Today is a special day that reminds us of Iqbal’s vision, the historic struggle and firm resolve of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that led to the creation of Pakistan. The government is fully committed to fulfill Quaid’s vision of a welfare state. To fullfil this aim, the PML (N) government increased BISP budgets manifold during the past few years and initiated various social protection initiatives following its development manifesto. This was stated by Minister of State and Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon in a talk on BISP targeting mechanism organized by BISP, where Dr Kate Vyborny from Duke University USA presented her paper on “Reforming Institutions In Pakistan: Evidence from cash transfer in Pakistan”

In recent years, government has introduced various institutional reforms to improve service delivery and for transparent allocation of public spending. Dr. Kate in her paper studied the targeting performance of BISP under the erstwhile  parliamentarian based targeting and the Phase II survey-based, rigorous PMT (Proxy Means Test) based targeting.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Kate presented evidence that shift to the PMT based targeting drastically reduced clan/biradiri-based partonage and increased representation of BISP recipients from villages other than those of politicians who were in the ruling party. Under the parliamentarian based targeting mechanism, politicians selected wealthier households at

the expense of poorer households within and outside their own village on the basis of biradiri / acquaintance. The post-PMT targeting reduced the inclusion error through favourtisim and therefore was instrumental in dramatically improved public perceptions of the program’s legitimacy. The impartiality of the program helped it survive transition to a new party in power, unlike previous social assistance programs.

In the meeting which was also widely attended by the provincial government representatives including ministers, the past uses of BISP’s National Socio-Economic Registry were shared. Possible future initiatives, where the updated BISP NSER could be used, were identified in the areas of school enrollment, women empowerment, rural poverty alleviation programmes, higher education, agriculture and health. Participants also stressed on two-way communication between BISP and social sector departments in the province.

Chairperson BISP Ms. Memon said that at present BISP ranks at number five in the world in terms of targeting and selection on the basis of 2010-11 survey. BISP management is making all out efforts to clinch the top position in the ongoing survey for NSER update. This time, poverty score card has been revised and new indicators on chronic diseases, skilltrainings, gender description and employment status have been added that would further refine the PMT.

DG BISP Punjab Sarah Saeed presented the background and updated on the current status of  the National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER). She said that survey is going on successfully in the pilot districts all across Pakistan. In Punjab, Bahawalpur, Chakwal, Faisalabad and Layyah are being surveyed in the pilot phase and the results are very encouraging.  69,579 households in Chakwal, 97,247 households in Faisalabad and 16,776

households in Layyah have been registered during door-to-door survey till date whereas desk registration was nearing completion in Bahawalpur.

Mr. Raza Ali Gillani ( Minister higher education Punjab),  Mr. Rana Mashhood Ahmed (Minister for education Punjab), Mr Nadeem kamran (Minister zakat and ushar Punjab) and provincial secretaries from women empowerment, higher education, housing, agriculture, schools education, health departments were  present there.