ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Social Protection in Pakistan: In the Midst of a Paradigm Shift?

There was a severalfold increase in fiscal allocations for social protection in Pakistan in 2008. This coincided with a change of government and heightened public concerns about the adverse impact on poverty of the economic crisis. Federal as well as provincial governments demonstrated an unprecedented level of commitment to cash transfers and other programmes aimed specifically at the poor and vulnerable. The federal government's Benazir Income Support Programme was protected by law, and became the first targeted cash transfer programme to reach up to 7% of all households. It is too soon to say that social protection in Pakistan has finally turned a corner since the future course of public policy is vulnerable to political turbulence. This paper argues for measures that will signal that there has indeed been an irreversible paradigm shift.

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