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Poverty has risen since 2008, concedes govt

December 13, 2012

File photo
File photo

ISLAMABAD, Dec 13: The ministry of food security has conceded that poverty has been increasing in the country during the past four and a half years of the PPP-led coalition government.

The Senate was informed on Thursday that as per estimates of the World Bank and the UNDP, 17.2 per cent of Pakistanis were living below the poverty line in 2007-08.

In reply to a query by Mrs Nuzhat Sadiq of the PML-N, the ministry said the number of people falling under the poverty line had been increasing constantly and more than 58 per cent population was food insecure by 2011.

It said that according to a study conducted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, 48.6 per cent of population was food insecure in 2009 and around 22.4 per cent was extremely poor.

The ministry said that the National Nutrition Survey, 2011, conducted by the Benazir Income Support Program showed that 58 per cent of Pakistanis were food insecure and 29.6 percent of them were suffering with hunger or severe hunger.

The reply said the ministry of food security had submitted a National Zero Hunger Program to the prime minister on March 21 this year. But the announcements made by the prime minister at that time have yet to be approved.

The food security ministry also informed the house about various measures being taken to improve agriculture output in the country.

Reacting to the ministry’s reply, ANP parliamentary leader in the Senate Haji Adeel said: “We are ashamed to be part of the ruling alliance when people are not getting food.”

Steel Mills: Minister of State for Production Khawaja Sheeraz told the Senate that Pakistan Steel Mills had suffered a loss of Rs21 billion during the current year and no stern action had been taken so far against those responsible. “Our ministry could do nothing since enquiries are conducted by the FIA,” Khawaja Sheeraz said. “So many enquires are conducted with no results.”

Senator Mushahidullah Khan, who is also PML-N spokesman, advised the minister to resign, but he said that his resignation would not turn Steel Mills into a profitable entity.