|Keywords (Extracted from title, table of contents and abstract of thesis)
rural poverty, bahawalpur district, cholistan, social services, land-based resources, rural populations, poverty reduction, livestock, entrepreneurship, landless households, economic infrastructure, income, irrigation
OBJECTIVES: An understanding of the extent, nature, structure and determinants of rural poverty is a pre condition for effective public action to alleviate poverty in rural areas of Pakistan. The major concern of this study is to explore the determinants of poverty in Pakistan with a case study of Cholistan in Bahawalpur district. In this study an attempt is made to analyze the economic, social and demographic characteristics of households in poverty and a detailed poverty profile based on the household survey data of a cluster sample of Cholistan. In addition, we performed an econometric analysis in terms of income and logistic regression models looking at the determinants of rural poverty for empirical analysis.
KEY FINDINGS: The elementary analysis of poverty in Cholistan shows that 69.64 percent households are extremely poor and 75.77 percent in term of population. Bulk of the extreme poverty is found among the small farm owners and landless households. Status of economic infrastructure is very much poor as no proper roads, electricity, health and education facilities, and drinking water and sanitation conditions exist in a cluster sample of Cholistan. The land distribution is highly unequal with a Gini coefficient value of 0.68. The degree of inequality in income is however lower with a Gini coefficient of 0.36. It is also concluded that rural poverty is strongly correlated to the absence of basic human and physical assets such as education and landholding, participation rates and household size. The poor households have large size of members and as a result, they have higher dependency ratio. The three (FGT) poverty measures are worse among the landless households, low educational attainments, low participation rates, large household size, high dependency ratio, high female-male ratio of members and low female-male ratio of workers.
In our econometric analysis, we performed a multivariate income regression analysis on the potential determinants of income per capita or incidence of poverty at the village level. The results show that household size, educational attainment, participation ratio, female, male ratio of workers, dependency ratio, persons per room, population of livestock, landholding, area under irrigation and age of household head tend to be significant determinants of rural poverty across all villages and a total sample. Moreover, all these significant determinants of poverty have the correct signs based on expectation. Finally, in our econometric analysis, we also performed a logistic regression analysis of the determinants of probability of being extremely poor. The results indicate that household size, dependency ratio, and households made their house by mud and straw, are the variables/determinants that are positively and significantly correlated with the probability of being extremely poor. While, the variables: educational attainment of households, household has a latrine in his house, participation ratio, age of household head, household visits the health center, household has the access to drinking water by hand pump and landholding are negatively and significantly correlated with the probability of being extremely poor.
KEY POLICY IMPLICATIONS: The rural poor generally face interlocking barriers to economic, social and political opportunities. They lack a political voice because they are located remotely from the seats of power. These factors limit their access to infrastructure, and their ability to obtain or utilize social services (such as health and education) and, in some cases, reduce their rights to own or access land-based resources. So, empowering rural populations of Cholistan to take charge of their development agenda is essential for poverty reduction.
The empirical evidence suggests that rural poverty IS multidimensional and requires a multi-strategy solution. The decentralized type of planning is required to alleviate rural poverty in Pakistan in general and Cholistan in particular. There is an ardent need of the economic infrastructure with a particular focus on electrification, roads, health and education facilities, and safe drinking water and better sanitation conditions. In addition, there is a need to develop and promote micro and small-scale enterprises relating to agriculture and particularly livestock sector in order to create more employment opportunities in Cholistan. Hence efforts should be made to raise both farm and non-farm rural real incomes through job creation by the setup of micro and small-scale entrepreneurship, with the increased provision of education and health, better livelihood conditions, and a variety of related social and welfare services for poverty reduction.