Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Sania Nishtar on Thursday said an amount of Rs 69 billion has been disbursed among 5.75 million deserving families under the first two categories of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program.

Addressing a press conference along with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Dr Shahbaz Gill on Thursday in Islamabad, she said that 80 percent payment process under the first category of this program has been completed while payments for the second category (SMS beneficiaries) was going on speedily.

The special assistant said that around 35 million applicants were rejected after scrutinizing them on the basis of different parameters like wealth profiling, poverty score database, Federal Board of Revenue statistics, more than one family member applicants etc.

Over 89,000 Computerized National Identity Cards failed in the process of verification, she said. Under the third category of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program, Dr. Nishtar said the lists of beneficiaries are being finalized through the help of district administrations.

Dr Sania said our priority is to run this initiative in a transparent manner without any political interference as per directives of the Prime Minister Imran Khan, providing maximum relief to the deserving people.

She said strict action is being taken against those retailers involved in deduction from the Rs 12,000 given to the beneficiaries, adding that the efforts are also underway to overcome the hurdles being faced by the applicants through their feedback and complaints.

About the Ehsaas Rashan portal, she briefed that this portal has been opened to facilitate the private sector in providing food rations to the most vulnerable affected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Through the portal, the role of government will be to facilitate match-making between donors and beneficiaries (on geographic basis) and provide data of eligible beneficiaries to donors.