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Development Strategies: An appraisal

The development strategies used by a country are often used as a guide by other countries while framing their strategies or bringing in reforms. In order to study the success and failure of the economic development of other countries it is essential to study the nature of the steps and initiatives taken to usher in economic development. Economic reforms were introduced in China during 1978, during 1988 in Pakistan and in 1991 in India.

China did not have any compulsion by the World Bank to introduce any reforms in 1988. The leaders then thought that the Maoist vision based on decentralization, self sufficiency and shunning of foreign technology, goods and capital was not successful. There was lack of modernization and industrial growth despite the Great Leap Forward and other initiatives. The per capita income had not grown much. It was the establishment of infrastructure in the areas of health, education, land reforms, existence of decentralized planning and small enterprises had a positive impact on the development of the society and income levels after the reforms. Even before the reform period, basic health services were quite extensive and though the communes ensured equitable distribution of food grains. The reforms were first implemented at a smaller level and then expanded.

The reforms ushered in by the decentralized government enabled them to assess the economic, social and political cost of the success or failure of each reform. For example, the land reform of handing over lands to individuals brought in prosperity to a lot of poor workers and it helped the rural industrial sector grow and it built a strong support base for future reforms.

The introduction of reforms in Pakistan has had an adverse effect on its economy. Though the data on the poverty line seems healthy, poverty is on a rise in Pakistan. It has fallen to 25% in the 1980s after 40% in the 1960s and it started ascending post reforms. The reasons for the decline in the growth rate are:
  1. The agricultural growth has not been based on the use of technology but on the basis of good weather conditions and hence good harvest. Hence if the weather was good, agriculture showed a positive trend else it had a negative trend.
  2. Pakistan's foreign exchange came from remittances of migrants who moved to the Middle-east and export of agricultural products whose production was volatile. The foreign loans grew while the payment became difficult.
However the Pakistani government is increasing its expenditure on various areas to reduce poverty and during the years 2002-2005 the economy has started growing at a rate of 8%. All the three sectors have been contributing to the growth and efforts are on to bring in economic development.

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