ISLAMABAD: Minister of State and Chairperson BISP Marvi Memon on Wednesday said that National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) is a national asset bigger than BISP.
Ms. Memon was addressing an international conference held to share successes, experiences and evolution of the NSER, which is being shared with public and private sector organisations for poverty reduction and development programs.
“Currently at number five in the world, BISP, under the PML (N) government, commits to become number one in the field of targeting,” she said.
The first of the four sessions was inaugurated by Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and the last session was concluded by Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs Mr. Sartaj Aziz.
The second and third sessions were chaired by Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali and National Security Advisor Gen. (retd) Nasir Janjua respectively.
The conference was attended by parliamentarians, diplomats, development partners, academicians, researchers, social activists, bureaucrats, national and international experts and a large number of students.
During his inaugural address, the Speaker appreciated the targeting methodology of BISP, which allows diversion of funds to the real needy and poor, irrespective of their political, religious or any other affiliations.
He added that it was heartening to know that BISP was now moving towards another phase of targeting, with improved design and dynamic approach towards targeting keeping in view the transient nature of poverty.
He also assured his full support to BISP management in its operations and initiatives on behalf of the government.
During his concluding address, Mr. Sartaj Aziz said that huge budget of BISP reflects the present government’s commitment to social protection in the country.
He added that NSER not only provided accurate and transparent information on potential beneficiaries for social assistance programs, but also allowed linkages among multiple programs for which the potential beneficiaries could be eligible.
The day-long mega event featured presentations on different phases of NSER since 2008 from static to dynamic registry, sharing of national and international experiences, targeting and selection mechanism, and Management Information Systems (MIS).
The conference also highlighted models of data sharing, partnerships on usage of NSER with different public and private institutions for targeted subsidies, employment generation, skill development, disaster management and welfare planning.
Keynote speaker Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali stated that with all the technological expertise and equal backing from all political parties, BISP had excelled to become a model social safety net and broadened to become the largest women empowerment programme in Pakistan.
During the third and fourth sessions of the conference current models of data sharing with different organizations and links with research institutions were discussed.
The conference was informed that BISP data is being utilised by more than forty public and private sector organizations.
Gen. Nasir Janjua, during his address, said that fault lines created by poverty are exploited by anti-state elements as poverty stricken population easily falls prey to the devastating agenda of extremist elements.
“In this backdrop, the role of BISP is monumental not only in saving the poorest of the poor from hunger but also keeping them away from extremism and terrorism,” he said.
Country Director Department for International Development (DFID) Ms. Joanna Reed stated that UK government supports BISP because it takes the aid to the ones who need it the most.
She mentioned that UK watchdog Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) in its recent report had appreciated the coverage of BISP and added that the shifting of payments to Biometric Verification System (BVS) and NSER update would make BISP world leader striving for better lives.
Country Director World Bank Mr. Illango Machapattu stated that BISP is recognized internationally as a successful social safety net program.
He said that many countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Afghanistan and others have learned from BISP and World Bank looks forward towards expansion of pro-poor and financial inclusion agenda of BISP.
Briefing on the NSER update through resurvey, DG BISP Dr. Tahir Noor stated that door to door survey in twelve pilot districts would be completed by August 2017 followed by national roll out in September 2017 which would be completed by early 2018.
He informed that to register the number one NSER in the world, Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) approach has been adopted instead of Paper Assisted Personal Interviewing (PAPI).
The registration application has in built checks and controls capable of identifying errors. Blue tooth based synchronization of the enumerators and supervisors, is a quality control feature that will ensure error free registration.
In order to ensure complete coverage of the population, computer based enlisting with the help of Google maps would also be utilized. The addition of new questions in questionnaire related to rural-urban distribution, agro climatic zones, transgender, chronic diseases, access to justice, vocational training will enhance the quality of data.