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Home » پوھوزانت » Washuk – Poorest of the PoorBy Manzoor Mosiani

Washuk – Poorest of the PoorBy Manzoor Mosiani

When it comes to Balochistan there is even no short enthralling story to cover up the misery and under – development yet expressed through all the stakeholders. A recent World Bank report reveals a bleak picture in the series, Balochistan province having the most of the poverty stricken districts amongst the forty districts surveyed across the country. Whereas Washuk District –  in Balochistan resides at the bottom where 72.5 percent people live below – the – poverty line. Poverty can be defined in many ways – by the levels of income, assets, calorie intake, per capita gross national product, or combination of factors such as United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Index. Simply put it, living on US$ 1.90 per day. Poverty is also described paradoxically as inequality of power and its distribution.At first place, given below are some data to help understand the causes of extreme poverty in Washuk District. The first and foremost reason is having not enough food intake containing nutrition, unavailability of safe clean drinking water even to 91 percent population. Deficient universal health coverage systems, insufficient medical practitioners and medicine shortages to prevent or cure the most common diseases. One hospital (24 bedded) two Rural Health Centers (12 bedded each) 22 Basic Health Units and 12 Dispensaries with 11 male doctors and 1 female doctor serve the patients. Human resource development has been taken for granted, lack of educational staff and facilities with a low literacy rate of 36 percent over all, and 16 percent for female is recorded. Vocational training centers not existent. The district covers an area of 33,093 sq. KM out of which 8498 hectares are being cultivated. There is joint ownership or communal nature of land, obsolete ways of farming, limited mechanization as well fertilizer, spray use etc. Problems in packing and marketing of the agriculture produce are some of other reasons of the widespread poverty. Vulnerability to natural calamities – floods and rains discourage farming too. Likewise, live – stock rearing is hardly viable economically given the alternative cyclical drought spells in a short period of time. The last animal census 2006 report, enumerates there have been 1404683 animals mainly 665903 and 635731 sheep and goat respectively.Geographical isolation being away from the historical trade routes and centers of civilization, remote locations are reckoned the other causes. Poor road network and lacking in link roads to the villages hinder the mobility of goods and services as1013 KM roads and 1326 KM tracks (both in Kharan and Washuk Districts 2016 – 17 figures depict). The district is off – grid 557 domestic electricity connections including 47 commercial consumers are just beneficiaries, from both the sources Small Power House at District Headquarter Washuk and imported electricity from the bordering Iran. As there is no electricity so there are no civic amenities and economic activities. Utilization of technological gadgets is out of question.Lack of opportunities, sparse and scattered population are the other causes. The restricted and imperfect under utilization of raw natural resource extraction surfaces an other reason, as 2289 Matric Tons Chromite were dispatched from the district to the market along with a negligible quantity of Antimony, Fluorite and Manganese.Government of Balochistan services sector only employs 6307 individuals in the whole district having a population of 176206. While Federal Government has only four Post Offices with around two dozen employees and the skeleton staff for Pakistan Telecommunication. As far the social safety nets – social protection Zakat for the 541 Mustahikeen PKR 1000 per person per month and Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) cash grants for the 1816 women PKR 5000 per person on every three months is being availed. Paucity of incomes, savings, and out flow of meagre capital accumulated towards big cities, weakens the base for capital formation, limits investment avenues and deters enterprises, except small trade.Inequalities particularly based on social standing and gender discrimination complicate the nature of the problem of poverty by segregating the women as weak and powerless section of the society. In addition, the often competing inter and intra tribal organizations for pride negate social negation. Resource distribution system, specifically the post 7th NFC Award – one size fits all, seemingly an equal distribution to all the Provincial Assembly constituencies ignores the needy and the ones already deprived. The decade long violence claiming hundreds of lives, unavailability even of such crucial data as the provincial Gross Domestic Product shows indifference of the official sources to probe into the economic conditions. Trade barriers with neighboring countries too is a reason. Eventually, the dysfunctional Local, Provincial and Federal Government institutions and their complex structures add into the backwardness of political economy.If the causes are examined carefully the consequences of the grim socio – economic conditions may get addressed. Presently the effects are not far to see, as multitudes of semi – starved people, physically and mentally weak, illiterate and ignorant folks with a herd instinct. Exposed to ill-being, diseases, despaired, hopeless, and with a low life expectancy low birth weights stunting in children. Unemployed, disengaged paranoid and alienated youth bulge turning to violence and drug abuses easily fall to temptations creating law and order situations time and again. Low standards of living and improper housing portray a picture of the by gone ages. Then whatsoever the tiny savings, flow out and the comparative well off migrate to cities to have the safety of and facilities over there. Smuggling of goods contraband also, and human trafficking is on the increase in the district. The businesses being illegal brings with it the risks of life and limb, imprisonment combined with confiscation of merchandise, scarcely helps to lift people out of endemic the poverty as the uncertainty and doom always loom over.Presently there is enough of economic development policy understanding at organizational level from top – the United Nations to the bottom – the Local Governments. According to an erudite writer, the interests for a peaceful, progressive, and prosperous Pakistan demand that the constitutional guarantee for uniform development of all parts of the country is honored. Thereby, Pakistan will fulfill its commitment under Article 71 of the already ratified International Covenant on Economic, and Cultural Rights which says: the provision of the present Covenant shall extend to all parts of federal States without any limitation or exception.The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan – Principles of Policy – chapter 2, envisages under Article 37 Promotion of social justice and eradication of social evils and Article 38 Promotion of social and economic well-being of the people. The constitutional provisions are a manifestation of the national commitment for the protection of the rights of people in such far flung areas. Likewise, The Balochistan Local Government Act, 2010, contains that the government, shall take into account the principles of need, capacity, effort and performance of local councils while making recommendations.Policies are the personalities set the pace of development, is a question. In spite of the clear policies there are mystified practices. Policies are all inclusive and practices are all exclusive. Policies are egalitarian practices are discriminative. Policies are need based practices are greed based. Policies are unifying practices are divisive. Policies are guided practices are hotchpotch. Policies are quantifiable practices are immeasurable. Policies are time bound practices are indefinite. Policies have vision practices have but tunnel vision. The gap between the proportionally real policies and the false practices are to be critically examined to bridge the said gap.In principle proper institutions are required for socio economic development to take – off and gradually get sustainable. Purely traditional corporate economics Cost – Benefit ratio and supermarket mindedness of Internal Rate of Returns may not work. Successful models – practices are available to be explored and replicated for development of the under – developed. Meanwhile, technologies, innovations and interventions can bring a positive change by creating space for progress and development. However, keeping the ground realities in sight, the prospects need a determined will, conducive environment, fund allocation and strategy for implementation to reduce poverty overtime. The paradigm shift in thought and action shall be spearheaded by the government – as responsibility always lies on its door, together with non – governmental organizations, philanthropists, civil society shall be taken on board for a continuous policy input with an efficient, effective and accountable management. The commitment to struggle alongside poor people for their well – being against the economic and political structures that cause and perpetuate poverty demands a development conscious leadership to make progress possible step by step overcoming the daunting challenges of physical infrastructure to social infrastructure can’t be over emphasized.Meanwhile the way forward can be taken in line with the commitments made under the Agenda 2030 – Sustainable Development Goals, the UN has initiated in 2015, and more precisely in the words of Bill Gates on the SDG’s: Even a poor country can do a good job on health, can do a good job on agriculture, on education. That provides a lot of hope because you can copy what’s being done there. Rwanda has been a good outlier in the quality of those health services. Ethiopia, on agriculture, is growing over 5 percent a year. In education Vietnam is one we talk about, because they’re so far ahead of where you’d expect given their wealth. But it’s when you get those three things together – health – education, agriculture – that eventually these countries can become self – sufficient.

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