Pakistan's welfare response has been limited by its existing systems, with a reliance on the BISP. The effects of this economic shock could put a lot of vulnerable people into poverty and undo decades of progress. 2/9
We argue that new, ambitious and more expansive social safety nets need to be introduced if we want to protect the most marginalized citizens.

These new programmes should be focused on addressing employment and hunger. 3/9
We were not able to get into this in the essay, but objections around such programmes usually revolve around two things: (1) state capacity (including fiscal) and its limitations, and (2) leakages/corruption. 4/9
On 1 - state capacity is endogenous and can be built up overtime. BISP was also ambitious and has now developed into a globally-recognized success, with excellent state apparatus.

Further, a pandemic is not a time to really think about conventional fiscal constraints. 5/9
Creative ways of mobilizing finances need to and can be introduced, along with expanding revenue-generation. Donors have also historically shown support for welfare-enhancing programmes, and this can be leveraged initially. BISP too was initiated amidst a global recession! 6/9
On leakages and corruption (2) - some minimal amount of leakages are inevitable in any programme. This is just a developing country handicap and should not really be an argument against new programmes. With careful design, these can be minimized (as BISP has done). 7/9
Finally, both issues can be overcome if there is political will for this. This is usually much harder and requires concerted efforts of consensus-building to overcome the inevitable opposition from competing interests. 8/9
We hope some public debate can happen around expanding welfare in Pakistan in a *systemic* way, rather than through the usual 'packages' announced for rent-seeking elites. 9/9
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