverty through a comprehensive and integrated approach.
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The Ehsaas Program offers a wide range of services to the country’s vulnerable class. Unconditional cash transfers, tailored subsidies, and expanded health and nutritional coverage are a few of the programs under the banner of Ehsaas.
Policymakers from all across the world can benefit from the Ehsaas Program’s lessons on policy, programmatic, and reform implementation, including the value of strong institutions, effective data and technology use, and adopting an integrated and inclusive strategy to combat poverty.
The working paper stated that while the Ehsaas Program’s services are effective, open, and efficient, they also aid in closing the gap between the government and its population.
According to the findings, “these innovations have allowed Ehsaas to successfully expand impact, boost openness, and improve the efficiency of its initiatives, all while establishing confidence among beneficiaries and program managers.”
Earlier this year, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates described the Ehsaas program as a “state-of-the-art” project of the government aimed at reducing poverty and assisting the country’s marginalized people.
On Twitter, the former prime minister stated that the former PTI administration struggled with “stabilizing a bankrupt economy,” the IMF program, the Covid epidemic, and the commodity super cycle, but “yet managed to establish the cornerstone of a welfare state.”
What’s In Ehsaas Program That Brought It Into Stanford University’s Notice?
The success of the Ehsaas program lies in its transparency & outreach to the vulnerable of the society who were always ignored earlier. Here are 4 of the program’s many initiatives:
Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship
In 2019, the Imran Khan-led federal government introduced the country’s largest undergraduate scholarship program – Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship. Among tuition fee waivers, here are some other advantages:
- In four years, 200,000 scholarships will be offered to outstanding students.
- Female students are guaranteed a 50% quota.
- The Ehsaas scholarship is a fully-funded program that not only pays tuition expenses but also provides students with a monthly stipend.
- Priority is given to disadvantaged students and those from impoverished regions
Announced by the then-PM Imran Khan on November 3, 2021, the Ehsaas Rashan program enables the underprivileged to get targeted subsidies on necessary food items such as flour, lentils & Ghee/Cooking Oil at stores designated by the National Bank of Pakistan.
- The program benefits 20 million families selected through an Ehsaas survey.
- A total of 130 million people will benefit from the Ehsaas Rashan program which is 53% of Pakistan’s population.
- A discount of Rs.1000 per family will be given on the purchase of flour, lentils and ghee/cooking oil every month.
- The Ehsaas Rashan program’s half-year budget for the current fiscal year is Rs. 120 billion. The program’s costs will be shared by the federation and the provinces participating in Ehsas Ration Assistance.
- So far, the provincial governments of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir have joined the program.
Ehsaas Kafalat Program
Ehsaas Kafalat Program is an unconditional cash transfer mechanism that provides cash stipends worth Rs. 2000 per month and bank accounts for 8 million of the country’s poorest women across all districts.
Biometrically enabled distributions to recipient women are made six times a year under the Kafalat payment scheme. Beneficiary enrollment is contingent on the results of the recently completed survey.
Koye Bhooka Na Soye
‘Koye Bhooka Na Soye’ (KBNS) was a federal government policy program aimed at eradicating hunger in the country. The project was an extension of the Langar Policy and aims to offer prepared meals to persons in need, particularly those at risk of or suffering hunger, at designated delivery sites.
Meals were supplied for free thanks to food truck arrangements. Many KBNS beneficiaries are members of the labour class, including the elderly, differently-abled, workers, daily wage earners, women, and children who are unable to access Langar locations in industrial zones and bus stops.
This initiative was created as a public-private collaboration, with Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal in charge of food truck operations and Saylani Welfare International Trust in charge of food distribution.