Special quota will be allocated for women and Transgender pedlars under the novel project of `Ehsaas Rehri Ban’ project to provide them a conducive business environment and ensuring their respectable livelihood. This was revealed by the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar in an exclusive interview with APP on Sunday. Terming it as the most challenging initiative in terms of deployment, Dr. Sania said initially the program is being implemented in the G-8, G-10 and G-11 sectors of the federal capital. The poor and small pedlars in the main `Markaz’ of these sectors are being provided with the licenses and modern cart at their points after conducting proper survey. “The ultimate goal of this program is to protect them from exploitation at any level”, she said. The scope of this project will be expanded to the whole city and a proper mechanism will be developed to extend this facility in a transparent manner, without any favoritism. She pointed out that there were few women pedlars in these sectors too who are being facilitated under this project. Talking about the Ehsaas Targeted Subsidy Program, she said that this initiative will help address the difficulties of the common people through minimizing the impact of inflation on them and increasing their purchasing capacity. Dr. Sania said that controlling inflation and facilitating the marginalized community are the top most priorities of the present government. Prime Minister, Imran Khan is very much concerned about impact of inflation on poor people and discusses the way forward to address this issue in every meeting. Explaining the procedure, Dr. Sania said that the eligible families, to be identified through a transparent system, will be able to avail the facility of buying essential commodities like flour, Sugar, Ghee etc. on subsidized rates. The families will be able to know their eligibility status through the Ehsaas portal for availing this facility and visit the designated stores where the shopkeeper with the help of an installed app will check their information and then pass on the subsidy, she added. About expansion of the Ehsaas One Window initiative nationwide, the SAPM said that the Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments have agreed to provide space for establishing One Window Centers to facilitate the Ehsaas beneficiaries. The One Window Center in federal capital is facilitating thousands of disadvantaged people from far flung areas through providing them all the services related to NADRA, designated banks, Langar, Panahgah etc and guidance about all the 19 Ehsaas projects. Responding to a question about progress on the Ehsaas National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER), Dr. Sania said that the survey is the backbone of all the Ehsaas projects as benefits are extended to the deserving people after checking their socio-economic data with the help of this survey. The survey was lingering since the last decade. “We have completed this survey up to 99.7 percent after hard work of three years, even crossing the target of the households given by the Bureau of Statistics”, she said. Sharing about the global socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, Dr. Sania said many of the world organizations changed their targets after emergence of the pandemic but we continued our efforts to implement the social protection interventions throughout the period by launching many of the new initiatives. Highlighting the COVID-19 specific initiatives, she said over 15 million families received the cash assistance under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program Phase-I which was aimed at addressing the economic hardships of the people during the pandemic. “We ensured that along with the massive cash disbursements during the pandemic; we do not miss our other targets”, she said. “The decisions were taken to expand certain programs nationwide at that time considering the increasing economic difficulties of the people”, she said. In the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program Phase-II, around four million people are being provided cash assistance. Around 70 percent cash disbursement process has been completed so far while rests of the payments are continued, she said. Dr. Sania highlighted that NSER has been made shock responsive as cash assistance is being provided to those affected by earthquake, drought, floods or any devastation with the help of this survey data. “The cash assistance is being provided to the quake affected people in Harnai, Balochistan with the help of NSER”. Dr. Sania pointed out that another impactful program of Ehsaas will be Ehsaas Tahafuz initiative which we have been piloting for the last two and a half year through creating its systems. The people not availing any health insurance will just text the government to seek health aid to meet their catastrophic health expenditures and they will be assisted. “This will be our most effective program in the next six months”, she hoped. About the expansion of Panahgah initative, the SAPM said that Capital Development Authority (CDA) has provided four plots to set up purpose-built Panahgahs in the capital which will be linked with the One Window Centers. Dr. Sania said that Ehsaas has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Serena Hotel under which the staff of Hotel will provide hospitality training to the Panahgahs staff. Thousands of people are eating two time meals at the Ehsaas Langars and now Langar on Wheels program has also started to provide meals to the people, she added. On the education side, Dr. Sania mentioned that three programs including Ehsaas School Stipends, Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships and other selected Postgraduate scholarships were being implemented successfully and yielding positive results.