Pakistan has strived with its uncontrollable dilemma of poverty for a long, long time. Shouldn’t Pakistan learn from its successful neighbor?
Xi Jinping, the president of China, recently claimed that the country has finally accomplished the long-sought attempt of eliminating severe poverty from the rural areas of China. Ever since the time Jinping has come to power in 2012, his authority has made the elimination of poverty from rural areas the major plank of their policy. The outcome was not less than a miracle. The plan succeeded, lifting almost 100 million people out of poverty.
Some specialists doubt Xi Jinping’s claims as they believe that the Chinese President has set too low a level in his meaning of poverty. Under his rule, China’s extreme poverty limit is set at $1.69/day at the latest currency exchange prices and $2.25/day in rates of 2011 after regulating for purchasing equivalency.
Meanwhile, as suggested by the World Bank, one of the biggest financial institutions recognized internationally, $1.90/day is only appropriate for low-income regions while the most relevant poverty limit for upper-middle-income regions is $5.50/day, for lower-middle-income regions, it’s $3.20/day. The experts assume that the declaration of elimination of poverty by China may have been exaggerated.
However, many other professionals do believe that China has surely attained a remarkable achievement of exterminating severe poverty from within the largest human population. A few of them, however, concede but also show concern for the liveability of the anti-poverty campaign.
To achieve the long-sought goal of eliminating poverty from the entire rural part of the country, China has dedicated a total amount of almost $800 billion. There is no assurance that China will manage to be in a position of making another investment on the same scale in case a larger part of the country’s population slips into neediness.
While the identification of a country’s poverty breadline and checking the sustainability of an anti-poverty initiative may be related subjects for polemic discussions, the far more important subject for us is the mechanism through which our neighbor, China obtained this miracle.
Two words that will best describe the mechanism adopted by China to function the anti-poverty move are “precise” and “targeted.” Under the plan, China collected and sent around 255,000 working teams based in the village, more than 30 Lakh workers of the CPC, and thousands of other administrators to 832 underprivileged divisions and over 100,000 needy villages.
The workers were assigned to make a profile of every person living below the line of poverty in the country. The profile should be established on four traits: Income, lack of medical insurance, family, housing condition, and whether any member of the household has dropped education. The workers were then instructed to match the inspected data with individuals and families to identify the people living in need accurately.
As the workers surveyed each individual and his household, they evaluated the income potential, whether all the members are healthy and the children within the household are getting the requisite education. Thus the workers together assembled a nationwide digital database that covered every known town, individual, and family. The process guaranteed an accurate identification of all the people in need and uncovered the cause of the poverty of each person in the national database network.
Then the matter was forwarded to officials who assessed the conditions of each individual and came up with personalized solutions to relieve poverty. For instance, if the team thinks the root cause of a family is the lack of education then the government is responsible for providing it student loans and educational grants.
The process was not a matter of two or three days. It took months for the government workers to help understand the lifestyle of each household precisely and for this, they had to live in the village themselves. The passion behind the strategy was to utilize the potential to improve social enterprises and local industries run by the local population. This had the beneficial outcome of preventing rural populations from migrating to urban cities because good jobs were now available in their locality.
Modern industrial development policies were introduced in almost all the targeted divisions and over 3 lakh industrial bases in processing, planting, and farming was founded. Over 95 million people were shifted into 2.66 million new homes facilitated with water, gas, internet, and electricity.
China considerably bundled environmental sustainability with its drive against poverty. The country made use of solar energy for implementing its agricultural policies in many needy divisions, and around a million people were hired as forest ecological supervisors, lessening both employment and developing environmental awareness. Moreover, the country also didn’t let go of promoting e-commerce at the same time. As part of the strategy to integrate poor settlements with the global market, the government ensured to lay internet connectivity around all the targeted divisions and distributed free e-commerce courses.
Foreseeing the chance of slipping into poverty again, the country has made yet another huge investment in an excellent education system. China promoted 108,000 institutes and drastically lessened dropouts by gathering more than 200,000 children to resume their academics. The system is responsible to give free vocational tuition to 8 million children belonging to low-income households.
The country also worked hard to support around 99 percent of the low-income families with medical insurance that offers 80 percent relief on the expense of hospitalization. The life longing, which was around the age of 35 back in the Chinese Independence Year, reached 77 years recently.
Now we know that the exceptional mechanism adopted by our neighboring nation proved fruitful for them but will Pakistan, the country that has struggled with its uncontrollable issue of poverty since it came into being, adopt the same tools?