Poverty cannot be described it can only be felt. One knows more about poverty when he is hungry and cannot purchase food, he and his children want new clothes but they can’t purchase it because of low income, he is sick and doesn’t have money to medicine, he wants his children to be sent to school but cannot bear educational expenditures.
Poverty is defined as ‘pronounced deprivation in well being’.
According to Federal Bureau of Statistics, Pakistan comprises of 185 million people having growth rate of 4.4%. Unfortunately the literacy rate is 63% officially and much lower according to unofficial resources. 45.6% people are living below poverty line. Unemployment and underemployment go unnoticed. Financial indiscipline, unchecked deficit financing, negligible domestic savings and heavy dependence on foreign borrowing have led to high inflation that has been more or less, a source of mercy and woeful suffering for the middle and low income groups.
Poverty remains a serious concern in Pakistan, particularly in its rural areas. Inadequate access to basic resources and financial and other resources, dis-empowered communities, low social capital, ethnic and religious strife, a spate of national calamities in recent years have all contributed towards the assistance of poverty in the country.
The factors active behind the increase and origin of poverty vary from political, economic to social. All the problems together make the picture very haunting as well as concerning. But every hurdle can be overcome, if some correct steps are taken in right direction. By the formulation and implementation of well thought policies, the problem of poverty can be minimized. This will be a slow process but once development gets on its way, it will produce the desired result with every passing day.
Sustained Economic Growth:
The recent trends in global and regional poverty clearly suggest one thing and that is, the rapid economic growth over a prolonged period is essential for poverty reduction. At the macro level, economic growth implies greater availability of the public resources to improve the quantity and quality of education, health and other services. At the micro level, economic growth creates employment opportunities, increases the income of the people, and therefore reduces poverty. Many developing countries have succeeded in boasting growth for a short period. But only those who have achieved higher economic growth over a long period have seen a lasting reduction in poverty, East Asia and China are classic examples of lasting reduction in poverty. But this growth doesn’t come automatically. It requires policies that will promote growth. Macroeconomic stability is therefore, key to a sustained high economic growth.
Attraction to Donor Agencies:
For development on large scale, we should attract more and more donor agencies which may be national or international, because the main reason behind the slow progress is lack of funds and resources. The organizations like World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other NGOs should be welcomed and provided with the conducive environment for their operations.
Prevalence of Peace:
The ongoing terrorist and disruptive activities have made the investors draw back their money from the market. For healthy business activities peace should reign in the country. By addressing the root causes of the menace of terrorism and pin-pointing the disruptive elements in the society, this curse can be eliminated. Likewise inter religious and inter sects harmony also plays a vital role in the creation of peaceful atmosphere.
Operation of Utility Stores:
Such stores should be well provided with the items of sale. The demand should be met in time and provision of items of basic necessity should always be made in these stores. The number of such stores should be increased keeping in mind the population of the area and their needs as well.
Functional Price Control Policies:
The price control committees should be made functional at all the levels. The prices prescribed by the government should actually match the prices public is paying. For this purpose complete adherence to the rule or law should be strictly made sure. Any violation of law should be immediately met and punished accordingly. Such a check and balance system will provide same prices for a commodity throughout the country. These committees should also look to the stockpiling of the edibles, because the prices are raised by the creation of artificial shortages. Regular supply of the commodities to the public should be ensured. These artificial shortages should be avoided and government as well as public should meet the culprits according to the law.
Projects of Public Welfare:
Government should start the projects of national importance as well as of public welfare. Enough employment opportunities should be provided to the public. More people should be engaged in such projects and local people should be given preference in this regard.
Although heavy amount has been spent on poverty reduction but the attained results are not up to the mark as poverty percentage stands quite high. Actually government has spent this entire amount only on accelerating economic growth and maintaining macroeconomic stability while, other areas like investment in human capital, augmenting targeted interventions. Expansion of social safety nets and improvement in governance has been left neglected. Employment opportunities should have been created within the industrial and agricultural sector in order to accelerate the production of basic needs so that consumer goods should have been in the reach of low income group. While services sector was expanded without planning, which resulted in the situation that mobile is kept by everyone but they don’t have access over basic needs. Social safety nets have been neglected; there is no proper pronouncement by government in this regard. And finally improvement in governance, which has been left untouched.
Concisely, in spite of all the efforts of government, poverty still stands as an iron wall for Pakistan’s economy. And to break this iron wall we are in need to apply all fine poverty reduction measures at utmost level.