Poverty reduction strategy in Pakistan

by Rahila Shabbir
Poverty reduction has become a great challenge for every Government of Pakistan. As a matter of fact, poverty itself is a challenge which is undefined as well as vague, as the roots of poverty lies scattered in the society like the ends of confused pieces of strings, the end of which is difficult rather impossible to pick out. 
Poverty reduction offers a great challenge to economy like Pakistan. According to World Development Report 2008, countries can be categorized into three main category: Agriculture Economy, Transforming Economy, Urban Economy. And, Pakistan has been placed up into transforming economy. So, to solve the problem of poverty for this type of economy, many but difficult and interrelated pathways are required to transform agriculture into vehicle of industrial revolution, to mechanize each and every sector on new technological basis.
However, in Pakistan poverty reduction strategy was launched by government in 2001 in response to the rising trend in poverty in 1990. Preliminary findings of Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM 2004-05) on poverty status were revealed at the end of February 2006, which indicate that the poverty level in Pakistan has been reduced during last four years. As per HIES survey (2004-05), the %age of population living below poverty line is provisionally estimated at 24.5% in 2005 down from 32.1% in 2001. This suggests a decline of 6.7% in four years.
But, what can be the main cause of this vicious cycle? First of all, all classes of economy generate due to the result of disparity gap between incomes of all classes. So, the main cause of the poverty is the income disparity gap and for economy like Pakistan, unequal distribution of earning livelihood methods also cause the living standards poor, below than to sustain the normal livings. But, how we categorize people in poverty level, because we as a transition economy also facing a portion of people below poverty line. So, to put them equal on the pathway of normal life requires the generation of every life item to them free of costs. But, due to scattered ends of poverty, we can’t do this easily. Second, the main cause can be the frequent migration of the rural people to urban areas in search of earnings, but as low level employee. So, in spite of leaving their home in search of high income, these people fail to get desired amount, so the cost of migration and earning despite providing profits, increases beyond the acceptable level. And, major influence by this migration is that economy becomes concentrated by low level unskilled persons and abundant of one resources increases employer’s benefits and the exploitation of workers occurs. Third, the most important cause is the education and skill level of the people. The role of education in raising the living standard, income, and reducing poverty can be seen by line example of the developed economies, where due to the investment in education sector, all the fields have improved. According to survey, the return of education can be measured in terms of rate of return. In this approach return can be calculated by using an flow of an individual’s future earnings expected to result from expenditures incurred on education. The present value then can be computed by an appropriate rate of discount. In Pakistan, according to Medium Term Development Framework (MTDF) 2005-10, we are at an extremely sensitive moment in time, when right choices. Priorities, and strategies in Pakistan and all its manifestations can enable us to move forward on path of sustainable and just development.
But, to enable this to occur require the heavy investment in basic needs of like; like food, cloth and shelter and education. The government should influence the agriculture back bone on strong foots to meet food targets. Second, the investment in education can be most important steps.
The school and universities enrollment should increases by proving the income to poor at the very micro-grassroots level to their own area, instead of moving to urban areas. By implementing on strong policies can make it possible to get rid of this vicious cycle.

Courtesy: The nation, 24/3/2008  

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