NSER National Socio-Economic Registry


Effective targeting of beneficiaries is crucial for any social safety net program to ensure objectivity in identifying beneficiaries and for transparency in implementing interventions. The NSER at BISP was established as a result of a nationwide Poverty Score Card (PSC) survey in 2010-11. Under PSC, complete information on the socio-economic and welfare status of approximately 27 million household was collected. This data was then used to determine the eligibility of households and identification of beneficiaries for unconditional cash transfer (UCT) payments through Proxy Means Test (PMT) targeting methodology. The data was later used to determine eligibility of BISP’s conditional cash transfer program, Waseela-e-Taleem, and other exit poverty initiatives by BISP. Beyond BISP, more than 30 government and non-government organizations have utilized this data for targeting for their respective programs. 

It is important that the data in the registry is updated at regular intervals to capture changing socio-economic and demographic trends in the country. BISP is currently in the process of updating the NSER to ensure that the most deserving persons and communities are served.

The main stakeholders involved in the execution of the program are:
•    BISP Headquarters and Tehsil Offices
•    Implementing Partner Firms (IPFs)
•    World Bank

I.    Establishing NSER

The nationwide Poverty Score Card (PSC) survey in 2010-11 was conducted using Pen and Paper based Personal Interviewing. The PSC survey was conducted door-to-door and approximately 27 million households were reached. Household roster and asset data was collected and this resulted in the establishment of the NSER. 

II.    Updating NSER

Registries are important to identify who to target for program support. Over time, however, socio-economic conditions can change to a considerable degree, and this poses a challenge to the targeting performance of a social program. Internationally registries similar to NSER are updated every four to five years to capture changes in demographic profiles, and income and economic status, to assess who from the existing beneficiary lists are no longer eligible (due to improvement in their socio-economic conditions), and identify who are now deserving to receive program support (as their circumstances deteriorated over the years for various reasons). 

In other words, updating registries is important to re-certify existing beneficiaries, identify new beneficiaries, overcome inclusion (someone not eligible becomes part of the program) and exclusion (someone eligible gets excluded from the program) errors, and capture migration trends in the country. Given these realities, BISP initiated the process of updating the NSER using Android compatible Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) to collect door-to-door household roster and asset data. The use of CAPI has been envisaged to reduce data processing time to increase efficiency and ensure timely availably of data from the field for analysis. It is expected to also reduce errors and costs. A pilot phase in 14 districts has been implemented in order to improve overall design based on lessons learnt from this phase. The national rollout is currently underway.


The country map below shows the 14 districts that were part of the pilot phase. For the national rollout the remaining districts were divided into eight geographical based clusters that can be seen in the cluster map below.

Partner organisations were contracted through a competitive bidding process and their respective clusters is as follows:


Partner Organisation

1 and 5

Aurat Foundation

2 and 3

Rural Support Porgamme Network (RSPN)

4, 6, 7 and 8

Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)

Innovative Development Solutions (IDS) have been contracted as a third party monitoring firm for all clusters.