Home Opinion Op-Ed Developing Pakistan: Challenges beyond Infrastructure?

Developing Pakistan: Challenges beyond Infrastructure?

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Abdul Rehman Malik |

The Real development transforms people’s lives not just reflect the economic statistics meant to impress the public that Government has undertaken various Development projects to improve the living standards ,but it would make no sense if  human Development Index paints a  dismal picture since Countries Like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are seen well ahead of Us in HDI rankings  calling for gigantic steps on war footing basis to improve our HDI, Economic and Social Development Indicators.

As per Statistics of United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Pakistan ranks 150 as per statistics of the last year 2017, whereas India and Bangladesh retain their upward trends since Pakistan slipped down from the Rank # 117 in 1994 and ranked at the bottom 150. This is really terrible as, despite the passage of 71 Years of Independence, our policies have failed miserably to boost the human development indicators and socio-economic uplift in our country.

The Experts may be taken on board at the national, provincial and District level to form socio-economic development strategies that may bring the real development in the country and the may reap the benefits of the economic boom.

Each year, billions of rupees are allocated for the development projects as proposed by the legislators at Provincial and National level, yet these development projects have so far failed to enhance the country’s human development outlook since these development projects are targeted towards benefitting the big fish rather than bringing any change in the downtrodden masses as real development means more than that, not just economic number game.

Most of the developing countries focus on education, Health, rule of Law and Peace since these are the driving forces to change the troubled figures of HDI and contribute largely to the sustainable development where people are ready to accept change and sustain it for the long run. The failed policies of development are the main causes that led to stagnant development as, before the launch of any new product or service, a company or firm trains the staff to learn the complexities and then launch it for the mass public through its marketing force.

Read more: Pakistan Economy’s Progress Card

The development means to tap or harness the resources to bring in social economic and political change that boosts the economy and brings prosperity to the country. Real Development also means that if you believe that any community needs anything from the Government; it must be provided to them given the circumstances. The timely provision will stop the issue from further aggravation but in case of delay, it may lead to anti-government sentiments and the government may start losing its hold over the public affairs.

We have been habitual or have become used to the idea that getting foreign development aid or grants will help develop our poverty-ridden areas especially the rural areas and the slums in urban cities but real development starts with self-development, self-reliance, education and health. The state can provide the infrastructure such as roads, electrification, water supply Healthcare, schools, colleges and universities but to use all these resources we have to focus on our self-development goals and tap the resources as per the desired requirements.

The timely provision will stop the issue from further aggravation but in case of delay, it may lead to anti-government sentiments and the government may start losing its hold over the public affairs.

Suppose, if we want to educate our children then we should send our children to school to get education and training. Inversely, if we are reluctant to send our children to school and prefer sending them to work as child labor then we cannot blame the government for this since our way of thinking has not changed though, the infrastructure has changed and the Government has fulfilled its promise of providing basic facilities to its people at their convenience and on need-based policy .

The modern development entails four major aspects these are equality, participation, empowerment and sustainability. It means that whatever the development initiatives are undertaken, these must make sure that these are carried on equality basis by promoting participatory development approaches and empowering people to have their say socially, economically and politically that may create the basis of sustainability of such endeavours.

Read more: Pakistani Women: Game changers for the economy!

The development and economic experts are of the view that genuine advancement should change the individual living standards and it should not be limited to have simple monetary benefits. Pakistan has carried out some socio-economic initiatives such as BISP, Pakistan Baitul Maal and other poverty reduction initiatives but these programs and projects are aimed at providing the fish rather than the hook it is a rather flawed strategy.

The monetary grants will never serve as solutions for poverty reduction strategies rather make the poor community dependent on these cash grants that will ultimately destroy their abilities. The Government should impart some technical skills and fund their small enterprises through which the have-nots may generate income and change their financial ability that may raise their economic level to self-reliance.

The development and economic experts are of the view that genuine advancement should change the individual living standards and it should not be limited to have simple monetary benefits.

The socio-economic programs should not be aimed at creating beggary or mockery or greed for money violating cultural norms but these should be directed to income generation and skill development. To bring the real development, we need to study various development models of various nations to know that how these countries transformed the lives of people and brought lasting change by implementing effective development policies.

In this regard, we can use the development or advancement models of China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka to find out the workable and feasible trends suiting Pakistan’ Development strategies given the current circumstances. Besides advancements, we can also study these models to explore their strategies which helped increase the literacy rate and education standards in these countries.

Read more: Pakistan needs to focus on its “Pilgrimage Economy”

The formative development policies must be people-centric devoid of other political reasons. The development policies must be comprehensive to attract people’s attention and transform their social-economic living standards. The Government in this regard should come up with clear policy by taking all the stakeholders i.e NGOs, INGOs including UNDP and World Bank Experts, development and economic Experts, legislators and Policy think tanks such as Sustainable development Policy Institute (SDPI), Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Prime Institute, SPDC, PIDE, IDEAS-LUMS, NSPP, PITAD and IPRI for policy advice and suggesting strategies that may help Pakistan get out of the crisis.

The monetary grants will never serve as solutions for poverty reduction strategies rather make the poor community dependent on these cash grants that will ultimately destroy their abilities.

The International Development organizations, Policy Think Tanks and Planning bodies such as Planning Commission of Pakistan may work out on the plan and may help government devise sustainable Development policy that works for many reasons as in past the flawed policies have dragged the country into the quagmire of Socio-Economic issues causing economic crisis and increasing the debt burden over GDP.

It is high time that we need to address these issues on time, else the circumstances will further aggravate the already dismal situation; and then, it will be beyond our control to find out a remedy or solution for it. The Experts may be taken on board at the national, provincial and District level to form socio-economic development strategies that may bring the real development in the country and the may reap the benefits of the economic boom.

Read more: Pakistan economy set to record fastest growth in 13 years

The real development index (RDI) and the Human Development Index (HDI) rankings will only improve if the government and people be on the same page. The people and opinion leaders must identify the gaps through their voice and write-ups so that the same may be filled to fuel the development planning strategies with sustainable initiatives to raise our bottom rankings to higher scales of development. We have to mull over the Socio-economic models of the countries that have achieved tremendous advancement in Poverty Reduction Strategies, human and economic development rankings.

In this regard, Chinese model may be ideal to get rid of poverty monster and raise the income levels of people so that a lasting change should be brought by tapping the existing resources and providing the basic facilities that may become the hallmark of change and development and setting examples for those who follow these footsteps.

Abdul Rahman Malik is a Policy Researcher, Governance Specialist and Development Sector Professional having worked for Asian Development Bank and other National and International Development Organizations. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 


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