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PTI’s Ehsas Poverty Alleviation Programme Draws Mixed Reactions

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan last Wednesday launched the ‘Ehsas’ poverty alleviation program for the welfare of the public. Khan said under the programme, the money spent on underprivileged segments of society would be increased by Rs80 billion, and further by Rs120bn by 2020.

    “No government has so far done anything to alleviate poverty,” the premier said. Khan also announced that nearly 5.7 million women will be given savings accounts and mobile phones, adding that this would be a more transparent way of granting them money.

    Through the programme, PTI govt aims to amend Article 38(D) of the Constitution, which provides clause to give food, shelter, education, health and clothing to the people. PM Khan had also shared various other objectives of the poverty alleviation programme, such as setting up a new ministry for social protection and poverty all.

    ‘There’s No Mention Of How It Will Be Achieved’

    Business Recorder analysed PTI’s Ehsas programme and found ‘nothing new’ in it. BR said that “throughout the document, there is no discussion on how the wish list will be achieved; details of or even an emphasis on the strengthening of the CCI and the inter-provincial coordination ministry are not even briefly mentioned.”

    BR said that some of the plans mentioned in the document were ‘childish’.

    For example, “plans to earmark a share for poor in allocating Khokhas (cafés), tea shops, newspaper stands, shoe polishing booths,” which BR said made the document look like a matriculation student’s ‘exam paper who just wants to fill the empty spaces and has no idea what he/she is doing’.

    Dawn too opined that Ehsas’s claim doesn’t square with the PTI’s performance.

    The English Daily in its Editorial said that PTI has made tall claims in the past too but has failed to highlight the major issues.

    Dawn also recommended that instead of creating a Naya Pakistan, it would be more suitable if Pakistan returned to the Jinnah’s Pakistan. “Upgrading policies, monitoring the existing schools, Basic Health Units and shelters, and fixing governance issues like paying government employees regularly would be more beneficial than devising yet another grand programme,” the newspaper said.

    ‘Important Step For Helping Country’s Vulnerable Communities’

    While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has received criticism over the Ehsas programme’s ‘claims’ and ‘lack of direction’, it has drawn praise from various quarters too.

    Amnesty International South Asia lauded PM Imran Khan and the government for its initiative that the organizations believes is an ‘important step for helping Pakistan’s vulnerable communities’.

    “An important step by the Government of Pakistan to help the country’s most vulnerable communities realize their economic and social rights. The rights to food, housing, education and health lay the foundation upon which a dignified life may be built.”

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