The Six Questions that Do Not Go Away

Publication Year : 1991

To any observer of Pakistani society and economy over the last40 years four questions pose themselves with repeated persistence yearafter year, survey after survey, census after census, decade afterdecade. They are: the proportion aged less than 15 years of age, thereported age group 5-9, the masculinity ratio, female illiteracy andinnumeracy. There are two other features of the Pakistani data situationthat ought to be taken into account during any consideration of thesedata and their collection. They are: the innocence of vital registrationsystems, and the ineffectiveness of family planning programmes. Thefirst four questions received little attention through the backstoppingoffered by international agencies, from the subject-matter units in theFederal Bureau of St.atistics (PBS), and from the analysts in suchresearch institutions as the PIDE. There seems to be no awareness of thecritical role of women’s literacy and numeracy in the reorganizationplans of the Ministry of Women’s Development [MWD (1989, 1989a)]. Therelevant concerns in WD publications are modest [e.g., WD (1980)]. Thelast two questions

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