The Technical Advisory Committee on National Socio-economic Registry (NSER) updation has been entrusted with a sacred task as we have to ensure that the most deserving people of the country are outreached for provision of financial assistance. We are duty bound to ensure that exchequer funds benefit the poorest of the poor. This was stated by Minister of State and Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon during her welcome address in the first meeting of Technical Advisory Committee on NSER updation.
The Technical Advisory Committee comprises of the representatives from Ministry of Finance, Planning Division, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Information Technology, Ministry of Commerce, Economic Affairs Division, NRSP, RSPN, BISP board members, BISP officials, NCSW, Chief Minister Policy Reform Unit Government of Balochistan, Punjab IT Board, PITB, Social Welfare AJ&K, Bureau of Statistics KP, Bureau of Statistics P&D Department Government of Sindh, Department of Planning and Development (Balochistan), Planning & Development Gilgit Baltistan, Planning & Development FATA, Punjab Social Protection Authority, World Bank, ADB, DFID, various universities and research institutes.
The meeting included a briefing to the stakeholders and a brainstorming session. The key areas discussed during this consultative process were; what can be the most appropriate approach to update NSER from amongst Recertification and Resurvey, identification of data collection methods and selection of pilot districts. Currently, BISP maintains the NSER of more than 27 million households identified through poverty scorecard survey. Out of 27 million households, 7.7 million families have been identified which are living below the cut-off score of 16.17.
On the occasion, Chairperson BISP said that BISP intends to update NSER following the best international practices. According to international practice, the poverty data needs to be updated every 5 years due to the demographic changes. She shared experiences of her visits in the far-flung villages of the country where extremely poor women, excluded from the BISP data, expect BISP to update NSER so that the deserving people may get their right of financial assistance.
While discussing the previous surveys conducted by BISP, she said that in phase-I poverty survey was conducted through parliamentarians. In phase-II, poor households were identified through a poverty scorecard survey based on household demographics, assets and other measurable characteristics. The Nationwide Poverty Scorecard Survey enabled BISP to identify eligible households through the application of Proxy Means Test (PMT) that determined welfare status of the household on a scale between 1-100. This survey is internationally acclaimed but it has completed its age as per international standards and BISP needs to move towards phase-III employing best scientific means.
Chairperson BISP also shared her guidelines with the participants to give a direction to the consultative process. She said that today in 2015, technologically superior solutions are available which can be utilized to maximize the accuracy for NSER updation and minimize the human involvement causing errors. She further said that the previous survey was internationally acclaimed but we should learn from the past experience and take necessary measures to avoid any inclusion and exclusion errors. BISP is an organization which is vital for national integration and we should focus on to enhance its outreach. The updation of NSER should not be static so that BISP keeps on assisting the vulnerable population of the country. She added that in phase-III, the updation of NSER needs to be exemplary for the world making BISP pride of Pakistan.
Secretary BISP, Mr. Muhammad Saleem Ahmed Ranjha said that the consultative process will not only bring in the quality to the exercise but will also ensure transparency, equity and openness. This was only the first step to the consultative process. BISP will broaden the spectrum of consultation to maximize the valuable inputs from the concerned quarters so that a model NSER could be concluded.