Web-Portal to Check Eligibility for Emergency Cash Programme Launched

The Government began on Friday the Ehsaas Emergency Cash web-based application in order to track the eligibility of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash system directly through the National Databse Registration Authority (Nadra).

The launch was announced by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Dr. Sania Nishter through a tweet stating that those who were asked through the SMS to contact district administration will now be able to register on the web-portal without actually visiting the district office.

Interestingly, before the official launch of Ehsaas Emergency Cash application web-portal, a fake web-portal was already initiated on the internet asking people to register. The fake portal used logos of Ehsaas programme and the government of Pakistan.

In another tweet, SAPM warned people against the fake link saying “BE AWARE: Even in such testing time, fraudsters and trickster mafia is using fake online registration link for Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme. Eligibility for the programme can be checked by sending your CNIC to 8171 via SMS only. Spread the word. Be aware of digital Mafia.”

Before Ehsaas, the name of BISP was also used by fraudsters to extract money from the innocent people through fake SMS from unknown numbers. A few cases were traced but a large number of people got trapped by such elements.

“We haven’t received any such complaints yet as our system is very clear and well-communicated. If any such fraud starts in future, we will take necessary measures through the relevant departments,” said Ehsaas spokesperson while talking to media.

The Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme has been planned in the context of the economic hardship being experienced by the vulnerable due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. The currently stalled economic activity affects daily wage earners and piece-rate workers, the most. In addition, layoffs in the formal economy are pushing people below the poverty line.

Within this context, the Ehsaas Emergency Cash initiative has been designed for simple and easy rollout, using the existing at-scale digital payment capacity of the Government of Pakistan, which has been developed within the Poverty Alleviation Division.

Under this initiative, 12 million families will receive Rs12,000 each and the total budget will be Rs144 billion. If the demand for Ehsaas Emergency Cash is higher, additional resources may be earmarked.

An SMS campaign will be the entry point to identify these beneficiaries. Through an aggressive communication campaign, citizens will be informed that they can send an SMS on 8171 to check their eligibility status. In the event of their being eligible, they will receive an SMS message informing them of how to collect money. If they are not identified in the database, they will be directed to contact their respective district administration. Through web-portal, they can now directly check their eligibility in case they are asked to contact district administration.

There will be two categories eligible for this cash assistance. Under Category 1, Special cash assistance of Rs1,000 per month will be given to the currently enrolled 4.5 million Kafaalat beneficiary families, in addition to the regular cash transfer of Rs2,000 per month. They will get a lump sum of Rs12,000 covering 4 months.

For Category 2, 7.5 million other new beneficiaries will be given a lump sum of Rs12,000 as well. This is one time assistance.

Special data analytics on defined parameters (Government officials, those owning cars, and those with history of multiple foreign travel) will be applied by NADRA on all categories of potential beneficiaries, to address inclusion errors.

People will be able to collect cash from Points of Sale (POS) of biometrically enabled branchless banking operations and biometrically enabled ATMs. All cash transfers will be made after biometric verification of each beneficiary through NADRA.

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