Poverty is Pakistan is not the urban phenomena; it’s purely the rural subject. Pakistan is the sixth most populous country (with the population of 191 million).61% of the population lives in rural areas; 32 % of young people are illiterate and only 6 % have the technical skills. The country has already adopted the sustainable development goals but no considerable efforts have been taken to translate plans into tangible actions. As the result the performance on the human development index is still abysmal. According the UNDP Human Development index report , Pakistan ranks 150 among 189 countries .In other South Asian countries, India was ranked at 130 on the index, Bangladesh 136; Sri Lanka 76, Maldives 101, Nepal 149 and Bhutan 130.Pakistan was lowest in south Asia term of its performance towards human development.
The need of the hour is the presence of proper mechanism at the rural area with clear strategic roadmap and complete package that do not only empower poor socially and economically but to bring a shift in mind-set to end poverty. The already existing social protection programmes are only focusing on the cash transfer and are not actually coming up with desirable results. They have been unable to make everlasting impact for transforming the lives of ultra-poor. Poverty can never be alleviated through financial assistance as it has multiple dimensions. It is more than low income, and resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. It’s in fact includes the hunger, malnutrition, limited access to education, social discrimination, as well as lack of participation in decision making.
The question arises as the social protection programme till to date haven’t shown any significant achievement and could not able to make a difference as its need to be. Then we do require the alternate programmes and the strategies. Villages and rural economy is devastating day by day. Climate change is another big issue. The water crisis in Balochistan and the famine and drought in Sindh are hazardous. We require the permanent democratic set up that help to empower rural poor.
Is it a Local Government System which already has lots of challenges at different provinces is the solution? Will the local set up really deliver and bring transformational change in the social and economic status of the villages? We still need to explore the answers of the question as the different province have different local set up where the Local Government councillor are not that much empowered and capacitated to take action and to bring change at vast level. Pakistan’s national poverty reduction strategy is based on Pakistan Vision 2025, which aims to reduce poverty and to lift Pakistan to upper middle-income status. According to the strategy the policy agenda is going to focus on economic growth economy, social justice and protection and universal access to quality social services. But the question is “Does this strategic vision translates into actions?
Though the Prime Minister first speech is all about the empowering the rural poor’s but doses he along his cabinet will come up an alternate solution to alleviate poverty in Pakistan Or Will they continue the existing practices with new folds?
We can’t achieve the desirable results to eradicate poverty at all levels; until or unless we comes up with the workable solutions by engaging and including the most marginalised segment of the society in the decision making. We require the permanent solution and the setup at the village level that led by the poor’s and remain there for poor’s by bringing more local and innovative solutions to end poverty. Economic growth is essential to poverty but macro-economic growth is not essential to end extreme poverty. Poverty is complex and, multidimensional phenomena, which is inter-generational in nature, affecting entire communities. Extremely poor people are often left out with of the reach of the agriculture value chain and market access for poor paradigm that many donor and the Government led programmes have adopted up till now. Because the people living in rural areas are most likely to be land less and geographically and socially isolated and limited because of complex multi-dimensional nature of severe poverty.
The existing poverty eradicating practices and approaches can never bring the complete picture until or unless its goes beyond to social protection.