ISLAMABAD: About 54 per cent of Pakistani population is facing a “multi-dimensional deprivation” — lack of basic necessities like education, health and good standard of living — as the country fell two steps down to the 125th position on the world index of human development compiled by the United Nations.A report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released on Tuesday said that 54 per cent of the population was facing intense deprivation of basic necessities of life, while another 11.8 per cent was at the risk of “multi-dimensional poverty”.
The report said that Pakistan's ranking on the Human Development Index (HDI) dropped from 123rd position last year to 125th position this year. The report was launched to mark the 20th anniversary of Human Development Report “The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Development” to commemorate the contribution of late Dr Mahbub-ul-Haq to the concept of human development.
Out of scores from 1 to 5 for gauging human rights violations, the report said Pakistan ranked 4th. In terms of democracy-related scores from 0 to 2, Pakistan stood at 1 number.
The report said that 51.2 per cent population was deprived of education, 29.2 per cent of health and 42.9 per cent of good standard of living.
The report said that 10 per cent population had no access to water and 55 per cent was without sanitation. It reported 896 deaths per million due to indoor and outdoor air and water pollution, while 8,953 people per million had been affected by natural disaster.
The “Top 10 Movers” highlighted in the 2010 report — those countries among the 135 that improved most in HDI terms over the past 40 years — were led by Oman, which invested energy earnings over the decades in education and public health. Other nine top movers are China, Nepal, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Laos, Tunisia, South Korea, Algeria and Morocco.
Remarkably, China was the only country which made to the “Top 10” list due solely to income performance; the main drivers of HDI achievement were in health and education.
Between 1980 and 2010, the HDI value in Pakistan increased by 58 per cent (average annual increase of about 1.5 per cent). Pakistan is ranked 10 in terms of HDI improvement, which measures progress in comparison to the average progress of countries with a similar initial HDI level.
Similarly, Pakistan's life expectancy at birth increased by more than nine years, mean years of schooling by about three years and expected years of schooling by almost four years. The country's Gross National Income (GNI) per capita increased by 92 per cent during the 30-year period.
In 1980, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh had close HDI values for countries in South Asia. However, between 1980 and 2010, they experienced different degrees of progress towards increasing their HDIs.
According to the report, Pakistan's 2010 HDI of 0.490 is below the average for countries in South Asia. It is also below the average for medium human development countries. From South Asia, Pakistan's 2010 “HDI neighbours” — the countries which are close in HDI rank and population size — are India and Bangladesh, which had HDIs ranked 119 and 129, respectively.
The report introduces the MPI, which identifies multiple deprivations in the same households in education, health and standard of living. In Pakistan, 51 per cent population suffers multiple deprivations while an additional 12 per cent is vulnerable to multiple deprivations. The average percentage of deprivation experienced by people in multi-dimensional poverty is 54 per cent.
The MPI, which is the share of the population that is multi-dimensionally poor, adjusted by the intensity of the deprivations, is 0.275. Pakistan's HDI neighbours — India and Bangladesh — have MPIs of 0.296 and 0.291, respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said the HDI had become one of the most influential and widely-used indices to measure human development across countries. He said the government, in consultation with the Planning Commission, was working on a reform process which focussed on restructuring of public sector enterprises.