S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
Research Analyst, PAGE
Mar 5 - 11, 2012
Pakistan has been changing and developing but its poverty is not declining. It is a matter of serious concern that there is no decline in poverty in the country despite growth in economic indicators and development. Poverty is shaping into a horrifying giant, which is continuously becoming healthier swallowing the whole developmental resources and each effort done towards the progress is simply going down the drain.
It becomes a great challenge to the rulers, legislators, politicians, policymakers and other concerned regulators in the country.
Poverty is growing rapidly and offsetting the whole economic gains which is a big dilemma. Presently, Pakistan's circumstances is substantially contributing and providing more leverage to the ever rising poverty and vulnerability.
Corruption, illiteracy, unemployment, situation of law and order, these all are strongly inter-related factors. Especially the so called war on terror, which has caused a never ending series of suicide attacks, has simply paralyzed the whole society and economy.
There are several reasons, which are responsible for the exponential poverty rate. Corruption is one of the greater social evils as all efforts being made against this evil go in vain.
There are certain other reasons of great substance, which are expanding poverty in the country like injustice, improper distribution of wealth, unemployment, illiteracy, feudalism, uneven social order and sense of deprivation among the different regional and social groups.
According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the proportion of Pakistan's population living on less than $2 a day (adjusted for purchasing power) has fallen from 83 per cent in 1996 to about 60 per cent now. But, during 2007 the bank also found that Bangladesh and Pakistan were the only countries in Asia where the poorest fifth of the population were worse off than they had been a decade earlier.
Now there is need to devise planning and execution to fight with this social upheaval with the whole available sources and each segment of society is responsible and should act with due course. Measures should be taken immediately to avoid further delay to eradicate poverty from its roots. Several measures can be taken towards the ultimate objective, like enhancement and encouragement of investment especially in the rural areas to generate employment opportunities. Provision of cheap microfinance to the small enterprisers and individuals to assists them and help them to earn their livelihood in respectful manners. Educational with technical and vocational training facilities can help to eliminate poverty. Mapping and capping of corruption will automatically reduce the poverty, certain other social issues like justice at the doorstep, health care facilities, level playing field for all, equality and egalitarianism are quite substantial avenues to start.
PAKISTAN BAIT-UL-MAL (PBM):
A total of Rs2,261 million was disbursed in 2009-10 against 3,432 millions in last 2008-09 (registering a decline by 34 per cent in disbursements and increase in beneficiaries by 82 per cent from 1.16 million to 2.11 million). The main reason behind this sharp decline in overall disbursement was the closure of PBM's Food Support Program (FSP) in 2009-10 as the FSP was merged in Benazir Income Support Program.
IMPACT OF DOMESTIC FOOD PRICE INCREASE ON POVERTY FOR DEVELOPING ASIA
POVERTY BEFORE PRICE INCREASE
POVERTY AFTER FOOD PRICE INCREASE BY
10 % 20 % 30 % Based on $1.25-a-day poverty line Percentage of Poor (%) 27.1 29 30.9 32.9 Change in percentage of poor . 1.9 3.9 5.8 (percentage points) 903 968 1032 1097 Change in number of poor (in millions) . 64.4 128.8 193.2 Poverty gap ratio (%) 6.79 8.15 9.51 10.86 Change in poverty gap ratio (percentage points) . 1.4 2.7 4.1
IMPACT OF DISASTER ON POVERTY
Three times in recent years, Pakistan has suffered from cataclysmic disasters. The earthquake that struck Kashmir during October 2005 killed over 70,000 people and made three million homeless. In 2010, the Indus River spilled over its banks, flooding one-fifth of the country and affecting 20 million people. More than 1,700 people lost their lives. The following year unusually heavy rains-one monsoon's-worth in a day brought renewed flooding in Sindh and Balochistan. Of the inundated area, 35 percent had also been flooded the year before. Over 5 million people were affected. The economic impact of these disasters was not as great as might be expected.
During 2005, the earthquake year, Pakistan's GDP grew by 7.7 per cent, one of its best-ever performances. The floods in 2010 and 2011 had a big impact on people's lives, but again did not dent overall growth that much. During 2010, State Bank was expected that, 6.6 million workers were unemployed for two to three months and capital stock worth $2.6 billion, or 1.2 per cent of GDP, was destroyed. But, agriculture recovered remarkably quickly, with a bumper winter-wheat crop; and, buoyed by the high cotton price, so did textile exports, despite the water logging. The ministry of finance estimated that the huge but somewhat less catastrophic floods in 2011 would shave just 0.5 percentage points off growth for the fiscal year ending in June 2012.
No doubt, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) is making a significant contribution towards poverty reduction. The Government of Pakistan should create a productive and experienced labor force and develop necessary skills to meet the challenges in industrial development through a culture of merit and excellence. The situation prevailing in our country is much inferior but here is the opportunity, challenge for us to fight against this evil at each front of society.