Friday, September 24, 2010

South Asia's Progress Lags in Meeting UN Millennium Development Goals

In year 2000, leaders of rich and poor nations pledged to build a better world by 2015. Among their key goals now called Millennium Development Goals: halving extreme poverty and hunger from 1990 levels, reducing by two-thirds the child-mortality rate and slashing maternal mortality by three-quarters and achieving universal primary education.

The good news is that the share of people living on less than $1.25 a day seems on track to meet the goal of halving the extreme poverty rate. However, the bulk of those gains have occurred in China and other East Asian countries. In fact, East Asia, Southeast Asia and North Africa are all on track to achieve almost all of the MDGs by 2015, but South Asia and the rest of the developing world have made insufficient progress so far, according to the current assessment by UN agencies.

The three-day summit to press world leaders to meet U.N. MDGs by significantly reducing poverty by 2015 concluded Wednesday with new financial pledges from countries but no guarantee that there will be enough money and political will to meet the targets. With many countries under financial stress from the effects of the global economic crisis as well as rising food and energy prices, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked member nations not to abandon the 1 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day. While the MDG goals encompass a variety of areas including education, health and gender parity, the first and the most important of these goals is to reduce poverty

With South Asia as the region with the largest share of the one billion global poor, the world will not meet its targets unless there is much greater focus and strong commitment to meet MDG goals in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In fact, even South Asia has a better chance of meeting the poverty and hunger reduction goals excluding India. Let's discuss the status of South Asian nations to assess where they are and what needs to be done.

India alone has the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterate people living within its borders. A new multi-dimensional measure of poverty confirms that there is grinding poverty in resurgent India. It highlights the fact that just eight Indian states account for more poor people than the 26 poorest African countries combined, according to media reports. The Indian states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, have 421 million "poor" people, compared to 410 million poor in the poorest African countries.

OPHI 2010 country briefings on India and Pakistan contain the following comparisons of multi-dimensional (MPI) and income poverty figures:

MPI= 55%,Under$1.25=42%,Under$2=76%,India_BPL=29%


Lesotho MPI=48%,Under$1.25=43%,Under$2=62%,Lesotho_BPL=68%


Among other South Asian nations, MPI index measures poverty in Bangladesh at 58 per cent and 65 per cent in Nepal.

On poverty in Pakistan, World Bank economist Sanket Mohapatra has said in a recent post that remittances by overseas Pakistanis have played a significant role in Pakistan's economic improvement. Not only have such remittances contributed to significant poverty reduction in Pakistan "by an impressive 17.3 percentage points between 2001 and 2008 (from 34.5 percent in 2001-02 to 17.2 percent in 2007-08)", but "continued strong growth in worker’s remittances in the past few years has also contributed to improvements in the external current account balance” and “have facilitated improvement in the country’s external position”, according to a World Bank report released on July 30, 2010.

There are now fears, however, that some of the gains made in poverty reduction have reversed due to widespread devastation in massive floods and Pakistan's economic woes since 2008 for which the poverty rate of 17% was reported by the World Bank. Thousands of schools and clinics have been destroyed in the recent deluge, setting back Pakistan's efforts toward meeting health and education related millennium development goals by 2015.

In addition to lagging in poverty reduction, South Asians are also doing poorly in terms of hunger and health indicators.

According to a recently-released FAO report's highlights as published in The Guardian, there are 847.5 million undernourished people in the world. India tops the list with 237.7 million, followed by China with 130.4 million, Pakistan 43.4 million, Democratic Republic of Congo 41.9 million, Bangladesh 41.7 million, Ethiopia 31.6 million and Indonesia 29.9 million.

A recent report by World Health Organization (WHO) claims that India accounts for most maternal deaths in the world, with at least 63,000 such deaths taking place in 2008 alone. In fact, India fared worse than even Nigeria (50,000 maternal deaths in 2008), Congo (19,000), Afghanistan (18,000), Ethiopia (14,000), Pakistan (14,000), Tanzania (14,000), Bangladesh (12,000), Indonesia (10,000), Sudan (9,700) and Kenya (7,900). An estimated 65% of maternal deaths globally occurred in these 11 countries in 2008, with India contributing the most.

As South Asians lurch toward the 2015 deadline for meeting the MDG goals, it is important to recognize their governments' role and the need for help from rich donor nations to significantly increase spending on human development for poverty reduction. However, the South Asian governments alone can not do it. The private sector organizations, NGOs and civil society have to come forward to make their contribution toward meeting the important MDG goals to reduce poverty and hunger and improve health and literacy.

In Pakistan's case in particular, the overseas Pakistanis and Pakistan's middle class need to step forward to do their part in rebuilding the shattered lives of millions of their poor fellow citizens affected by the recent floods.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

MDGs in Pakistani Village

Explore the

UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2010

India Poorer Than Africa

India is Home to the World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illiterate People

Can Global Pakistanis Invest $10 billion in Reconstruction?


Pavan said...

Excellent post Riaz. People generally avoid being specific about
poverty and hunger. Somehow there is an impression that 'African'
poverty is much worse than 'Asian' poverty. Deprivation is similar
wherever it exists. Regards. Pavan

Sukh Singh said...

Although I am not sure about your motivation, I am glad that you are highlighting issues that India needs to address. Working for the BJP party we are quite aware the high amount of corruption in the Congress led government. In fact, many of the mid level Congress officials were "discarded" BJP members who did not abide by BJP's high moral aptitude.

It is accepted that during BJP time corruption went down (Transparency International) and the poor were directly benefiting by the social programs.

One example:
Gujarat state did not have high literacy numbers like Kerala, but the gains have been impressive ( 55% to 70% today). Relatively many of the poor unlike UP or Bihar have upward mobility compared to 10 years ago (Times of India. Business and economy wise it is the most forward state in India.
I think Indians know this.

BJP chances are looking good!

Anonymous said...

Sukh Singh:

Regardless on N Modi's colorful views of Muslims one cannot deny he is a terrific administrator.

The Gujarat sate GDP growth has averaged 15% over the past 10 years and agriculture has grown by a whopping 9% pa

Other states have a lot to learn from Gujarat.

Riaz Haq said...

Talking about Gujarat, let me share a couple of important reports:

1. On World Hunger Index, Gujarat fares worse than poor Haiti, according to India's State Hunger report.

The first India State Hunger Index (Ishi) report in 2008 found that Madhya Pradesh had the most severe level of hunger in India, comparable to Chad and Ethiopia. Four states — Punjab, Kerala, Haryana and Assam — fell in the 'serious' category. Gujarat, 13th on the Indian list is below Haiti, ranked 69. The authors said India's poor performance was primarily due to its relatively high levels of child malnutrition and under-nourishment resulting from calorie deficient diets.

2. India's planning commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahliawalia says that the Infant Mortality Rate declined by only 10 points in Gujarat against the all-India level of 13 points. Similarly, its Maternal Mortality Rate declined by only 12 points against the all-India level of 47 points between 2001-03 and 2004-06. “This is clearly a matter of great concern,” Ahluwalia said.

“The state is also facing a shortage of human resources for healthcare for most categories of health workers as out of 7,274 sub centres in Gujarat, 869 were functioning without Auxiliary Nurse Midwife while 6,405 centres were functioning with one ANM,” Ahluwalia said.

The Plan panel Deputy Chairman also expressed concern over the lack of development in the tribal-dominated Dangs area in central Gujarat and asked Modi to furnish an update on what efforts were being made by his government to ensure its upliftment.

Recent reports had highlighted how Gujarat has been slipping in terms of human development index. The state that used to rank fourth in the country has been going down to the sixth spot. An estimated 56% of the state’s children still suffer from malnutrition.

Anonymous said...

there are lies damned lies and statistics.

Visit Gujarat then tell me.

As per statistics kerela is the best place to live but keralites constitute 90%+ of low end Indian labour in the gulf and make up a huge chunk of internal migration.

Gujarat rocks!BJP rocks!
Down with our stupid lame duck PM!

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "there are lies damned lies and statistics."

You want us to believe BJP's self-serving propaganda and discard World Hunger Project data and the Indian Planning Commission official data? How ridiculous!

Mayraj said...

India has the largest number of foreign migrants in the world. It is helping hold up places there too. In fact in HDI leader Kerala they are main source of income.
What disturbs me about India is what I learned from an ADB paper and that is that tax collection has gone down in this book period.
If that is the case how can MDG goals be reached? Tax collections should have gone up.
I am also very disturbed by what I read about the Indian state of Punjab. It is facing catastrophe from different angles and the govt seems to be out to lunch! Water is going down, power sector is in deep mailaise, excessive fertilizer usage is causing cancer because it is ending up in drinking water,infrastructure is deteriorating, the state is de-industrializing, and on top of that 75% of population are drug addicted!
I am also disturbed by reports of how inadequate bureaucracy is being in receiving and organizing flood refugees coming to Karachi. If it is so inadequate in Karachi, it must be truly pathetic in other places!
Meanwhile look what Al Jazeera carried in the news:
The best news from Pakistan is how media has opened up. A friend in Lahore has told me it has raised the awareness of the people. She says there is even a satiric show called Alif and Noon about Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif!

Riaz Haq said...

Mayraj:"India has the largest number of foreign migrants in the world. It is helping hold up places there too. In fact in HDI leader Kerala they are main source of income."

In terms of the proportion of migrant population and foreign remittances as percent of GDP, Bangladesh is the leader in South Asia, followed by Pakistan.

Like people in many developing nations, Pakistanis also see foreign remittances as a lifeline for the poor...with the poor provinces relying more heavily on remittances to supplement their incomes.

Migration and remittances have provided a source of income for households in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and other provinces in Pakistan. A recent Asian Development Bank study found that foreign remittances constituted 9.4 percent of household income in KP, compared to 5.1% for Punjab, 1.5% for Baluchistan, and 0.7% for Sindh.

Mayraj said...

Maybe generally;but, not specifically. I think some states in India could match Bangladesh and Pakistan.
I think reactionary types in Kerela (like the ones who cut off a Christian Professor's hand) have been infected by ME's reactionary Islam. I was hoping Govt would make these people pay for his surgery or artificial limb. The state needs to guard against this reactionary influence.

Riaz Haq said...

Mayraj: "Maybe generally;but, not specifically. I think some states in India could match Bangladesh and Pakistan."

I agree. Kerala has about two million people working overseas out of he total state population of about 30 million, according to BBC's Soutik Biswas....two orders of magnitude higher proportion (66 per 1000) than either Bangladesh (0.65 per 1000) or Pakistan (0.5 per 1000), according to Nationmaster. That may be why Kerala has much less poverty and much higher social indicators than the rest of South Asia.

Sukh Singh said...

On Gujarat:

The state has witnessed high amount of poor wage seekers from Bihar, MP and UP. Estimates are 500k to 20lakhs. Montek is a smart fellow but he works for the wrong party(congress).

Modi has challenged other congress State Chief Ministers "we'll give work to your poor because I'm an Indian first and foremost but, keep corruption to yourself because I don't eat from somebody else's plate nor will I let anybody working for me do that!'

Riaz, you are naive about the inner working politics and it shows that you have cited data which many congress people do. We are in the "trenches" and we see how the poor are doing better in BJP states than congress states.

Pavan said...

Interesting discussion. There has been a large influx of people back to Kerala having lost jobs mostly in the Gulf. The state of unemployment is quite high which has resulted in frustration. If I am not mistaken, the suicide rate in Kerala is one of the highest. Alcoholism and tobacco abuse is rampant and taking a heavy toll of working males. This also results in an 'improved' sex-ratio which in the long run can go very wrong. Pavan

anoop said...

"In fact, even South Asia has a better chance of meeting the poverty and hunger reduction goals excluding India."

What rubbish. The fastest growing country in South Asia has a lesser chance of eradicating poverty or lessening it?

Do you realize its booming here in India, atleast where I stay in Bangalore. TCS, India's top recruiter's, hiring pattern have changed due to many openings going unfulfilled. Such is the demand in India.

India is on its way to achieve the fastest growing country crown in 5 years.

I know ,I know ,your usual charge of only the elite are being benefited. But, such high growth cannot happen is the middle and the lower-middle class dont participate.

"In India, the number of such people living on less than $1.25 a day is expected to go down from 435 million or 51.3 percent in 1990 to 295 million or 23.6 percent by 2015 and 268 million or 20.3 percent by 2020. "

Riaz Haq said...

anoop: ""In fact, even South Asia has a better chance of meeting the poverty and hunger reduction goals excluding India."
What rubbish. The fastest growing country in South Asia has a lesser chance of eradicating poverty or lessening it?"

Go read the UN MDG report 2010. Specifically look at the charts that show Southern Asia's performance with and without India. In each case, the probability of hitting the MDG goals in 2015 improves in South Asia excluding India.

For example, look at the bar chart on page 6 on halving poverty.

With India, Southern Asia shows 49% poverty in 1990, going down to 39% in 2005. Without India, the bar shows 45% poverty in 1990 going down to 31% in 2005...which is much closer to the 2015 target.

Anonymous said...

'With India, Southern Asia shows 49% poverty in 1990, going down to 39% in 2005. Without India, the bar shows 45% poverty in 1990 going down to 31% in 2005...which is much closer to the 2015 target.'

2005 was 5 years ago incase you haven't noticed the Indian economy grew at around 9% pa in the past 5 years and the Pakistani economy around 4-5% pa as there has been near zero growth in the last 3 years.What's more these trends are likely to continue for the next 5 years i.e India will ,even with the most optimistic pakistani projections, grow 3-4% faster than Pakistan and has a lower birth rate so in per capita terms will grow 5-6% faster.

So I would like to know exactly how can you logically state that in 2015 Pakistan will likely be in a better position MDG wise than India???

Chaitanya said...

Lot of data that was collected in Pakistan excludes FATA and NWFP areas due to security issues. Pakistani army did not allow any foreigners or Pakistanis from other regions (very few journalists were allowed). This was in the Army's manifesto as released to the US and is well documented.

Therefore, the data that you're citing excludes these regions where poverty and illiteracy are endemic. This is a well known fact at the UN.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "2005 was 5 years ago incase you haven't noticed the Indian economy grew at around 9% pa in the past 5 years and the Pakistani economy around 4-5% pa as there has been near zero growth in the last 3 years.What's more these trends are likely to continue for the next 5 years ...."

First, high growth rates in India have not translated into large improvements in social indicators....the inequities have grown over the last two decades as measured by Gini index.

Second, the most recent World Bank data released July 30, 2010 shows that poverty decreased in Pakistan to 17% by an impressive 17.3 percentage points between 2001 and 2008 (from 34.5 percent in 2001-02 to 17.2 percent in 2007-08)" while it increased in India to 37.2 percent of the population from 27.5 percent since 2004 (Indian Planning Commission 2010).

chaitanya said...

FATA continues to be a closed area i.e. no foreigner can visit without the permission of the government through the “Home Department” of the NWFP. Even when such permission is granted, foreigners are not permitted to enter and travel within FATA without an escort from the government. The intention is to closely monitor their visits. The permission is only good from dawn to dusk. No foreigner can stay for a night in FATA. The federal government has also banned the international media from entering the area out of fear that their misdeeds might be exposed to the world.

Riaz Haq said...

chaitanya: "Lot of data that was collected in Pakistan excludes FATA and NWFP areas due to security issues."

You are talking about a problem that exists in may nations of Asia and Africa, including India.

It is conservatively estimated that Maoists, also known as Naxalites, control almost 25% of Indian territory in eastern and central states....these are some of the poorest and most backward areas in India.

Indian defense analyst Bharat Verma claims that "New Delhi and the state capitals have almost ceded the governmental control over 40 percent of the Union's territory to the Naxalites". A Newsweek story last year quoted Deepak Ambastha, the editor of Prabhat Khabar, a Hindi daily newspaper in Jharkhand state, as saying that "the state's writ runs only within city limits." Similar situation exists in many of the 20 Indian states, home to nearly 80 percent of those 836 million Indians, where the Maoists dominate the rural landscape.

chaitanya said...

The Central Government have permitted foreign workers(UN) to document the demographic changes so that it will help(on the directive of PM Manmohan Singh) address the issues affecting the Naxalites - poverty and landlessness.

You're incorrect when you indicate that India has areas which have been excluded. Once again this is also well documented. Since the early days of census the founding fathers and mothers instituted a system of social inclusion as far as census and related data is concerned.

You may say what about corruption? No business was conducted here so there was no profit motive(actually a little - read on). Leaders of social groups, tribal heads and Panchayats are incorporated to do the survey. Their SIZE was verified by the neighbouring village etc. and accordingly representation at the taluka and district level is given.

The features of the census, gathering of data and statistics has been admired by the UN and US!

The unfortunate problem with the naxalites have been landlessness and poverty. Moderate naxalites (those tribes that have renounced violence) are given self-sustaining agro-ventures like chicken coops and dairy farming to alleviate poverty.

The country-wide poverty data is skewed because of this inclusiveness. MP, Orissa, Bihar, parts of W Bengal and UP account for the majority of the poor. This is the region where naxalites are active.

Anonymous said...

Poverty in india

Riaz Haq said...

Chaitanya: "The Central Government have permitted foreign workers(UN) to document the demographic changes so that it will help(on the directive of PM Manmohan Singh) address the issues affecting the Naxalites - poverty and landlessness."

But Manmohan Singh's govt has no state presence and no writ in large swaths of India, according to Berkeley Political Science Prof Pradeep Chibber.

In a lecture at the Indian community center in Silicon Valley in 2008, Prof Chhibber went on to ask the rhetorical question? Can a democracy exist where the state doesn't exist?

Chibber explained that the Indian democracy faces two key challenges. The first challenge is the complete absence of the government or state in large swaths of India. The second challenge is that the government often acts in inconsistent and arbitrary ways where it does exist. He went on to say that, in some parts of Chhattisgarh, the government relies on private militias to act on its behalf. He also acknowledged the existence of corruption and criminal elements among the politicians in India. He said about a third of Indian legislators have criminal records.

Riaz Haq said...


Did you notice that the study reported by The Telegraph was sponsored and funded by Mumbai municipal authority to deflect negative attention from Dharavi?

The fact is that Orangi is nothing like Dharavi in terms of the quality of its housing or the services available to its residents. This report appears to be nothing but a shameful attempt by Mumbai's municipality to hide its own inadequacies by diverting the attention of the world to the biggest city of India's neighbor and arch rival Pakistan. What is even more disturbing is how the UNDP has become a party to this misleading claim. This preposterous claim is also an insult to the memory of Dr. Akhtar Hamid Khan who organized Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) and tirelessly worked with the residents on self-help model to improve their lives.

While Dharavi has only one toilet per 1440 residents and most of its residents use Mahim Creek, a local river, for urination and defecation, Orangi has an elaborate sanitation system built by its citizens. Under Orangi Pilot Project's guidance, between 1981 and 1993 Orangi residents installed sewers serving 72,070 of 94,122 houses. To achieve this, community members spent more than US$2 million of their own money, and OPP invested about US$150,000 in research and extension of new technologies. Orangi pilot project has been admired widely for its work with urban poor.

Rahul said...

Mr Riaz, your current poverty figure as established by GOP is nearly 40%. you can check the government's website.

As for India's 37.2 you did not enumerate the fact that we have changed the scale of poverty which will also include spending on health, education, housing along with food. It is not based on $1 or $2/ day. Check your facts first.

If you want to even know more. Check Dawn paper of last month. They say 75% of pakistan's population lives under 2$/ day.

Riaz Haq said...

Rahul: "As for India's 37.2 you did not enumerate the fact that we have changed the scale of poverty which will also include spending on health, education, housing along with food. It is not based on $1 or $2/ day. Check your facts first."

No, you are wrong. India's poverty line is very very defines the inability o afford one square meal a day as poor. Based on income of $1.25, it would be worse than reported figure of 37%...and based on $2, the poverty in India is at 76% vs 60% in Pakistan.

As to Pakistan's poverty figures based on $1.25 a day, I rely on World Bank and UNDP because they use data based on extensive work by surveyors and researchers in Pakistan working at the Center for Poverty Reduction in Islamabad. The 17.2% poverty figure reported by the World Bank on July 30, 2010, came from CPRSD.

Rahul said...

Well I am not wrong. The planning commission has discarded the old-line of calculating poverty by one-sqaure meal a day. You ca check the commissions website for your benefit. Also you can Google to see the Tendulkar report if u like to. According to that if you convert that in dollars it is much higher than the 1.25& line adopted by world bank. But it is not taken in that way because it is taken on the spending power of the person rather than the income

As for Pakistan the figures I reported were also taken from WB. And your 17.2 figure is so wrong. Its actually approx 40%.

Riaz Haq said...

Rahul: "According to that if you convert that in dollars it is much higher than the 1.25& line adopted by world bank. But it is not taken in that way because it is taken on the spending power of the person rather than the income"

There are various methods used to define poverty, and these are all included in the Oxford Multi-dimensional poverty index (MPI) reported recently.

Except for India's own BPL definition, each of the other measures show India worse off than Pakistan:

MPI= 55%,Under$1.25=42%,Under$2=76%,India_BPL=29%


Lesotho MPI=48%,Under$1.25=43%,Under$2=62%,Lesotho_BPL=68%


As to the World Bank's latest figure for poverty in Pakistan published July 30, 2010, here are two very recent links:

Both of these links state Pakistan poverty level at 17.2%

Anonymous said...

Pakistan has slightly less poverty than India because ~90% of the population lives in Punjab and Sindh areas which have always been self sufficient in Agriculture and relatively prosperous.India's north west which historically has been similarly blessed is much richer than Pakistan.

India's big problem is UP and Bihar two gigantic basket case sub economies which have 30% of the country's population.Take these out and the country outperforms Pakistan(minus NWFP and balochistan) by miles.

Indian Punjab has a yield/hectare 4-5 times of Pakistani Punjab due to increased mechanization, superior seeds and fertilizer subsidies.It is in per capita terms twice as rich.

Please google nominal state GDP per capita of Indian Punjab.

Not much of an excuse but still a point to ponder

Rahul said...

Your figures are totally wrong. I have checked the world banks website and theres no mention of 62%. I have checked the report of Pakistan's newspaper DAWn and they clearly say 75% which is going to increase because of the recent floods.

I also happen to see the report on Infrastructure for Pakistan. I would not like to discuss it here because a can of worms would open...

Sometimes debate on infra... to. Remember nations are not judged on poverty but the infra. they provide.

Riaz Haq said...

Rahul: "I have checked the world banks website and theres no mention of 62%."

I am not sure where you looked. You can find under $2 figures for both India and Pakistan from UNDP HDR 2009 and ADB's Report on Asia's Middle class.

Both of these reports show that 60.3% of Pakistanis and 75.6% of Indians live on less than $2 a day.

Rahul: "Sometimes debate on infra..."

I have written several posts and shared several reports from Reuters, Wall Street Journal, the Hindu, etc. on infrastructure. Pakistan's road, air and telecom infrastructure are far superior o India's, but India has a better railway infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

Pakistan's road, air and telecom infrastructure are far superior o India's, but India has a better railway infrastructure.

Really ? Have u had a good look at the new Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, airports?

How many passengers and cargo do Pakistan's airports process?

What are the number of aircraft that currently serve Pakistan's domestic market?

Telecom infrastructure
except the fact that Pakistan has 63% mobile penetration vs 57% in India what other evidence do you have to substantiate this assertion.

The per capita usage,ARPU,quality of service and affordability of internet is superior in India.

for eg a 4MBPS unlimited plan costs INR 500/month.A similar plan in Pakistan costs PKR 2000 so approx INR 1000.

Pakistan has one single submarine pipeline connecting it to the rest of the world making it very vulnerable to it snapping.

Pakistan has zero manufacturing of cellphones and optical fibre switches etc in its territory whereas India except Network routers ,in which it embarrasingly is totally dependant on US/EU/China,is self sufficient in most of the rest of the telecom value chain.

Check out:
Tejas Networks

Yes you could argue a lot of the sub assemblies of cellphones etc are imported but even China imports on average 30-50% of the net content of a phone in manufactures.


We are building 16 kms of class A highways everyday I don't see this lag lasting for very long.

Yes I know i know the M2 motorway rocks but that was built a long time ago.

BTW guess WB forcast for Indian growth this year 9.2% :D

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "Have u had a good look at the new Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, airports?"

Yes, I have...except the latest terminal in New Delhi. I bet you haven't seen Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad airports. Read the impressions of foreign visitors such as William Dalrymple, Yoginder Sikand, Hindol Sengupta, and many others.

anon: "Telecom infrastructure
except the fact that Pakistan has 63% mobile penetration vs 57% in India what other evidence do you have to substantiate this assertion."

Pakistan has higher teledensity and higher percentage of population with Internet access. India 7% and Pakistan 11% according to ITU data.

anon: "Pakistan has one single submarine pipeline connecting it to the rest of the world making it very vulnerable to it snapping."

Pakistan now has multiple submarine and satellite connections to the Internet.

anon:"Pakistan has zero manufacturing of cellphones and optical fibre switches etc in its territory whereas India except Network routers ..."

India is heavily dependent on China for imports of power and telecom equipment, running huge trade deficits.

Riaz Haq said...

Former Pakistani president Gen Pervez Musharraf launched a political party today. Here's a BBC report on his press conference held in London:

Former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf has apologised for "negative" actions he took while in power, as he launched his new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, in London.

Mr Musharraf said: "I... sincerely apologise to the whole nation" for the "negative repercussions".

But he vowed to galvanise Pakistanis and fight a "jihad against poverty, hunger, illiteracy and backwardness".

Correspondents say there is no real likelihood of him returning soon.

Mr Musharraf also appears to lack the kind of political organisation that could win him an election in Pakistan, they say.
'National salvation'

Mr Musharraf unveiled the All Pakistan Muslim League at a gentlemen's club in Whitehall.

There was tight security, with checks on all those entering the room.

Mr Musharraf apologised for some of the actions he took when in power.

"I am aware of the fact that there were some decisions which I took which resulted in negative political repercussions, repercussions which had adverse effects on nation building and national political events, and my popularity also, may I say, plummeted in that last year. I take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to the whole nation."

Mr Musharraf attacked the "total despondency and demoralisation and hopelessness which prevails in society today".

He added: "The time has come to redeem our pledge... to ensure the fruits of freedom are shared by all. The time has come for a new social contract to keep the dream of our forefathers alive... to make Pakistan into a progressive Islamic state for others in the third world to emulate."

Mr Musharraf said he wanted a party of national salvation that would "galvanise all Pakistanis regardless of religion, caste or creed".

Punctuated by chants from supporters, he added: "It is time to unfurl a Muslim league umbrella for all - this umbrella for all shall be the All Pakistan Muslim League."

The former army chief, who now lives in London, earlier told the BBC: "When there is a dysfunctional government and the nation is going down, its economy is going down, there is a clamour, there is a pressure on the military by the people."

He said he was launching the party in London because he risked assassination if he returned to Pakistan. He has survived a number of plots in the past.

Last month, Mr Musharraf told the BBC he would be standing for a seat in the 2013 parliamentary elections. From there he said he hoped to become either prime minister or president.

He made London his base, as a number of Pakistani politicians have done over the years, after his allies lost elections and he was ousted as president in 2008.

If he does go home, he faces legal cases, which he says are politically motivated.

Mr Musharraf seized power in 1999 when, as chief of Pakistan's army, he ousted elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup.

Riaz Haq said...

In 1832 under the Mughal rule, India was among the world's two largest economies along with China, a status it will not regain until after 2032, according to a recent CNBC report.

Riaz Haq said...

Commonwealth Games 2010 ended today in New Delhi, India.

Representing the host nation, Indian athletes performed very well, ending up second on the medals table with 101 medals, including 38 golds, beating England to win the second place with just one more gold medal than England's 37 golds.

As expected, Australia topped the medals table with 177 medals, including 74 golds, down significantly from 221 medals they won in 2006, according to the BBC.

India doubled their medal count to 101 this year from 50 medals in 2006.

England also made gains, winning 142 medals this year, up from 110 in 2006.

Pakistan ranked 17th, on a list of 37 medal winning nations. Pakistan's medal count remained flat at 5, including 2 golds.

In terms of population per medal, Nauru (2 medals) topped the list with one medal per 5000 people.

India and Pakistan ended up near the bottom with one medal per 11 million and 33 million respectively.

Bangladesh was at the bottom with its one bronze medal for its entire population of 162 million people.

In terms of GDP, Nauru topped with 1 medal per $119 million.

India and Pakistan were near the bottom with $12 billion and $33 billion respectively.

Bangladesh was last with just one bronze for its entire GDP of $94 billion.

Riaz Haq said...

About 60% of India's workforce is engaged in agriculture, contributing about 16% of GDP, according to published data. Textile manufacturing claims the second largest employment and comprises 26% of manufacturing output. It accounts for a fifth of India’s exports, and employs almost 10 percent of India’s workforce, or some 35 million people, and has the potential to add another 12 million new jobs --dwarfing the 1-2 million jobs created by the much-heralded IT and BPO sector, according to a World Bank report. Even the most optimistic estimates by NASSCOM put the total direct and indirect employment in IT and ITES sectors at 10 million jobs.

Agriculture in Pakistan accounts for 19.4% of GDP and 42% of labor force, followed by services providing 53.4% of GDP and 38% employment, with the remainder 27.2% of GDP and 20% workers in manufacturing sector. Over half of Pakistan's manufacturing jobs are in the textile sector, making it the second biggest employer after agriculture.

Here is a quick comparison of different sectors of the economy in India and Pakistan in terms of employment and GDP contribution:

Country....Agri(emp/GDP)..Textiles..Other Mfg..Service(incl IT)

India........60%/16% ...........10%/4%.....7%/25%...........23%/55%


Riaz Haq said...

Here's part 1 of a recent report titled "India: Economic Power House or Poor House?" by reporter The Star's Mary Albino that talks about how deceptive "India's Miracle" is:

India’s economic miracle is a perfect example of how appearances can be deceiving.

The dominant narrative on the country goes like this: as the fourth largest economy in the world, with a steady annual growth rate of close to 9 per cent, India is a rising economic superstar. Bangalore is the new Silicon Valley. Magazines such as Forbes and Vogue have launched Indian editions. The Mumbai skyline is decorated with posh hotels and international banks.

There are numbers to back up this narrative. The average Indian takes home $1,017 (U.S.) a year. Not much, but that’s nearly double the average five years ago and triple the annual income at independence, in 1947. The business and technology sector has grown tenfold in the past decade. Manufacturing and agriculture are expanding, and trade levels are way up.

India is also on the up and up in terms of human well-being. Life expectancy and literacy are steadily rising, while child mortality continues to decline. The poverty rate is down to 42 per cent from 60 per cent in 1981. While 42 per cent still leaves a long way to go, India’s situation seems rosy compared with that of, say, Malawi and Tanzania, which have poverty rates of 74 per cent and 88 per cent, respectively.

If we examine these statistics in real numbers, however, a different narrative emerges, one the Indian government likes less.

With a population as big as India’s, 42 per cent means there are some 475 million Indians living on less than $1.25 per day. That’s 10 times as many facing dire poverty as Malawi and Tanzania combined.

It means India is home to more poor people than any other country in the world.

To put it another way, one of every three people in the world living without basic necessities is an Indian national.

The real number is probably even larger. The recently launched Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), a more comprehensive measure of deprivation than the current “poverty line” of $1.25 per day, uses 10 markers of well-being, including education, health and standard of living. The MPI, developed by the Poverty & Human Development Initiative at Oxford University, puts the Indian poverty rate at 55 per cent. That’s 645 million people — double the population of the United States and nearly 20 times the population of Canada.

By this measure, India’s eight poorest states have more people living in poverty than Africa’s 26 poorest nations.

A 10-year-old living in the slums of Calcutta, raising her 5-year-old brother on garbage and scraps, and dealing with tapeworms and the threat of cholera, suffers neither more nor less than a 10-year-old living in the same conditions in the slums of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. But because the Indian girl lives in an “emerging economy,” slated to battle it out with China for the position of global economic superpower, and her counterpart in Lilongwe lives in a country with few resources and a bleak future, the Indian child's predicament is perceived with relatively less urgency.

One is “poor” while the other represents a “declining poverty rate.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's part 2 of a recent report titled "India: Economic Power House or Poor House?" by reporter The Star's Mary Albino that talks about how deceptive "India's Miracle" is:

One is “poor” while the other represents a “declining poverty rate.”

What’s more, in India there are huge discrepancies in poverty from one state to the next. Madhya Pradesh, for example, is comparable in population and incidence of poverty to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. But the misery of the DRC is much better known than the misery of Madhya Pradesh, because sub-national regions do not appear on “poorest country” lists. If Madhya Pradesh were to seek independence from India, its dire situation would become more visible immediately.

As India demonstrates, having the largest number of poor people is not the same as being the poorest country. That’s unfortunate, because being the poorest country has advantages. In the same way a tsunami or earthquake garners an intense outpouring of aid and support, being labelled “worst off” or “most poor” tends to draw a bigger share of international attention — and dollars.

When Bangladesh became independent from Pakistan in 1971, it was the poorest country in the world, so poor most economists were skeptical it would ever succeed on its own. But being labelled “dead last” worked in its favour: billions of dollars in aid money flooded in, and NGO and charity groups arrived in droves. The dominant narrative of Bangladesh at the time was of a war-ravaged, cyclone-battered and fledgling country on the brink of famine. That seemed to help rally the troops.

No doubt India’s government wants the world to perceive the nation in terms of its potential and not its shortcomings. But because it’s home to 1.1 billion people, India is more able than most to conceal the bad news behind the good, making its impressive growth rates the lead story rather than the fact that it is home to more of the world’s poor than any other country.

Still, at least part of the blame should be placed on the way poverty is presented on the international stage. If the unit of deprivation is a human being, then the prevalence of poverty should be presented in numbers of lives. If we know precisely how many billionaires India has — 49 in 2010, double last year’s number — than we should also know precisely how many people live without basic necessities.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a NY Times Op Ed by Nicholas Kistoff on Pakistan:

Meanwhile, Pakistan seeks postflood aid from Western taxpayers, yet barely taxes its own affluent citizens at home. And its feudal landholders have historically opposed good schools, for fear that poor Pakistanis — if educated — would object to oppression.

One reason Pakistan is sometimes called the most dangerous country in the world is this: a kindergarten child in this country has only a 1 percent chance of reaching the 12th grade, according to the Pakistan Education Task Force, an official panel. The average Pakistani child is significantly less likely to be schooled than the average child in sub-Saharan Africa.

American myopia historically has played a role. We’ve propped up generals but not the lawyers’ movement for democracy. We’ve allocated billions of dollars for Pakistan’s army but not for schools. And the U.S. has never been willing to take the single most important step: open our markets wide to Pakistani garment exports, so as to provide jobs and strengthen the business sector.

Now let’s break for a ray of hope.

This is my first trip to Pakistan in years in which the country’s downhill slide seems to have been arrested — and that’s notwithstanding the floods that ravaged the country recently.

It helps that the United States has approved the Kerry-Lugar-Berman package to provide civilian aid, earning the U.S. a dose of goodwill in Pakistan. But most important, members of Pakistan’s emerging middle class are stepping up to the plate.

They are enraged at the terrorists who have been tearing apart their country, they’re appalled by corruption and illiteracy, and they want peace so that their children can become educated and live a better life. Their obsession is college, not Kashmir.

Partly because of middle-class influence, ordinary Pakistanis are increasingly focused on education. About one-fourth of Pakistani children, even from poor families, now attend private schools, simply because the public schools are so wretched.

These days the middle class is not only eclipsing the feudal landowners but also rejects the old feudal contempt for the masses. One reflection of the middle-class engagement is the rise of the Citizens Foundation, a terrific aid group started by a group of businessmen frustrated by their country’s appalling schools.

Today, T.C.F. runs 660 excellent schools for the poorest citizens. I visited several of these schools on this trip — and, wow!

T.C.F. spends 40 percent less per pupil than state schools do, but manages to provide incomparably better education. Here in the most-populous province of Punjab, for example, nearly 100 percent of Citizens Foundation pupils pass government exams, while over the last four years state schools have averaged a 44 percent pass rate.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a story about the promise of Danish Schools, a series of boarding schools being set up in Pakistani Punjab by the provincial govt of chief minister Sahbaz Sharif for the poor as an alteranative to the madrassa system:

Outside the window, a Pakistani flag flutters, inside, a teacher asks a group of 6th-grader girls and boys, “Who can make a food chain?” A girl comes up to the board and uses a pen as a mouse to click and drag an animated plant to the first box, a worm to the second and a bird to the third. “Excellent,” Says the teacher. She goes and sits down with a smile on her face.

This is not an ordinary board, it’s a smart board, the first of its kind in Pakistan, and this is no ordinary school. Inaugurated January 18th, The Danish School System at Rahim Yar Khan stands in stark contrast to the rural terrain of this Southern Punjab city. Children enrolled in this school have to fit a certain criteria, not just that they have to pass an entry test, but they have to either have a missing parent, or both parents, they have to have an illiterate parent and they must have a monthly income of less than USD 100 - they must belong in short to the forgotten class of Pakistan’s poor and minorities.

This is affirmative action, giving the underprivileged a chance to have a level playing field. But how real is it? For one, it has the clear support of the government of Punjab which has faced severe criticism from all quarters about the surge of 25 billion rupees invested in a series of these purpose-built campuses for both girls and boys all over Punjab. These critics claim that money could have been better spent elsewhere on better alternatives like building roads or canals.
The Danish Schools stands as an alternative to madrassa education because the school provides free lodging and boarding to all its students. It not only gives students a rounded education in the sciences and the arts but also provides social and extracurricular exposure. An on call psychologist also monitors each of the student’s behavior and has counseling sessions with the children and their parent or gurdian for a smooth transition into boarding life.

Despite the challenges, there is a certain spark and energy in the entire Danish school core committee headed by LUMS Provost, Dr Zafar Iqbal Qureshi, and the teachers and students. At the inaugural ceremony, one child danced on Shakira’s Waka Waka, another child, Aasia Allah-Wasiah told a 500 odd gathering the story of her life, how she became an orphan and how Danish school was her only hope for a future.

Not all parents were this easily convinced of Danish School’s objectives. One asked the girls’ school principle, “Why would you give me back my child after giving her clothes and shoes and spending so much on her? I know this is a conspiracy to buy our children from us.”

Other parents objected to there being non-Muslim students eating in the same utensils. The management responded by saying “we all eat in the same plates as any Hindu or Christian boy because this school is for everyone equally.” Needless to say that Rahim Yar Khan, despite scattered industrial units is largely agrarian and the people are deeply influenced by the exclusivist brand of Wahabism.
With a meager amount of the GDP being spent on education, it is a positive sign to have politicians finally focus on this sector to secure their vote bank. With time the criticism towards these initiatives, such as the importance of Danish schools adopting the O-Levels system, may fine tune the programs into being more effective for the people. And especially those people who don’t have a voice.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen on economic growth and quality of life in India and China:

It could, however, be asked why this distinction should make much difference, since economic growth does enhance our ability to improve living standards. The central point to appreciate here is that while economic growth is important for enhancing living conditions, its reach and impact depend greatly on what we do with the increased income. The relation between economic growth and the advancement of living standards depends on many factors, including economic and social inequality and, no less importantly, on what the government does with the public revenue that is generated by economic growth.

Some statistics about China and India, drawn mainly from the World Bank and the United Nations, are relevant here. Life expectancy at birth in China is 73.5 years; in India it is 64.4 years. The infant mortality rate is fifty per thousand in India, compared with just seventeen in China; the mortality rate for children under five is sixty-six per thousand for Indians and nineteen for the Chinese; and the maternal mortality rate is 230 per 100,000 live births in India and thirty-eight in China. The mean years of schooling in India were estimated to be 4.4 years, compared with 7.5 years in China. China’s adult literacy rate is 94 percent, compared with India’s 74 percent according to the preliminary tables of the 2011 census.

As a result of India’s effort to improve the schooling of girls, its literacy rate for women between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four has clearly risen; but that rate is still not much above 80 percent, whereas in China it is 99 percent. One of the serious failures of India is that a very substantial proportion of Indian children are, to varying degrees, undernourished (depending on the criteria used, the proportion can come close to half of all children), compared with a very small proportion in China. Only 66 percent of Indian children are immunized with triple vaccine (diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus), as opposed to 97 percent in China.

Comparing India with China according to such standards can be more useful for policy discussions in India than confining the comparison to GNP growth rates only. Those who are fearful that India’s growth performance would suffer if it paid more attention to “social objectives” such as education and health care should seriously consider that notwithstanding these “social” activities and achievements, China’s rate of GNP growth is still clearly higher than India’s.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET story on Pakistan's chances of meeting MDG 5:

Pakistan will not be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5, that relate to bringing about an improvement in maternal health, by the targeted year of 2015. This was stated by Special Adviser to the Prime Minister and Chairperson National Assembly Special Committee on MDGs Shahnaz Wazir Ali on Thursday.

She was addressing participants at a National Policy Dialogue on Monitoring Implementation of MDG 5 in Pakistan at a local hotel.

Ali said dictatorship, slow pace of work, lack of integrated coordination and planning between the federal and provincial ministries after the 18th amendment and unavailability of credible data on health and family planning are major factors behind the failure to achieve the set targets on time.

She expressed concern over low prevalence of safe family planning measures which is one of the major reasons behind high maternal mortality rate in Balochistan despite heavy funding. Ali revealed that allocations under the NFC Award for Population Welfare were need-based rather than determined by population size and hoped that these would be used to promote maternal health. “Now the provinces have to come up with strategies to enable the country to achieve the targets. The federal government will, however continue to offer financial support,” she said.

Presenting the findings of the research on progress achieved so far under the MDG 5, Khawar Mumtaz said that the maternal mortality rate (MMR) is 276 per 100,000 live births in the country which needs to be reduced to 140 by 2015. Similarly, contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) is 30% which needs to be increased to 55% by 2015, while total fertility rate (TFR) is 4.1 live births per woman which need to be reduced to 2.1.

In Balochistan, MMR is 785 per 100,000, CPR is 14%, while TFR is 4.1. Discussing the appalling situation in his province, Balochistan Health Minister Haji Ainullah Shams said the term family planning is taken as a plan for not having children in the province, which needs to change.

Similarly the province is deprived of all basic health facilities and health officials who are deputed in the BHUs they are not given any incentives or facilities, he added.

Moreover, the report presented by Mumtaz stated that widespread unmet need for family planning among women and no safe abortion or post-abortion care is available across the country. In rural areas, basic health units have inadequate staff while some are inaccessible due to inconvenient location. A whole range of unregulated informal and formal health services result in widespread quackery, negligence and malpractice....
Meanwhile, Secretary Federal Bureau of Statistics Sohail Ahmed emphasised on the need for federal government to re-invent its role post-18th amendment for coordination of international commitments and to serve as a bridge between provinces and donors for achievement of MDGs. He suggested the federal government should offer matching grants to provinces for achievement of MDGs.

Riaz Haq said...

An Ambitious Development Agenda From the U.N. #sustainabledevelopment #SDGs replace #MDGs

Here's NY Times Op Ed on Sustainable Development Goals 2030:

The new targets are known as the Sustainable Development Goals, and they were formally adopted by the United Nations on Friday. Nothing appears to have been left out. There are 17 goals in all, covering areas like poverty, public health, the environment, education and justice.

So far, they are rather vaguely stated. The U.N. has not yet established statistical indicators against which to measure progress. It promises these numbers in the coming months. That won’t be easy in some cases: Goal No. 16, for example, calls on countries to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

Several goals, including those on sustainable consumption and production (No. 12), climate change (No. 13), conserving oceans (No. 14) and sustainable use of land (No. 15) cover a lot of the same ground and might easily have been consolidated. The U.N. should have picked fewer and more targeted goals.

That said, this is a worthy, high-minded effort. Developed economies like those of the United States, the European Union and Japan need to play an important role by providing more aid, expertise and private investment to developing countries. And industrialized nations need to revive their economies to help lift global growth, which the International Monetary Fund estimates will slow to 3.3 percent this year, from 3.4 percent in 2014.

Multilateral agencies like the World Bank can also help with research and by financing public works projects. And charities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be critical in providing money and leadership to achieve public health goals like eliminating malaria and other tropical diseases (No. 3).

Realistically, some nations may be beyond help at this point because they are so deeply mired in war and other conflicts. Without peace and better political leadership, it is hard to anticipate big gains in development in places like Iraq, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Riaz Haq said...

The Pakistan Education Statistics 2015-16 fact sheets compiled by Alif Ailaan shows that Pakistan failed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets for universal primary school access, improving retention in schools and increasing adult literacy.

The MGDs report available on its official page also revealed that not only did Pakistan come up short in upholding its international commitment to ensure all its citizens access to primary education as prescribed under the MDG, but it has also failed to meet its constitutional obligations at national and provincial level. The report of the MDGs has also recommended a high standard of education. The education departments of a country need to consider the urgency of improving educational quality in the country, which is not necessarily linked to infrastructure alone.

According to Alif Alian, Provincial and National Education Scores For the fourth year consecutively, Islamabad has ranked highest amongst all provinces of the Pakistan. The Education Score of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) remained at the same ranks they were last year, with KP at number five. However, the provinces suffered a decline in their Education Score of almost two percentage points each. KP demonstrated improvements in both enrolment and gender parity scores. However the reduction in the overall Education Score of the province is mainly due to the decline in retention rates.

The report of the independent organization also indicates that 50 percent of KP schools still do not have any of the four basic facilities available (electricity, drinking water, toilets and boundary walls). Unlike Punjab, KP’s districts are more evenly distributed whereby one specific region does not dominate the rest, as was the case in previous years.

The Pakistan District Education Rankings 2016 have suggested that for the fourth annual iteration for tracking progress, three districts of the province - Malakand, Mardan and Haripur - ranked in the top 25 of the country.

The data accumulation process of the organization found that two districts of the province - Tank and Kohistan - are ranked in the bottom 25. Kohistan was the worst performing district. However, as result of the Fiscal year (FY) 2016-17 KP the provincial allocation is PKR 43.6 billion while the district component is PKR 99.8 billion which will have a positive impact for the improvement of district level education status. Fifty percent of the provincial budget has been allocated for the districts but no detail or formula has been mentioned concerning how the funds are to be allocated. The minister made clear the formula or break-up of development and current allocations of funds to districts. It is pertinent to mention here that the factsheet praised the meritorious policy of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in the previous FY 2015-16 merit base recruitment of over 12,000 school teachers through the National Testing Service (NTS) in FY 2015-16.

Despite a five-year trend of increasing enrollment rates, many children are still out of school and gender disparity remains a challenge. 52 percent girls in the province remain out of school compared to 21 boys. Media Manager of the Alif Ailaan Mariam Jamal said, while speaking to Daily Time that the data presented in the factsheet was collected painstakingly at a district level and compiled at the provincial and regional levels from the Annual School Census (ASC), which is regularly conducted every year by provincial and regional Education Management Information Systems (EMIS).

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan on path towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals under ‘One #UN Programme III'. The 5-year partnership framework sets direction of #UnitedNations support to the government to achieve the 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda for #SDGs

The United Nations is focused on supporting Pakistan to achieve the SDGs as efforts continue to tackle development challenges in the country under the UN Sustainable Development Framework.

This was highlighted at the 6th Provincial Steering Committee meeting of the OneUN Operation Plan III (OPIII) that was held at the Planning and Development Department Secretariat in Quetta today.

Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta, Additional Chief Secretary Development chaired the meeting. Co-chairs of the Balochistan Steering Committee, Neil Buhne United Nations Resident Coordinator and MinĂ  Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan elaborated upon the approaches to align UN Sustainable Development Goals framework with the priorities of the government of Pakistan.

Successes achieved over the last year were also presented to the participants which included high level officials from various government departments in Balochistan.

Pakistan is amongst the first countries that adopted the SDGs as National Development Goals and one of the few countries that is investing its own resources to achieve the SDGs.

The 5-year partnership framework sets out the direction of the UN’s support to the government of Pakistan to achieve the 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

Riaz Haq said...

The headline multidimensional poverty (MPI) figures for Pakistan (0.198) are worse than for Bangladesh (0.104) and India (0.069). This is primarily due to the education deficit in Pakistan. UNDP's report titled "Unpacking Deprivation Bundle" shows that an average Pakistani still enjoys a better "standard of living" than his/her counterparts in Bangladesh and India. Below is an excerpt from it:

"The analysis first looks at the most common deprivation profiles across 111 developing countries (figure 1). The most common profile, affecting 3.9 percent of poor people, includes deprivations in exactly four indicators: nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and housing.7 More than 45.5 million poor people are deprived in only these four indicators.8 Of those people, 34.4 million live in India, 2.1 million in Bangladesh and 1.9 million in Pakistan—making this a predominantly South Asian profile "

Also note in this UNDP report that the income poverty (people living on $1.90 or less per day) in Pakistan is 3.6% while it is 22.5% in India and 14.3% in Bangladesh.

Living standards (Cooking fuel Sanitation Drinking water Electricity Housing Assets) of the poor in Pakistan (31.1%) are better than in Bangladesh (45.1%) and India (38.5%).

Pakistan fares worse in terms of education (41.3%) indicators relative to Bangladesh (37.6%) and India (28.2%).

In terms of health, Pakistan ( 27.6%) fares better than India (32.2%) but worse than Bangladesh (17.3%).

In terms of population vulnerable to poverty, Pakistan (12.9%) does better than Bangladesh (18.2%) and India (18.7%)

Riaz Haq said...

SDG Index 2023: Bangladesh ahead of India, Pakistan

Bangladesh has ranked 101st on the Sustainable Development Report 2023, with an overall score of 65.9 out of 100.

In this year's index, Bangladesh is ahead of India (112th), Pakistan (128th), and Afghanistan (158th) in South Asia.

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 including the SDG Index and Dashboards, which was released on Wednesday, is a complement to the official SDG indicators and the voluntary national reviews, published by the Dublin University Press.

The report assesses the progress of all of the 193 UN Member States towards the SDGs.

Status of SDG targets for Bangladesh

Around 30.9% of the SDG targets for Bangladesh have been achieved or on track, 41.2% have limited progress, and 27.9% have been worsening.

The SDG dashboard highlighted that out of 17 development goals, Bangladesh is on track or maintaining SDG achievements for only two goals – Quality education (SDG 4), and Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12).

Besides, the country has been moderately improving with respect to achieving six goals: no poverty (SDG 1), zero hunger (SDG 2), good health and well-being (SDG 3), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), and industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9).

Bangladesh is moderately improving in these six indicators, but they are not sufficient as there are major challenges in achieving these goals.

The SDG dashboard indicates that Bangladesh has already achieved two goals – responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), and climate action (SDG 13).

Although the country has achieved the climate action goal, it has been tagged to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Sadly, the country is stagnant in its position for four goals, and moving backward with respect to three goals, according to the report.

There are major challenges in achieving the targets related to life below water (SDG14), life on land (SDG15), and peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG16), reflected by the decreasing scores in these indicators.

There is no data about one of the goals – reduced inequalities (SDG 10) – for Bangladesh and overall 2% of data is missing in the SDG Index.

Spillover Index

The report also published a spillover index, which indicates transboundary impacts generated by one country on others.

Bangladesh ranked 46th with a score of 97.8 on the Spillover Index, indicating the country has significantly more positive and fewer negative impacts on other countries in achieving their sustainable development goals.

The Spillover Index assesses such spillovers along three dimensions: environmental and social impacts embodied in trade, economy and finance, and security.

Global situation

Globally, Finland topped the SDG Index by replacing Sweden. Denmark ranked third, followed by Germany and Austria.

South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Chad are the bottom three countries.

All of the SDGs are seriously off track.

From 2015 to 2019, the world made some progress on the SDGs, although this was already vastly insufficient to achieve the goals. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 and other simultaneous crises, SDG progress has stalled globally.

The disruptions caused by these multiple crises have aggravated fiscal-space issues in low-income countries and in lower-middle income countries, leading to a reversal in progress on several goals and indicators.

"Despite this alarming development, the SDGs are still achievable. None of their objectives are beyond our reach," said the report.