UNFORTUNATELY the poor and underprivileged people of Pakistan have been suffering due to lack of a comprehensive social protection system. It goes to the credit of the present government that has launched BISP as a tool for enacting a comprehensive social safety net catering to the needs of the 'poorest of the poor of the society not only in terms of cash assistance for day to day subsistence but also enabling them to graduate from the vicious cycle of poverty. Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) is the main social safety net programme of the Government of Pakistan. It was initiated by the government with initial allocation of Rs 34 billion for the year 2008-09 which was the third largest allocation in the total budget and is 0.3% of the GDP for the year 2007-08. The allocation for the year 2009-10 is Rs.70 billion to cover 5 million families and it is planned to cover 7 million families in the medium term by the year 2010-11. It is estimated that 36.1 percent population of Pakistan was living below the poverty line during Financial Year 2008-09. Hence 62m people (11.83m families) are facing the sufferings of poverty. A cash grant of RS 2000 each is disbursed every alternate month to the BISP beneficiaries, and covering 5 million families in 2009-10 means paying cash benefits to almost 16% of the total population. BISP covers all four provinces as well as Gilgit Baltistan, FATA, AJK & Islamabad Capital Territory. With the sole purpose of empowering women, only the female head of the family or adult female can be the recipient. In order to lend more transparency and objectivity to the Programme, the government decided to reform the targeting process to minimize the inclusion and exclusion errors and give equal chance to each one for applying to the Programme for benefits. Therefore, beneficiary identification through Parliamentarians was stopped on 30th of April 2009. The World Bank approved instrument named Poverty Scorecard based on Proxy Means Testing has been adopted and a nationwide Poverty Survey has been planned to identify the poor families. It is pertinent to mention that Poverty Scorecard census is the first of its kind in South Asia. Test Phase of the poverty survey has been completed in 15 districts and a nationwide survey will be launched in the next 2 to 3 months. Once the survey results are ready after data entry and verification/validation, a cut-off score will be fixed in terms of the scorecard survey. An exit strategy to ensure that people receiving cash grants from BISP eventually graduate into income earning individuals is being developed. The graduation strategy is being developed in line with the international best practices, through analysis of ongoing programmes and existing policies as well as development of an action plan. The exit strategy includes the initiatives on micro finance, health insurance and vocational training. Under Waseela-e-Haq, BISP beneficiaries are pre-qualified through a computerized draw (random selection) for award of a cash loan of Rs.300, 000/. BISP will also serve as a platform for complementary social assistance programs, one being the health insurance for BISP beneficiaries. As part of graduation from poverty strategy, BISP is devising a comprehensive skill development training plan for its beneficiaries. BISP is also implementing an Emergency Relief Package for IDPs of FATA, Swat and earthquake affectees of Balochistan. A total of Rs 28 million has been paid to 3965 families from FATA and Bajaur. A total of Rs 26 million has been paid to 3729 earthquake affected families in Balochistan. Distribution of BISP benefits to 318126 lDPs families of Swat and Malakand have started through Benazir ATM cards. The BISP benefits will be paid from April 2009 to March 2010 at the rate of Rs.1000 per month. By that time, BISP plans to start poverty survey in these areas. Amount of Rs 3.82 Billion will be paid to the IDPs during the current Financial Year.