Poverty in Pakistan; Causes, Consequences, Solutions
Poverty is a global phenomena it exists when people are deprived of the basic needs mandatory for survival. It is the condition when people have no access to minimum living standards of life i.e. when there is no access to proper food, shelter and clothing. This condition is very high in developing countries and affects people psychologically and physically. According to the World, Bank poverty is hunger, lack of shelter, no access to doctors, having no job, fear of the future and living a day at a time. According to the Asian Development Bank, 21.9% of people in Pakistan are below the national poverty line. The employed population of 3.7% have a purchasing power of $1.90. Only 75.4% of people have access to electricity. 65% out of every 1000 children dies before their 5th birthday. Poor Governance, Corruption, Lack of Education, Landlessness, Political Instability and imbalanced taxes are the main causes of poverty. Poverty as a result give rise to child labour, violence, crimes and poor health etc.
Causes of Poverty in Pakistan
Poor Governance is the root cause of all evils. It creates low business confidence which results in to low investments and growth. Good Governance is important for pro-growth, regulatory, and smooth functioning of labour, land and capital.
Corruption by any means whether at the government level or private level destroys the social structure. Unfortunately, in Pakistan corruption became an integral part of society. Not only practised by a government official but also operated by people as social dishonesty. Everyone tries to do his part of the corruption in one or another way. In the corruption perception index, Pakistan ranks 140 out of 180 countries.
Education guarantees the future of any country. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, the education system is very vulnerable. Low allocation of budgets and less concentration of government has drastic impacts on education. According to the institute of Social and Policy Science Pakistan has the second highest number of out-of-school children in the world after Nigeria. The contemporary situation of education will be translated into the country’s future.
As most of the people in Pakistan earn their living from agriculture. So it is very important to keep good care of this sector. The rampant divisions of land in the families have caused landlessness. Most people do not own land. Some work for very less wages and are exploited at the hands of others. Only 37% of the population their lands. 80% of the poor population are from rural areas associated with agriculture.
Investors and industries play a major role in a country’s economic growth. In Pakistan shortsighted policies, political instability, weak regulatory system create fear in industrialists and investors which causes the closure of businesses. Due to recent political turmoil some major companies like swayl, airlift stopped their services. Recently GSK has stopped the production of Panadol.
Every time politicians made promises that a good system of tax will be introduced but no development has been done so far. 80% of the taxes collected are paid by the poor in the form of utilities, electricity bills and mobile balance recharge tax. According to Obed Pasha, Lecturer of Public Policy at Massachusetts, only 5% of the rich are in the tax net. The country’s situation is disastrous as 4 out of 10 have no access to basic amenities of survival.
Consequences of Poverty in Pakistan
In Poverty families lack the basic needs of survival so how can they send their children to schools. Most of the children are drubbed into child labour. According to the Federal Bureau of Statistics, 4 million children between the ages of 14-15 are out of school and involved in heavy labour like mines, heavy voltage wires, bricks, the cement industry and tobacco.
According to Woodrow-T.Wilson “No man can worship God and love neighbour on empty stomach” Poverty forces individuals to do immoral things. It makes people careless. A large percentage of people get involved in crimes and do not think about the way they earn.
Poverty causes a surge in crime and violence. Mostly results in prostitution and street crimes. Females are forced to sell their bodies which is the worst form of violence.
Poverty results in poor health. No proper food, shelter and access to the doctor cause severe health complications. In the life expectancy index, Pakistan is 135 out of 194 and life expectancy is less than 65 years which is very low compared to other countries.
Solutions of Poverty in Pakistan
To ameliorate the issue of poverty proper policies should be framed. Politically motivated programs like Benazir Income Support should be made productive. A good deal of funds needs to be allocated to education and health. Very vulnerable people should be helped with Zakat, Benazir Income Support and Baitulmaal. Skill-based education should be provided to make people more effective in the job market. Money should not be wasted a proper framework is needed to identify the neediest sectors.