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Published Date: Dec 29, 1993

A Model for Social Development Based on the Community (P-20)

Moazam Mahmood
1993

1 The Imperative for Community Organization

The Social Action Plan (SAP) by persistent poor performance in the social sectors has been necessitated to conceptualise, plan, and implement SAP in Balochistan, it is necessary to address three problems, namely, Low level of investment; Inefficient utilization of investment; and inadequate management and maintenance of developed capacity.

The lack of investment in the social sectors is clearly the cause of the deficiency in social services.  The additional funding made available through SAP does address this problem, but only in part.  The creation of additional capacity in the social sectors, as seen above divides into two financial parts. One part is development expenditure for the new capacity, which is one off cost, and the second part is maintenance expenditure for this new capacity, which is a recurrent cost.  The additional funding made available through SAP meets the development cost, and the recurring cost only for the 3 years over which SAP extends.  So one major problem for the province will be the need to find funding for the recurring cost after 3 years.  A more long run problem will be to maintain the rate of growth of development expenditure after 3 years, to prevent a deterioration in the per capita gains made during SAP.

Therefore a one off step up in investment in the social sectors for 3 years is not a sufficient condition for long run improvement.  What is needed is the ability to generate an increase in investment over a much more sustained period of time.

The second major causal factor is inefficient utilization of investment to create capacity in the social sectors.  Low as the investment levels are for the social sectors, even these are not well utilized.  As a result, social capacity is significantly lower than that warranted by extant levels of investment.  There is in effect a trickle down theory working in social sector investment at present.  This implies a very erroneous policy implication for the social sectors, that with a large expenditure in the social sectors, some of it will hopefully trickle down and manifest itself in additional capacity.  This policy is clearly not acceptable in a recession ridden world economy, and a budget deficit constrained national economy. Yet if SAP investment is carried out in the same way that it has been done in the past, we can only hope for trickle down, and the crisis will persist.

The third major causal factor contributing to the crisis in the social sectors is a demonstrated inability to maintain established capacity.  There are schools without teachers, basic health units without staff and medicines, and population planning units without clients. Since the whole objective of social sector capacity is to deliver social services, service-less capacity cannot really be counted as capacity. And if SAP investment is carried on as past investment has been, then we will simply get more of the same, a high proportion of service-less capacity.

So we have 3 sets of causal factors leading to the present crisis in the social sectors.  If SAP investment is made as past investment has been, then we will face three sets of problems. There will be the short run problem of recurring costs after SAP, and the long run problem of maintaining the SAP investment growth rate in capacity than warranted by the investment level.  And a high proportion of the established capacity will be service-less.

The considered solution that attacks these 3 causal factors is the organization of the community to participate in these social services.