ISLAMABAD (News Desk): The government will distribute the relief money from tomorrow among lower-income people who have been hit by financial crisis due to the ongoing lockdown, Prime Minister Imran Khan told the media on Wednesday. The premier said that a sum of Rs12,000 will be distributed among 12 million families from 17,000 different points. He insisted that the programme was free of any political influence as the data was collected digitally. “There is no question of any political affiliation in this fund,” he declared, adding that he wanted everyone to take part in the relief programme initiated by the government and register with the Corona Tigers Relief Force. He said that the government “needed your (public’s) money and manpower” as it was low on resources and had to cater to a large population. Dr Sania Nishtar, the head of the Ehsaas Programme, told the media that the National Identity Card numbers being sent to the government through text messages on 8171, had passed through several stages so that the government can be sure that they qualify for the programme. She explained that only one member of a family will receive a message even if multiple members of the family had sent their NIC numbers. The data, Nishtar said, was being cross-checked with the information in Nadra’s database. She added that those families, whose heads had passed away but their death had not been registered, could call on the 0800-26477 helpline to get assistance. Prime Minister Imran informed the media that the volunteers of Corona Tigers Relief Force had been instructed to help people who had not been able to send their NIC numbers to register for the emergency cash fund. NDMA Chairman Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal also briefed the media on the medical equipment being bought from other countries mostly China and how the supplies had been distributed among provinces and federal territories. NDMA has started distributing ventilators, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to hospitals in different provinces. Up to 100,000 additional testing kits will also be flown in soon, he said. Lt Gen Afzal said that normal masks are recommended for the general public, while surgical masks should be worn by anyone working in a hospital. N-95 masks, he said, were recommended for healthcare staff working in intensive care units. The government has received more than 30 million requests for financial assistance under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme announced for people rendered jobless by the lockdown imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. People from all over the country sent their requests through SMS on 8171 introduced by the government for this special financial aid. SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar in a tweet on Monday said that as many as 30.45 million text messages had been received for inclusion in the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme. Other poor coronavirus pandemic affected people who want to join the programme should send their identity card number through the given SMS, the tweet said. The government will provide an amount of Rs12,000 to the deserving poor applicants. Speaking at a news conference on Sunday, the special assistant said that the payment process under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme will start from April 8. She said existing Kafalat beneficiaries, who are getting regular cash transfer of Rs2,000 per month, would be given additional Rs1,000 and hence, they would get a tranche of Rs12,000 covering four months. The deserving families would get this cash assistance after biometric verification through over 18,065 sale points or retail shops of Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and Bank Al-Falah throughout the country.