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TODAY, the world is celebrating the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at a time when the global economy is struggling to recover from the devastating impact of Covid-19, which has pushed millions of people into poverty. A UNDP study of 70 countries, including Pakistan, indicates that the coronavirus epidemic could reduce poverty levels around the world by nine years and that an additional 490 million people would fall into multidimensional poverty. As the health crisis has derailed economies across the world, people living below the poverty line, women, children, people with disabilities, the elderly and other marginalized groups face increased risk of poverty reduction. food consumption and income. This is as true for Pakistan as it is for any other country. The IMF predicted a sharp increase in poverty in the country with up to 40% of Pakistanis living below the poverty line after the outbreak of the pandemic. This compares to an AfDB assessment of 24.3% of the country’s population living below the poverty line in 2015. The incidence of poverty was around 31% in June 2018, a few months before arrival. in the power of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Although the government, as part of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, commits to reducing poverty from 6% to 19% by 2023, anemic economic growth, a locust attack, a Entrenched high food inflation and the lack of implementation of pro-poor policies may have already pushed millions into poverty before the virus even reached Pakistan. According to independent estimates, the number of poor people may have increased by 8 million in the first year of the current government, and is expected to rise by 10 million more even if the health crisis had not disrupted the economy. There is no doubt that the government’s decision to increase fund distributions to the poor to mitigate the impact of the pandemic has helped them survive difficult times. But this is not enough. If the goal of eradicating poverty is to be achieved, the government must grow the economy at a faster rate, control inflation and dramatically increase pro-poor spending.

Posted in Dawn, October 17, 2020

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