RISING POVERTY IN PAKISTAN


Pakistan is a poor country. According to the latest report of the State Bank of Pakistan 62 Million Pakistani’s are living below the poverty line. They cannot meet the basic needs from their incomes. They have no proper shelter, they have no access to clean drinking water, they are under nourished and they cannot provide education to their children.

Inspite of the efforts of the government to improve the best of the people, promote economic development and increase production, the number of poor has kept increasing, as also the gulf between the rich and the poor.

The last two years have been particularly bad for the poor and for the economy generally.

The two main factors generally responsible for the situation are the sharp rise in the food prices and the cost of energy. A review of the price trends of essential items during 2007-08 indicates that the major portion of food inflation stemmed from hike in prices of items consumed by the poor household such as wheat, rice, flour, edible oil, vegetables and pulses.

Since April 2007 the economy witnessed over 200 percent increase in the price of palm oil and an increase of 150 percent in wheat and Atta prices. Moreover the price of oil increased by 100 percent in the international market.

The global financial crises, the most severe in the last 70 years, has also had its effects on Pakistan as on other poor countries, coupled with the power crises, the global crises caused a fall in investment, exports and overall industrial activity in the country.

The most recent crises of Atta and Sugar reflect the plight of the poor country and the shape of the things to come in the future.

The government has responded to the situation by Benazir Income Support Program and supply of essential commodities to people through utility stores and Bachat Bazars etc but with only marginal effect.

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