Landlessness and rural poverty in Pakistan [with comments]

Type Journal Article - The Pakistan Development Review
Title Landlessness and rural poverty in Pakistan [with comments]
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2004
Page numbers 855-874
URL Anwar.pdf
Poverty imposes a repressive weight on Pakistan particularly in rural areas
where almost one third of population and majority of the poor live. Although poverty
has declined during the 1970s and 1980s, the absolute number of poor has increased
substantially since the 1960s. Despite a number of policy initiatives and programmes
undertaken for poverty alleviation by various governments, absolute poverty
particularly in rural areas continued to rise in Pakistan during the 1990s. Much has
been written about poverty in Pakistan so far. A number of attempts have been made
by various authors/institutions to estimate the rural poverty in Pakistan in the 1990s.
Discussions have remained limited to estimating the regional and provincial trends
for rural poverty in Pakistan. Although landlessness and rural poverty in Pakistan
received significant attention in the 1970 and 1980, discussions on this issue
remained limited in the 1990s. Landlessness and rural poverty are closely linked
since land is a principal asset in a rural economy like Pakistan. Landlessness to
agricultural land is considered to be the most important contributor to rural poverty.
A high concentration of landownership is a major constraint to agricultural growth
and alleviation of poverty. There is a general perception that highly skewed
distribution of land in Pakistan is one of the important causes of widespread poverty
particularly in rural areas.
It is this context that has guided us to examine the landlessness and rural
poverty in Pakistan. The paper is structured as follows. The next section provides a
critical review of the most recent work on the extent and trends in poverty in the
1990s. Methods of measurement of poverty are discussed in Section III. Section IV
discusses the data set of Household Integrated Economic Survey (HIES), 2001-02
that has been used to examine the landlessness and rural poverty in the country.
Section V presents the results for the prevalence of rural poverty using the official
poverty line. Main conclusions and policy implications conclude the discussion in
the final section.

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