Amid freeze in bilateral talks, India-Pakistan lawmakers meet in Dubai
Lawmakers highlight that acceleration in sustained economic growth is an important policy objective for poverty reduction
With India Pakistan peace process grinding to a halt, a group of lawmakers from the two countries gathered in Dubai on Wednesday (April 24) to talk about mutual concerns, especially poverty alleviation.
The ninth round of Pakistan-India Legislators and Public Officials Dialogue was held in Dubai during which the two sides shared lessons on Developments in Poverty Alleviation. Facilitated by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency [PILDAT] the dialogue included Members of Parliament and Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Sindh alongside experts and media representatives from both sides.
“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,” a statement released following the dialogue said.
According to the statement, participants from India highlighted a number of social safety net programs 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.
Poverty and arms
“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,” said the statement.
“Dialogue also recognized 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 prioritizing development schemes. There needs to be an increased focus on expenditures by governments in housing, public health, public education and in other social sectors,” said the statement.
Highlighting food security as a critical looming challenge for Pakistan and India, dialogue participants emphasized that both countries must focus on revamping agricultural growth policies that are farmer-friendly and incentivize 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. “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,” said the statement.