ISLAMABAD: The government has almost completed a fresh Poverty Scorecard Survey and approximately two million existing beneficiaries are expected to be excluded from the list of Benazir Income...
ISLAMABAD: The government has almost completed a fresh Poverty Scorecard Survey and approximately two million existing beneficiaries are expected to be excluded from the list of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) after getting approval on the exclusion criteria.
Except for a few districts, the Proxy Means Test (PMT) was done all over the country and it was expected that the fresh poverty scorecard will become applicable within the next few months. It is expected that the beneficiaries of the fresh survey will start getting installments probably from March 2022.
While talking to a select group of reporters here at the PID Center, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar on Monday confirmed that the fresh survey was almost completed and there would be a certain number of exclusions among the beneficiaries out of the existing eight million on the basis of defined criteria.
However, she did not share any exact numbers who are expected to be removed from the BISP list. She also said that the fresh survey results will become applicable in a few months period.
However, official sources told The News in background discussions that it would be a difficult task for the incumbent regime to exclude a number of beneficiaries because the last survey was done on the basis of 23 variables while the fresh survey was accomplished on the basis of 43 variables.
When there was a different questionnaire in the last two surveys, then how will the exclusion criteria become comparable is not yet known, the sources said and added that the BISP’s Board and then the federal cabinet would be the ultimate forum to get approval for the exclusion criteria.
Now it is yet to seen how the criteria for exclusion will be adopted as two different variables were used in the last two surveys to ascertain who is eligible to become a beneficiary.
On the basis of the last survey, the cut-off scorecard was standing at 16.17 percent. Now it is proposed before the Board to jack up the scorecard up to 36/37 percent. However, the BISP Board has given an indication to approve the cut-off scorecard at 32 percent.
Dr. Sania Nishtar, however, said that they had established a special desk at Tehsil levels to include new beneficiaries. Now they also decided that every beneficiary will have to update its socio-economic status after every three years period and all those who will not update their data, will be excluded from the beneficiary list.
Dr. Sania Nishtar also said that Rashan Program would provide a monthly subsidy of Rs1,000 to 20 million households on three basic food items, including ghee/cooking oil, pulses, and wheat flour. She also said that the Auditor General of Pakistan raised 10 points of technical nature in the audit of the COVID-19 pandemic relief package related to the Ehsaas Cash Emergency Program where there was no element of corruption or embezzlement pointed out in this report.
The Cash Emergency Program was executed in a unique situation and the audit report confirmed that no law or rules were violated. Only advice of technical nature was given and they had taken up the Departmental Audit Committee (DAC) and now at the forum of Public Accounts Committee.
She said that she was quite concerned about transparency of the Ehsaas program, so decided to share whole details with audit officials as well as with journalists. She said the government had allocated Rs179 billion for Ehsaas Cash Emergency program and the whole amount was disbursed among the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries were selected on the basis of criteria that was approved by the federal cabinet.