Country far from goals of Vision 2025

Resource allocation does not give priority to human development.

HAIDER ABBAS August 17, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s policy framework contains a number of exceptional goals and objectives, including improved quality of education, elimination of all types of disparities and imbalances and significantly improved enrolment rates. However, in the current structure, the country is far from achieving the Vision 2025.

The vision has positioned human resource development at the top of national agenda by capitalising on social capital, strengthening it and improving the human skill base to optimally contribute to and effectively benefit from economic growth. But unfortunately, an analysis of the current year’s federal budget reveals how the wellbeing of citizens has been ignored by allocating more than 18% of the budget to defence needs. Even in today’s world of knowledge-based societies, Pakistan’s allocation for health and education is the lowest in the region.

According to the budget 2014-15 document, the education and health sectors have once again not received their due share. An amount of Rs74.031 billion has been earmarked for both sectors, showing an increase of only 1.5% compared to the previous year, which is insignificant considering the population growth and inflation hovering around 9%.

Of the amount of Rs74 billion, only 13.5% goes to the health sector. The development plan consists of ambitious schemes such as Metro bus services, Metro trains and a motorway from Karachi to Lahore.

In the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for 2014-15, major investment is envisaged in the energy sector, followed by transport and communications. Of the programme’s size of Rs1,175 billion, only Rs12.5 billion has been set aside for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

On the other hand, under pillar one of the Vision 2025, the government promises that a larger share of the gross domestic product (GDP), at least 4% to education and at least 3% to health, would have to be allotted to these sectors. The aim is to achieve universal primary education with 100% net primary enrolment, expansion of higher education coverage from 7% to 12% and increase in the proportion of population with access to improved sanitation from 38% to 90%.

The resource allocation does not show any political will to prioritise human development. In its current shape, Pakistan is the embodiment of a security state where human development barely attracts attention.

No close to reality

The budget is far from being poor-friendly. The myth of macro-stabilisation and its consequent trickle-down effect has disappeared. Misplaced priorities coupled with the shotgun approach to allocations will worsen economic slowdown.

At this juncture, the government needs to stabilise the economy, rebuild the eroded credibility, bridge the fiscal gap, re-establish confidence in public institutions and improve the investment climate. In parallel with its macroeconomic stabilisation programme, the government also needs to develop a comprehensive plan of structural reforms.

Pakistan must respond to such challenges effectively. This calls for a change in the mindset to incorporate the quest for excellence.

The writer is a researcher at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute

Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2014.

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Author | 7 years ago | Reply

@Ishrat Agreed with you. As I said there is need to rebuild the eroded credibility.

ishrat salim | 7 years ago | Reply


Pakistan will remain a security state unless we trash out Kashmir problem once for all & even then our ideological differences will inevitably remain un-solved due to presence of hardliners at both end....having said that, yet it is not difficult to transform our country into a vibrant entity if we get honest, god-fearing leader with a good team. To achieve this, we need to break the status quo. Get rid of feudalism, waderas & tribal leaders. Ruthless accountability can & will arrest most of the ills this country is facing we have ZERO accountability, that is why corruption, nepotism, favoritism, political appointments, tax evasion, electricity & gas theft are so common. Consequently, shortfalls are passed on to the poor people through in-direct taxation. This is not a piece of cake for any of the present politicians, that is why they do not want to bring in any change that will undermine their authority. The number of laws against anything, you name it we have it, but that we have on paper is probably the highest compared to any developing country, because they do not have the will to implement it. There are many laws that dates back to pre-partition days or British era. Those have not been replaced & updated & we make new law. The common literate people do have any knowledge of their rights, let alone the illiterate people. The Police too are not aware of any proper law to be applied when making FIRs. The Prosecutors are also not very educated & low paid, that they get carried away & become friendly prosecutors. The Police investigation units are below standard, hence poor investigation leads the accused to freedom by the court due to in-sufficient evidence. There is no witness protection program, hence, no witness dare to come forward, no conviction.

Since the politicians are weak, bureaucrats take advantage of their ignorance in state matters & shows them the way to make money for their mutual benefit. That is how, bureaucrats & Politicians both have become corrupt.

If you just sit down & analyze about some of the above stated facts, what will be your re-action...

This country is surviving ONLY due to the duas/ prayers of the poor who knows they have nowhere to go.....

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