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Pakistan to address biometrics exclusion concerns for cash support beneficiaries

Pakistan to address biometrics exclusion concerns for cash support beneficiaries

Authorities is Pakistan say they are working on a process to avoid further exclusion of beneficiaries from cash support programs in the country as a result of biometric failures at points of service, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reports.

The Senate Standing Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, while being briefed on developments around the issue recently, expressed worries that some beneficiaries of the Ehsaas programs have been negatively affected due to biometric authentication problems.

Ehsaas is a scheme run by the Pakistani government to enhance social safety and reduce poverty especially among citizens living below the poverty line, and some aspects of the program have been lauded for fair treatment of users.

Seven percent failure, up to 16 attempts

The report notes that the Committee members were told that the biometric failure has affected just about seven percent of beneficiaries of the programs, and that those who were affected were allowed to try 16 more times before their allocations were eventually channeled to them through their banks.

Notwithstanding, the Committee was assured that efforts are being made to preempt any such occurrences in the future as efforts to facilitate the cash dispensing process continue.

The Senate Committee, APP notes, also received information on the various activities run under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme and the Benazir Income Support Programme and how authorities are working to ensure transparency.

One of the issues the Committee was briefed on was the fact that the Federal Government has allocated 35 percent of the cost for the program in the federal budget, while 65 percent burden will be borne by the provinces.

The Committee was also given details about the various sector-specific programs of Ehsaas and how much beneficiaries are entitled to.

It was also disclosed that a total of 469 Ehsaas One Window Centers shall be opened throughout the country to facilitate service delivery.

Beneficiaries of the Ehsaas cash support programs have had difficulties in the past trying to verify their fingerprint biometrics from the database of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

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