ISLAMABAD: Federal government has launched a supplementary payment solution to facilitate those beneficiaries of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme who are facing issues with biometric identification from NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority), in order to allow them to withdraw the related cash amounts from designated banks without undergoing biometric verification.

Under this arrangement, the all those applicants who have been declared eligible for one-time financial assistance of Rs 12,000 under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme are required to visit the specified branches of two private banks- Habib Bank Limited in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and Bank Alfalah in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)-where they can withdraw money without biometric verification.

The biometric verification of thumb or finger impressions was previously mandatory to collect the cash handout being disbursed to the low-income strata, an official statement said on Thursday.

However, under the newly introduced supplementary solution, text messages would be sent out to beneficiaries facing biometric verification issues, the statement added. The text messages will contain the name and Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) numbers of beneficiaries, date of receiving payment and name of designated bank along with addresses of bank branches to withdraw money, the statement added. “This process has already been kicked off and text messages are being sent out in a phased manner to all beneficiaries whose biometric verification was defective. To ensure maximum facilitation, Ehsaas has maintained lists of all beneficiaries to be facilitated through bank branches," the statement said. “The most important thing is that beneficiaries will have to carry their original CNICs and mobile phone with a message of payment on it to collect one-time cash assistance from banks," it added.

The statement quoted Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar as saying that payment through branches of partner banks is a key facet of the Ehsaas innovative disbursement solution that has been built to support only those who had difficulty with fingerprints verification for emergency cash withdrawals. “All people on the eligibility list of Ehsaas with biometric challenges will be receiving new disbursement messages and the process is being completed nationwide in several stages to avoid overcrowding at bank branches. Banks have to ensure all necessary precautionary measures to avoid the spread of the COVID-19," she said.

As of June 4, more than Rs 117.49 billion have been distributed among 96.63 million deserving families under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, according to official data.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020