BENAZIR INCOME SUPPORT PROGRAMME
S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
Research Analyst, PAGE
Apr 16 - 22, 2012
|AVERAGES JULY-MARCH % CHANGES OF INDICES (BASE 2007-08)|
Poverty is multidimensional. Though it is a global phenomenon, particular cultural, political and economic features of a specific country increase the poverty incidence.
The gulf between haves and have-nots is widening. Gender disparities, inequality, spatial dimensions, political instability, week institutions and lack of spiritual capital cause the poverty.
The holistic development took place when people will be empowered politically, socially and economically. The true measure of a nation's standing is how well it provides health, safety, material security, education, socialization, and sense of being loved and valued.
In Pakistan, the government is committed to reduce the poverty and promote the human capital in the country. To cushion the negative effects of the food crisis and inflation on the poor, particularly women the government of Pakistan launched the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) with initial allocation of Rs34 billion for the FY 2008-09.
BISP is also playing a significant role in women's empowerment because all benefits are transferred to the family through women. Moreover, the programme has given the women folk their identity as 15 million females have got themselves registered with NADRA to fulfill the requirements of getting enrolled with the BISP.
BISP is being implemented nationwide including FATA, AJK and Islamabad capital territory. BISP identifies the poor people through the introduction of poverty scorecard and the nationwide survey along with creation of a database accompanied by data validation and verification.
A test phase of the poverty scorecard based survey has been completed in 16 districts. Data entry and data verification/ validation have been completed in all these districts and a list of eligible beneficiary families is ready for payment of cash benefits. The allocation for the last fiscal year was Rs70 billion to provide cash assistance to five million families, which constitutes almost 15 per cent of the entire population.
BISP aims at covering almost 40 per cent of the population below the poverty line. The enrolled families are paid a cash assistance of Rs1000 per month at their doorsteps. A monthly payment of Rs1000 per family would enhance the income of a family earning Rs5000 by 20 per cent.
BISP through Waseela-e-Haq Programme provided loan amounting up to Rs300,000 to the randomly selected beneficiary families, who were receiving the cash transfers to be validated through the programme eligibility criteria.
All the 44 projects of BISP are achieved in a year's record time of three and half years, while developed countries take decades in achieving and executing such programmes.
Over 35000 youth in Sindh have been provided basic health and education facilities through loans in a transparent way while Punjab has also sought their help.
BISP plans to launch Waseela-e-Taleem, a co-responsibility cash transfer (CCT) programme. BISPís data shows that over 71 per cent children of its beneficiaries have never attended the school. This program would facilitate the families to send their children to school by linking BISPís cash transfers with human capital development.
It is expected that the efforts of BISP's Waseela-e-Taleem would ultimately lead the country towards the establishment of a social welfare with a more productive and educated population. And hence, it will get a dignified status among the comity of the nations as a modern, progressive and prosperous country.
POPULATION BY AGE GROUPS IN PAKISTAN
(MILLIONS IN NOS)
AGE GROUP 1998 2010 00-04 14.80 21.81 05-09 15.65 20.17 10-14 12.95 20.19 15-19 10.37 19.88 20-24 8.97 17.22 25-29 7.37 14.81 30-34 6.22 12.50 35-39 4.77 10.49 40-44 4.44 8.64 45-49 3.53 7.09 50-54 3.21 5.81 55-59 2.15 4.68 60-64 2.04 3.64 65+ 3.50 6.60
Government has also decided to extend relief under the BISP to the earthquake affected districts namely Pashin, Ziarat and Loralai of Balochistan. This relief has been provided in the form of emergency relief package (ERP) i.e. Rs1000 per family per month with retrospective effect from October 2008.
The World Bank is also cooperating with BISP in removing poverty from the country. Recently, the World Bank has approved an additional loan of $150 million for expanding the social safety net coverage. It is also expected that the loan would help finance the increase in coverage of basic cash grants introducing co-responsibility cash transfers linked to primary education of beneficiaries' children and strengthening operations and management systems within the BISP.
BISP is making elaborate arrangements for continuous updating of this database through its peripheral offices and the case management system. Once the survey in the entire county is completed and data entry done, BISP targeting database will serve as the national registry on social protection for the benefit of all the pro-poor programmes initiated in the public and private sector at each level (federal, provincial, and district).
No doubt, the government of Pakistan is committed to establish an effective social safety net platform for a well coordinated, effective, and efficient support to the poor families. Therefore, BISP provides assistance to the deserving poor families.