The ninth round of Pakistan-India
Legislators and Public Officials Dialogue was facilitated
by PILDAT in Dubai, UAE, on January 24, 2017. The dialogue focused
on the theme of sharing of lessons on Developments in Poverty
Alleviation in Pakistan and India.
The Dialogue included Members of Parliament
and Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Sindh alongside experts and media
representatives from Pakistan who joined Members of the Indian Parliament,
State Legislatures of Delhi and Rajasthan alongside experts and media representatives
Participants highlighted that acceleration
in economic growth on a sustained basis is an important policy objective
for poverty reduction. For this policy and reform, the two countries must
introduce reforms in institutions of governance.
Dialogue participants from India highlighted
a number of social safety net programmes that have helped alleviate poverty
in India adding that success also needs to be based on equitable and sustained
growth and the inclusion of stakeholders other than Government.
While the dialogue saw overall consensus
on both global and South Asian success with some reduction in poverty numbers
despite complexity of measuring poverty and disagreements on successful
strategies, participants believed that continuing arms expenditure by both
countries will be to the detriment of the welfare of the people.
While Pakistani participants showcased economic
growth and role of remittances, they also cited some success emanating from
targeted-subsidy programmes in reducing poverty. It was said that such programmes
help immediate needs but for longer-term impact, job creation and equal
opportunities are also critical.
Participants also underscored that in order
to gain greater benefits of remittances, focus must also be placed on improvements
in education and vocational training.
Dialogue also recognised with concern the
growing gap in rich and poor segments of society both in Pakistan and India.
Comprehensive poverty alleviation strategies must also focus on reducing
inequality within society in both countries. Participants highlighted exclusion
of the poor in planning as well as in prioritising development schemes.
There needs to be an increased focus on expenditures by governments in housing,
public health, public education and in other social sectors.
Microfinance and availability of easy and
cheap credit can go a long way in providing capital to poor and deprived
sections of society for small business enterprises. Empowerment of women
through microfinance has had some success in the region. Both countries
must exchange experiences in this regard to optimise its effectiveness.
Highlighting food security as a critical
looming challenge for Pakistan and India, dialogue participants emphasised
that both countries must focus on revamping agricultural growth policies
that are farmer-friendly and incentivise them as key stakeholders.
Participants also resolved to use their
respective linkages with legislatures and professionals to project the content
and recommendations for action as given in the Joint Statement.
Participants underscored that dialogue provides
the best forum to share such good practices. While commending PILDAT’s
efforts in conceptualising, designing and facilitating dialogue and interaction
between Pakistan and India, dialogue participants advised PILDAT to continue
the dialogue on relevant themes in the future as well.
While the two countries have witnessed relative
success in poverty alleviation, participants discussed in detail the crucial
need to guard against vulnerable sections of societies from falling into
the vicious trap of poverty again.
With Mr. Kirti Azad, MP, Lok
Sabha, Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Darbhanga (Bihar), in the Chair, delegates
from India included (order of delegates in alphabetical
order in the following sequence; Legislators and Subject Experts/Journalists)
Mr. Adarsh Shastri, MLA, Delhi Legislative Assembly, Aam Admi
Party (AAP), Dwarka (Delhi); Mr. Ajay Dutt, MLA, Delhi Legislative
Assembly, Aam Admi Party (AAP), Ambedkar Nagar (South) (Delhi); Mr.
Mahendra Jeet Singh Malviya, MLA, Rajasthan Legislative Assembly,
Indian National Congress (INC), Bagidora (ST) (Rajasthan); Ms.
Reetika Khera, Associate Professor Economics, Indian
Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi,; Mr. Sanjeev
Ahluwalia Advisor, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi; Mr.
Vijay Sardana PGDM (IIMA), M.Sc. (Food Tech.) (CFTRI), B.Sc. (Dairy
PG Dipl. in Int'l Trade Laws & ADR (ILI), Justice (Harvard)
in Bio-economy & Agribusiness Value Chains, Innovation Management; Ms.
Yamini Aiyar, Senior Research Fellow & Director, Accountability
Initiative (AI), New Delhi; Mr. Man Aman Chhina, Assistant
Editor, Indian Express, Punjab, India; Ms. Shalini
Nair, Senior Assistant Editor, The Indian Express,
New Delhi and Mr. Vipin Pubby, former editor, Indian
With Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA,
NA-222, Hyderabad-V, Sindh, Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarian
(PPP-P)) in the chair, delegates from Pakistan included (order
of delegates in alphabetical order in the following sequence of Legislators
(National Assembly of Pakistan, Provincial Assembly of the Punjab and Sindh,
followed by Subject Experts/Journalists and PILDAT Team); Dr. Arif
Alvi, MNA, NA-250, Karachi-XII, Sindh, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI);
Mrs. Azma Bukhari, MPA, W-318, Pakistan Muslim
League-Nawaz (PML-N); Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, MPA, PP-179
(Kasur-V), Punjab, PML-N; Dr. Murad Rass, MPA, PP-152
(Lahore-XVI), Punjab, PTI; Mrs.
Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, MPA, RSW-156, Sindh, Pakistan Muslim League –
Functional (PML-F); Dr. Nadeem ul Haque, Former Deputy Chairman,
Planning Commission of Pakistan; Rana Jawad, Director News,
Geo TV, Islamabad; Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President, PILDAT;
Ms. Aasiya Riaz, Joint Director, PILDAT and
Ms. Shahira Khan, Projects Manager, PILDAT.