According to the latest World Bank study, the world is improbable to meet the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030 absent history-defying rates of economic growth over the remainder of this decade. The study also finds that since 1990, Covid-19 dealt the biggest setback to global poverty-reduction attempts and the war in Ukraine threatens to make matters worse.
As the world’s poor faced two extraordinarily tough years, the Bank estimates that these combined crises will lead to an additional 75 million to 95 million people living in extreme poverty in 2022, compared to pre-pandemic projections. If the more pessimistic scenario plays out, 2022 could be the second worst year in terms of the progress made in reducing extreme poverty this century — behind only 2020, when there was an actual increase in global poverty.
International researchers identified that poverty is a crucial immoral or evil which shows the certain percentage of people that are not capable to get a minimum standard of living. Poor people struggle to attain their basic needs while rich people use luxury goods and satisfy their wants and needs. On the other hand, inequality occurs in society and poor people suffer. The poor people have no power over their rights as the rich and upper-class people destroy their rights for their own enjoyment or benefits.
In Pakistan, statistics showed that poverty has risen by 35.7 percent and the prices of edibles have increased by 20 to 31 percent. On the list of international poverty index, Pakistan ranks 92nd out of 116 countries.
The Government of Pakistan is advised to develop a system to control inflation because inflation has been poorly affecting food security for the previous few years. Sources recorded that food security was already affected in Pakistan by terrorist activities conflicts with Afghanistan and weather changes. The rising inflation rate has worsened it in the country. The rapid and continuous rising inflation has deprived people of their food and basic facilities.
Some economists recorded that Pakistan’s economy has crumbled alongside a simmering political crisis, with the rupee plummeting and inflation at decades-high levels, while devastating floods and a major shortage of energy have piled on additional pressure.
Sources said that IMF has rejected to relax its conditions set for Pakistan to complete the 9th review of the $7 billion loan program, which would release almost $1 billion to the cash-strapped South Asian country. The IMF has asked the Government of Pakistan to impose the latest taxes to raise its revenue. However, the government of Pakistan is reluctant to put an extra burden on inflation-bitten people. It is also said that the 9th review for the release of the next tranche of funding has been pending since September, leaving Pakistan desperately reaching out to friendly countries for external financing.
The IMF accepted the 7th and 8th reviews together in August last and released more than $1.1 billion. The South Asian nation’s enormous national debt presently $274 billion or almost 90 percent of GDP and the endless attempt to service it makes Pakistan mainly vulnerable to economic shocks.
Statistics also identified that despite having devoured over $10 billion in foreign grants and loans under the pretext of poverty alleviation and numerous other programs such as BISP and Ehsaas, the Government of Pakistan could not lift a single citizen out of the deep and miserable abyss of poverty. Our country has steadily slipped to a point where its human development indicators are among the worst even in the developing world: 48 million people undernourished, 80 million people illiterate, 90 million people with no access to health facilities, 9th among the top 10 countries with lowest access to clean drinking water and greater than half of children between 5 and 16 not going to school.
Statistics also showed that in Pakistan there are at least half a million sanitation workers, being unlawfully kept on daily wages for the past several years in various municipal corporations, cantonments, solid waste management boards and government organizations. Discriminated on religious and social grounds, they are made to work under inhuman, unsafe and demeaning conditions, such as manually entering and cleaning raw sewage gutters. Ninety percent of them receive between Rs15000 and 20,000 — a far cry from the legal minimum wage of Rs25,000 for an 8-hour shift.
Experts recorded that there is no general or universal social protection system in Pakistan. However, a number of initiatives aimed at assisting the poor through enhancing governance and functioning of public sector institutions; creating assets, employment, and income generation opportunities; revamping social safety net systems; and enhancing access to basic services are being implemented through the government, and also by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.
The government has, over the years, undertaken several public works programs to create assets and employment opportunities for poor people. As per the government officials, social safety net programs offer minimal safeguards to the poor and vulnerable which form an essential element of our poverty reduction strategy. These programs are in the form of direct cash transfers and other services which include budgetary and non-budgetary programs. Budgeted social safety net programs include BISP, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) while Zakat, EOBI, Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) are the non-budgetary part of the program. Microfinance through specialized financial institutions also provides microfinance services to the needy poor.