Explainer: How can people register to buy subsidized food items thumbnail

Explainer: How can people register to buy subsidized food items

Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled on Wednesday a major public relief package aimed at mitigating difficulties faced by people due to rising inflation. The package is worth Rs120 billion.

Under this relief package, 30% subsidy will be given on ghee, flour and pulses to more than 20 million families. PM Khan also said that more than 130 million Pakistanis will directly benefit from this program.

Today, Dr Sania Nishtar, special assistant to the Prime Minister on poverty alleviation and social protection, described how the relief package will be rolled out.

Addressing a press conference, Dr Nishtar said that this program would benefit families earning cumulatively less than Rs31,000.

She also explained how deserving families will be identified, registered and provided relief.

“This new program is named ‘Ehsas Ration’ program and it will benefit almost 60% of Pakistan’s population,” said Dr Nishtar.

How the beneficiaries will be identified?

Dr Nishtar said that beneficiaries would be identified through a new Ehsaas survey. “On Monday, a web portal will go live and people [who wish to benefit from Ehsaas Ration Program] will have to register on it with their National Identity Cards and a mobile number issued on that NIC,” explained Dr Nishtar.

She also asked those who want to benefit from this program to get a subscriber identity module or SIM card issued on their NIC.

After registration, NIC numbers will be verified, against data collected through the Ehsaas survey.

“In two to three weeks, a list of eligible beneficiaries will be published, just like we did for Ehsaas Emergency Cash program,” said Dr Nishtar. 

She clarified that people who have travelled abroad, or have a phone bill of more than Rs1000 will not be excluded from the program. 

Where can people buy subsidized goods under this program?

Dr Nishtar said that all utility store outlets and retail (kiryana)stores in the country were included in this program.  “We are even registering retail stores that operate without any digital footprint,” said Dr Nishtar.

“These store-owners will have to download a National Bank of Pakistan’s app and use it to verify customers buying subsidized goods under this relief package.”

Here’s how this verification process will work: 

  • Shop owners will create an account on the NBP app using their mobile number and PIN 
  • When customers come, the shop owner will enter their NIC number in the app. These NIC numbers will be verified in real time 
  • After verification, the customer will have the option to buy four items – flour, ghee, oil and sugar – at subsidized rate. The base price of these items will be set by the government. 
  • After buying these items, individual will checkout on the app, and the subsidy amount will be calculated. 
  • To checkout, the customers will have to enter a PIN which they receive on their mobile number registered for the program. 
  • After entering the PIN, the customer will get payable amount and receipt.

However, Dr Nishtar clarified that retail store owners are required to have a bank account as the cash for subsidy will be directly deposited into their accounts. Every time a customer avails the subsidy, the amount will be deducted from the account. 

“Shop owners can earn profit on this money and there will also be a raffle giving away cars, motorcycles and mobile phones every month via a raffle to incentivize the store-owners. We hope to expand this program in the future,” said Dr Nishtar. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.