Massive cash handouts scheme gets underway

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday formally launched the Rs144 billion Ehsaas Relief Programme and a sum of Rs50bn was given to banks for distribution of Rs12,000 four-month stipend among the families of poor and daily-wage earners who have been hit hard by the lockdown across the country due to coronavirus.

On the first day of cash distribution, 40 million people [out of 120m] received text messages (SMS) for collection of the amount from 17,000 branches of two designated banks — Habib Bank Limited and Bank Al-Falah — and 3,000 camp sites established with the assistance of the provincial governments.

“Today Prime Minister Imran Khan formally launched Ehsaas cash emergency programme to provide Rs12,000 to 12m families and for that Rs144bn has been allocated,” Special Assistant to the Prime Min­ister (SAPM) on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said at a press conference.

Besides this, she added, an amount of Rs2.5bn as Ramazan package for the poor had been given to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) for providing 19 consumer items at subsidised rates.

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