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Why development has left Sindh behind?

Sindh is one of the richest provinces in Pakistan. Its share in the national output is estimated to be 30% when compared to its population share which is 23%. If the share in national output is contemplated relative to population, then Sindh has been losing its lead with the passage of time.

A recently written book (to be published by Oxford University Press), “The Economy of Modern Sindh: Opportunities lost and lessons for the future” weaves together the economic history of Sindh into the status quo, analyses the constraints and issues facing the economy, and uncovers the reasons behind the stagnant economic growth of Sindh.

According to the book,” Sindh’s population grew relatively faster than that of rest of the country. The poverty numbers in rural Sindh are far higher than that in urban Sindh and in the rest of Pakistan”. The book also regards the declining productivity in agriculture, industry, and services as one of the core reasons of the underdevelopment of the province.

Describing the inequality, the books states,” Sindh has historically been one of the most unequal and sharply divergent provinces in Pakistan. Karachi has the highest per capita income with the highest rankings across various social indicators while some of the districts in rural Sindh are among the poorest in the country with bottom rankings in access to basic social services.”

Some of its shocking findings are: “For every 100 boys enrolling in primary school in Sindh, only 86 girls do so in the province.”, “only 60% of children in Sindh make it to secondary school”,” for 21 government primary schools there is only one government secondary school”, “In 1995 Sindh’s poverty headcount ratio was 10% lower than that of the national economy, but 2001 it was 3% higher.”

Faraz Ahmed

Karachi