Poverty Census

At the start of the Programme, there was no data available for the identification of the underprivileged in the country. In the face of the urgent need to provide relief to the underprivileged and needy, identification of the deserving was entrusted to the Parliamentarians. A simple application form was devised on which the applicants could apply for enrollment in the Program. Eligibility and Ineligibility (Inclusion and Exclusion) criteria was devised. Application forms were distributed among the Parliamentarians in equal number (8000 to each member of the National Assembly and Senate and 1000 to each member of the Provincial Assemblies) irrespective of party affiliations. To minimize the inclusion and exclusion errors as well as introduce higher degree of objectivity, it was decided to implement the Poverty Scorecard; and a nationwide Poverty Survey has been done to identify the underprivileged families. Solution based Management Information System has been developed for self-assessment, error rectification, transparency and accountability.

The BISP, in its efforts to identify poor households through a multi-dimensional measure, has conducted a country-wide Poverty census using Poverty Score Card (PSC), which collects information on the various characteristics of the household as well as its assets. The Nationwide Poverty Scorecard Survey, the first of its kind in South Asia, enables the 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. Significant empirical evidence and international practical experience also supports use of PMT for successfully identifying households below a poverty cut-off score. BISP is the repository of this PSC data that provides not only poverty profile of each household but also provides data on 12 key indicators that include among others household size, type of housing and toilet facilities, education, child status, household assets, agricultural landholding, and livestock ownership.
The poverty survey has the following features:

  • It identifies 7.2 million households who are living below cut-off score of 16.17
  • It creates a large and reliable national registry of the socio-economic status of around 27 million households across Pakistan
  • It uses GPS to map the data of the entire country for informed decision making (for example, to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies)
  • It validates the targeting process through third party evaluation

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