ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The BPL Census and a Possible Alternative

This paper explores the possibility of a simple method for the identification of households eligible for social assistance. In exploring alternative approaches for identifying a "social assistance base", of which the bpl list can be seen as a particular case, this note explores possible uses of simple exclusion and inclusion criteria. It first considers the possibility of a quasi-universal approach, whereby all households are eligible unless they meet pre-specified exclusion criteria. It then looks at various inclusion criteria for drawing up a sab list. Finally, it explores four simple ways of combining exclusion and inclusion criteria to construct a sab list. The intention here is to point to possible directions of further enquiry, including experimental applications of the suggested method, rather than to present definite recommendations. Whether any convincing method of selecting sab households actually exists is an open question. Some of the findings here can be read as a reinforcement of the case for a universal approach. Indeed, the search for a "safe" way of excluding privileged households, without significant risk of exclusion for poor households, remains somewhat elusive.

SPECIAL ARTICLE

The BPL Census and a Possible Alternative

Jean Drèze, Reetika Khera

This paper explores the possibility of a simple method for the identification of households eligible for social assistance. In exploring alternative approaches for identifying a “social assistance base”, of which the BPL list can be seen as a particular case, this note explores possible uses of simple exclusion and inclusion criteria. It first considers the possibility of a quasi-universal approach, whereby all households are eligible unless they meet pre-specified exclusion criteria. It then looks at various inclusion criteria for drawing up a SAB list. Finally, it explores four simple ways of combining exclusion and inclusion criteria to construct a SAB list. The intention here is to point to possible directions of further enquiry, including experimental applications of the suggested method, rather than to present definite recommendations. Whether any convincing method of selecting SAB households actually exists is an open question. Some of the findings here can be read as a reinforcement of the case for a universal approach. Indeed, the search for a “safe” way of excluding privileged households, without significant risk of exclusion for poor households, remains somewhat elusive.

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