By Dr Saeed Ahmed Ali
LAHORE, May 03 (APP):The incumbent PTI government has played an unprecedented role by supporting people through various relief packages and coordinated strategies amid COVID-19 spread.
Combating the on-going economy impact due to spread of the coronavirus, the government is playing an impressive and responsible role for the well being of destitute strata of the country just like playing a ‘Role of Mother’.
To give relief and awareness amid COVID-19 spread, the government has established National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) which is streamlining the working of government in relief operations and playing a vital role in fighting against COVID-19.
As per Asian Development Bank (ADB) statistics, a total of 24.3 percent population of Pakistan lives below the national poverty line, while 3.9 percent of employed class has the purchasing capacity up to U $ 1.90.
The coronavirus lockdown and restrictions have severely affected low-income households in a country where those in this category earn on average less than US $ two a day, the World Bank observed in its statement.
The government, to overcome poverty and boost economic growth, first of all had decided to re-activate construction industry, which is considered as the mother of all industries, sharing the biggest contribution at national and global level economies.
The special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar in her recent tweet has revealed that so far, an amount of Rs. 65.249 billion had been disbursed among 5.437 million deserving families across the country, under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program Category 2 and 3.
It may be mentioned here that Ehsas programme is the biggest cash relief distribution programme in the history of the country. Ehsaas is Prime Minister Imran Khan government’s biggest and boldest programme ever launched in Pakistan to uplift marginalized segments of the country.
A document of the Ehsaas Programme’ shows that the poverty reduction strategy would be articulated in four pillars which contribute further 134 policy points and actions to create equality, by strengthening policies to address disadvantaged class of the population and their jobs and livelihoods.
Giving details of the total amount, Sania Nishtar confirmed that since the start of the payment process on April 9, this relief amount had been disbursed among the poor industrial labourers, price-rate wagers and deserving ones till April 22, under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa an amount of Rs. 13,027,092,000 had been disbursed among 1,085,591 family units and beneficiaries of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Rs. 26.27 billion among the 2,189,820 families in Punjab and Rs. 22.086 billion among 1,840,565 beneficiaries in Sindh, the tweet revealed.
Similarly an amount of Rs.1.028 billion had been disbursed among 85,712 families and beneficiaries of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Rs.2.27 billion among 189,594 families and beneficiaries of Balochistan, Rs.381,672,000 among 31,806 beneficiaries in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Rs. 172,056,000 among 14,338 families of the Federal Capital territory, Islamabad.
Punjab government spokesperson Musarrat Jamshed Cheema told APP that the Prime Minister’s various relief packages and giving boost to construction industry were the true revolutionary steps, which help usher in a new era of economic development in the country amid COVID-19.
She said Ehsas Emergency Cash programme was a people-friendly relief initiative, adding that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government under the dynamic leadership of prime minister Imran Khan would steer the country out of the economic gloom.
To a query she said Imran Khan’s initiatives clearly indicate his love and attachment with the destitute and needy strata of the country would go a long way in development and promotion of the national economy.
She said transparency in Ehasas programme has been ensured for the destitute strata of the country including homeless, orphans, disabled, widows, poor farmers, jobless labourers, sick and undernourished, students from low-income backgrounds, elderly citizens and those who risk medical impoverishment.
Ehsas Emergency Cash plan would help lift-up the lagging and remote areas of the country where poverty is higher than urban areas, she said.
Noted construction engineer Muhammad Hashim told APP that the business community has welcoming the federal government’s decision to withdraw taxes on the construction industry, which would help attract foreign investment in the country and boost the national economy.
He said a tax-free regime would encourage business activities in the country, adding that more business mean more jobs for the unemployed and the premier was well aware of the destitute and daily wagers’ problems in current jobs challenge due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime minister’s initiative of relief packages would help the people of the country to come out of the economic effects of the lockdown due to Covid-19, and the poor class was taking maximum benefit from it, he said.