by NASEEB ULLAH KHAN BAZAI -PCS -MSSSA – POVERTY AND BACKWARDNESS IN BALOCHISTAN ITS CAUSES AND REMEDIAL MEASURES
Development in Balochistan is complex phenomenon and despite the claims of the Govt. and other donor and non-Governmental agencies about their expanded intervention and investment in different sectors the impacts on ground are not much visible.
Poverty and backwardness in Balochistan has no doubt remained more pronounced in the pre independence period, but today even after 75 years of independence, the province of Balochistan is still the most backward province when compared with other provinces of the country and the situation on ground gives pity picture of:
2-Non availability of all basic infrastructure, amenities and social services.
3-Wide gap and disparities in the income distribution.
4- Low literacy and standard of education
5-Rapid growth in population.
6-Poor Health facilities and standards.
7-Inadequate opportunities of employment.
8- Strong hold of feudal lords and tribal chieftains
9-Serious gender discrimination
During my long field service in the different capacities, it has been observed that the deprivation is at the extreme level and circumstances are so desperate that in the given circumstances and under present development process and system it is almost impossible to address the problem of poverty and backwardness without formulating and launching an integrated development plan with clarity of mind to do away with existing socio economic development policies and priorities based on discretion and discrimination.
The fair and rational utilization of the available resources, identification of need based community oriented development and manifestation the highest level of spirit of public service at implementation level is the way out Otherwise it would be impossible bring in any visible change betterment and reduce the existing level of deprivation in relation to standards of life which is comparatively much better in the other provinces.
This paper is attempted to update the public representatives, policy makers, the planning and development professionals, the professionals at the implementation level that the existing planning and development policy and approach has completely failed to deliver any good to the common populace. This document brings about the details on the job lessons learnt about factors contributing to the backwardness and combat strategy to be formulated and adopted for the speedy socio economic development of this province and to elevate the province at par with rest of the provinces of the country helping to remove the acute trust deficit and disparities.
The factors/issues involved in the development process resulting in to perpetual poverty and backwardness are discussed in the text of this paper. There are Multiple reasons for the pronounced poverty and backwardness in the province, firstly the province in spites of having huge mineral resources the treasures we have remained unable to exploit the same and has always looked towards federal released in the shape of NFC awards and other development grants
Neither the federal government has paid any attention words speedy socio economic development of the province nor the resources available to the provincial government is purposefully being utilized through sound planning to bring visible change on ground. Owing to defective resource distribution formula adopted where more the 80% of the national resources are distributed on the basis of population and very little percentage on the basis of poverty and backwardness the province of Balocbistan has through-out remained resource deficit further that special grants from the federal government and due royalty on oil and gas development surcharge has always remained irregular and in deficit. But in spite of theses financial constraints whatever resources have remained available to the provincial government has never been utilized appropriately to ensure the availability of civic amenities to the limited population of the province by approving need based community oriented schemes as recommend by multiple development studies carried out through national and international consultants
The followings reasons are attributed to be the root cause of poverty and back wordiness of the province
1.PLACEMENT OF DEVELOPMENT FUNDS AT THE DISPOSAL OF MPAs
Unfortunately, during the dictatorship rule to bribe the politician the policy of development through MPA was introduced and funds were released to picked MPAs under the title of MPA fund to bribe the MPA to secure their support for the unconstitutional rule. Presently above 90% of the available resources are placed at the disposal of MPAs having absolute discretion to utilize the same as per his wish for his person and his supporters to strengthen his own financial position and secure and consolidate his vote bank depriving the others the majority of the population in the same constituency.
MPA fund is serious curse firstly the MPA exercise complete discretion in identification of development schemes on his personal and political considerations with complete disregard to the guide lines under planning manual, and the multiple studies and recommendation of the national and international consultants on the development strategy for the province of Balochistan. The professional at the level of P&D and technical line department have no say to check technical feasibility and economic viability of the development schemes identified/proposed by MPA but are just there to process the MPAs proposals as per good will of the MPA. So above 60% of the funds at the absolute disposal of MPA go down the drain and gets waste through corrupt practices at every level.
This political bribe under the title of MPA fund has not only seriously defeated the uniform development process but has also completely detract them from their political ideology and manifesto the whole politics is transformed into MPA fund leaving no ground for the true political workers to carry forward their ideological. Further none of the MPA today is ready to meaningfully perform the true role of opposition and keep vigilant eye over the performance of sitting government. but MPA while sitting on the opposition benches are part of the government to grab the MPA fund.
Under the democratic system of governance, the opposition has very important role to play, to keep vigilante eye on the performance of the ruling party to put the ruling party on the right track through positive criticism but under the policies and arrangements the Opposition has completely lost its constitutional and moral obligations and has under completion to avail MPA funds join hands with ruling party.
Further that MPA identify and include hundreds of schemes over and above the available resources under MPA fund and allocate minor funds against the same and such schemes remains incomplete for long decades and in case of new regime the newly return do not own and discord all the precious development scheme half way completely wasting the valuable limited resources.
During expanded field experience, it has been observed since placement of huge development funds at the disposal of the public representatives, the development activities in a particular area are being initiated and approved/ executed purely on political consideration instead of actual needs and requirement of the area and its populace resulting into deprivation of huge population and wastage of public money and defeating the spirit of uniform and equitable development.
So the MPA funds which the main cause of corruption/wastage amongst the politicians, bureaucrats, technical professionals need to be discontinues forthwith and the public representative needs to focus on legislation and carrying forward their political ideology and Manifesto instead of doing others jobs which is not their mandate.
2. POOR APPRAISAL /FORMULATION OF DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
Poor appraisal of situation on ground leading to unrealistic and improper planning is another important reason of backwardness in the province, understanding of the actual requirement of population is of paramount importance to ensure development in true sense. This surely requires extensive and careful research and appraisal of on ground situation.
All the development programmers’ needs to be extensively reviewed in the light of authentic statics on backwardness and poverty, and missing facilities and the new interventions on need basis shall be approved with the consultation of concerned communities and implemented through the participation of communities to ensure equitable development and ensure that none of the community is left unattended and deprived.
3.INSTITUTIONAL STRENGTHENING AND CAPACITY BUILDING OF THE GOVERNMENT OFFICERS/ MANAGERS
Beside need based efficient development strategy, availability of required financial resources, the capacity and the level of commitment of the managers of development programme cannot be ignored to achieve the desired objectives of speedy socio economic development and poverty alleviation.
The capacity building of the worker and managers of the development programme is highly important besides they also need to be imparted missionary spirit/zeal, otherwise, the development plans and valuable resources for the purpose may go waste/drain down the stream leaving the masses at the same pitch of hue and cry.
Balochistan is expanded province, the governmental and non-governmental organizations have either no access to deep interior for communication and other security reasons or for their lack of interest to carry out proper appraisal of the proposed development project and as such neither feasible projects are identified/ approved, nor the public at large is benefited from the same. The organizational weaknesses observed needs to rectified follows as: –
- low capacity of the officers of the line departments leading to poor commitment and understanding of the compounded and complicated problems of the population,
- poor mechanism and methodology of the appraisal and approval of the development schemes,
- incorrect statistics,
- limited required facilities and resources,
- political interference in identification approval and execution of unfeasible scheme, resulting into large number of duplication and huge wastage of public money.
All the above has seriously undermined the development projects launched in the area for the development and betterment in life of the common man, resulting into wastage of limited available valuable resources and defeating the very objectives of progress and prosperity of the masses and leaving them on the same pitch of hue and cry as if it is their destiny.
4.EXPANDED AREA AND DISSEMINATED POPULATION
Expanded area, disseminated population and strong affiliation /attachment of the population with their ancestral land are the main reasons for backwardness, as the population of the province prefer to live and stay in their ancestral dwellings deep inside the rigged mountains and valleys and are hardly inclined/interested to migrate and settle with mix population at centers where basic facilities of life can be made available by the government and other non-governmental agencies, otherwise provision of all basic facilities of life to the scattered population at hundreds of thousand small settlements is quite impossible within the available resources. Therefore, in the context of Balochistan the expanded physical distances and scattered population is also believed to be the important reason of backwardness and perpetual poverty.
The Province of Balochistan in spite of having huge mineral resources and expended land is resource less province for the reasons that its mineral wealth could not be exploited for want of technology, required investment and political and security reasons for the progress and development of the province. The expended land of the province could also not be brought under cultivation to attain the food security and betterment of the economy of the province for no availability of water resources for irrigation purposes.
The share of Balochistan province in the national divisible pool has also remained quite inadequate, and has remained important reason of poor development in the province. The province of Balochistan has since very early raised its serious concerned about resource distribution criteria adopted in the county which is based on the soul criteria of population ignoring the other important factors of population, poverty and backwardness. As a result of single factor formula Balochistan has received limited resources from the national devisable pool quit meager to meet out its requirement for the development in the expended area of the Province.
The unrealistic resource distribution formula has not only caused serious financial constraints but has remained the major bone of contention between the province and federal government and other federating units impeding national harmony and integration. The non-exploitation of its own resources and the poor receipts of resources from the National divisible pool have cause serious financial economic constraints defeating the objective and planes of speedy development and poverty alleviation in the province.
6.LIMITED REVENUE BASE
The Province of Balochistan has got quite limited revenue base and unfortunately the same could not be expended in the Province. The major revenue sources of the Province include royalty on nonmetallic minerals, Fisheries, excise duties, revenue taxes on immovable property, registration fee, Agriculture and irrigation taxes. Throughout the past the provincial taxes had constituted only 7% of the total due/recoverable taxes, whereas 93% of the taxes in the province had been collected by the Federal Government. However, after 18th amendment, the collection of large number of taxes have been devolved to the provinces and the province of Balochista in particularly at the moment lacks the required institutional capacity to recover the devolved taxes and further expand the tax network, besides, devolving the collection of these taxes, the Federal Government shall also help in developing the institutional capacity of the province, so that, the province is benefited from these devolved taxes in a true sense.
7.POOR INFRASTRUCTURE FACILITIES
The financial constraints added with the expended area and scattered population has remained serious impediment for the successive governments to raise the basic infrastructure as a base to provide civic facilities to the masses in the province. The lack of basic infrastructure facilities due to non-availability and utter misuse of available resources has seriously casted over the development programmes and efforts for the poverty alleviation, and consequently the population is still living primitive life with the miseries as part of their destiny which will take long time to improve under the present development policy resources, constraints and missing commitment to serve.
8.FEUDAL /TRIBAL SOCIETY:
Like the rest of the country rural society in Balochistan is also dominated by feudal lords Nawabs,sardars represented in the policy making parliamentary institutions and also enjoining control and authority over the resources and people in their respective areas. Agriculture is an important sector of economy. About 70% of the population is directly/indirectly concerned with agriculture sector, but due to tribal society, the hold of tribal Sardars and feudal lards is still very strong over large majority of the rural population. The agricultural land in the areas is mostly owned by the feudal lords and Tribal Sardars and the peasants enjoy quite limited ownership and access to the irrigation water. Large majority of the population is kept engaged by the feudal lords throughout the year in their agricultural field at very nominal sharing of the produce as such the peasant mostly remains under debt in spite of huge earning for their feudal lord from the same agricultural land. This sorry state of affair in the areas is believed to be one of the major reasons for persistent backwardness and poverty amongst the rural population.
9.GROWTH IN THE POPULATION
The growth of population growth in the area of Balochistan is on high side as compare to the other areas of the country. The fertility rate in the areas is six children per women. There are religious, social, cultural reasons for population growth in the area. The rapid growth rate in is mainly because of the failure of the government programme of population planning as for lack of political will and limited resources allocated awareness could not create awareness about the gravity of the situation amongst the population.
Amongst many consequences of the population growth poverty is more pronounced, as 60 percent of the population already live below the poverty line which is obvious to increase if population goes to increase with its present rate which is on quite high side
Reportedly the population welfare department in the province has targeted/covered only 20 percent of the area. The areas need to be specially focused to create awareness amongst the illiterate and uneducated masses to control rapid growth in population otherwise; the planes for the socio economic development efforts for the poverty alleviation for the areas will not come up with the desired expected results.
Gender discrimination is well there in Pakistani society, but it is more pronounce in the areas of Balochistan. The women folk constitute more the 50% of the population who beside multifarious household duties are also responsible for outdoor duties and labour such as fetching water. collection of fire wood, all sort of agriculture labour, but still gender discrimination in the area is on high side and all basic right to the woman folk are openly denied. The gender discrimination, poor awareness and empowerment leading to non-participation of the women in the development and economic activities is believed to be the important reason of poverty and perpetual dependency.
11.POOR INDUSTRIAL BASE
Industrial development is the potential means of progress and prosperity for the particular region and nation, but unfortunately in spite of the availability of cheap labour, raw retrial and mineral resources, the same could are not be exploited for the progress and prosperity of province to benefit common populace. The reasons are obvious for, i.e. energy crises, absence of capital and modern technologies irrational taxation system and poor law and order situation to attract foreign investors. Besides cottage industry which is less capital and less technology incentive and important source of economy is being neglected, depriving the population of their important source of income leading to further deterioration of economy.
It is high time to plan and exploit our industrial and cottage industry potential to the fullest extent to address the problems of urban/ rural unemployment, improve standard of living both in the urban and rural areas of the province.
The problem of unemployment has become quite serious and getting out of proportion day by day. Unemployment brings in light the dark side of human character as it creates discontent and discontent, forces law abiding person to dishonest ways and criminal activities. Unemployment amongst population is rather more dangerous for the country and nation as it not only perpetuates poverty but it creates acute food scarcity creating law and order, causing serious imbalances in the economy of the country and consequently the Govt: has to divert huge resources and spending to control the problem of food scarcity and to maintain law and order in the country at the cost of development activities in different sectors and other measures for poverty alleviation in the province.
Strong control of the feudal and Tribal Sardars over the irrigated and non- irrigated agriculture land, untrustworthy seasonal rains, poor land holding and access to the irrigation water, heavy taxation and exploitation at the hand of revenue officials added by poor industrial base low literacy are the major reasons of un-employment due to which our population is in the state of mass chronic economic depression, this situation is further seriously aggravated with the reported malpractices in the recruitment against the government jobs in different departments.
13.LACK OF COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT AND PARTICIPATION
Empowerment of the community at grass root level through devolution of power is essential for development, as under the devolved system more representation, more participation, more empowerment and more resources are made available to the public representatives/communities at the grass root levels.
The local government system empowering the communities at the gross root level is one of the best systems to strengthen democratic culture at grass root level, provide more opportunities of representations and participation in the decision making process and socio economic development of the long neglected areas to address the basic problems of health education, drinking water and other civic and municipal services in a better way.
The experience from developing countries reveals that the level of progress is attended due to effective empowerment and participation of the communities in the decision making and implementation process. Let them to be the best judge of their situation and the architect of their destiny to decide the ways and means to bring betterment in life. Let’s create sense of ownership amongst the communities through their effective involvement in the development process otherwise speedy development and poverty alleviation in the areas of the province will remain difficult.
However, only empowerment of the communities at the grass root level may not serve the propose as the poor capacity of the communities has remained the leading constraint/impediment to ensure efficient participation of the communities in the development process. So it is highly imperative that beside empowerment we shall also build the capacity of the communities to efficiently participate in the process of socio economic development.
The following areas needs to be specially focused upon and attended / accorded priority to ensure speedy socio economic development in the province: –
FORMULATION OF WORKABLE STRATEGY FOR DEVELOPMENT IN THE PROVINCE
In the province of Balochistan placement of available resources at the disposal of MPA for development works, poor statistics on the development, lack of financial and technical resources, poor community participation, lack of the political will and commitment, security issues, poor co-ordination among the different important stakeholders has seriously impeded formulation of viable and workable strategy for development.
A workable strategy for the development in the province needs to be evolved after an empirical research and extensive discussion amongst all the important stake stakeholders i.e. the Government, (Planning and development and technical departments) public representatives the non-governmental Organizations, Donor Agencies and the true representative community Organizations.
An integrated, expanded and rational need based development plan is the requirement of time and key to the speedy socio economic development of province. Rigorous land reforms in the areas shall be important chapter of and on the top priority of the integrated development programme, however, the agriculture development alone cannot ensure speedy development, integrated development programme shall also cover reforms in other social sectors such as health, education, water and sanitation and natural resource management particularly exploitation of huge mineral resources need to be specially focused on to address the problem of resource constraint to attain the desired objectives of development and poverty alleviation in the long deprived and neglected province of Balochistan.
Following interventions are recommended for improvement in the present state of the backwardness and poverty: –
EMPIRICAL REVIEW OF THE EXISTING SITUATION
We must in the first step thoroughly review the statics on poverty to know how critical the situation is and what urgent meaningful interventions in the particular areas on actual need basis are required.
We must in the first phase appreciate the level and extent of existing interventions and investment of the Government and nongovernmental organizations and identify the left over areas which needs to be focused and attended to ensure equitable development on need and requirement basis.
We must thread barely analyze, critically review how the current policies and action plan can be made more refined improved, expanded, made more meaningful and result oriented to achieve the desired objectives of speedy socio economic development.
Policies on land reforms, agriculture development, health, education, population planning and the existing development programs needs to be extensively reviewed and an integrated development programme needs to be evolved in the light of authentic statics on development and actual community based requirements.
IMPROVEMENT OF LITERACY RATE AND STANDARD OF EDUCATION:
Illiteracy is grave and complex phenomenon and is serious impediment in the socio economic development of the area of the province for children illiteracy means forced labour, vagrancy, sickness and slavery, for adult illiteracy is primitive manual labour in agriculture and industry, uncertain employment opportunities, life time miserable living conditions, for women it is incapacity, complete dependency and exploitation.
The literacy rate in the province is 35% as compared to the national literacy rate which is above 50%. The grass enrollment rate in the province is just 30% with the dropout rate of 60% as compared to the national rate of 70% and 25%. The situation is highly discouraging particularly in the areas. which has seriously undermined the efforts for speedy development and poverty alleviation.
Illiteracy leads to unawareness, denies knowledge and skill which is otherwise key to the progress and socio economic development of the areas. Literate nation and societies are more enlightened, empowered, more responsive and conscious about their rights and responsibilities towards others and society.
Literacy over a period of time has become indispensable tool for human progress and socioeconomic development of the societies. The education system needs to be thoroughly reformed to make the population literate and educated to combat poverty, protect children from hazards of labour and exploitation, guard against women discrimination, promote human rights, improve health standards and influence/control rapid growth in population.
Following necessary interventions are required: –
- The enrollment in schools shall be improved and the annual drop out shall be effectively controlled by facilitating the enrolled students by providing all basic requirements and creating attractive and friendly environment at schools.
- The teachers shall be appointed purely on merit, shall be imparted essential pre service training to build up their capacity for efficiently teaching students at school level.
- The teacher shall be given special incentives in salary for serving in the areas.
- The outstanding teachers and students shall be rewarded annually for their performance to attract and motivate the others.
- Special attention shall be given for technical and vocational training at school level so that, the student shall find jobs easily after leaving school.
- Besides formal education, attention shall be given to nonformula education to improve the literacy rate in the areas.
- An effective monitoring system shall be evolved to regularly monitor the performance of teachers and students.
REFORMS IN HEALTH SECTOR:
The poor health services in the area leading to poor health standard of the masses has casted negative impacts on the economy of families, rendering the work force idle and causing huge expenditure on health care.
Due to poor knowledge about the health related issues and non-ability of adequate health services, the maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate is quite on high side which is 550 to 800 as per 100000 cases in the province of Balochistan particularly in the areas as compared to rest of the country which is 350 to 400 deaths at national level. The infant mortality rate in the province of Balochistan figures 110/1000 as compared to the national level which is 90/1000.
Though provision of basic health facilities is widely recognized to be the basic right of all citizens but in the province of Balochistan particularly in areas there are wide gaps causing acute disparities as compared to the other parts of the country.
The government and nongovernmental organizations are required to initiate effective interventions identify the gaps and address the weak areas to ensure better health services to the poor masses. Following interventions are recommended in this regard: –
- The existing poorly equipped and poorly manned health units shall be better equipped and manned to provide better preventive and curative cover to the population.
- The presence of professional and other technical staff at the health units shall be ensured through provision of all basic facilities for the staff and effective supervision by the managers.
- Mass awareness shall be created amongst the population about water born, infectious and other diseases related to the poor hygienic conditions and given better understanding of preventive measures against these diseases.
- The government should show political commitment not to compromise at any level over the health related issues.
- The communities need to be mobilized to effectively participate in the mass awareness program about diseases and healthcare issues.
- The malnutrition of pregnant women and newly born children is also another serious problem resulting into the high mortality and morbidity rates. The governmental and non-governmental organizations are required to encounter the problem of malnutrition, effectively to improve the health status of women and children, thereby saving their huge spending on health.
The better health services leading to better health of communities will have pronounced positive impacts over the economy by saving their huge expenditure on health care and through their involvement in the economic activities, earning better livelihood for their families.
ADDRESSAL OF THE ISSUES OF GENDER DISCRIMINATION:
The women folks constitute more than 50% of the population in areas of the province and it is next to impossible to develop the areas and reduce deep rooted poverty without participation of the women in the development process
It is high time to educate, empower women, organize women organizations, built up their capacity and involve them in the decision making and implementation process of the development schemes in the areas. The women organizations need to be adequately financially supported for the implementation of their identified development schemes as well as the women shall also be provided financial credit for small house hold projects to improve their earning and contribute to the poverty alleviation efforts. The addressal of the existing gender discrimination will not only strengthen women but also the entire family ensuring better bringing up, health and education to the coming generations.
Conceptually social mobilization means forming groups of men, women known as community organization build up their capacity, and give them wider understanding of their rights and responsibilities so that they may identify work of the collective good of the community, arrange for the resources, execute the same and take its ownership to improve the living condition of communities.
Mobilized and active community is one which is capable to identify the needs of the particular community, prioritize the same as per community’s collective requirement, arrange for resources through contributions from amongst the members of the community or from the government line department or from the nongovernmental agencies to efficiently implement the project in hand for the collective benefit of the community. So community organizations have social and monitory responsibilities, as at one hand it brings the people together for the collective good of the community and on the other hand to work for resource mobilization from public and private sector for implementation of the community oriented projects.
Community organization are important and effective forum of empowering the population to take part in the decision making process, implement the development projects and also to take the responsibility of future management by creating sense of ownership.
The proper mobilization of community, their capacity building their effective participation and sense of ownership is master key to the development and poverty alleviation and as such needs to be specifically focused to make the development plans successful with visible positive changes and betterment in the life.
Under the federal setup the issues of revenue generation and distribution amongst the federal government and federating units is extensively debated and workable principals and formula for the resource distribution amongst all the stakeholder is approved with consensus.
Under the principals of federalism in an ideal federal state a multi-dimensional formula for the resource distribution is adopted giving equal consideration to the population area, poverty, backwardness, resource generation capacity which provides ample resources and opportunities of progress and prosperity to the federating units which also highly contributes to the national integrity and solidarity.
The population based resource distribution formula in the federation has remained serious bone of contention between the federal government and federating units however during the past years positive and constructive steps have though been taken i.e. resource distribution formula is a bit revised/improved and the concurrent legislative list is also abolished however more realistic and meaning full measures are required to be taken in this direction to address the grievances of the smaller provinces who mostly look towards the federal government for the implementation of their development plans and for the provision of essential social services to their masses.
The deep rooted poverty and backwardness in the province where all the basic facilities of life are still missing in the presently civilization needs the serious attention of international donor’s agencies to take stock of the situation and come forward to extend their value able financial and technical assistance on humanitarian grounds for the development and poverty alleviation efforts in the areas of the province.
NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT:
The mineral resources, agriculture and livestock are the major assets and sources of livelihood of the large majority of the population in the province and there exists great potential in the mineral, agriculture and livestock sectors to be exploited for the socio economic development of the province leading to ultimate prosperity of the common man.
INTERVENTION IN THE MINERAL SECTOR
EXPLOITATION OF THE ABUNDANT UN-TAPPED RESOURCES
The Province of Balochistan in spite of having huge mineral resources had been facing financial constraints as its resources could not be exploited because of lack of technology, human and financial constraints and also due to political and security reasons; and as such its own proven resources could not be utilized/invested for the improvement of infrastructure, progress and prosperity of the province as well as its masses. Further that this feeling amongst the huge population of the province is there that the natural resources of the Province are under the full control of the Federal Government, which are either not exploited or where exploited, the province has been given very limited share in the same.
The exploitation of the huge untapped natural resources of the province is not only imperative for the socio economic development of the province, but that of the whole country. Therefore, the federal as well the provincial government may put in some very sincere efforts for the exploitation of these natural resources and its fair sharing between the province and federation, so that the security and political reasons involved abstracting the exploitation of these resources are attended and addressed and the misunderstanding/ trust deficit is removed and these resources are well utilized for the common good of province and country.
The natural calamities of the past 20 years in the shape of drought and excessive flooding has caused serious negative impacts on different social sectors these impacts have remained more pronounced on the agriculture and livestock sectors depriving the large majority of population of their livelihood, adding to their worries and poverty.
The government and non-government organizations need to be conscious and cognizant of the losses the masses have sustained in the agricultural and livestock sectors due to prolong drought and excessive flooding during the past two decades and reasonably assist the masses in both the sectors, enabling them to recover the losses and restart their activities in both the agricultural and livestock sectors.
To efficiently exploit the known minerals in Balochistan, the whole mineral activities being attended in the private and public sector needs to be thoroughly revisited and consequently improve in terms of mechanism of beneficiation. The following addressal inputs may assist to bring upon the desired improvement, in turn extending prosperity maintenance of eco system for the inhabitants of the province, whether wild, rural and urban populace: –
- To ensure economic dividends, the pre-requisite entail the availability of data base on mineral front prepared and derived from ground positions.
- Availability of lucrative rules and regulations based on logic, merit and viability permitting investors to be attracted, guaranteed with sovereign assurances for domestic and international investors.
- Development of infrastructure, either specific to mineral project or area to be exploited and facilitated for mineral transport.
- Provisions for investment in infrastructure on BOT (Built Operate and Transfer) would have to be made in the existing development plan with the guarantee to recover the cost of infrastructure development by the investor helping to uplift socio economic conditions, such as energy sector development, communication/telecommunication sector development, health and education sector development, whether specific for project labor or for the area.
- Development of human resource developing polytechnic institute generating human resource for the project and its diversified need, such as drilling, chemistry labs, computer labs.
- Development of downstream industry/ intervention for value addition to the crude mineral ores to be mined and exported including processing segregation, milling and smelting.
MEANINGFUL LAND REFORMS AND AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT
Province of Balochistan has tribal and feudal society where the Tribal Sardars and feudal lords have expanded agricultural assets and complete control over the settled and even over the vast unsettled land. All the past land reform programmes introduced by the successive government from time to time to distribute the huge land of feudal lords and Tribal Sardars amongst the poor peasant with the two fold objectives i.e. to promote agriculture by bringing more and more land under cultivation to attain food security and also to weak the strong hold of the feudal lords and Tribal Sardars, but all these efforts ended in failures as the land lords with connivance of the revenue officials have managed to transfer the land in the names of their relative and others who are under their strong influence and as such the feudal lords still enjoy complete control over these expended assets.
Rigorous land reforms as well as distribution of state land amongst the peasant is highly imperative to live the dream and desire of development. Besides expanded land reforms meaningful technical and financial assistance for preparation of their agriculture land, improvement of irrigation facilities so that agriculture does not remains at the mercy of rains, revolutionary changes in the method of cultivation, extensive reclamation of the waste land so that the same is brought under plough and cultivation, capacity building of farmer and crop insurance , better marketing of their agricultural produce are some of the measures which can address the problem of unemployment, poverty and ensure food security in the country , which ultimately will ensure sustainable economy.
PROPOSED INTERVENTIONS IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR:
The farmers who have suffered shall be assisted:
- By reconstructing their agricultural land and water channels, and by provision of machinery and other agricultural tools where required.
- Provided with improved quality of seeds and fertilizer.
- Educated/assisted in adopting new techniques of plugging, processing and harvesting to increase productivity.
The farmer shall be ensured better marketing and enhanced profit for their produce leading to better economy
ADDRESSAL OF THE ISSUES OF WATER SCARCITY AND QUALITY:
Balochistan is water scarce region owing to its geography, arid and semi-arid conditions with peculiar characteristics of intense heat, dust storms, high evaporation and low rate of perception, as such there is acute shortage of water for drinking and other domestic purposes as well as for agriculture activities in the areas.
The issue of water scarcity in the province is further complicated due to long dry spells and excessive flooding of the past two decades which has caused sharp depletion in the ground water level resulting into acute shortage of water for drinking and domestic proposes and also has seriously damaged the agriculture sector depriving the population of their agriculture assets developed over decades with huge investment.
Being the basic and essential most commodity, the urban Poor’s spend most of their earning on purchasing water for the household and domestic purposes, whereas the population has to fetch water for long distances for drinking and domestic purposes which is responsibility of women and children. The non-availability and adequate quantity of water for household and sanitation purposes and improper disposal of human and other solid waste has also caused serious environmental pollution having pronounced health hazards for the population.
Access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation system and safe disposal of solid waste and availability of reasonable quantity of water for agricultural activities are the most pressing problems of the population and need to be addressed on top priority, which is prerequisite for better health, reduction in the high mortality rate in the areas due to water born and other infectious diseases and also these provisions will reduce the huge spending of the population on health care and the extended agriculture activities with the availability of required water will ultimately contribute to the poverty alleviation ensuring more participation of the communities in the development and economic activities.
Addressal of the issues of water scarcity in the areas is of foremost importance and imperative for development and to control mass migration the urban areas having acute negative impacts in the economy of the province. Following interventions are required to be made on urgent basis.
- Proper management and monitoring of the existing underground water basins of the province shall be ensured.
- Annual water allocations from underground water basins for different sectors shall be approved on need basis.
- Efficient and effective water shed management shall be ensured in the catchment areas to control wastage of stream water.
- Efficient modern techniques of irrigation shall be introduced.
- The cropping pattern shall be changed. The farmer shall be convinced and facilitated to switch over to the crops which consume less water.
- The laws relating to the administration of underground water and canal irrigation water shall be strictly enforced by taking strict legal action shall be taken against the illegal and indiscriminate pumping/drawl of water.
- Mass awareness shall be created about the problem of water scarcity and its controlled consumption to avoid unnecessary harvesting of this valuable resource of future generation.
- The provincial government must accord top priority to the finalization and adoption of Balochistan integrated water policy and its strict implementation on ground to improve water productivity, conservation and its efficient utilization for domestic, agricultural and other social and development sectors
The addressal of the issues of water scarcity will have positive impacts over the health, agricultural productivity addresses the problem of food scarcity in the country and ultimately will lead to improve the overall economy.
INTERVENTION IN LIVESTOCK SECTOR:
Livestock’s are important part and parcel of life in Balochistan. The population besides their main source of livelihood essentially maintains livestock’s which reasonably substantiate their earnings. In the province of Balochistan hardly 10% of its total land mass is cultivated, whereas the rest of the 90% of the land mass contains sizeable grazing fields, range forests which provides ample quantity of feed requirement for the livestock.
According to the latest census, the sheep and goat are the common livestock in the area which numbers about 30 million all over the province. Beside domestic livestock, large number of migratory hordes of livestock mostly sheep’s and goats move from cold to hot areas in winter and moving back to the cold areas in summer.
Livestock, an important sector of economy has badly suffered during the past two decades due to prolonged dry spell and excessive flooding depriving the folk of this valuable source of earning/livelihood. Further that due to long physical distances, poor resources, low level of commitment amongst the officials of livestock department and poor awareness amongst the population the preventive and curative coverage of livestock diseases has remained poor.
The livestock being an important sector of life needs to be specially focused on to add to the economy. Following interventions are essential to be undertaken by the government and non-governmental agencies: –
- Special livestock restocking program shall be approved for the population who have lost their livestock due to prolonged drought and excessive floorings of the past 20 years. However only the deserving population shall be supported without any political influence.
- Livestock preventive and curative services shall be ensured in the deep areas by ensuring the presence of the staff of livestock department and availability of adequate quantity of livestock medicine both for preventive and curative purpose.
- Technical and advisory services shall be extended to the population for increasing livestock productivity of milk and meat and also cold storage facility to save the surplus milk shall be arranged in the areas.
- Better marketing facilities for the livestock products shall be ensured to ensure better earning to the population.
- The livestock productivity shall be improved by introducing modern technique and practices in this process to increase the number of livestock in the area.
Read More: https://republicpolicy.com/community-empowerment-and-participation-a-missing-link-in-local-government-system-of-kp/