In accordance with the Prime Minister’s vision of EHSAAS programs, Punjab Social Protection Authority has been entrusted with the responsibility to roll out multiple interventions for social protection of the vulnerable groups in Punjab. Government of the Punjab is now launching Ehsaas-Punjab built on the model of the national Ehsaas program. It will aim to expand Human Development and Social Protection in Punjab drastically so that poverty eradication, economic empowerment of women and better health and education outcomes could be achieved. Ehsaas-Punjab will be spearheaded by the Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA). It will include current PSPA’s programs as well as new programs worth over Rs. 62 billion, aimed at filling many coverage gaps in social protection.
So far PSPA has designed bellow mentioned interventions for various vulnerable and marginalized communities, as summarized below:
Ba-Himmat Buzurg Program:
In Punjab, there is little financial support available for elderly women through the public sector beyond the formal sector employees. PSPA will bridge this gap by launching Ba-himmat Buzurg Program. The goal of the project is to improve socio-economic wellbeing of the poor elderly women in the Punjab. This program is designed with the following objectives:
1. To improve the social inclusion of the poor elderly women by providing them dignified social assistance
2. To improve the subsistence of poor elderly women
3. To reduce the dependency of poor elderly women on their social network
This program will provide dignified social pension for elderly women above the age of 65 in Punjab. Rs. 1.8 billion are being allocated for the first year of this program which will benefit over 110,000 poor elderly women Rs. 2,000 per month will be given to the beneficiaries. The program will be an unconditional cash transfer program. This program will cover most vulnerable individuals in Punjab and provide them with the means of meeting their financial needs.
Masawaat Program for Transgender Persons:
As in the case of many comparable countries, transgender people in Pakistan face a range of personal, social, cultural, and economic issues, often exposing them to a high risk of isolation and social exclusion. Consequently, these people remain among the most marginalized populations, with high incidence of persistent poverty and poor human capital development. These vulnerabilities make them a key group for the attention of social protection policymakers in the country. Recognizing these needs Masawaat is designed with the following objectives:
1. To mainstream transgender persons, who are typically excluded from public services and programs, through providing means of livelihood, and education, health and housing services.
2. To protect transgender persons against destitution by providing support for consumption, ensuring a minimum standard of living.
3. To promote human capital accumulation in transgender persons and increase their access to productive assets and income generating activities.
4. To improve the health of transgender persons to protect them from health shocks.
Initially, Masawaat Program will pick a subset of interventions proposed in the Transgender Persons Welfare Policy on administrative efficiency grounds. Later it will be gradually expanded. Masawaat Program will be initiated with an outlay of Rs. 63.4 million, comprising unconditional cash transfers for elderly transgender persons and for transgender persons with disabilities, microfinance, awareness and advocacy campaign, and health screening and treatment.
Sarparast Program for Poor Widows & Orphans:
Punjab Social Protection Authority initiated “Sarparast Program”, a social assistance, financial support to the families of the poor and vulnerable widows for improving their well-being and social status. The Sarparast project falls under the second pillar of the Ehsaas Program that is “Safety Net” with an aim to provide effective and comprehensive safety nets for the marginalized and the vulnerable. It also addresses the cross-cutting objective of Ehsaas Strategy that is “Lift lagging areas”.
Sarparast program will provide dignified social assistance specially designed for the poor widows of Punjab. The program will help in reducing the rate of poverty amongst beneficiary households, by directly supplementing monthly household income and to reach out to the poor and vulnerable segments of the society. The Program will help in developing a feeling of self-reliance and empowerment in widows and their orphan children to live a dignified life. It will also contribute in Human Development Indicators by making the willing widows and their adult orphans skilled through skill development agencies of the Government of the Punjab.
Programs’ Goal is to improve socio-economic wellbeing of the poor widows and their orphans in the Punjab. This Program is designed with the following objectives:
1. To reduce the rate of poverty amongst beneficiary households, by directly supplementing household income.
2. To decrease the vulnerability and improve the standard of living of targeted beneficiaries.
3. To provide opportunities for education, health, nutrition and skill development and sustainable livelihood to the targeted widows and orphans.
4. To improve Gender equality and women empowerment
With an initial outlay of Rs 2 billion, Sarparast Program for assisting poor widows and orphans will be a key feature of Punjab’s Ehsas Program. The poor widows, who have not remarried and who meet poverty score-based eligibility criteria will be assisted through this program with a monthly stipend of Rs. 2000 a month with top up programs of easy credit and asset transfer.
Punjab Social Protection Authority under “Punjab Ehsaas Program” is going to launch “Khiraj ush Shuhada Program” for civilian martyrs of terrorist attacks. The Program aims at financial self-reliance through unconditional cash transfer for their Socio-economic mainstreaming. These services can be provided through PSPA’s already existing payments tools.
Provision of cash Transfer can decrease the risks of economic shocks/exclusion faced by the victims’ family due to terrorist attacks. It will be instrumental in enabling them to live, as far as possible, independently and gainfully within their homes and communities. Empowering families of civilian martyrs of terrorist attacks through an institutional arrangement in various fields can be a very significant step towards mainstreaming their socio-economic conditions. This Program is designed with the following objectives:
1. To minimize the effects of economic shock faced by martyr’s family due to demise of bread-winner.
2. To prevent social exclusion of terrorist attacks victims by enabling them to lead dignified & socially included life.
3. To ensure martyr’s family that state is fully aware and supportive in their hardships caused by sacrifice of the family.
Widows and orphans of those civilians who have been martyred in a terrorist attacks will be assisted under this program. Minimum wage to survivors of these martyrs will be paid until their eldest child turns 21, Rs. 300 million are allocated for this purpose.
Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) are vulnerable to multiple financial and non-financial shocks and they need the state’s assistance to lead a happy life. Realizing this need, a program with the name “Hamqadam” is being launched with the cost of Rs. 3.5 billon. This program will benefit about 200,000 poor people with disabilities in Punjab up to PMT score of 30. A revolving fund of Rs. 300 million will be established to provide income-generation opportunities to these people through microcredit (Rs. 50,000 per beneficiary) and asset transfer. This program is the continuation of “Conditional Transfer Program” for persons with disabilities.
The PSPA will provide Rs.2000/ monthly for PWDs who are incapacitated or not able to work and Rs.1500/ monthly for the PWDs who are able to work, as per the assessment of Medical Assessment Boards.
Panagah Program for the Homeless:
Shelters for the homeless people in Lahore has been a successful program and is appreciated by the low-income segments. Under Ehsaas-Punjab, these shelters will be built throughout the Punjab.