Strategies for alleviation of poverty

Poverty is a riddle that is unresolved in almost all parts of the world. From global north to global south, poverty is haunting people. It has made days restless and nights sleepless for people. Unsurprisingly, developing countries are faced with more severe affliction of poverty. Majority lives below the poverty line. Poor governance, shambolic planning and corrupt mafias have added salt to the injuries. People are compelled to take up gums or use unacceptable means to have their both ends meet. Neither they are able to breed their children nor to sustain and survive themselves.
Hopelessness and helplessness have ruined their lives. In this testifying situation and tricky time, they are facing dire atrocities at the hands of both nature and high ups. Problems such as child labour, immigration, sex slavery etc. are directly linked to abject poverty. Pakistan’s saga is almost same. People are under clutches of unspeakable poverty on this land of pure. Resultantly, socio-economic issues are mounting day by day. Political crisis, despicable terrorism and shaky governance are common words in Pakistani lexicon. Religious extremism is at zenith and society is utterly derailed.
Previous governments could not hammer out solution and mainstream government also seems uninterested in this matter of grave concerns. Shockingly enough, if government remained adamant to ignore this conundrum, Pakistan will bear unimaginable consequences. Country will keep starring into abyss of intolerance, extremism and ignominy. However, if sincere efforts are taken, Pakistan will leap frog towards progress and prosperity.
The first and foremost step in this regard is to revise economic policies. Though Benazir Income Support Programme is a good package, yet more incentives are necessary to be introduced for the lower strata of society. Government can grant loans to the poor sections of the country. Women can also be included in work force. Bangladeshi entrepreneur Muhamma Younis’ micro loan policy can be replicated. This will enable poor people especially women have their both ends meet.
According to recent reports, 2.4 million children are out of school. This is undoubtedly regrettable. Government must take pragmatic steps in this regard. Since passage of 18th amendment, powers have been devolved to provinces. Hence, provincial governments should go some extra miles to meet the need. An uneducated nation can never become prosperous nation.
Besides, this, innovative and technological knowledge should be provided to people. Majority of population is young in Pakistan. Pakistan can effectively harness its youth through the method. It can train young minds and send them abroad for technical jobs. Remittances increase rapidly and ultimately poverty dilemma will be resolved.
Indeed, this is the world of industrial progress. Industries create job opportunities and assist to alleviate poverty. Government should create job opportunities through establishing and encouraging industries. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor can be a game changer in this regard. This billion dollar project can vigorously be implemented to enhance industrial zones. Pakistan industrial sector is sadly on downward trajectory due to multiple reasons. Arguably, poverty alleviation banks upon industrial development.
Institutions are real strength of a government to maintain its writ. Bad governance and fragility of institutions have deteriorated the conditions of poor people. They are deprived of their fundamental rights. Poverty cannot go away without revamping the structure of governance. The capacity of institutions should be enhanced through significant reforms. Directly or indirectly, this will help in alleviating poverty.
Simultaneously, democracy should be beefed up to bring common men to parliament. Presently, only rich and electable are sitting in parliament. Those who are born with silver spoon in their mouths cannot realize the plight of poor. Pakistani parliamentarians neither know severity of summer nor the harshness of winter. Only a common man understands feeling of a common man. Slowly and gradually, Pakistan will move towards poverty alleviation in this process.
Unfortunately, Pakistani population is burgeoning day by day. The unbridled population growth has resulted in abject poverty. Population is more than resources at disposal. Government must initiate robust population control programmes. Sadly, illiteracy, conservatism and wrong interpretation of religious norms are main hurdles in checking rapid population growth. Ulema should be urged to highlight this issue in sermons and public gatherings. Regrettably, Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) is also playing a negative role. Either CII should be disbanded or reformed to bring those clerics who know about scientific aspect of things besides religious knowledge. Hence, it is need of time to check population growth for poverty alleviation.
Certainly, democracy without accountability is meaningless. Accountability is need of day to alleviate poverty. Pakistan cannot progress unless it infuses accountability in the system. It is unfortunate that National Accountability Bureau and Federal Board of Investigation has become mere jumble of alphabets. They have seen unspeakable fiasco. Corruption has eaten system like termite. Former Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Shareef rightly said, “There is nexus between criminality, corruption and terrorism. Right, it is time to snatch the hour and strive for accountability to alleviate poverty.
The whole discussion corresponds to conclusion that poverty is a big deal in Pakistan. It is not a new phenomenon but chronic one. True, the salvation of country lies in alleviating it once for all.
The first rate economic strategies, abiding international obligations and providing education to masses can pave the way for a glorious future. Besides, tapping natural industrialization and introduction of incentives for lower classes of society can benefit in the long run. It is true that a strong democratic setup coupled with accountability, good governance and discipline is needed.
Moreover, complete eradication of corruption and equitable resource allocation are necessary. Media campaign can also play paramount role in alleviation of poverty. It is hoped that a day will come when poverty will become on obsolete word in Pakistan. As Emily Dickason said, “Hope is the thing with feathers-perches in the soul-and sings the tune and never stops.”