Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday offered to share the country’s cash transfer programme with India, after a report in The Express Tribune claimed that 84% of Indian households suffered a decline in monthly income following the nationwide lockdown imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“Acc[ording] to this report, 34% of households across India will not be able to survive for more than a week without add assistance,” Khan tweeted. “I am ready to offer help & share our successful cash transfer prog[ramme], lauded internationally for its reach & transparency, with India.” Khan claimed that his government had successfully transferred Pakistani Rs 120 billion (Rs 5,533 crore) to over one crore families in nine weeks.
The report in The Express Tribune also said that 34% of Indian households will be unable to survive beyond a week without additional assistance. The newspaper cited a study titled “How Are Indian Households Coping Under the Covid-19 Lockdown? 8 Key Findings”, carried out by the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago and the Mumbai-based Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy.
In March, Pakistan launched the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, to provide urgent payments to 1.2 crore households. The programme offered immediate relief in the form of cash worth $75 (INR 5,676) to each household.
On June 3, the World Economic Forum praised the programme, saying that it had already helped over 90 lakh households. “...the legacy of this programme is not simply short-term relief,” the World Economic Forum said. “Built into its design are longer-term goals to increase financial inclusion and to strengthen overall safety nets in Pakistan, both of which will bring lasting benefits to recipients and the country as a whole.”
In May, the Indian government unveiled a Rs 20-lakh crore economic package to help the country tide over the crisis caused due to the pandemic, which has infected over 2.86 lakh people in India as of Thursday, and killed more than 8,100. In March, immediately following the imposition of the lockdown, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had unveiled a package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore. The benefits – through cash and food – were targeted at farmers, migrant workers, the poor, women and the disabled, among others. However, there have been complaints that the aid has largely failed to reach the intended recipients.