The essence of regional Integrity and collaborative strategies for alleviating poverty through south Asia region

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Poverty is a multifaceted multidimensional condition. It is not just a matter of figures. It is a replication of deficiency of vigour in society. It is a rounded tactic of human deprivation. Discrimination and suppression. There may exists several aspect and issues such as hunger, malnutrition, gender equality in terms access of people to power, resources and utilization and other unseen issues that have been advocated in conceptualizing poverty, such as deprivation in terms of clothing, shelter, basic social services including primary health care, sanitation, education etc., political powerlessness and socio-cultural marginalization among others, discrimination in terms of creating social and cultural fences connecting with gender, sex and procreation.

Pervasive poverty in contemporary Third World may be delineated as an outcome of expatriate period. During pre-industrial phase approximately four to five hundred years back, the per capita income in the traditional societies of Asia was higher than that of the modern industrialized countries (1985,Raychaudhuri,).During the expatriate rule, the trench of wealth through different channel transferred from Asia, Africa and Latin America to Europe. As a result, the pecuniary gap amid West and the rest of the world continued to widen. They (Asian, African and Latin American Countries) vanished their economic performance and in turn, mass poverty in the contemporary retrograde countries became an established fact of life.


In many developing countries, widespread poverty has continued because of three main reasons: slow rate of growth, biased growth pattern, and failure of government policies. A slow rate of growth has dual effect: it decreases income and employment and increases the rent-seeking behaviour of the politicians in favour of non-poor like businessmen, large farmers, bureaucrats, trade unions, and the security personnel.


Uninterruptedly, the incidence of poverty persists for long time if the pattern of growth is urban biased. It displaces unskilled and domestic labor alters relative prices to the disadvantage of the poor, creates a gender gap, deteriorates child and women  welfare and erodes traditional entitlements that have served as safety nets (1997, Meier).


Women and female-headed households are more poverty stricken in underdeveloped countries due to gender gap created by deprivation, discrimination and lack of control over power, resources and utilization. For e.g. in many developing countries particularly in Muslim society, women are restricted to enter in labour market. They are confined to low productive labour intensive work. They are paid low wages than the male workers for similar work .The cases are not much different in hindu societies too though they are not much restricted as in Muslim communities but are often tied of with domestic toil in private sphere indirectly creating barriers to public exposure even is so called modern  egalitarian society .Women do not have access to power in family and public life in terms of decision making roles, access to resources in terms of property and if they have access to resources they are numerous barriers to utilize resources which can be also termed as feminization of poverty in south Asia.

In this regard, the book on Human Development in South Asia by Mahtub ul Haq pointed the need of serious commitment towards poverty alleviation which is the primary requirement for sustainable economic growth. Secondly, from the report it has been estimated that South Asia would not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goals regarding poverty alleviation even by 2015. Thirdly, the patriarchal system works against the fair sex and makes them more vulnerable. Fourthly, though the existing poverty alleviation programmes have provided some relief to the underprivileged sectors, their effects are limited. Finally, while planning to get rid of the poverty question is poor governance, which have been institutionalised and regional governments compromised the effectiveness of decentralisation to empower the underprivileged.

For the time being, poverty exists in both rural and urban areas; it is well known that the problem in developing countries is predominantly of rural poverty. Agricultural labourers with irregular employment constitute the major part of the rural population where again as active agricultural labour force women has a major a major contribution since  country with poor economy like Nepal where male are always considered source of major income; are compelled for seeks for foreign unemployment .In the meantime, female take charge of all domestic chores from nurturing to farming in rural arena though scale of contribution has not been sourced properly which is again extreme feminization of poverty hindering women’s capability and depriving them from basic rights. Mostly, agricultural sector falling under informal Sector there is inequality in paying wages, facilities are based on gender hierarchy, no job security which have perpetuates people’s condition and force to experience   situation of poverty temporarily or long term. The concept of caste and class still exist in countryside which is barrier for poverty alleviation. Hence, relating we can say poverty itself is not problem but consequent of other factors such caste, class, access to opportunities, power, resources and utilization or resources by all gender and groups and many more.

Poverty becomes more deep-rooted when traditional means of support and entitlements break down in course of development. Traditional safety nets disappear with the break-up of the extended family, erosion of village economies, immigration, and emphasis on individualism instead of community concept. The situation of extreme poverty becomes more pathetic when the traditional support systems are not replaced by new transfer mechanism (Meier, 1997).

South Asia is home to the largest number of the world poor. While the incidence of poverty as defined by HCR has shown some decline in all South Asian countries over the years, a sizable proportion of the population in all the countries still live in poverty.

Poverty in Nepal

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. Poverty in Nepal is widespread and persistent. The first attempt to define and quantify the level of poverty in Nepal was made by the National Planning Commission in 1976-77. The minimum subsistence levels of income and expenditure were used for delineation of the poverty line .An income level of Rs. 2 per capita per day at 1976-77 prices was taken as the minimum subsistence level. This criterion at that time gave a poverty estimate of 40.3% (1976-77) following with 40% in 1988-89 of the population as poverty approximation and poverty line adopted for  given year was Rs. 210 per capita per month in the Hill areas and Rs. 197 per capita per month in the Terai areas. There are wide variations in poverty level based on rural-urban divide, geography, gender, ethnic groups and occupational castes. The mid and far-western development regions are characterized by high level of poverty.Moreover, according to UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) 2013, which is the latest data 44% of the population are still under the poverty line. The HDI is based on multidimensional poverty measurement system. The system is an alternative to income-based poverty estimates.


The report further stated that population living in poverty in Nepal is higher compared to other countries in the region. The employment to population ratio in Nepal is 86.4%. The report also reveals that child labor in Nepal is relatively higher than other SAARC countries. More than one third of the children between the ages of 5 and 14 are engaged in economic production, with a Human Development Index of 0.463 (Low human dev.), This data has placed Nepal it 157th out of 187 countries listed in the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Report 2013 and in 7th position among the SAARC Country which proved Nepal as one of the poorest countries in the world.


In this concern, fundamental reasons behind widespread poverty might be Inefficient and corrupt administration, huge amount of black income generation (data not available but as accepted by many as a real life situation), sluggish growth rate relative to rapid population growth, mismanagement of foreign assistance, political exclusion, equal distribution of opportunities and resources, gender equality, discrimination and deprivation etc.


Lastly HDI report of 2013 stated that 80% of the world’s middles class will live in the South Asian region by 2030.  The South Asian region witnessed an annual growth of 1.4% in HDI values in the past decade, which is the highest, compared to other regions in the world. That means if in same values as mentioned by HDI Index 2013 annual growth rate continues south Asia region will achieve remarkable progress in terms annual growth than any other regions globally but as barrier widespread corruption, impunity, social norms and values has a high possibility of coming on the way to halt the progress which is challenge for all south Asian countries including Nepal.     

Therefore, there is essence of further strengthening inter-linkage and collaborative strategies among all south Asian communities in regional level and UN identifying needs and sector to be strengthening. The establishments of these communities are based on the one of the charted principle of regional integrity set by United Nation. The further strengthening of cooperation by south Asian communities at diplomatic and national level can be much more effective and supportive for each other reducing rate of poverty and alleviating poverty from south Asia and meeting development goal set by UN globally.published link 

Also visit for see publsihed link The Bangladesh Today Digital Newspaper





Position: Social and Develpment Worker

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