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Published Date: Jan 9, 2017

SDPI Press Release (January 9,2017)

Senior economists urge government to intensify efforts on poverty alleviation
To eradicate poverty in all its form, Pakistan will have to intensify and enhance its efforts on Poverty alleviation. The need for dealing multi-dimensional poverty was urgent in its nature and thus demanded multi-facet strategy to bring about actual change at different levels. Next fifteen to twenty years would be decisive for the economic future of Pakistan as this would be an era offering number of opportunities and challenges simultaneously.    The panel of senior economists expressed these views during the seminar ‘Poverty as Functional Deprivation’, held by Sustainable Development Policy Institute here on Monday.
Dr. Rafi Amir-ud-Din, while presenting the study ‘Poverty as Functional Deprivation’ as Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) as new measure of poverty, said that the new SDGs commitment comprehended multifaceted nature of poverty by committing to “ending poverty in all its forms”. However, he said, no consensus has been reached upon about the definition and measurement of poverty.
He explained that going beyond money base measures, recent understanding saw poverty as much more than lack of income extending the scope to Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to very broad and social exclusion, hunger, unemployment and ill-heath are just some of the many dimensions of poverty.
Dr. Rafi Amir-ud- Din added further that our estimates suggested that the global poverty has only modestly come down by 4 percentage points from 35% in 1990-2000 to 31% in 2001-2010. This contrasts sharply with the estimates based on the poverty line of the World Bank which suggests that poverty has nearly halved from 47% in 1990 to 24% in 2015.
Likewise, he said poverty in Pakistan was 55% in the initial period which came down by 5 percentage points to 50% in a decade (2001-2010). Without sufficiently enlarging our focus to include important dimensions of wellbeing in our analysis and without distinguishing the relative importance of those dimensions, we might miss many aspects of poverty and deprivation which blight human lives in extremely unpleasant ways, he concluded.
Renowned economist Dr. G.M Arif was of view that the government of Pakistan was trying to alleviate poverty by income support through BISP, However, poverty has many dimensions and needed to be dealt with multi-sectoral strategy.   He said that the policy makers must include area wise vulnerability in the strategies aiming to combat poverty.
He said that CPEC and youth bulge was offering huge opportunities for Pakistan to include them into poverty alleviations plans. However,   it could not be achieved without applying people centric approach to get fully benefitted from these opportunities.
Earlier, Dr. Sajid Amin, co-author of the study and head of Policy Solutions Lab SDPI, explained the importance of correct measurement of poverty for better and result oriented efforts for poverty alleviation. He said that reducing poverty in all its form was a major SDGs commitment of Pakistan that better execution of poverty alleviation strategies.