Background

The World Bank carried out an expenditure review of social protection initiatives undertaken by various departments of Punjab in 2013. The report, titled “Punjab Social Sector Public Expenditure Review”, revealed an annual expense of Rs. 60 billion in 2013 spent by these departments on social protection resulting in duplication of efforts and fragmentation of Programs. The report recommended creation of a social protection authority which would have the overarching responsibility of coordination and consolidation of all social protection initiatives. Accordingly, PSPA was created through Punjab Social Protection Authority Act passed by Provincial Assembly of Punjab on April 14, 2015.Through this legislation, the Punjab Social Services Board was subsumed into the PSPA.

The Government of Punjab established the PSPA with the mandate to establish a comprehensive, efficient and effective social protection system for the poor and vulnerable in the Punjab. PSPA is a broad-based, high-level institutional set-up, with the Chief Minister of Punjab as its Chairman. It has key government ministers and bureaucrats as its members, along with representatives of the Punjab Assembly and the civil society. It is well placed to lead the process of harmonizing the design, scope, and delivery of various social protection interventions in the province.

The Authority has been tasked to develop policies and frameworks for the effective discharge of social protection interventions in the province and to coordinate and consolidate existing Programs. As a statutory and a corporate entity, the authority’s key role extends to policy-making and leadership to guide the design and delivery of SP initiatives within the province. For guiding principles and priority areas for Punjab in implementing various SP Programs, PSPA has drafted Punjab Social Protection Policy. The policy outlines the Government of Punjab’s efforts to reduce poverty, inequality, and vulnerability in the province while promoting resilience and opportunities.  The PSPA defines Social Protection as follows:

All public and private initiatives that provide income or consumption transfers to the poor, protect the vulnerable against livelihood risks, and enhance the social status and rights of the marginalized with the overall objective of reducing the economic and social vulnerability of poor, vulnerable, and marginalized groups.