VIDEO: Imran offers to share virus cash transfer programme with India - GulfToday

VIDEO: Imran offers to share virus cash transfer programme with India


Imran Khan and Narendra Modi.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday offered to help neighbouring India disburse cash to the public during the coronavirus lockdown, citing a report Indians were struggling to make ends meet, but India later rejected the offer.

The Mumbai-based Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy found in a survey in April that 84% of Indian households reported a drop in income since a lockdown was imposed in March. A third of those surveyed said they would run out of financial resources after one week.

"I am ready to offer help & share our successful cash transfer prog, lauded internationally for its reach & transparency, with India," Imran Khan wrote on Twitter.

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Pakistan has transferred cash to 10 million families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic since launching a relief programme (Ehsaas Programme) on April 1. India dismissed the offer from Pakistan.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava noted that his country's stimulus package was as large as the gross domestic product of Pakistan.

Both countries imposed lockdowns in March to curb the spread of the virus, but Pakistan lifted its restrictions more than a month ago while India still has many in place.

Imran justified lifting the lockdown citing economic hardships facing its impoverished population. He has often cited India as an example of the negative impact of lockdowns.

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The Ehsaas Programme, expanded upon the infrastructure of the Benazir Income Support Programme, with its scale and workings extended during Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s tenure, aimed to disburse Rs120 billion to millions of beneficiaries across the country with each family receiving Rs12,000 during the pandemic.

As of last week, roughly Rs117.49 billion had been successfully distributed among 96.63 million families across the country, according to Ehsaas officials, and further cash disbursement under the programme is ongoing.

The programme has been lauded by the World Bank, which deemed it instrumental in mitigating the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


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