Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection in Pakistan.

Mohammad, Irfan (2007): Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection in Pakistan. Published in: Abasyn University Journal of Social Science, Peshawar , Vol. 1, (2008)


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Multidimensionality of poverty defies a neat demarcation. Often several but not separable meanings can be attributed to poverty which essentially should encompass totality of deprivation experienced by an individual or group of individuals. Encyclopedia of social sciences for instances suggests that definition of poverty is convention specific and distinguishes between Social Poverty and Pauperism. The former includes economic inequality or property incomes etc in addition to social inequality such as dependence or exploitation while Pauperism denotes ones inability to maintain at the level conventionally regarded as minimal.

Pauperism has been the focus of researchers and policy makers in the developing world wherein efforts have been made to quantify the poverty, thus defined, using essentially arbitrary poverty lines or norms with application of varying procedures for estimation. Planning Commission of Pakistan suggested an official poverty line in terms of minimum caloric requirement per adult (2350 per day) and the needed expenditure of Rs. 670 per person for 1998/99 which was changed for subsequent years taking into account the changes in the price level. Not only the caloric intake level is different than what has been used by other researchers but the procedures used to estimate poverty levels also vary, using essentially the same data source (HIES) House hold Income and Expenditure Survey. Obviously the poverty lines constructed vary with the caloric intake needed, their conversion into expenditure and estimated nonfood expenditure. In contrast to this so-called revealed preference a normative approach is also opted, wherein money value of bundle of commodities regarded as minimum acceptable level of living is used as a surrogate of poverty line. These include food, clothing, housing, health, education, transport, social interaction and recreation facilities. Because of varying poverty lines and procedures to estimate the poverty it is extremely difficult to arrive at firm data for a point of time or time trend.

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