Benazir Kafaalat Programme, also known as the Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCT) programme, is the flagship initiative of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in Pakistan. Launched in 2008, it has grown to become the largest single cash transfer programme in the country’s history. The programme aims to provide cash assistance to eligible families, particularly women, to mitigate the impact of slow economic growth, food crisis, and inflation.
The short-term objective of the programme is to provide a safety net for vulnerable families, while the long-term goal is to eradicate extreme poverty and promote women’s empowerment, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, the Benazir Kafaalat Programme provides cash assistance to approximately 9 million families, with each beneficiary receiving Rs. 8,500 per quarter.
Eligibility for the programme is determined through a scientific Proxy Means Test (PMT) conducted by the National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) survey. Families falling within the approved PMT cut-off score are eligible to receive cash assistance. The current PMT cut-off score is 32, but for families with a differently abled person, the cut-off score is set at 37.
In a significant step towards inclusivity, BISP’s Board has approved the inclusion of transgender individuals for cash assistance under the Benazir Kafaalat Programme. Transgender individuals can apply for inclusion by obtaining CNICs from NADRA with their gender clearly mentioned as transgender. Once their survey is successfully conducted, they become eligible for cash assistance.
To ensure the continuation of financial support for deceased beneficiaries, BISP has implemented a Next of Kin policy. Legal heirs from the deceased beneficiary’s family can become beneficiaries through an appeal mechanism, by submitting the required documents to the nearest BISP Tehsil Office.
BISP has established an active Grievance Redressal Mechanism to address complaints and ensure timely resolution. Beneficiaries can visit the nearest Tehsil office of BISP or contact the toll-free helpline for assistance.
In addition to its regular programme, BISP also facilitates emergency programmes to respond to shocks and crises. Some of these initiatives include relief packages for populations living along the LOC in AJ&K, emergency cash assistance for COVID-19 affectees, earthquake relief programmes, and targeted petroleum subsidy programmes.
Looking ahead, BISP is actively working on new initiatives to enhance the impact of cash assistance. These include financial inclusion and literacy programmes, a hybrid social protection programme, and a new payment model.
By providing cash assistance, empowering women, and addressing the needs of vulnerable populations, the Benazir Kafaalat Programme continues to make a significant difference in the lives of millions of families across Pakistan.