CAPITALIZING ON HUMAN CAPITAL IN BALOCHISTAN
Apr 27 - May 10, 2009
The modern economists use the term 'human capital' for education, health and other human capacities that can raise productivity when increased. The analysis of investments in health and education is unified in human capital approach. The human capital approach focuses on the indirect ability of education and health to increase utility by increasing incomes. Investment in human capital formation means investment in education and health sectors. Only the educated, skilled, and healthy people can make the best use of the enormous natural resources of a country. Unfortunately, Pakistan spends 1.5 percent of GDP on education while 0.5 to 0.6 percent of GDP on health, compared to India, which spends 4 to 5 percent of GDP on health and education.
Human development provides a wide range of choices and opportunities to the people for employment, nutrition, education, and health care. Sustainable growth and poverty reduction objectives are concomitantly linked to significant investment in human capital. The better human capital equipped with education in science and technology can be instrumental in increasing productivity in all economic sectors. This will enhance industrial productivity and increase exportable output of the country.
The good governance is essential for the development of human resources. It ensures the transparency, efficiency, and rationality in the utilization of public funds and national resources, encourages growth of the private sector, promotes effective delivery of public services, and helps establish the rule of law. Along with good governance, the people-friendly policies, and sound macroeconomic management are also of immense importance in this context.
Balochistan is rich in natural resources. These natural resources however will have no impact on development if it is not matched with human resources that can tap this natural endowment. Therefore, in any development strategy for the province, human resource development is a key factor. A comprehensive and long-term policy for human resource development in the province will base on triadic structure.1. Education, 2. Health care, 3. Women empowerment
Education is the best tool of human capital formation. There is a greater need to allocate significant resources for human development so that local people could benefit from the expected upsurge in economic activities in the province in the near future. Access to the high-tech computing services is the requirement of present age of globalization. Information technology, scientific management related education, and value adding knowledge are considered the keys and secrets of winning success in today's world of science and technology.
The government should arrange for launching on-job training programs for the people in Balochistan. The education at primary, secondary, and higher levels and the technical education according to the needs of 21st century should be provided to the students in the province. Secondary level education should be prioritized that will be instrumental in provision of critical skills, which are highly desirable for the economic development of the province.
The government must take steps to combat technological backwardness in the province and establish technical institutes in various districts to develop human capital. Not the government alone but all the social organizations, institutions and NGOs should come forward to help develop human resources in the province.
The second leg of a comprehensive human development policy is the maintenance and promotion of health standards in Balochistan through provision of better health care services and nutrition. A healthy population can work better for the economic progress of the province fully utilizing its capabilities and skills. For obtaining this health capital in the province, there is a dire need to resolve basic and pressing issues related to the health sector.
The health indicators in Balochistan like infant and mother mortality are poorer than any other province. Malaria, Typhoid, Hepatitis, gastrointestinal, and respiratory disorders are common. In rural areas, the health status is relatively poor. According to an estimate, 1432 health units spread over the province. There is only one doctor available for 7300 persons, in average. Lack or absence of female health staff including female doctors in rural Balochistan worsens the situation.
Medical staff tends to serve in Quetta, the provincial capital. Their concentration in Quetta and unwillingness to stay in rural areas affected the health status of rural population that have limited or no access to health services in their areas. The government must announce special and attractive packages for medical staff to serve in rural Balochistan.
Major causes of water-related diseases include lack of water supply and sanitation facilities, no proper sewerage disposal, waste mismanagement and contaminated water. These diseases can be prevented by facilitating the population with proper sewerage and sanitation disposal systems. Serious efforts are needed to combat public health problems in the province. Population welfare programs should be made more effective and more Lady Health Workers be appointed to meet the needs of the growing population in Balochistan.
Third leg of human development policy should be creating conditions leading to the economic empowerment of women in the province. They should be provided with the opportunities to play their role at all levels and in all types of development activities. They must have the opportunity and be provided with an environment to develop their talents. Local women should get the possibility to enter all types and all levels of education and training. Education and training facilities should be provided to a large extent on the inputs women are already providing.
According to a UN literacy survey report, females in rural areas with lowest literacy rate are more inclined to embroidery. They, belonging to the lower class of society, live under poverty, and for them making money on embroidery skills is a real bonus in life. Females from all age are engaged in doing embroidery skills, however, majority of them belong to young age. The learning of embroidery is formal for majority of them, as they do not undergo any specific training for that; nonetheless, it needs special skills to do it properly. The embroidery involves a lot of eyesight work as one has to concentrate all on stitching without losing a trace, otherwise it can spoil the work. The important thing in needlework is cleanness and sophistication of stitching. In rural areas, women spend longer time in needlework doing it in night under a lamp, are prone to eyesight problems.
The handicraft work is common in the rural areas, where females having learnt the handicraft skills are actively engaged in sewing them to raise a livelihood for their families. Handicrafts can play an important role in women's economic empowerment, especially in rural Balochistan, where it is generally practiced at local family level. The tribal system also hinders the development and promotion of this sector, as women are not allowed to play their vital role in a free environment. Tribal restrictions confine the women to their houses restricting their free movement in the society and thus they remain unaware of the rapidly changing trends in designing and marketing of the products.