By: Sajjad Hussain Shaikh
“It is the prime responsibility of a country to provide basic life necessities to ensure that the common man is not deprived from his basic rights.”
Karachi: Poverty, which outraging our society today, is one of the major issues affecting humanity globally. This menace usually emerges, when the relevant authorities fail to manage state resources for the development of the society. Moreover, this practice is not limited to the boundaries of Pakistan, but it has now become a global issue. Recognizing the magnitude of poverty, United Nations (UN) initiated the concept of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000. Whereby, 187 countries participated and agreed to work for the betterment of society by specifying certain objectives. Not surprisingly, poverty eradication was the major goal of MDGs, and was further supported by improvement of health and education status to alleviate poverty.
According to the World Bank, the international poverty line is $1.25, which is roughly Rs.125 per day. Earning $1.25 per day is a very small amount to fulfill basic needs. This is not because they are illiterate and unemployed, but it is due to government inefficiency. It is the prime responsibility of a country to provide basic life necessities to ensure that the common man is not deprived from his basic rights.
Pakistan is no exception to this issue. According to Economic Survey of Pakistan 2014-2015, over 60% population is living below the poverty line. There are numerous reasons behind this, such as government inefficiency, deep-rooted corruption, illiteracy, discouraged Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and a dearth of investment in capital intensive units.
Turning the pages of history, the gap of leadership was widened soon after the demise of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the proud founder of the nation. He was the man who spoke for the poor class and came up with various strategies to alleviate poverty from the region. However, after his death, no one was there to execute the strategies with the same fervor and dedication. Although every government-in-power formulates pro-poor policies but their implementation turns out to be a mere failure. Hence, people of our country are left shaken and devastated since government officials have failed to serve. The people at the helm of the affairs of our country have nullified the true meaning of Leadership – they are more concerned about their own comforts and luxuries, while the poor remain in tatters. True leaders, as depicted amongst the major figures like Quaid-e-Azam or Nelson Mandela always worked for the greater good of the society in general and the country, in particular. Notwithstanding this, the current state of leadership has resulted in a collapse of the social etiquette.
It is tragic to see how corruption has become a norm in our society. Public institutes lack to impart proper knowledge, that can not only improve a person academically but could also not help them understand the do’s and don’ts of our society. Moreover, it is a trivial task to get a job in a government organization. The formula is simple – pay a handsome amount and get into the system. Taking this peculiar issue into consideration, the preceding government initiated the concept of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). Through BISP, government distributed cash amongst the poor and needy on monthly basis. However, the program has failed to achieve its desired goal.
Education plays an important role in eliminating poverty, the higher the education, the better it is for the economy. According to the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, “Every individual has to obtain 16 years of education”. Government has always designed effective policies to eliminate poverty through education yet fails to implement them and it seems impossible for programs like these to come to any conclusion.
At last, due to crippling law and order situation, the decline in foreign direct investment (FDI) has further reduced the employment opportunities in our country and fuelled poverty. It is high time that the government officials step up and take austere measures to escape the menace of poverty, as it is the root cause of all evils bewildering our country today.
The writer is a business student of IoBM Karachi.