Technology has made great inroads into the lower segments of Pakistani society. In the previous article, I gave my readers a generalized opinion of how common Pakistanis are benefiting from the Tech Revolution. Now IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll try to discuss this issue in maximum possible detail. The main focus, of course, will be on the impacts of technology on downtrodden classes of Pakistan.
Pakistan has a very interesting history related to technological progress. After remaining aloof from the Tech progress for many decades, Pakistan ultimately entered into this arena with the dawn of the 21st century. Since then, as they say, there is no looking back. Being an optimist, I think that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve come a long way in this field as compared to our standing some years back. Leaving aside the pros and cons of the Tech scene in Pakistan, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s have a look at how the common Pakistanis especially of lower middle economic brackets are benefiting from this Tech Revolution.
One can find many interesting cases in this regard. I have heard that many tea vendors or Ã¢â‚¬Å“Chai-WallahsÃ¢â‚¬Â as they are known in the sub-continent, are now receiving orders on cell phones. Same is the case with Ã¢â‚¬Å“DhabaÃ¢â‚¬Â owners and other roadside vendors. They are doing so as they find it more profitable to offer a home delivery, office-delivery service to be more precise, to their customers. They earn extra money for this service and the employees are also content as they are saved from the hassle and waste of time. Same is the case with the Ã¢â‚¬Å“insectsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ exterminatorsÃ¢â‚¬Â, Ã¢â‚¬Å“plumbersÃ¢â‚¬Â, Ã¢â‚¬Å“maidsÃ¢â‚¬Â and many other professionals (Yup they are professionals in their respective fields). They have gone Online, thus setting new trends in Pakistani society.
As cellular technology has reached many rural areas of Pakistan, the village folks have also started treading on Tech paths (Remember they make around two-thirds of total Pakistani populace). IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen many wireless and Mobile PCOs opening up in many villages of Pakistan. I hope theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be earning a good deal. Now coming back to the urban scene, most of you must have noticed the springing up of so many PCOs, balance re-load kiosks and mobile cards vendors. Who are these guys? They are mostly young people belonging to the lower middle classes. They would be un-employed and be in the traps of gangsters, had the mobile technology not taken roots in Pakistan. Now thanks to the cellular revolution, they are earning a respectable amount of money. Each kiosk provides employment to at least two people, so if letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s assume that there are approximately 20,000 such kiosks all over the country, then roughly 40,000 or more people are directly employed in these establishments. The sales-agents supplying stuff to these kiosks also numbers in thousands. So the final figure rests around 1, 00,000 or more folks earning their livelihood.
The utility bills payment kiosks, launched by NADRA, are doing a great job in providing job facilities to young Pakistanis with few dimes in their pockets. They are also planning to launch a money transfer scheme for the poor by making use of merchant or debit card. Educated youth from lower segments of the society will carry out this process in NADRA kiosks. I have also heard some rumors that some mobile companies are planning to jump into the Micro-finance bandwagon. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s good news as they have the largest network spread throughout Pakistan and they can really make a difference. They can prove to be a stepping stone in the eradication of poverty by providing small loans to poverty ridden masses on easy terms.
On a final note, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hope that this Ã¢â‚¬Å“trickle-downÃ¢â‚¬Â effect (as the Economists say) will continue to benefit the common Pakistanis and will help them in getting rid of poverty.