BISP holds event on data usage for policy making, research

ISLAMABAD – Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Wednesday held its first consultative workshop on usage of BISP data for policy making and research.

Chaired by Minister of State and Chairperson BISP Marvi Memon, the workshop was attended by the representatives of Quaid-e-Azam University, Lahore School of Economics, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Planning Commission, Education Department KP, Punjab Social Sector Authority,Alif Ailan, Development partners of BISP such as World Bank and DFID.On the occasion, Chairperson BISP stated that BISP data employ 6 international standards of a model database which include accuracy, validity, reliability, timeliness, relevance and completeness. This workshop would help explore research areas for the formulation of future policies in various disciplines namely health, education, agriculture and environment.

In the presentation by BISP, the participants were briefed that BISP is the custodian of different data sets pertaining to NSER, Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCT) and Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT). BISP holds the data of 27 million households across Pakistan. 7.7 million families have been identified to be eligible for financial assistance, out of which, 5.6 million are receiving BISP quarterly stipend. Under CCT, 1.8 million children have been enrolled in primary schools. They were also apprised of the technological innovations and range of variables being adopted in BISP resurvey for NSER update. They were further informed that BISP has a data sharing protocol with other organizations and currently more than 45 government and private organizations are utilizing BISP data for various development projects. It was informed that the aim was to make 2018 (10 years of BISP), a year of excellence for BISP. BISP encourages policy makers and researchers to use National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) data for designing policies especially related to SSN programmes. BISP, itself, is in the process of designing and implementing fresh initiatives of ‘BISP Graduation Model’ and ‘Endowment Fund’ which would add to the existing welfare initiatives of BISP. The organization is also expanding its CCTs program to include nutrition, health and mother-child care aspects.

During the brainstorming session, the participants discussed that there is a need of research collaboration between BISP and other organizations and seminars should be conducted on BISP in different universities which would create awareness about the contribution of BISP and its different data sets. Moreover, summary of research projects on BISP should be placed on BISP website for students and researchers. It was also suggested that BISP data should be updated every three years. A suggestion on interventions based on BISP data for different age groups was highly appreciated.

According to the suggestion, programs like childhood nutrition, literacy and special education program for primary school children, skill development program for youth and social welfare program for old age beneficiaries were put forth. It was also suggested that BISP data may be utilized for providing subsidies to deserving population in electricity, railway fares and utility stores.

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