National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER)


NSER’s main objective is

‘To ensure objectivity in identifying beneficiaries and for transparency in implementing interventions, effective targeting of` BISP beneficiaries’

Ensuring objectivity and transparency in effective beneficiary targeting is pivotal to any Social Safety Program. Socio Economic Registries often have errors at two levels i.e. design level and implementation level. Another important factor that needs to be considered is the frequency (duration or time) at which these registries are updated. Conventionally these registries are updated at an interval of 3 to 5 years to capture changing socio-economic and demographic trends in a country. BISP (now ‘Ehsaas’) is currently in the process of updating the NSER 2010-11 to minimise ‘inclusion-exclusion’ errors and to ensure that the most deserving population and communities are served.

The NSER at BISP was established as a result of a 2010-11’s nationwide Poverty Score Card (PSC) survey. Complete information on the socio-economic and welfare status of approximately 27 million household was collected under this PSC Survey. These data were then used, to determine beneficiaries’ identification and eligibility for BISP’s ‘Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) Payments’. This was done using a Proxy Means Test (PMT) targeting methodology. The data were further used to determine eligibility of beneficiaries for ‘Conditional Cash Transfer Program’, ‘Waseela-e-Taleem’, and other ‘Poverty- Exit’ initiatives by BISP. Beyond BISP, more than 100 government and non-government organizations have utilized this data to target beneficiaries for their respective programs.

NSER Cycles


I.    NSER Survey 2010-11

A database of 27 million households was developed during ‘Nationwide Survey’ in 2010-11. To gauge socio-economic and asset information of the respondents, World Bank’s Poverty Score Card (PSC) was used in this survey. This survey was conducted using Pen and Paper based Personal Interviewing approach. There was a need to converge this database of 27 million households in to an active socio-economic registry which is updated regularly for a better targeting. 

II.    NSER Survey 2018-19 (Update)

In July 2015, BISP board approved an update of BISP’s 2010-11 national roll-out database and initial discussions and planning meetings were held afterwards. It was decided that NSER update will be carried out in two phases; Phase-I and Phase-II (national rollout) through Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI). In addition to a shift from paper-based interviewing to CAPI, NSER enhanced its assessment indicators included in PMT.

The use of CAPI has been envisaged to reduce data processing time to increase efficiency and ensure timely availably of data from the field for analysis. It is expected to also reduce errors and costs. In 2017, a pilot phase in 15 districts was launched for NSER update through self-registration desks and door-to-door survey. For optimal results, the districts were well stratified keeping in view the heterogeneities of the country i.e. remote areas, poverty, population, etc. The country map below shows pilot districts (with a shaded region) along with eight geographical clusters.


Various Partner Organisations and Operations Review (OR) firms were contracted through a competitive bidding process and their respective clusters are as follows:

Cluster Partner Organisations Task


Implementing Partner Firm


1 & 5   

Aurat Foundation


2 & 3   

Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)

4, 6, 7 & 8           

Rural Support Porgamme Network (RSPN)

All Cluster

Innovative Development Strategies (IDS)     

Third Party Review

Innovative Development Solutions (IDS) have been contracted as a third party monitoring firm for all clusters.

Ehsaas Registration Centers

Based on lessons learned for from National Roll-out 2010-11, in order to address grievances from missed-out households, a parallel desk-based data collection approach is also launched in association with NADRA. These dask-based centres are termed as ‘Ehsaas Registration Centres’. These centres will cater for (i) missed-out households during national roll-out 2018-19, (ii) household / roster information update and (iii) households marked with discrepant information such as missing CNIC, asset information and other details. These centers, with average 5 counters per centre, will operate for a period five months (120 working days) in phase-1 and will be called temporary centres. In second phase, one counter will remain functional per tehsil for a period of one year and will be termed as permanent centres.

Teacher-Based Model

During National Roll-out 2018-19, NOC for CAPI based survey could not be obtained for cluster 4 and 8 and some districts of Punjab.  An alternative strategy to collect household data was proposed and approved in this regard. Under this strategy, the data will be collected through teachers who will act as enumerators in designated enumeration areas. Provincial Education Departments and Local Administration will look after administrative and logistical processes involved in door-to-door survey. NSER wing, through a PMU, will plan, train, monitor and supervise field activities of this teacher-based data collection model.


Main stakeholders involved in the execution of the National Roll-out 2018-19

  • BISP Headquarters and Tehsil Offices
  • Implementing Partner Firms (IPFs)
  • Operations Review (OR) Firm
  • World Bank
  • Poverty Alleviation and Social-Safety Division (PASSD)
  • Provincial Education Departments