Pakistan Today (Lahore)

Pakistan ready to share Ehsaas project for help, PM tells India


Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday offered India the sharing of his government’s cash transfer programme that successful­ly dealt with the negative fallout of Covid19 on vulnerable communitie­s.

“I am ready to offer help and share our successful cash transfer programme, lauded internatio­nally for its reach and transparen­cy, with India,” the prime minister said in a tweet while sharing a report that 34 percent households across India will not be able to survive for more than a week without assistance.

The prime minister said his government successful­ly transferre­d Rs120 billion in nine weeks to over 10 million families in a transparen­t manner to deal with the economic fallout of the virus.

A study titled “How are Indian households coping under the Covid19 lockdown? Eight key findings”, carried out by experts at the University of Pennsylvan­ia, the University of Chicago and the Mumbaibase­d Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) reveals that nearly 84 per cent of Indian households is seeing decreases in income since the lockdown began. Nearly a third of all households will not be able to survive beyond a week without additional assistance. “Direct and immediate transfers of food and cash are very high priority,” said Heather Schofield, assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy at the Perelman School of Medicine and a Wharton professor of business economics and public policy.

When a nationwide lockdown began in late March, India’s Ministry of Labour and Employment asked private and public organisati­ons not to terminate jobs on the pretext of prevailing conditions. But these pleas hardly made any difference and largescale retrenchme­nts that took place as cope with the contagion.

However, the study found a “sharp and broad negative impact on household income” as the pandemic diminished their staying capacity, adding that the unemployme­nt rate in the country had crossed 27 percent in early May, up nearly fourfold from levels in JanuaryFeb­ruary.

The fall in incomes affected people in the lower and middle segments of the income distributi­on most severely, the study found. “Households in the lowest of the five income groups had average monthly percapital earnings of less than Rs3,800 (about $50), while those at the high end made between Rs. 12,374 and upwards of Rs1 lakh ($167 to $1,370 and more).”

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