On 27 March 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the Ehsas program to much fanfare and took one step closer to his promised ‘riyasat of Madina’ in which the poor and downtrodden would be taken care of in a welfare system.
He described it as “Ehsaas is the biggest and the boldest program for the poor ever launched in Pakistan. The government looks forward to working with all stakeholders – public, private, civil society, philanthropists and expatriate Pakistanis – to ensure that we deliver on our promise of lifting millions of people out of poverty and build a strong foundation together for a stronger, safer and successful Pakistan,”
The program is for the extreme poor, orphans, widows, the homeless, the disabled, those who risk medical impoverishment, for the jobless, for poor farmers, for laborers, for the sick and undernourished; for students from low-income backgrounds and for poor women and elderly citizens. This plan is also about lifting lagging areas where poverty is higher.
The four focus areas stated are first to counter elite capture and reducing inequality of the system. Second is the creation of a safety net for the poor; the third is to create jobs and livelihood, and the fourth is the development of human capital.
In 2016, Pakistan’s first official report on multidimensional poverty was released, and it revealed abysmal figures on the quality of life for a large section of Pakistanis. According to the study, 39 percent (38.8%) of Pakistanis live in multidimensional poverty, while 24.4 percent of those do not have enough money to satisfy their basic needs.
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17 November, 2019