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Topic: Income Inequalities in Pakistan and a

Strategy to Reduce Income Inequalites by


A. R. Kemal
The growth and income distribution jointly determine improvements in the living standards of
the ordinary person, In Pakistan over the last 20 years focus had shifted to reduction in
proportion of the poor rather than improving the income distribution.

The income inequalities in Pakistan have increased sharply in the 1990s and the PLSM data also
shows that the trend continues even in the current decade even if the poverty may have declined.
Moreover, income inequalities have been much higher than in the urban areas. The four main
factors that govern personal income distribution include: distribution of assets; functional income
distribution; transfers from other households, government and rest of the world; and tax and
expenditure structure of the government.

Assets of a household are determined by the inheritance; cumulative savings and return on the
investments; and changes in the valuation of assets. Pakistan inherited very uneven land
distribution and that continues to-date, in the urban areas even though the asset distribution at the
time of independence may not have be as uneven, it has become quite distorted with the passage
of time due to incentives to large scale manufacturing and other enterprises, promotion of rent
seeking class through land grants, import, investment and other licenses all of which carried
premium and resulted in accumulation of assets by the privileged sections of the society and
distorted access to credit.

Functional income distribution is determined by the employment structure, distribution of labour


force within various industrial and occupational groups and relative incomes in various industries
and occupations. If the employment does not grow rapidly, the income inequalities tend to rise.
The income inequalities in various groups are associated with the growth of employment,
increase in productivity and subsequent changes in the wage and profit rates, nature of
technological change and trade orientation of the policy. Incomes distribution is also influenced
by changes in differences in mean incomes across industries. If the differentials in productivity
across sectors narrow down, the income inequalities may also decline.

Transfer income mostly comes from remittances, either internal remittances from within Pakistan
or external remittances from abroad. These two types of remittances have very different effects
on income distribution. Internal remittances are important for the poor: households in the lowest
income quintile receive more than 75 percent of their total per capita transfer income from
internal remittances. External remittances, however, tend to go to those who are relatively better
off. The tax structure of Pakistan that has been progressive despite the preponderance of indirect
taxes until 1988 has turned regressive. On the other hand public expenditure has also declined
and the major decline has been observed in subsidies.

Neither PRSP nor MTDF specifically outline the strategy for reduction in the income
Inequalities but some elements of poverty reduction strategy have positive implications for the
functional and personal income distribution. These include policies to generate more
employment opportunities; improved access to primary education, primary health care, drinking
water, access to justice; improvement in governance and involvement of the poor in the
formulation and implementation of the policies.
The study outlines a strategy for improving income distribution in Pakistan. It calls for asset
creation for relatively less well-off classes of the society through distribution of agricultural state
land in a transparent way; initiating programs that helps in enhancing the availability of more
productive milch animals, making credit available to small farmers to purchase the better quality
livestock and provide subsidies on livestock insurance; development of small plots and
constructing houses for the poor and middle class, regularisation of the Katchi Abadis, sale of the
shares of public sector enterprise in small lots to the relatively less well-off sections of the
society, development of human resources through provision of quality education and training and
health facilities, and innovative methods including venture capital, community collateral to
ensure return of the loan, the formation of village and local organisations through rural support
programs, etc.

Since agriculture is the most labour intensive sector it calls for promotion of the sector and
within agriculture sector to the livestock sub-sector. The creation of jobs in the non-crop sector
would be instrumental in reducing the income inequalities. Because of the higher labor intensity
it calls for promotion of SME sector through availability of credit for improvements.Within the
manufacturing sector it identifies textiles, agricultural processing, leather products, light
engineering industry and software industry for promotion. Construction sector is also very labour
intensive and that may help in reducing the income inequalities. So are the service sector but
they are skill intensive and efforts have to be made to improve skills. For the skill development a
number of measures have been suggested including modernisation of equipment, practical
training of the teachers and students, development.

The social safety nets are needed to protect vulnerable segments of the society against
unforeseen circumstances; they protect individuals, households and communities from acute
deprivation or inadvertent decline in incomes through formal and informal arrangements. The
social safety nets aim at enabling the poor to better manage the risk; preventing them from
distress sale of their assets; provide them a system of income insurance to protect them through
short term stress and calamities; and take care of their long term disability.

The private and public sector there are various social safety nets but they are inadequate and for
better coordination there is a need for an umbrella organisation in the private sector.The study
calls for establishment of rural “migration centers” to process visas, work contracts, and loan
arrangements for prospective external migrants. The system of migration needs to be regularized.
The government may enter into agreements such as the agreement signed with Malaysia.
The public expenditure crucially depends on the availability of the public revenues. Since
government is withdrawing withholding taxes they must be replaced with proper income taxation
so that the indirect taxes on products consumed by less well-off are withdrawn.

Major sufferers of poor governance are the common masses who are denied justice and there is
poor delivery of services. Poor governance results in distorted priorities, poor policy formulation
and ineffective implementation with serious implications for social welfare. Three main areas of
governance are civil service reforms, judicial & police reforms and devolution.
Topic: Poverty in Pakistan: An Islamic Perspective
There has been discussion on two types of poverty i.e. absolute poverty and relative poverty. The
main focus in this paper is on poverty in absolute sense. Absolute poverty is not just a matter of
being relatively poor than others in a society; but of not having some minimum necessities of life
all such as food, drink, clothing, shelter-needed for hunian survival do not vary from society to
society or overtime.
The discussion is based on the problem of poverty and identifying that Pakistan is poor in term
of food, drink, clothing and shelter. And the the main point discussion in this paper is on food
intake.
The consumption of food standardand and eating less in the light of Islam are that eating less
food has been livoured by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) on many occasions;
purisication of heart and sharpness of temprament and perfection of vision; softness of heart;
modesty and humbleness in personality; remembering of God's torment and distressed people;
breaking of rebellious lust and overcoming of nafs amara.Disappearance of sleppiness/doziness
and ever alertness; ease in worship; healthiness of body and repulsion of illness; reduction in
expenditure on food; amd savings on food.
In this paper the standard of food consumption are establish by three aspects such as amount of
food consumed; time for tacking food; and kinds of food.
Furthermore, 2100 calories of food intake is used as cut off point and the following conclusions
were drawn such as in 1990/91 in order to buy food worth 2100 calories one has to spend Rs.84
(53%) more in urban area than overall Pakistan and about Rs.40 (26%) more than rural areas.
Similarly, urban resident have to spend Rs.43 (21%) more than rural peoples; compared with
overall Pakistan, more than 3 times poor household live in areas; compared with urban areas, and
more than 2 times poor household live in the rural areas. This means incidence of poverty is
more severe in the rural areas compared with the urban areas.
Finally, it was concluded that Pakistan is not really very poor. Actually the entire population
enjoys a consumption level which while low by comparison 10 richer countries.
But if enough food is not reaching to all sections of the society then there must be problem of
distribution or there must be problem with our eating habits. So, few recommendation are made
to tackle the problem of poverty in Pakistan such as there must be real transfer of purchasing
power from the rich to the very poor; abolish feudal social system which is perhaps one of the
main causes of poverly. By abolishing the feudal system we can not only reduce poverly, in rural
areas but we can also increase the production of agricultural output; we need to educate our
people to change their eating habits. We need to educate then - to eat more nutrient food and to
give up those foods which are less nutrient and some time dangerous; in order to remove the
problem of poverly we need to uplift the moral standards of our people. Moral values have a
distinct. Through moral reformation people could be imbued with the qualities of adl and ehsan.
People could be educated to help their poor brothers; we not only educate our people about
simple living and simple eating but also we enforce the Islamic code of simple and healthy living
by making laws against demonstmtion by the rich people.