PM to Inaugurate Ehsaas Asset Program on February 21

Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the Ehsaas asset (Aamdan) program worth Rs. 15 billion on Friday (Feb 21), which will benefit people in 375 rural councils of the 23 poorest districts in the country.

The program is one of several under the Ehsaas umbrella and will create earning opportunities for the deserving.

The government will be giving away small “assets” to those who live below the poverty line so that they can earn a living. Assets include livestock (goats, cows, buffaloes, and poultry), agricultural inputs, the body of Chingchi rickshaws, and inputs for small retail outlets and small enterprises.

It is commencing in 375 rural Union Councils in 23 of the poorest districts across the four provinces of Pakistan. The program has set a target of providing around 200,000 assets to the deserving households (60% women and 30% youth beneficiaries). The scale of the program will be enhanced based on initial results.

This program is complimentary to Ehsaas Kafaalat, which commenced on January 31, 2020. The government provides cash stipends of Rs. 2000 to 7 million most deserving women by the end of the year through this program. Beneficiaries for both Ehsaas Kafaalat and Ehsaas Asset program were identified through a survey using the Poverty Score Card.

Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), which is an organization attached to the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, is the lead implementing agency for the Ehsaas Amdan program and is working through partner organizations that have a strong presence in the selected districts.

Community procurement processes have been established by PPAF to ensure transparency and accountability in the identification, selection and procurement of all assets and/or vocational skills training. Beneficiaries that require vocational training are supported to attend courses offered by certified technical training institutes. Training on asset utilization and business planning is also provided to eligible household members to help them turn their assets into an economically productive enterprise.

According to the press release, asset recipient households are also supported to access the Ehsaas interest-free loans if they are available in their area and if they believe they require additional financing for business enhancement.

Beneficiaries are identified through a community engagement process in the 375 Union councils and villages of 23 districts where this program has begun. Districts in Punjab where this program is commencing include Dera Ghazi Khan, Jhang, and Layyah, read the press release.

In KP there are 10 districts (Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, Palas Kolai, Torghar, Batagram, Shangla, North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Dera Ismail Khan, Tank). In Balochistan, there are three districts: Jhal Magsi, Zhob, and Sherani. In Sindh, the districts include Badin, Thatta, Sujawal, Kashmore, Shikarpur, Tharparkar and Umerkot.

These districts were selected based on a special study that was conducted by PPAF in which three parameters were taken into consideration, Level of human development, and level of poverty, level of food insecurity. The districts which ranked lowest were included in the first wave of the program.