At a Glance
Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) was launched in July 2008 with an immediate objective of consumption smoothening and cushioning the negative effects of slow economic growth, the food crisis and inflation on the poor, particularly women, through the provision of cash transfers of Rs. 1,000/month to eligible families. Its long term objectives include supporting the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eradicate extreme and chronic poverty, to empower of women and to achieve universal primary education. The monthly installment was enhanced to Rs. 1200/- per month w.e.f 1st July, 2013 by the present government and has now been fixed at Rs. 1500/-per month w.e.f 1st July, 2014.
Since its inception in 2008, BISP has grown rapidly; it is now the largest single social safety net program in Pakistan’s history. The number of beneficiaries has increased from 1.7 million households in FY 2008-9 to approximately 4.7 million as of 31st Dec, 2014 and BISP annual disbursements have risen from Rs. 16 billion in FY 2008-9 to Rs 65 billion in FY 2013-14. This FY, disbursements to beneficiaries is expected to reach Rs. 90 billion.
This period of growth and consolidation in BISP is characterized by two major transitions. In initial phase of BISP (2008-09 to 2010-11), beneficiaries were identified by parliamentarians while in 2010-11 a major
transition occurred and poor households have been identified through a poverty scorecard survey based on household demographics, assets, and other measurable characteristics. The Nationwide Poverty Scorecard Survey,
the first of its kind in South Asia, enables BISP to identify eligible households through the application of a Proxy Means Test (PMT) that determines welfare status of the household on a scale between 0-100.
The survey was started in October 2010 and has been completed across Pakistan except in two agencies of FATA. The survey has the following features:
- a. Creation of a large and reliable national registry of the socio-economic status of almost 27 million households across Pakistan
- b. 7.7 million families are identified living below cut-off score of 16.17
- c. GPS coordinates of all the household visited are available to map the data of the entire country
Benazir Smart Card and Mobile Phone Banking on test basis in nine districts across the country. After testing the pilots, BISP has rolled out Benazir Debit Card across Pakistan. Now, around 94% of the beneficiary household are receiving payments through technology enabled innovative payment mechanisms.