Some Prevailing Problems In South Asia!

South Asia has a number of problems that affect the region’s inhabitants in various ways. These problems include but are not limited to poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population growth, food shortages, and malnutrition. All these issues could be solved if countries from the region united together and worked towards a common goal. By working together and sharing resources and knowledge it would allow for better development and access to education and health care. It is impossible for one country to tackle all these issues on its own without help from other countries in the region. If we could unite we could be able to use our combined efforts to solve our individual problems. The people living there live below the poverty line with many different social barriers such as illiteracy and unemployment. South Asia is also the region with the highest population growth, which poses a big problem for the future development of the countries in this region.

Poverty:

The poverty rate in South Asia is at 33% and many people live below the poverty line (UNICEF: Facts and Figures 2006). The majority of these people live in rural areas where there are limited social services such as health care and education. Therefore, it is difficult to get enough food due to malnutrition and diseases not found in other parts of the world such as Cholera. Also, according to World Bank statistics from 2006, “about 200 million people lack access to clean drinking water.” Unemployment causes many problems too; most rural families cannot afford to send their children to school. They need them at home to help with work and therefore they do not have enough time for studying. Luckily, the poverty rate is going down due to international organizations such as Unicef and other non-governmental organizations that donate billions of dollars a year in aid money.

Unemployment:

Statistics from 2006 state that unemployment rates are very high in South Asia. However, these high unemployment rates may be due to the poor quality of data collected by many sources (Hossain 2004). Unemployment is more prevalent among rural areas where there are no essential social services provided by the government, which leads them into poverty problems mentioned above. “The UNDP Human Development Report 2005,” says that “more than 28 percent of the workforce is unemployed” (UNDP 2005). There are many reasons behind unemployment; some include low education, illiteracy, and lack of physical infrastructure. However, it has been noted that there is a lack of reliable data to make conclusions on how widespread these problems are.

Illiteracy:

Illiteracy rates in South Asia are among the world’s highest; according to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) rates only around half the population over 15 years old can read and write (Shahani, 2003). This then leads to high poverty rates as people cannot find jobs due to their poor skills. The problem is more prevalent in rural areas where there are no essential social services provided by the government. There are many reasons behind this issue such as lack of education and physical infrastructure. However, it has been noted that there is a lack of reliable data to make conclusions on how widespread these problems are.

Population Growth:

The population growth rate in South Asia is 2.41% which is higher than the global average (CIA World Factbook). This creates a greater problem for food production and poverty rates as stated above. The “UNDP Human Development Report 2005” reports that the total fertility rate is 3.4 children per woman (UNDP 2005). Therefore, overcrowding affects industry development, employment opportunities, and economic growth due to the fact that they cannot produce enough goods or hire enough people at reasonable costs to keep up with the growing population. Also, this high population growth causes an increase in demand for improved education, water supply, and sewerage systems which are not being met.

The literacy rate is very low especially in less developed countries such as Afghanistan which has a literacy level of 28%. This means that only 28% of people over the age of 15 can read and write (CIA World Factbook). Generally, poverty rates are higher in rural areas because there are limited services provided by the government. Therefore, it is difficult to get enough food due to malnutrition and diseases not found in other parts of the world such as Cholera. Illiteracy also affects unemployment rates; most rural families cannot afford to send their children to school so they cannot get good jobs; they instead spend their time helping with the family’s work which is usually farming. This results in high poverty rates due to the lack of education and physical infrastructure provided by the government.

Water shortage:

South Asia has an area of about 17 million square kilometers. It covers 20% of the world’s land area but contains only 6% of the world’s freshwater resources, that too mostly in the Indian Sub-Continent (Hossain 2004). Hossain also states that people are often deprived of clean drinking water because there are no public services available especially in rural areas so it becomes a problem to find something drinkable during the summer months when rivers dry up or in winter when rivers flow slows down significantly. This is not due to a lack of physical infrastructure but mainly due to a lack of government services. The government provides less funding for water projects in rural areas because it is located very far from the center and remote areas where not much revenue is generated as stated above. Therefore, this also contributes to poverty problems as people cannot access clean drinking water.

There are many reasons behind these issues including low literacy rates, high population growth rates, and poor social services provided by the government. However, there is a lack of reliable data to make any conclusive statements on how widespread these problems are which makes it difficult to solve these issues properly. Also, South Asia has one of the lowest GDP per capita rates at $775 (CIA World Factbook) therefore making it even more difficult to provide social services.

References

  1. CIA World Factbook (n.d.). Retrieved September 1, 2014, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html
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  3. United Nations Development Programme (2005). Human Development Report 2005 〈http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr05_complete.pdf
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