Amid rising poverty and food inflation battering Pakistan’s vulnerable populations, the government recently launched an ambitious new initiative called the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program to provide relief.
Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program
The Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program was launched in 2021 by the Government of Punjab to provide subsidized wheat flour (atta) to eligible households in the province.
The program aims to provide relief from rising food prices to low-income families who struggle to afford basic necessities. Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program is an important social safety net initiative that reflects the government’s commitment to supporting vulnerable groups.
Objectives of the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program
The Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program has several key objectives:
- Provide a targeted subsidy on wheat flour to poor households to ensure food security
- Cushion the impact of inflation and protect low-income families from rising food prices
- Improve nutrition and food access for vulnerable populations in Punjab
- Reduce poverty and socio-economic inequalities in the province
- Empower women by having ration cards issued in their names
- Digitize and modernize the governance system for social safety nets in Punjab
By meeting these goals, the program aims to uplift vulnerable segments and foster inclusive growth in the province.
Eligibility Criteria: Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program
The program has clear eligibility criteria to ensure subsidized flour is targeted at the neediest households. The key requirements are:
- Must have a valid Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Card
- Households with monthly income below PKR 31,000 are eligible
- Priority given to labor workers, daily wagers, widows, orphan children
- Special focus on urban slum dwellers and remote rural households
- Disabled individuals and transgender persons also eligible
Applicants must provide documents like CNIC, B-Form, income certificate to register. Extensive surveys were conducted to identify deserving households.
Registration Process: Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program
Citizens can register for the program by submitting forms online or in-person.
The steps are:
- CNIC number SMS at 8123 through registered mobile number
- Visit Web portal at https://ehsaas.punjab.gov.pk
- By visiting E-Khidmat Markaz along with CNIC
- Visit nearest deputy commissioner office or e-Khidmat center
- Provide required documents like CNIC, income proof, disability certificate if any
- Submit registration form and get acknowledgement slip
- Track application status online using message service
- Collect Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Card if approved
The transparent process ensures cards are given to genuinely deserving households. Biometric verification is also conducted to avoid duplication.
8171 Service Opens For Ehsaas Rashan Registration
How the Subsidy Works?
Once enrolled, beneficiaries can purchase subsidized flour from designated sale points. The key features are:
- 20 kg bag of flour is available for PKR 650 compared to market rate of PKR 1100
- Per household monthly quota is 20 kg
- Subsidy of PKR 450 per 20 kg bag provided by Punjab Government
- No additional charges or transportation costs levied on beneficiaries
By providing a steep subsidy directly to beneficiaries, the program prevents exploitation by middlemen and profiteering.
Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program Progress So Far
Since its launch, the program has rolled out:
|Eligible households identified||15 million 🏡||🎉|
|Rashan Riayat Cards distributed||5.5 million 💳||✅|
|Sale points established||Over 800 🏪||🆙|
|Budget allocated||PKR 35 billion 💰||💡|
|Flour disbursed monthly||Over 100,000 tons 🍞||🌾|
📈 The program is expanding rapidly with more beneficiaries, sale points and districts being covered.
💯 The transparent system minimizes misuse.
Brief details are here!
- 15 million eligible households identified province-wide
- 5.5 million Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Cards distributed
- Over 800 sale points established across 36 districts
- PKR 35 billion earmarked in Punjab budget 2022-23
- Over 100,000 tons of flour disbursed monthly
The program is expanding rapidly with more beneficiaries, sale points and districts being covered. The transparent system minimizes misuse.
Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Benefits For Citizens
The Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program provides far-reaching benefits for millions of vulnerable households:
- Savings of Rs. 450 per month on flour – With flour prices crossing Rs. 1,100 per 20kg bag, the subsidized rate of Rs. 650 brings huge relief for financially distressed families. Saving Rs. 450 monthly helps stretch budgets for other essentials.
- Cushions impact of food inflation – The 30% food inflation battering Pakistan in 2022 has made staples unaffordable for many. The program’s discounted flour shields the poorest from this price shock and saves them from hunger.
- Ensures adequate nutrition – By improving access to flour, an everyday dietary staple, the program helps ensure mothers and children get adequate nutrition for growth and health. Malnutrition levels are high in low-income households.
- Empowers women – Issuing ration cards in the woman’s name economically and socially empowers marginalized women. They get greater agency over household budgets and food decisions.
- Access for remote areas – Bringing subsidized flour to far-flung rural communities expands food access to forgotten peripheral regions. Vulnerable groups in remote areas suffer immense food insecurity.
- Enhances convenience – Digitization introduces conveniences like biometric verification, SMS updates and online tracking that aid beneficiaries. Red tape and delays are significantly reduced.
- Improves dignity – By providing the flour subsidy in a dignified manner without social discrimination, the program uplifts and protects the self-respect of the poorest.
- Enables reallocation of income – Saving Rs. 450 monthly on flour frees up household incomes which can be better spent on healthcare, education and other needs, thereby promoting welfare.
By alleviating financial stress and delivering essential food security, the Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program enables vulnerable groups to live with greater dignity, health and hope. The transformative potential for millions of marginalized households is immense.
Use of Technology In Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program
The program utilizes technology in multiple innovative ways:
- Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) database used for identification
- End-to-end digital registration and payment systems
- Transparent biometric verification mechanisms
- SMS service for application tracking and status updates
- Point of sale devices deployed at flour sale points
- Ehsaas One Woman One Account policy to digitally empower women
Technology strengthens transparency, efficiency and impact. Digitization facilitates scale-up across a province of 110 million people.
Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program
Monitoring and Controls
To uphold integrity and prevent misuse, the Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program has instituted stringent monitoring mechanisms and controls:
- Oversight committees – The program is overseen at the provincial level by a high-level Steering Committee headed by the Chief Secretary. District monitoring committees under the Deputy Commissioner scrutinize local operations.
- Display of information – All sale points must prominently display price charts, helpline numbers and instructions in Urdu for transparency.
- Electronic weighing – Electronic weighing scales are mandatory at all sale points to prevent underweighting frauds against beneficiaries. Random calibration checks are conducted.
- Surprise inspections – District authorities conduct unannounced visits to distribution centers and sale points to check for irregularities. Sale records are scrutinized.
- Penalties for corruption – Stern penalties like fines and prosecution are imposed on program officials or flour millers found engaged in bribery, fake registration, or theft.
- Grievance redressal – A toll-free helpline and complaint cell ensures prompt redressal for citizens facing denial or exploitation. Action is taken against guilty parties.
- Biometric controls – Biometric verification of thumbprints at time of purchase prevents identity fraud and theft. Data analytics identify irregularities.
- Documentation – All sales transactions are digitally documented and tracked to prevent leakages. Sale registers are maintained.
With multilayered monitoring, accountability and strong grievance mechanisms, the program aims to uphold fairness, efficiency and welfare delivery. Oversight is critical to maintain public confidence.
Partnerships For Success
The Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program has mobilized diverse partnerships with public and private stakeholders for effective implementation:
- Flour mills – Flour mills across Punjab competitively bid to win contracts for supplying flour. This ensures market rates and quality. The mills manage transportation logistics up to the sale points.
- Pakistan Post – With its vast network, Pakistan Post serves as the main distribution partner operating sale points and managing disbursal operations. Its postmen also aid enrollment.
- NADRA – NADRA provides critical biometric verification devices and screens the BISP national socioeconomic database to validate beneficiary eligibility.
- BISP – As a pioneer of cash transfer programs, BISP’s experience and poverty rankings data is utilized for program designing and identifying beneficiaries.
- District administrations – District deputy commissioners and field officers undertake enrollment, coordinate stakeholders and monitor grievances.
- Banks – Private banks like Habib Bank Limited provide point of sale machines and technology infrastructure for digitized disbursal.
This diversity of public-private partnerships allows the program to synergize the specialized expertise of multiple players at scale. Collaboration is vital for last-mile delivery to the deserving.
The Way Forward
Going forward, the government aims to:
- Achieve universal coverage of all 7.2 million vulnerable households in Punjab
- Increase monthly quota from 20kg to 30kg per family
- Enroll more flour mills, sale points and districts into the program
- Enhance monitoring to minimize misuse and diversion
- Allow biometric purchases from approved shops and retailers
- Expand to other essential commodities like cooking oil, ghee, pulses
- Transition to a targeted cash transfer program in the long run
With its vision and commitment, the government can achieve its aims of welfare and empowerment through Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program.
Comparison With Similar Programs Globally
Understanding the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program’s position in the global context is like appreciating the different flavors and techniques that make up a world of diverse cuisines. Just as the mouth-watering biryani of Pakistan differs from the comforting pasta of Italy or the hearty stews of Africa, so do food security programs vary in their approach and execution.
Let’s delve into a comparative analysis, serving up the key ingredients of similar initiatives worldwide and seeing how the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program measures up.
The Brazilian Bolsa Familia Program
Brazil’s Bolsa Familia Program is one of the most successful social welfare programs globally, known for its efficient execution and significant impact.
- Implemented in 2003
- Designed to assist poor Brazilian families with cash transfers
- The program also links these financial benefits with certain conditions, such as keeping children in school and ensuring regular health checks
|Bolsa Familia Program||Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program|
|Conditional Cash Transfer||Unconditional Cash Transfer|
|Linked with education and health||Focused on food security|
|Established in 2003||Established in 2020|
India’s Public Distribution System (PDS)
India’s PDS is a food security initiative that aims to distribute essential commodities to the country’s impoverished citizens at affordable prices.
- Launched in the 1940s and revamped over the years
- Provides subsidized food grains and other staples
- Utilizes a network of ‘Fair Price Shops’ for distribution
|Public Distribution System (India)||Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program|
|Distributes physical food grains||Cash transfers to purchase food|
|Uses a distribution network||Utilizes a digital mechanism|
Despite the differences, what binds these programs, including Pakistan’s Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program, is a shared objective: to eradicate hunger and ensure food security. These initiatives might serve different populations and employ unique strategies, but their goals are as interconnected as flavors in a well-seasoned dish, uniting them in their battle against food insecurity.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the United States
Across the globe in the United States, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves as the primary line of defense against hunger.
- Implemented in 1969 as the Food Stamp Program
- Provides eligible low-income individuals and families with electronic benefit cards
- These cards can be used to purchase eligible food items from authorized retailers
|Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)||Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program|
|Provides electronic benefit cards for food purchase||Provides cash transfers for food purchase|
|In operation since 1969||Launched in 2020|
|Comprehensive eligible food list||No specified food list, cash can be used to buy staples|
While each program has its unique strategies and mechanisms to fight food insecurity, they share a common goal: to ensure that every individual has access to adequate food and nutrition.
Conclusion: Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program
In conclusion, the Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program marks an important milestone in the province’s social safety net.
By leveraging technology and targeting subsidies, the program pioneers an innovative model to uplift the most vulnerable. It reflects the government’s focus on bottom-up welfare based on transparency and integrity.
While challenges remain, the program has high potential for positive impact. With sustained efforts, it can achieve its goals of poverty alleviation and inclusive development for the nation.
What is the Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program?
The Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program provides subsidized wheat flour to poor households in Punjab to improve food security. Eligible families can buy 20kg flour bags at discounted rate of Rs. 650 compared to market rate of Rs. 1,100 per bag.
Who is eligible for the Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program?
Households with monthly income under Rs. 31,000 are eligible, with priority given to daily wagers, laborers, widows, orphans, disabled persons and transgender people.
How can I register for the Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program?
You can register at your nearby deputy commissioner office or e-Khidmat center by submitting your CNIC, income documents, and filled application form. Online registration will be introduced soon.
What is the monthly flour quota per household for Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program?
The subsidized flour quota is 20kg per household per month. The government plans to increase this quota to 30kg over time.
Where are the designated flour sale points located for Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program?
Sale points are located at selected Pakistan Post offices and centers in each district. Visit the program website to find nearest sale point.
How can I purchase the subsidized flour from Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Centres?
You need to provide your original CNIC and thumbprint verification at the sale point to purchase subsidized flour using your Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Card.
How to check application status?
You can check your application status by sending CNIC via SMS to the service number 7000. Status is also available on program website.
What should I do if my payment is rejected?
Contact the toll-free helpline 0800-09009 in case your payment is rejected. You may need to re-register your fingerprint.
How to lodge complaints about quality or service issues?
Call the toll-free helpline for any complaints or use the complaint portal on the program’s website. Your issue will be resolved promptly.
How are beneficiaries identified Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program?
Beneficiaries are identified using BISP national socioeconomic database based on poverty ranking. Extensive surveys were conducted to validate eligibility.