Aiming at poverty alleviation and uplift the living standards of poorest of the poor of society, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) was established by the Peoples Government in July 2008. The primary focus of the programme was to provide immediate relief to the poor enabling them to absorb the shock of rising prices of food and fuel. Within a short span, BISP has made remarkable progress by providing much needed relief to over 4 million poor families including IDPs, flood affectees and bomb blast victims all across Pakistan and an amount of more than Rs 85 billion has been disbursed to BISP beneficiary families. The number of beneficiary families is expected to be increased to over 5 million once the on-going nation-wide targeting survey is completed by the end of June 2011. In the first phase of the programme, all parliamentarians were taken on board irrespective of their political affiliations. Even in the second phase on the launching of nationwide poverty survey, letters have been sent to all parliamentarians from all parties for their cooperation and to facilitate the survey teams. The objective was to make sure that authentic information about every household is collected. In August 2010, both houses of the Parliament unanimously approved the BISP Act 2010 demonstrating the confidence reposed in the transparency, integrity and efficacy of BISP. BISP is now the leading social safety net authority in the country based on its performance. BISP has achieved international recognition due to its technology based and transparent systems; the World Bank especially the President World Bank, the UN Secy General, US govt, British govt through DFID and Asian Development Bank have appreciated BISPs performance and have actually provided financial and technical support to BISP. Cash grants of approximately Rs 66b have been disbursed to date among 2.2m beneficiary families in the first phase of the programme when the beneficiaries were identified through parliamentarians due to lack of data on poor families. Whereas, approx Rs 13.5b has so far been disbursed among around 1.2m eligible families countrywide as a result of identification through ongoing nationwide poverty survey which is the second phase of the programme as well. This initiative is basically designed to promote self-employment among women beneficiaries or their nominees to improve their livelihood. It offers Rs.300,000 long term interest-free financial assistance to randomly selected beneficiary families, to be recovered in 15 years. It is based on personal trust instead of any collateral and is a completely interest free financial assistance. In this regard 20 Waseela-e-Haq draws have taken place and installments have been disbursed to the beneficiaries. So far, 6908 beneficiary families have been declared eligible to receive this returnable interest free financial assistance while 2,597 of them have completed training to initiate their businesses under the programme. Moreover, 1604 families have received first installment of the financial assistance as well. Waseela-e-Rozgar, another initiative of BISP, aims to empower a female beneficiary or her nominee to become economically independent through acquiring demand-driven vocational skill and technical education. It offers recognised training courses leading to certificate-based skill as well as non-recognised training such as in-house or product-based training under the BISP. Under the initiative, trainees are offered vocational trainings of 4 weeks, 3-6 months and one year while an advanced diploma programmes of two or more years will also be initiated. BISP has planned to provide a complete economic rehabilitation mechanism to these families through vocational training. The programme is pursued through training facilities of recognised and reputed training institutions. The training has already been started in Karak, Bannu and Batagram districts. The training programme is planned to be extended later to all districts of Pakistan and the target is to provide vocational and technical training to 150,000 beneficiary families in the period of one year. International support for BISPs Vocational and Technical Training is tremendous as this is being considered as exit/graduation strategy from BISP enabling beneficiary families to earn their livelihood with respect and dignity. A comprehensive Group Life Insurance Scheme has been offered to the bread earners of BISP beneficiary families. State Life Insurance Corporation has been taken on board in this regard. Group Life Insurance Scheme has been launched with effect from 1st January 2011 and around 1 million surveyed families have already become entitled for this scheme whereas another 1.2m BISP beneficiary family will receive this facility in current year. In case of death of the bread earner of the beneficiarys family, the family will receive an amount of Rs 100,000 within few days of the death. To empower the underserved segments of the society BISP is launching Health Insurance through National/ International Health Insurance Companies. An insurance cover is being provided to beneficiary families to tackle the financial issues faced due to health hazards. To provide immediate relief to poor affectees of 2010 devastating flood in the country, BISP initiated immediate emergency relief package. More than one million registered beneficiary families of BISP received cash financial assistance as emergency relief besides receiving regular monthly cash grant. In order to help out the families adversely affected by bomb blasts due to terror activities throughout the country, the government decided to additionally compensate the affected through BISP, hence the affected families are offered a monthly cash grant of Rs.1000/ month along with the full package which is being offered to all regular BISP beneficiary families. Keeping in view the suffering of IDPS from Swat/ Malakand, Bajaur and South Waziristan, BISP, on the instruction of the Government of Pakistan, extended its monthly cash transfers to the IDP families as well. This relief has been provided in the form of Emergency Relief Package (ERP) ie Rs1000/- per family per month with retrospective effect from October, 2008 in the earthquake affected districts of Balochistan namely Pishin, Ziarat and Loralai. Following the instruction of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, 4,907 refugees from Indian Held Kashmir have been registered for grant of BISP benefits. Furthermore, BISP has introduced best international practices for the identification of poorest of the poor of society as well as state-of-the-art technology to improve the delivery mechanism. The first ever nation-wide targeting survey was started from October 2010 in all districts of the country, including AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan to provide equal opportunity to every Pakistani who is holding CNIC to get registered with BISP regardless of caste, creed and religion. The new system of targeting aims at a much higher degree of objectivity, using international best practices, to minimise inclusion and exclusion errors. The use of GPS devices has also been made mandatory in this phase to uphold the dignity of households by conducting the survey at their doorsteps. Approximately more than 86pc of the survey work has been completed. Mobile Phone Banking has been introduced for the first time in the history of Pakistan for transparent transfer of BISP benefits to the poorest of the poor. This would further eliminate any human involvement in disbursement of cash to the deserving. Mobile Phone Banking has been launched in 2 districts (Larkana, Layyah) whereas it is being launched in Rawalpindi, Islamabad. Poonch (AJK), Gaanche, Barkhan and Batagram. Mobile Phone Banking is meant to facilitate the rich in society; however BISP has provided this facility to the poorest of the poor. Mobile phone sets used for the purpose is a gift from BISP to its beneficiary families and is being distributed free of cost. Approx. 68,000 free mobile phones have been distributed amongst beneficiaries and an amount of Rs 408m has been disbursed so far. Another innovation by BISP is the use of Benazir Smart Card for payments to beneficiary families. It has started in four test phase districts (Mianwali, Mirpurkhas, Multan and Sanghar). The payment through the smart cards was initiated in mid June 2010 and so far 179,000 cards have been distributed and a total sum of Rs 1.70b has been disbursed to beneficiary families thru smart cards.