Project Name Social Protection Development Project
Project Number 45233-001
Country Pakistan
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan 3049-PAK: Social Protection Development Project
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 430.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Education - Technical and vocational education and training

Health - Health insurance and subsidized health programs

Public sector management - Social protection initiatives

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Gender equity
Description The project will support the Government of Pakistan's national social safety net program, the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). The project will enable the expansion of the cash transfer program (paid to the female head of targeted poor families) by registering an additional 2.4 million eligible families and financing the first few quarters of their cash transfers. In addition, it will support the strengthening and phased expansion of the pilot health insurance and skills development programs to increase income and good health for targeted families. The project will provide technical support and finance part of the scaling-up costs of both programs using a performance-based allocation. The substantial fiduciary risk of the project will be mitigated through the strengthening of BISP financial management systems and capacity.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The last official estimates of poverty incidence were released in Pakistan in 2005/2006, with the headcount index for poverty reported at 22.3%. Since 2007 the Government of Pakistan has faced difficult challenges, including external and domestic economic shocks, economic uncertainty, and security problems. Annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates post-2007 averaged about 3%, while inflation averaged 13.8%, resulting in lower living standards. A recent study, using district-based poverty profiles, estimated poverty incidence for all households in the country at 33%.

Starting in 2007, the government significantly increased its spending on social protection, established a new institutional framework, and approved the National Social Protection Strategy. In October 2008 the government launched the BISP as the national social safety net program. The immediate objective was to decrease the adverse impact of food, fuel, and financial crises on low-income families. The broader goal was to implement the government's redistributive policy by providing regular cash income support to the poor. The main BISP intervention is a cash transfer program providing PRs1,000 per month to the female head of the family. The government's social safety net spending increased from 0.3% of GDP in FY2004 to 0.9% in FY2011 after introducing the BISP.

The BISP uses a transparent and objective methodology to select beneficiaries. It identified 7.2 million eligible poor families (23% of the total population) on the basis of a nationwide poverty scorecard survey using a proxy-means test approach. Initial evaluation findings demonstrate that it is a credible targeting system, covering a substantial number of the poorest in Pakistan. However, 2.4 million eligible poor families are not yet receiving the cash transfer because the female head does not hold a CNIC, which is the key eligibility criterion. Pending families are the most difficult to reach and likely to be the most destitute.

The introduction of a national safety net program and the availability of the poverty scorecard database can potentially lead to more efficient use of resources and better targeting and coordination with the provincial social safety net programs. A well-managed targeting system will enable the replacement, over time, of other inefficient social safety net programs and untargeted subsidies that are still pervasive in Pakistan.

The BISP piloted several graduation initiatives for health insurance, skills development training, small business development loans, and primary education co-responsibility cash transfers. These programs aim to support human development and economic opportunities for beneficiaries, and reduce the likelihood of intergenerational transfer of poverty. The first two of these graduation initiatives are of special relevance for social protection:

(i)_Almost 70% of total health expenditures are paid out-of-pocket by families, driving about 4% of the population into poverty every year. Unexpected severe health problems are the most prevalent shock for families. In addition to income loss from being unable to work, medical costs alone can push households into poverty. Health insurance for the poor that covers catastrophic risks and major costs such as births can provide significant financial relief and protection to the most vulnerable families, while improving access to health facilities.

(ii)_More than 53% of the target population depends on casual labor as their major source of income_it is insecure and risky. Beneficiary family members have extremely low literacy and numeracy, affecting confidence and social participation. Rural employment opportunities (both wage employment and self-employment) could be enhanced through skills training. This will improve poor families' income-generating capacity and boost their resilience to shocks.

In April 2012, the BISP launched a health insurance program, Waseela-e-Sehet (WES), on a pilot basis to provide protection against catastrophic health expenditure to registered beneficiary families in Faisalabad district in Punjab Province through the State Life Insurance Corporation. The insurance package covers full hospitalization for all age groups with an annual maximum benefit cap of PRs25,000 per family. It covers preexisting conditions as well as hospitalization for maternity and child health. So far, 37,575 families have been insured and provided access to WES registered private hospitals on a cashless and paperless basis. Of these expenditures, 40% were maternity related.

The Waseela-e-Rozgar (WER) was launched in July 2011 to provide center-based formal skills training to any selected family member of a beneficiary. In FY2013, 56,600 trainees graduated from training centers providing 4_6 month programs. The current WER is very costly; the average cost of PRs53,000 limits outreach of the program. Most courses are taught beyond the absorptive capacity of BISP potential nominees, who are largely illiterate or semiliterate. Training delivery and competency assessment and certification have fundamental problems. While the impact of current training provision on employability is likely very limited, the reputational risks of training delivery arrangements and the lack of effective monitoring are high.

Under the 18th Constitutional Amendment (30 June 2011), several subjects_including health, education, and social welfare_became a shared responsibility of the federal government and the provinces. The federal government continues to play a critical role in ensuring that long-term poverty reduction and social protection goals are met. A centrally operated safety net program is better placed to ensure equal chances for the poor to qualify for the cash transfer program, and to coordinate consistent program standards for provincial graduation programs. The provinces play a key role to develop and implement complementary graduation programs, especially highly customized graduation interventions.

Impact Reduced income poverty and nonincome poverty for poor families in Pakistan

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome Increased resilience of female BISP beneficiaries and their families
Progress Toward Outcome The poverty scorecard survey was initiated in 2009 and rolled out in 2010; as such the update of the NSER was overdue. After completing the desk-based pilot, Phase 1 of the NSER survey was launched in January 2017 to collect data in 16 districts through door-to-door survey using a revised poverty scorecard based on the proxy means test. In addition, self-registration by eligible beneficiaries through a desk-approach was tested. At the end of phase 1 expected to be completed in September 2017, the most effective and cost-efficient method will be selected for the national roll out.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Cash transfer program coverage expanded

Health insurance program refined and rolled out

Skills development program strengthened

Financial management and control systems, and policy research improved

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

At the end of Dec 2016, 5.73 million beneficiaries are enrolled (CNIC of eligible female beneficiary registered); of which near 5.34 million are receiving the cash transfer payments. BISP is targeting to reach 5.4 million beneficiaries by end March 2017. The FY2016-17 budget allows for the payment of 5.6 million beneficiaries

In February 2016, 300,000 new beneficiaries received their first payment, and 250,000 new beneficiaries received the remaining of the first 5 quarters.

There is a marked improvement in the regularity of payment delivery. In 2014, 78% of beneficiaries reported receiving at least 3 payments in the preceding 12 months, compared to 52% in 2013 (BISP 2nd impact evaluation)

Delayed. The 24th BISP Board meeting of 3 November 2015 to close the WES at the federal level. Health insurance coverage will be further pursued under the graduation program

Delayed. Indicator will need to be rephrased following MTR

Delayed. Indicator will need to be rephrased following MTR

Delayed. Researcher is not yet hired.

Ongoing with support of FM specialist

Delayed. The 24th BISP Board meeting of 3 November 2015 to close the WER at the federal level under BISP. Skills training will form the backbone for the graduation program

Delayed. Indicator will need to be rephrased following MTR

Delayed. Indicator will need to be rephrased following MTR

Delayed. Indicator will need to be rephrased following MTR

Geographical Location 7 million eligible BISP beneficiaries, spread across the different provinces and districts, were idenfiied based on the cut-off score of a poverty scorecard survey

Safeguard Categories

Environment C
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples C

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects The program involves no infrastructure development activity nor has any secondary impacts on the environment.
Involuntary Resettlement Since the project will not support any physical intervention, no land acquisition will be required.
Indigenous Peoples The BISP is an inclusive program that does not discriminate based on indigenous status. The program beneficiaries are selected based on the results of a poverty scorecard survey using proxy means testing. No questions are included on religion, language, or ethnicity, to ensure participation and inclusion of all poor irrespective of tribe, subtribe, or minority status.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design The main discussions during fact finding were with BISP as executing agency, and its contracted implementing partners. Other discussions were held with Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, provincial governments involved in education, health, labor and welfare, poor women as beneficiaries of the BISP, industry associations (on the vocational training part), rural support programs (on outreach to the poor) and other development partners.
During Project Implementation BISP has established a well-functioning grievance redressal mechanism at the sub-district (tehsil) level, which is used well by the poor. Civil society representatives, especially NGOs, will be involved in the community-based skills training component. Implementation also makes use of a strong community mobilization methodology.

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services The inputs of 18 consulting firms and 9 individual consultants, for a total of 637 person months (97 international, 540 national) are required to assist in the design and implementation, and for the monitoring and evaluation of the project activities. Consulting firms will be engaged using the quality- and cost-based selection (QCBS) method with a standard quality-cost ratio of 80:20.

IT Equipment for PMU: estimated cumulative value of $25,000 with multiple contracts, under shopping procurement method_

Office Administration: estimated cumulative value of $50,000 with multiple contracts, under shopping procurement method

Responsible Staff

Responsible ADB Officer Abro, Munir Ahmed
Responsible ADB Department Central and West Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Pakistan Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Benazir Income Support Program
[email protected]
F- Block, Pak Secretariat


Concept Clearance 28 Feb 2013
Fact Finding 11 Jun 2013 to 24 Jun 2013
MRM 16 Jul 2013
Approval 22 Oct 2013
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 21 Mar 2017

LoanĀ 3049-PAK

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
22 Oct 2013 25 Nov 2013 24 Jun 2014 30 Jun 2019 - -
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 578.30 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 430.00 22 Oct 2013 232.12 0.00 59%
Counterpart 148.30 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 22 Oct 2013 297.96 0.00 76%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating Satisfactory - - Satisfactory - Satisfactory

This page was generated from on 25 June 2017