ISLAMABAD, (Khalid Sibtain) : With the new injection of Rs. 5 Billion to upscale Ehsaas Interest Free Loan (IFL) programme, being ploughed by the government of Pakistan, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a review meeting with the Ehsaas’ executing agency, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF). Primarily, the meeting assessed the progress of the IFL in 110 existing districts and discussed the roadmap to upscale the programme across 28 new districts in lagging regions. Launched in July 2019, Ehsaas IFL is the country’s biggest programme for poverty graduation, which will impact 14.7 million vulnerable people in four years with half of them women including youth, persons with special needs, transgender, minorities and marginalised communities. Overall, Ehsaas interest-free loans worth Rs. 41.9 billion have been disbursed to 1.19 million borrowers so far, of which 45 percent are women across the country. “Part of broader Ehsaas framework, Ehsaas IFL is steering the socio-economic transformation of low-income communities countrywide, supporting them financially to establish small scale enterprises to improve their economic conditions. From July 2019 onwards, on average 80,000 interest free loans are being disbursed every month”, commented Nishtar. “The recent injection of Rs. 5 Billion will boost the expansion of the programme across the lagging districts which were not included in the first phase. The expansion to new 28 districts will be premised on the human development index ranking of districts, poverty profiling and economic needs of the districts so that dependence of populations at the bottom of economic pyramid can be reduced on government’s social safety programmes in these areas.” Currently, the range of the interest free loans is Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 75,000. Loans are disbursed to low-income communities on easy terms and conditions for the purpose of income generating activities. Nationwide, Ehsaas IFL is accessible through a network of 1,100 existing loan centers operated by 24 partnering organizations in field. Instructional details of the programme for marginalized communities are accessible at http://www.ppaf.org.pk/NPGI-ur.html in both English and Urdu languages. Additional Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Dr. Ismat Tahira and CEO PPAF, Qazi Azmat Isa were also in attendance.