American Statistician W. Edwards Deming famously said: “In God we trust, all others must bring data.”
Data is prerequisite for making informed decision and policy making for relief work in general and Ehsas Emergency Program in specific.It also has paramount significance in evaluating the results of policies and accountability purpose. Irony is that we do not have the data of underprivileged population, data available in the form of BISP is also compromised. Recently Government has eliminated name of more than 0.800 million non deserving beneficiaries of BISP. Millions of daily wagers have fallen below poverty line because sudden lockdown halted their ability to earn livelihood, Ehsas Emergency Program is right step in right direction but transparency is a concern.
In media chairperson of Ehsas Program requested the general public, not to send SMS to 8171 if they not deserving. instead of requesting she should give a statement we have strong data checks and filters in place to eliminate non deserving persons. But unfortunately she has few, such as
- Either beneficiary or her spouse travelled abroad.
- one or more vehicles are register in the name of beneficiary or spouse.
- Average monthly bill of beneficiary or spouse is more than 1000
- beneficiary or spouse applied CNIC or passport through executive booth.
- beneficiary or spouse is Government servant.
There is need to implement more strong filters on the basis of data already available so that data can be clean and enriched with deserving people. No ineligible person get the benefits from the Ehsas Program and no eligible person got rejected.There is need to define family and dependent family members including linear ascendants, decendents.these checks will are increase the credibility of all this process.
- Beneficiary or spouse is Govt pensioner
- Beneficiary or spouse is EOIB pensioner.
- Beneficiary,spouce or their son is private company employee.
- Average electric bill of house is more than 2000 per month.
- Beneficiary or spouse is taking grant from benevolent fund amounting 3000 or
- Any member of family is maintaining a bank account having deposit RS.50000 or above or annual turnover above 0.500 M
- Any member of family holding a insurance policy with annual premium above 25000.
- Any or in concert with family members is share holder in a company and market value of shares is above 500000/-
- Any or in concert with family members having ownership of more than one house or commercial shop.
- Any of the family member sold wheat to Food or PASCO amounting Rs. 300000 or above. Or sold sugarcane to sugar Mills above RS.300000/-
- Any of the family member received insurance claim of Rs.500000 or above.
- Any of the family member availed loan from commercial banks amounting RS.300000 or above against liquid assets.
- Any of the family member is working abroad.
- Any of the family member is active tax payer.
- Children of beneficiary studying in a school with monthly fee above 3000.
All the data is available with different government departments and organizations, a centralized data base can be formulated by gathering this data at one point. The president should promulgate ordinance for sharing of information for Ehsas Program so that any legal hindrance restricting the sharing of data can be dealt.
This exercise has two benefits, firstly non-deserving people data can be eliminated from the list of BISP, secondly creditable and authentic scrutiny for second and third phase of Ehsas emergency cash Program is possible. Confidentiality is also a plus point of this database eligibility criteria, deserving people can get relief without hearting their self respect and ego.
The rejected applicants of Ehsas Emergency cash Program should be informed that why they are rejected and given right of appeal against the decision. It may be possible that they match positive with above mention list but they are not beneficiary. In such cases exemption may be granted.