HUMAN RESOURCES AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Introduction: we have discussed the role of natural resources in economic development. We have stated that there is a correlation between the availability of natural resources and the level of development in a correlation between the availability of natural resources and the level of development in a country. But the occurrence of these resources does not offer the principal explanation of the variation in the level of income. The human resources play dynamic role in the development of a country. We here briefly describe human resources and their importance in the economic development of Pakistan.
1. HUMAN RESOURCES
Meaning of Human Resources
Human resources refer to the size of population of a country along with its efficiency, educational qualities productivity, organization abilities and farsightedness.
The population of a country portrays a double faced phenomenon. It is on the one hand an asset and a vital factor in the development process of a country. On the other hand, its rapid growth has hampered development in many less developing countries of the world including Pakistan. The role of human resources to economic development can be better understood if it is studied from two different aspects. (a) Quantitative aspect and (b) Qualitative aspect.
(a) Quantitative Aspect of population in Pakistan:
The quantitative aspect of population includes the statistics of total population, growth of population, density of population, birth and death rates, migration etc. We now briefly examine the demographic structure or the human balance sheet of our country.
1. Total Population. Pakistan's current population as on June 2007 is 15.67 core. It is about 2.3% of world population and is 7th most population country in the world.
2. Population Growth. The rate of growth of population is an important factor in the economic development of a country. In the beginning of 20th century, the rate of growth did not pose any problem as it was only 0.6% in 1901. As the years passed there was a steady increase in the annual rate of growth. For instance, it was 1.1% in 1931, 1.8% in 1941, 1.7% in 1951, 2.4% in 1961, 3.6% in 1972 and 2.9% in 1955 and 2.4% in 1997 and 2.3% in 1998-99 and 2.16 % in 2002, 2.1% in 2003 and 1.9% in 2005-06 and 18% in 2006-07.
There are three important variables which directly affect the population numbers (a) death (2) birth and (c) migration.
(a) Death Rate. For the last over three decades, there is a rapid fall in the death rates due to progress in medical science. The diseases like cholera malaria smallpox, typhoid, have been greatly controlled. They used to take a heavy toll of life. The provision of hospitals in villages and cities, the improved health environments and better nourishment have helped in lowering the death rates. The crude death rate has come down from 30 in 1947 to 7.1 per thousand population in 2006-07.
(b) Birth Rate. As regards the birth rate, it has declined from 50 to 26.1 per thousand population in the same period. The population growth rate is still estimated at about 1.8% in Pakistan. If the population continuously increases at this rate. It will reach the 216 million mark by the year 2020.
The increase in population in Pakistan is due to multiple factors. They in brief are:
1. Warm climate where puberty is attained at a comparatively early age.
2. The practice of early marriage.
3. Joint family system.
5. Absence of recreational facilities.
6. Belief that God is Razik i.e the sustainer.
7. Low standard of living people are not afraid of a further fall as a result of large number of children.
8. General illiteracy People are not aware of the economic distress caused by the higher birth rate.
9. Large family is regarded a power to influence and subdue the people around them.
10. Lack of consciousness for the adoption of family planning measures etc.
11. Drop in death rate.
12. illegal immigration in the country.
(c) Migration to Pakistan. The migration of Afghan refugees to Pakistan which has declined now is also adversely affecting the labor market and the economy of Pakistan.
3. Population Density. The term density of population refers to the average number of persons living per square kilometer. It is found out by dividing the total area by the number of persons living there. The density of population differs from country to country and even within country. The density of population of factors such as climate, fertility of land, rain, irrigation system, soil, peace and security in the area, availability of means of communication and transport, development of trade and industry. mineral resources etc. If in a region, the climate is healthy the land is fertile, the means of communication and transport are development there is peace and security, the rain is timely etc. the region will have a high density of population. In case the land is barren, rain scanty, mineral scarce, technology under-developed and there is also no security of life and property the number of people living per square kilometer will be small.
The prosperity or adversity of a country cannot be judged from density of population A country with high density of population may or may not be prosperous. Belgium and Bangla Desh for instance, have nearly the same density of population but there is a vast difference in the per capita income of both the countries. Similarly, an area of low density of population may be finding it difficult to meet the bare necessities of life and the other enjoying all amenities of life. Egypt and Canada have low density of population. But there is much difference in the standard of living of the people in both the countries. The density of population in Pakistan according to the 1998 Census was 166 persons per sq. kilometer:
4. Distribution of population: The study of distribution of population between the urban and rural areas in a country is very essential for the planners. As a country develops, there is a shift of population from rural to urban areas because cities provide better job opportunities in the expanding industrial and commercial sector. A country like Pakistan, whose economy is agrarian, cannot afford the shifting of large number of people from urban to rural areas as urbanization involves heavy expenditure which we cannot afford at present.
There is no doubt that sartorial mobility is an important characteristic of the development process, but we can devise other measures lessening the influx of rural population to urban areas. The villages should be connected with roads. The technical know-how education and health facilities should also be made available to them. The villagers should also share in building up the infrastructure.
5. Distribution of population by Age and Sex: (a) The study of population by age and sex is very important as it reveals the effective working population in a country. If a country has large proportion of earning members, its income per capita will be high Higher per capita income helps in breaking through the vicious circle of poverty. In Pakistan the working population is 50.05 million in 2006-07. The population is composed of housewives, students children elderly persons.
(b) Distribution of population by Sex: According to the Labor Force survey the contribution of female working population in economic development is 11.16% which is awfully low. The women cannot work shoulder to shoulder with men in various sectors of the economy due to multiple reasons. The religious barriers, for instance, stand in their way. They usually prefer to work in those institutions which are meant for females. Customs and traditions, illiteracy, early marriage etc. are the other important factors which stand in the way of employment of female workers in different sectors of the economy. Women thus in Pakistan are a major portion of dependent population.
(B) Qualitative Aspect of Population:
We have briefly disused the quantitative aspect of population in Pakistan. In the past the sheer size of the population was receiving attention and the qualitative aspect was ignored by the economists. It was probably assumed that the people living in tropical areas are of inferior types and willing to improve their standard of living. The people living in tropical areas including Pakistan have physical and mental capacity to develop human skill and have positive attitude towards work. It is only the environments which affect the impulses to work. So in order to improve the ability and capability of the people to put in their best, changes shall have to be made in political social and many other institutional frameworks. The factors influencing the ability and capability of human resources are as follows:
(a) Political Factor. If there is political stability in the country there is active participation of the people in the development process. The attitude towards work and the administrative ability improves under a stable government. In case there are rapid change over of the governments, it will lead to insecurity of service and builds corruption, delay in the execution of work etc. Thus the attitude efficiency and human skill decline due to political turmoil and bad administration in the country.
(b) Social Factor. If a society is sharply divided between two classes (1) the rich and the poor and there is a severe hatred and conflict between the two, the efficiency of the people will be at the lowest ebb. The ability and the capability of the people to work is also affected by the existence of joint family system, prejudices against manual work, the caste system etc.
(c) Climate Factor. It is sometimes pointed out that tropical climate creates laziness and inefficiency among the working people. This is true that severe hot or cold climate does affect the quality of manpower. But when people are brought up in such climate, they get used to it. There are many examples in history that advanced civilization existed in tropics like Ceylon, Cambodia, Java, Egypt and India. We therefore, do not attach much importance to the traditional idea of climate affecting the qualitative aspect of human resources.
(d) Poverty, Poor Diet, Diseases. In Pakistan like other developing countries poverty, poor diet, hunger, diseases like malaria, bad clod, typhoid etc the important factors which have adversely affected the mental and physical energies of man. The average span of life is only 64 years in Pakistan whereas it is 77 in U.S.A and 76 in United Kingdom. The Government of Pakistan is doing its best to improve the health and living conditions of the people.
(e) Education. The Government of Pakistan is quite aware of the contribution of education in improving the human capital. The total development expenditure for the education sector is about 2.4% of GNP. Whereas it should be minimum of 4% of GNP as recommended by UNESCO for developing countries. The literacy percentage of population with all the efforts of Government is only 56% of the total population in Pakistan in 2006-2007.