R&D ACTIVITIES-BEDROCK FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY
DR. S.M.ALAM, DR. .A.H .SHAIKH & M.A. KHAN
Dec 17 - 30, 2007
Research and Development is an essential component for economic development of Pakistan. We must accept that whatever at present has been developed in the country is due to research and development activities of the hard working of educated people of the country. The foundation of economic development in the country had been led by the highly qualified and educated people five decades before. At present, due to talented manpower, the country has developed in many fields and ultimately country is developing smoothly in the fields of Agriculture, industry, banking, insurance, health, information technology, communication, textile, cement, leather, education, ship building, fertilizers, glass, plastic, rubber, marble, gemstones, tiles, sports goods, livestock, fishery, poultry, milk, carpet, software, computer, surgical goods, medicines, infrastructure, machinery, automobiles, chemical industries, and the increasing proportion of investment flowing into these sectors has significantly diversified the industrial structure of the country in the recent years. Research and Development harmony is on increase in scientific organizations throughout the country. However, there are a very low number of Ph.D programmes due to heavy dependence on foreign scholarships, which left Ph.D. programmes in local universities dwarfed and neglected. Students in the University want to have foreign degree even though it may be from countries like Eastern Europe and Middle East. At present, Pakistan is producing nearly 50 Ph.D. scholars in science subjects every year, while neighbouring country is producing nearly 3000. Recently, a report was published stating that only 3500 out of 11000 teachers of 57 public sector universities are Ph.D while in India even an Assistant Professor has to have a Ph.D. The report further says that poor higher education during the last 5 decades has drastically affected universities and colleges education in the country. At present a mere 3.7 per cent of youth (16-40 years of age) have access to higher education as compared to 68 percent in Korea of the same group. According to a report, there are 216,490† educational institutions and out of which 106,435 in Punjab, 46,862 in Sindh, 36,029 in NWFP and 10381 in Balochistan.
Pakistan is a land of promise and has tremendous development possibilities by virtue of its unique geographical location, talents of its people, and richness of natural and cultural resources. Pakistan is one of the sixth most populous countries after China, India, USA, Indonesia and Brazil with almost 165 million tough, diligent, and hardworking people. The Pakistan labour force has a reputation of being one of the hardest working forces in the world and is also one of the most cost-effectives in the world and provides high returns on investment. A large percentage of the labour force is skilled. The 45.05 million labour forces includes highly trained and experienced professional managers, engineers, computer scientists, bankers and financiers, vital to the growth and development of the industrial and corporate environment. Pakistan ranks amongst the top seven fastest growing economies of Asia. Except for the periods in the fifties and the seventies, annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been growing at more than 7.5% per year. Agriculture is bedrock of our national economy. It accounts for nearly 20.9 per cent of Pakistan's national income (GDP) and employs 43.4 per cent of its workforce. Besides providing raw material to Pakistan's industries, especially textile, it is the major source of exports: cotton alone contributes about 61.5 per cent, rice 6.6 per cent and leather 4.5 per cent. An overriding consideration is that it provides livelihood to 66 per cent of the country's population living in rural areas. The rural literacy rate is about 42 per cent against the urban literacy rate of 70 per cent, with an overall literacy rate of 54 per cent in a population of 156.77 million during 2006. This factor should weigh heavy in our strategy to alleviate poverty. Hence, promoting scientific agriculture and thereby raising framers income should be the cornerstone of national policy. The agriculture is the mainstay of the economy and employs 48% of the work force; its share in the GDP has declined over time to 24%. At the same time, the share of the manufacturing sector in GDP has constantly been increasing, with the annual growth of the manufacturing sector averaging more than 8% over the last 40 years. In manufacturing, cotton yarn and textiles is the leading sector, followed by food processing industries largely based on indigenous raw materials.
In the last three decades of the 20th century, Pakistan witnessed an unprecedented technological and economic transformation. It was able to achieve self-sufficiency, triple in agricultural exports, reduce poverty, increase income levels, and improve quality of life for its people. The transformation started in the late sixties with the advent of the Green Revolution (a technology package of high yielding varieties of rice and wheat, water, and fertilizer).
Pakistan has made headway in reviving its economy in the last five years by achieving macroeconomic stability, resuming the path for high growth, introducing deep-rooted structural reforms and improving governance
Education is a prime component of human resource development. Only the educated, skilled, and healthy people can make the best use of the enormous natural resources of the country. Service sector has been playing a vital and important role in the economical growth of the country since last many years. This sector primarily comprises of transport, storage and communication, finance and insurance, public administration and defence, community and social services.
Pakistan in recent years has made remarkable progress through reform and the resulting growth of information and communication technology sectors. Of 1,082 active Information Technology companies in Pakistan some 110 are certified by International Standards Organization (ISO). In banking sector, the ATM (Automated Tellers Machine), transactions are about 50% of the total e-banking transactions.
Finally, Pakistan's essential requirement is to develop a potential human-force comprising of resource persons in all segments of social, political, economic, scientific and cultural advancement .With fertile lands, fresh water resources, diverse climate and dynamic people this region could do much better in economic and social development fronts. Within the constraints we should reach the required development levels by deploying knowledge inputs and human capital. Pakistan can meet these challenges by shifting its support from conventional aid to market access, investment, technology transfer, education and training, scientific research, and infrastructure development.