Poverty is usually defined as being poor or inferior in quality. The lack of infrastructure and the deprivation of basic needs are also called poverty. It is a global phenomenon, and almost every state faces the menace of poverty in one way or another.
The first world countries have significantly overcome this issue, but it remains uncontrolled in third-world countries. Especially African Countries and war-torn countries in Asia cannot reduce poverty significantly.
The ratio of Poverty in Pakistan
Pakistan, a country of more than 22 million, has been blessed with unmatched resources, but we have largely been unable to utilize them effectively. Pakistan stands at 147th position in the world HDI index. Although, after decades of struggle, we have reduced the poverty level in Pakistan but could not eliminate it, millions of people still live in poverty. The covid-19 saga and recent flooding aggravated the situation and reportedly pushed 5.8 to 9 million people into poverty.
The country’s unemployment ratio has increased from 4.3% in 2020 to 4.35% in 2021. Political chaos, economic instability, a decrease in foreign investment, and reduced business activities are a few major reasons for the increase in unemployment. Unemployment is directly proportional to poverty.
2- Low development budget
A large portion of our budget is spent on foreign loans and defense. Firstly, we need to generate more wealth, and secondly, use the major portion for non-development purposes. This restricts the state from creating employment opportunities and providing a better lifestyle to its citizens.
3- Unskilled labor
Most of our professionals, employees and workers need to be more well-trained. That’s why we rely on conventional methods, which limit our capacity to develop our country on modern standards and keep us from managing our population in a discernible way.
4- Inadequate policy response
Over the years, several governments have initiated poverty alleviation programs which played a critical role in poverty alleviation, and millions of people are taken out of poverty. But still, more than our efforts are needed to overcome this challenge. One of the major reasons is the poor implementation of policies.
Major poverty alleviation Programmes
1- Benazir Income Support Program
This program was launched in 2008 to assist struggling families unconditionally. It is considered one of the biggest poverty alleviation programs in Pakistan. Millions of households are being supported via this program. Especially. It helps women and poor minority families.
2- Ehsaas program
The then government took several initiatives under the Ehsaas program in 2019 to reduce social inequality and support the lower strata. Ehsaas emergency cash program, Ehsaas paragraph, Ehsaas scholarships. Ehsaas Ration Riyaat are the factions of this initiative.
3- Kamyaab Jawaan program
This program is aimed at providing assistance and resources to youth. Young people can take advantage of this program through youth empowerment programs, loans for startups, and youth councils. It aims to provide youth with the required skills and resources to let them define their future according to their desires.
1- Job Creation
Thousands of graduates are unemployed. The government can employ them by creating new job opportunities. The state has all resources to create jobs and employment opportunities, and by using its resources prudently, it can provide jobs to employed people.
2- Minimum wage parameters
Pakistan’s minimum wage model is outdated and does not align with modern needs. Firstly, our minimum wage standards are quite less, and secondly, the government could not bind businesses and corporations to pay the defined amount to workers. The minimum wage should be around 58000 per month, as suggested by researchers.
3- Skills learning programs
The modern world provides us with multifold advantages to upgrade our lifestyle. Policymakers can design policies by considering modern trends, and this could produce wealth and skilled employees. For example, by using information technology, we can produce millions of jobs.
4- Childcare and early education
Low-income families cannot afford quality health and education for their kids, but the state can provide them. It will help them to utilize their limited resources better, and quality health and relevant education will enable students to adapt to modern standards and learn modern knowledge.
Uncontrolled population growth, illiteracy, Energy crises, high taxes, and political and economic instability are some major reasons.
Economic parity, political and economic stability, industrialization, foreign investment, relevant education, and skilled-based programs can reduce poverty.