“Poverty is a multi-dimensional trend which is characterized by lack of income and non-fulfillment of basic needs as well as lack of access to social infrastructure.”
Poverty refers to the state of being poor, including deficiency of capital and lack of the means of providing material needs and comforts. In developing countries poverty is common in all the regions.The report states 38.8% of Pakistan’s population lives in poverty. A majority of the rural population (54.6%) lives in acute poverty while this ratio is only 9.4% in urban areas, emphasizing the need to make rural-centric economic policies.Among the provinces, multidimensional poverty is the highest in Balochistan and the lowest in Punjab.
If regions are also included, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) has the highest poverty rate, where three out of every four persons (73.7%) are poor.
Fata is followed by Balochistan (71.2%) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), where half of the population (49.2%) suffers from acute poverty and deprivation.
In Sindh, 43.1% population is extremely poor due to lack of education, health facilities and poor living standards. In Gilgit-Baltistan, 43.2% people are poor while in Punjab, three out of ten (31.4%) and in AJK four out of 10 (25%) persons are poor.
Except K-P, where the poverty level remained almost the same over a period of two years, in the other three provinces the acute poverty level declined from 2012-13 to 2014-15.
Causes of poverty may be divided into following three categories:
1. Economic cause: Unemployment is the major cause of poverty.Rate of unemployment is 5.5 %, 16 % is underemployed and 20 % is disguised unemployed in Pakistan.Due to backwardness, political instabilities and improper availability of infrastructure the attraction for foreign investment is not suitable. Foreign investment is $ 1.8 billion in Pakistan. Lack of foreign investment means less employment opportunities and poverty.Poverty in Pakistan is also the result of low level of national income. Low level of national income means low level of saving and low level of investment. All these factors contribute toward poverty.Utility charges like water, gas, electricity, telephone bills etc. are increasing day by day in Pakistan. More utility charges lead to reduction in the saving of population and its result is poverty.Per capita income of Pakistan is as low as $ 1095. Low per capita income means low level of saving and low level of investment. Its result is poverty.
2. Political cause: Law and order conditions are at their poor stages. A huge portion of saving of population is wasted in costly and lengthy legal process Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has to wait for justices for a long period in Pakistan. Unstable government and instability in the policies of government is another cause of poverty. Every government remains fail to establish such policy that leads to reduce the poverty.Nepotism means the murder of talent and abilities. It refers to the employment opportunities according to relation not according to the worth. If population is poor but is talented it remains poor due to nepotism.
3. Social cause: Rapidly rising population is also a cause of poverty. Existing population is already not provided basic necessities of life. So increase in population will lead to increase in poverty. Total population is 169.94 million at the growth rate of 2.05 %.Illiteracy and training is also a cause of poverty. It reduces the abilities to work. Sometimes a worker due to illiteracy remains unemployed or underemployed. Similarly, lack of skill in entrepreneur also reduces his profit and its result is poverty. Literacy rate is 57 % in Pakistan. Pressure of foreign countries in our economic activities, backward standard of productivities and improper basic facilities to population reduce the living standard of population. Low living standard is a symbol of poverty.
Govt should take some measures to remove poverty in Pakistan like;
• Control on inflation is compulsory to eliminate the poverty.
• Government should provide more facilities to investors to increase the investment to reduce the unemployment.
• Use of modern techniques of production and subsidies in utility charges is necessary.
• Development of agriculture and industrial sector will reduce the poverty in Pakistan.
• Government should make easy, more and in time availability of various types of credits.
• Govt. should reduce the rate of tax and increase the rate of capital formation.
• Govt. should allocate more funds for education to increase the literacy rate.
• Proper maintenance of law and order in necessary to remove the poverty.
• Check on nepotism is necessary to reduce the poverty.
In Pakistan, poverty is increasing day by day. Effective steps of government are required to reduce it. Government should provide credit facilities and use labor intensive techniques of production to reduce the poverty.