Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday announced the country’s biggest relief package worth Rs. 120 billion under which essential commodities will be subsidized for 53% of the country’s population.
Named as Ehsaas Rashan Program, 130 million of the country’s population will receive a 30% subsidy on per-unit purchase of three essential commodities—oil/ghee, flour, and pulses— for the next six months.
Here is all you need to know about the historic relief package.
About Ehsaas Rashan Program
The recently announced Ehsaas Rashan Program has been launched under the larger Ehsaas Program, the flagship financial assistance program of the incumbent federal government.
It has been designed as a precision-target subsidy program to provide financial assistance to deserving beneficiaries on the purchase of essential commodities at a discount through digitally processed transactions.
Ehsaas Rashan Program has identified 20 million households across Pakistan with an income of Rs. 31,500 per month that are eligible for subsidy on essential food items.
They were identified with the help of the Ehsaas National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) survey, which is also a part of the larger Ehsaas Program.
There are certain documents that are also required by the Ehsaas Rashan Program to assure the eligibility of the beneficiaries.
These documents are:
- A written proof of willingness to share data with third parties.A valid CNIC
- Proof of family income less than Rs. 31,500.
- A written statement that only one individual from the family has applied.
How to Apply?
Families that meet the eligibility criteria must only apply for Ehsaas Rashan Program at the Ehsaas Rashan Portal just once. The Ehsaas Rashan Portal will go live on 8 November.
Applications through SMS or any other channels will not be entertained and will be rejected straight away, though the government plans to introduce other modes of registration at a later stage.
The applicants of the Ehsaas Rashan Program would undergo a robust vetting procedure to prevent duplication and misuse of the subsidy program.
The eligibility of the families would be determined within three or four weeks after which the disbursement of subsidy would kick off.
How it Works?
Subsidy under the Ehsaas Rashan program will be provided at designated grocery shops across the country that would sign up with a digital targeted subsidy disbursal system developed by the Ehsaas Program in collaboration with the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).
All registered merchants will also be required to download the mobile application of the subsidy disbursal system.
The application will take the CNIC of an eligible individual as input. After quick authentication, it will send an OTP on the mobile phone number listed on the Ehsaas Rashan Portal against the specific CNIC.
The merchant will enter the OTP in the application and after another quick verification, the subsidy will be granted to the individual.
Each of the 20 million families—overall 130 million people— will be provided a targeted subsidy of up to Rs. 1,000 per month on the per-unit purchase of oil/ghee, flour, and pulses at these designated grocery shops.
All registered grocery shops will be required to open bank accounts and the targeted subsidy will be disbursed through RAAST, an instant payment system developed by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
The registered merchants will be given profit on the subsidy amount to encourage them to serve maximum people.
The digital subsidy disbursal system will also help to track the utilization of the subsidy under Ehsaas Rashan Program by each deserving family at the product and geographical levels.
How Will it be Funded?
The Rs. 120 billion subsidy under the Ehsaas Rashan program will be extended under a federal-provincial cost-sharing arrangement.
So far, Punjab, KP, GB, and AJK governments have committed to the program while talks are underway to get Sindh and Balochistan governments on board as well.
Besides, non-profit and for-profit organizations with valid registration can also apply to fund the program. They can become a part of the program by either providing Rs. 10 million in food packs or cash equivalent.