Distribution of Poor ID cards starts in 5 districtsThe Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoCPA) has begun issuing Poor Identity Cards to people identified as living below the poverty line, but it has not decided what benefits will be provided to the holders.
The Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoCPA) has begun issuing Poor Identity Cards to people identified as living below the poverty line, but it has not decided what benefits will be provided to the holders.
Distribution has been started in Bajura, Baglung, Kailali, Siraha and Sindhuli districts. They are among the 25 districts where the ministry conducted a poor identification survey two years ago.
As part of the government’s programme to issue Poor Identity Cards, surveys were done in Jumla, Humla, Mugu, Bhojpur, Khotang, Siraha, Sindhuli, Ramechhap, Rautahat, Gorkha, Tanahu, Baglung, Bajura, Bajhang, Gorkha, Arghakhanchi, Pyuthan, Rolpa, Rukum, Bardia, Jajarkot, Dolpa, Kalikot, Kailali and Kapilvastu districts under the first phase.
MoCPA Secretary Gopinath Mainali said the ministry had started distributing Poor Identity Cards in coordination with the newly elected local governments. “We have aimed to complete the task in all 25 districts in the next two months,” he added.
A baseline survey conducted by the Poor Household Support Coordination Board Secretariat found a total of 391,831 poor households in the 25 districts. Among them, 188,226 households have been classified as ‘extreme poor’, 119,761 as ‘medium poor’ and 83,844 households as ‘general poor’.
As per the secretariat, 71.1 percent of the households in Bajura district are living below the poverty line and have low social indicators in areas such as health and education. They also lack market access. Of the total poor in Bajura district, 6,393 are extreme poor. Similarly, 39.3 percent of the population in Kailali is living below the poverty line. Among the total 44,629 persons identified as poor, 21,577 are extreme poor. Similarly, the poverty rate in Siraha is 41.8 percent with 18,657 out of the 40,032 poor people being categorised as extreme poor.
Likewise, 46.9 percent of the population of Sindhuli has been categorised as poor. Among the 19,739 poor people there, 9,499 have been identified as extreme poor. The poverty rate in Baglung is 29.9 percent with 5,473 out of the 11,201 poor people being named extreme poor.
Three weeks ago, the ministry endorsed a separate working guideline to start issuing Poor Identity Cards in these five districts, Mainali said. “For the purpose, we also provided training to local government officials in Siraha and Sindhuli districts,” he said.
The distribution process in the remaining 20 districts could be delayed due to the upcoming federal and provincial elections, Mainali added.
Meanwhile, the ministry has formed a high-level team under Mainali to decide what kind of social security scheme will be provided to the card holders.
According to the ministry, it will coordinate with the concerned government and non-government organisations to fix the benefits to be provided. “For starters, we have planned to provide food subsidy, health insurance, education scholarships and capital to run micro enterprises,” Mainali said.
Seven government bodies and a number of NGOs and INGOs are currently running various programmes related to poverty alleviation. The high-level panel is expected to coordinate with all these organisations to maintain transparency and prevent duplication of effort.
“The Ministry of Health has collected data from 25 districts in order to launch a health insurance scheme for holders of the ID cards,” Mainali said.
The MoCPA has planned to start the second phase of its programme to identify people living under the poverty line in the remaining 50 districts soon. “We have been asking the Finance Ministry for more funds as the Rs50 million budget allocated for the second phase of the programme is not enough,” Mainali said.
As per the ministry, it has planned to mobilise five teams to conduct the survey. “We have been working to hire a software vendor company for the second phase of the survey. To this end, we have been preparing the terms of reference,” Mainali said.