PM Imran Khan releases policy statement on Ehsaas

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday released its policy statement on the newly-launched poverty reduction program Ehsaas.

The ambitious program aims to reduce inequality, invest in people and uplift lagging districts.

According to the

“I am pleased to release my policy statement on #Ehsaas, my priority poverty reduction programme with its 4 focus areas and 115 policy actions to reduce inequality, invest in people, and uplift lagging districts,” Khan tweeted.

According to government’s documents, it is government’s prime duty to cater to those that are left behind and to build safeguards against elite capture, which is evident in the taxation system, in water management, in crop choices, in land use priorities, labor laws and in much else.

In this respect, the first pillar encompasses the following polices

  1. A new constitutional amendment to move article 38(d) from the “Principles of Policy” section into the “Fundamental Rights” section. This change will make provision of food, clothing, housing, education and medical relief for citizens who cannot earn a livelihood due to infirmity, sickness or unemployment, a state responsibility.
  2. Increase in social protection spending. Additional PKR 80 billion will be added to social protection spending in the forthcoming budget (2019-20) and in the next budget (2020-21) there will be a further increase; hence total incremental increase will be PKR 120 billion. At this level, social protection spending will be 1% of the GDP with federal and provincial contribution.
  3. Creation of the Ministry of Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Coordination to address current fragmentation. Benazir Income Support Program, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Zakaat, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Trust for Voluntary Organizations, the SUN Network, Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and secretariats of the Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council and planned Labor Expert group will be under this ministry.
  4. Creation of a one-window social protection operation to assist beneficiaries of social protection and to reduce duplication and abuse.
  5. Pro-poor goals and measurable indicators for every ministry
  6. Priority earmarking of resources for pro-poor sectors to prevent channeling of resources to other sectors through ad hoc decision-making
  7. A need-based system in the framework of the new National Finance Commission Award. Promoting poverty reduction and addressing inequalities, requires improving mechanisms that regulate allocation of financial resources and creating the right incentives to deliver on services for citizens. To this end, members of the Council of Common Interests will be 4 encouraged to improve the allocation formula to achieve our common goal of making opportunities equal for all Pakistani citizens, irrespective of where they live.
  8. All Provincial Finance Commissions will be encouraged to base their future awards on need-based systems to remove intra-provincial disparities.
  9. A policy to maximize the pro-poor impact of the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) resources. For every project, efforts will be made to raise private capital so that PSDP resources are only spent on projects that serve as an equalizer. For this purpose, a policy will be developed to set the order of priority of the projects at the Planning Commission.
  10. A Committee on Innovative Financing and deployment of innovative financing mechanisms to mobilize additional resources and create fiscal space for pro-poor investments.
  11. Guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility in areas related to voluntary expenditure, its alignment, tax rebates and reporting.
  12. A new mandatory section in the PC1 Performa (Planning Commission approval document) to screen every PC 1 for its impact on poverty and equality.
  13. A committee to review the bottlenecks in the justice system for the vulnerable
  14. New policy to guide the use of development expenditure by parliamentarians to promote transparency, independent oversight and accountability
  15. Guidelines on conflict-of-interest for state and government functionaries
  16. Earmarking a share for those below a certain poverty line while allocating Khokhas (cafés), tea shops, newspaper stands, shoe polishing booths on government-owned land or in government-owned hospitals, parks, and railway stations
  17. Earmarking a share for those below a certain poverty line while auctioning shops in Town and Tehsil committees
  18. Earmarking a share for those below a certain poverty line in Market Committees
  19. Registration of slum and Katchi Abadis residents to facilitate their transparent inclusion in the event of subsequent commercialization of the area
  20. A policy of community co-ownership where land development follows freeing up of land from land grabbers
  21. A policy of community co-ownership where government gives hunting permits
  22. For pro-poverty planning, the government is committed to fixing the local government system, to facilitate need-based community decision making
  23. Enhanced free electronic media air time policy to promote information as public good

related to the Ehsaas program

  1. National Strategy for the Development of Statistics, for strengthening quality and availability of statistics and to ensure the independence of statistics from political and other undue external influence, so that the government can have access to accurate, reliable, and timely statistics and a solid and credible base of evidence, which is critical to support the design and evaluation of policies
  2. Data accessibility and transparency policy. Free accessibility of data will be ensured through the District Development Portal in which poverty and other socio-economic indicators across Pakistan’s district will be available to policy makers and the public. The Portal will allow tracking differences in performa It is the prime duty of the government to cater for those that are left behind, and to build safeguards against elite capture, which is evident in the taxation system, in water management, in crop choices, in land use priorities, labor laws and in much else.