ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 3rd August, 2016) : Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Marvi Memon Wednesday proposed the idea of League of social safety nets through sharing data of people living below poverty line from all Asian countries. Representing Pakistan in the Asia-Pacific Social Protection (APSP) Week held at Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters, Manila, she presented a bird eye view of evolution of BISP as a flagship social safety net system in the country, said a news release issued here.
The event was aimed to evolve a program designed to share expertise from within and outside the Asia and Pacific region, as well as to discuss development experiences and best practices in establishing comprehensive and sustainable social protection systems. While speaking in a session on `Excellence in governance for social protection' the Minister, she termed BISP as `pride of Pakistan' committed to give dignity, empowerment and meaning of life to its 5.
3 million beneficiaries. Chairperson BISP said that over a very short span of 8 years, BISP has emerged as a leading social safety net (SSN) program. BISP has adopted the best international practices, innovative procedures and advanced delivery and governance mechanisms for targeting of real poor, she said. BISP has developed a biometric payment mechanism with more than 250,000 touch points across the country that utilizes both banks and branchless banking networks.
Highlighting the strong resolve of the government to reform the social protection mechanism, Chairperson stated that the government places special emphasis on the expansion of BISP and improvement of its delivery mechanism. Chairperson further informed that Pakistan is the first country where a social safety net program is using Computer Based Personal Interviewing (CAPI) approach for collection of data, instead of Paper Based Personal Interviewing (PAPI).
Pilot phase of new poverty survey has been initiated and the entire exercise is expected to be completed by March 2018. Expressing her views on the poverty alleviation and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) initiatives, she said BISP adopts a multi-pronged strategy to empower the poor so that they may graduate out of poverty. She highlighted that under Waseela-e-Taleem (WeT) initiative, a CCT program, 1.3 million children have been enrolled in schools.
These beneficiary children, between the age of 5 and 12, receive Rs. 250 per month per child. The target of enrolling 2 million children in schools will be met by December 2016. In the end, she stated that BISP has developed exportable experience and many countries have sought its assistance in establishing Social Security Net programs. She also acknowledged the cooperation and technical assistance of Asian Development Bank and other partner organizations that have been instrumental in making BISP a success story. The other participants in the week-long program include social protection experts and practitioners from developing Asian and Pacific countries, representatives of the private sector, development agencies and civil society organizations.