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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Poverty and Human Development in Pakistan

Poverty makes the division of the economy difficult on the governmental level because every sector of society starts declining, economic demands increase, and the supply of the economy starts shrinking. National income can be distributed appropriately when there is equality and access to resources is available to everyone without any difference.

Economic growth plays an instrumental role in reducing poverty and improving the quality of life. People’s standards of living depend on their economic level. Economically well-off people play a better role in the development of the nation. The economic prosperity of a nation depends on the fulfillment of basic needs. The different levels of the economy decide the people’s distribution of poverty, class differences, and inequality. Poverty causes illness in the body and crime in society.

Poverty makes the division of the economy difficult on the governmental level because every sector of society starts declining, economic demands increase, and the supply of the economy starts shrinking. National income can be distributed appropriately when there is equality and access to resources is available to everyone without any difference. Due to a lack of equal distribution poverty is growing, and society’s demarcated into various segments. Basic needs (purchasing power) of which are some of the components that must be available to everyone for the sake of living.

Read more: Govt’s Rs. 407 bln interest-free loans to reduce poverty

When people cannot fulfill basic needs, it is called extreme poverty

There is a need to evaluate the causes of prevailing poverty in Pakistan and arrive at solutions that this opinion article aimed at.

Most societies in Pakistan are male-dominated due to elements of breadwinners and patriarchy. Most women in far-flung rural areas are limited to their homes and have no access to education or health facilities. The inequality of gender results in a reversed human development role on a large scale. Women’s empowerment remains declining in major parts of the country, and it is possible only by the quality of education and opportunities. The average level of human capital is negatively affected by the lower education of females, and the return to education has dropped.

The ratio of human capital to physical capital determines the country’s growth. Physical capital expansion is possible through an increase in human capital, and it enables the long-term poverty alleviation process in a country. Human resources play a more significant role in economic development than physical natural resources, as humans themselves are the active agents, while physical natural resources are the passive agents in economic development. Industrialization factors added fuel to poverty by different means, like unstable exchange rates, black markets, the heavy amount of indirect taxation, and inequality in tax concessions to mega industries.

Read more: Shaukat Tarin believes Islamic banking system can reduce poverty

Analyzing the statistics

Multidimensional poverty in Pakistan overall is 48.7%, 5.2% is very severe, and the gap is 12.34%. In Pakistan overall, urban poverty is 14.32%, with a 0.59% severity and a gap of 2.14 %, while rural poverty is 64.8%, the severity is 7.24 %, and the gap is 17.38%.

According to the UNDP report 2019, the female HDI value for Pakistan is 0.456, the male HDI value is 0.612, and Pakistan’s GII (Gender inequality index) is 0.538, ranking 135 out of 162 countries. Participation in economic growth is necessary for those who strive hard to elevate themselves from the extreme poverty level of life. They work hard for a living, balancing their earnings and expenses. With time, some people gain access to different opportunities and involve themselves in the unending process of economic growth. There is marginalization in society and a level of poverty. Because of the crippling of the economy, achieving national growth is challenging.

A country with a lower GDP per capita has a high poverty level, harming human development. According to the World Banks’ estimation, poverty in Pakistan has increased from 4.4 percent to 5.4 percent in 2020, as over two million people have fallen below the poverty line. Moreover, 40 percent of households suffer from moderate to severe food insecurity in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s progress in the social sector is lagging far behind

There is a large number of out-of-school children in the country. In addition, Pakistan has the highest infant mortality rate. The Sustainable Development Goals 2030 calls for an end to poverty in all its forms, gender equality, and quality education as part of its agenda. So far, Pakistan has made no significant progress and has been categorized as off-track. It is unlikely that the country will achieve targets under this goal by the next decade with this progress. In Pakistan, poverty is still prevalent and remains one of the main challenges for the government.

Read more: Govt to launch poverty-alleviation ‘Kamyab Pakistan’ on July 29

Though Pakistan is making efforts to improve human development, the socio-economic conditions of a large segment of the society show that these efforts are inadequate. Pakistan needs to take adequate measures to ensure the implementation of SDG-1(No Poverty) and improve human development.

 

 

The writer is a Research Officer at Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN) at BUITEMS, Quetta. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.