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Role of technology in economic development in Pakistan.

The planning machinery has passed in Pakistan, through an evaluationary process during past 45 years of independence. Technology plays a key role in the achievement of success in different sectors. The objectives of this paper is to elucidate the technology, it has been distributed into many parts.

We have been importing technology into the country for the last forty years. (1) There have been five distinct phases of its development, the First from 1947 to 1953, the second from 1953 to 1958, the third from 1958 to 1970, the fourth is from 1970 to 1977 and fifth 1977 todate. (2) Technology plays a important role in different sectors. The Agriculture sector started receiving highest priority for the first time during second plan period. (3) The modern technology particularly in the form of improved varieties of seeds. Fertilizer and the tube-well irrigation had exposed in Pakistan during mid 1960. (4) Pakistan is a land of villages where 74 per cent of the population derives its livelihood, directly or indirectly from a traditional and stagnant agriculture. (5) According to an observation two types of the technological change in agriculture have been distinguished. Land saving innovation-reflected solely in an increase in yield per acre, e.g. fertilizer and improved seed and labour saving innovation-reflected solely in an increase in landman ratio, e.g. tractor. (6) There are two fundamental pre-requisites of economic development. As professor W. Arthur Lewis observed that "The growth of out put per head depends on the one hand, on the natural resources available. and on the other hand on human behaviour.

Industrialisation is also a prerequisite for our economic development, national well-being, adequate employment. elimination of poverty and mustering national strength. This is a matter of national priority and every effort must be made to accelerate the process of both industrialization and spread of scientific and technical education in the country. Pakistan Council of Appropriate Technology under the chairmanship of Dr. Anwar Ahmed Junejo, has strived to propagate technologies to alleviate poverty and hardship specially in the rural areas. In this dynamic world, when we consider computer technology and its impact upon management accounting, it is as well to remember that improvements in telecommunication and other related electronic advances will go hand in hand with computer developments. The world wide population of computers has increased from 40,000 in late 1960 to 450,000 in 1978. Computer is a device that automatically perform calculations and sorts, processes information. In the west, children grade 2 on words start learning to use the computer, whereas in Pakistan one cannot officially sit for a computer language examination until he is at least an intermediate.

Technology in Different Sectors

The world continues to race forward both in conventional and strategies weaponry. In the strategic field a new era of defence technology in the shape of strategic defence initiative is in the offing. This extraordinary development appears to have the potential to further change the nature of warfare and dramatically influence world events. It is also bound to profound effect on conventional military technology and influence production research and development work and so on. It is thus evident that technology is advancing at a constantly accelerating rate. As applied to military hardware, each technological advance is accompanied by a quantum jump in price. To keep abreast of any potential adversary, nations are locked into a cycle of constantly procuring more technologically advanced arms accompanied by higher and higher process. Another phenomenon which is apparent is the rationalization of defence industries which is taking place practically world wide. The small quantities of defence items procured by Pakistan are a major economic barrier to our undertaking several new projects which are well within our grasp.

In Agriculture sector, the poor state of affairs of Pakistan has its root cause, the backward and inefficient technology used by the farmers. Our traditional methods of farming have been very inefficient. Majority of the farmers have been using wooden plough for tilling the soil, indifferently selected seeds, inadequate manuring and unscientific cultivation practices of late centuries. After the emergence of Pakistan, new institutions like the Agricultural Development Corporation, Agricultural Development Bank, Agricultural Finance Corporation and Agricultural Bank were established. Their aim was to supply credit for improving agricultural technology. As regards tube wells however the diffusion of technology has been less uniform. According to the farm mechanization survey of 1968, 70 per cent of the tubewells in Pakistan were installed by farmers having more than 10 hectares. The main argument for tractor mechanization that it will lead to increase in cropping intensity may not be very impressive because in case the water becomes the limiting factor so the provision of a tubewell alone can increase the acreage cropped as well as out put per hectare. With the complementary inputs of fertilizer and new seeds, this will result both in increased output and an increased demand for labour. The provision of tubewell irrigation is a necessary condition for the increase of tubewell irrigation as a necessary condition for the increase of cropping intensity. Mechanized farming is a long desired objective of the government to increase the agricultural production in the country. As a result, the surge of mechanization has increased both in the public and private sectors. The mechanization programme covers the use of tractors the manufacture and distribution of more efficient agricultural appliances and the development of power pump irrigation. Presently, mechanization has been practised in three stages of farming, viz. irrigation through tubewells, land levelling through bulldozers and ploughing through tractors. On May 18 and 19, 1990. PCAT organised a Technology Exhibition on Development of Arid Regions at the national workshop a Wajuto village in Tharparkar District of Sindh. It has successfully developed two types of hand pump for drinking water. Safe drinking water is scarce in rural Pakistan resulting in incidence of water borne disease. Consequent mortality rate among children is high. In Pakistan UNICEF entrusted the work of design and development of hand pumps for different water depths to Pakistan Council of Appropriate technology. The induction of these pumps in Pakistan will greatly reduce all kinds of water borne diseases and increase productivity. These pumps have been developed with an eye to village level operation and maintenance. In a developing country with abundant manpower, rural industrialization has a pivotal role to play in the development strategy. Industrialisation, it is generally thought, has not done its share to absorb labour. It appears that the technology which is used early in the industrialisation process is capital intensive borrowed from the advanced countries in the opinion of many a part of the answer to the unemployment problem is to turn to "intermediate technology" technology that involves less capital and more labour than that in general use in more advanced countries.

A number of developed economists and other specialists are reaching the conclusion that the use of technologies developed for conditions in the industrialized, high wage nations, may often retard the growth of industrial out put and employment in developing countries. It has been customary to classify technologies as high and intermediate. Some have advocated the adoption of intermediate technology as a general solution for developing countries. As countries differ in their wage levels and supply of capital. What is needed is the most appropriate technology for a particular situation, considering all the factors involved. The promotion of labour intensive, old fashioned technology may seen to relegate newly industrializing nations to a low status kind of industry or a best intermediate status. Complex modern machines do have a status, they are the symbols and proof of progress. Developing new technologies to meet what seems to be very real needs is however but one aspect of the innovative mechanism. Technology is a process, not an end in itself, and it must somehow be translated with new products and new services if it is to be of any use. The efforts to provide, if necessary the right technology will have to be related to the characteristics of the sub-sectors and the markets both present and potential in fact it should be capable of being modified to suit local needs and local imports. Rural industrialisation is dependent on improved labour intensive techniques and on production at lesser cost. This aspect if taken in a true spirit then the closing of the technology gap which is often cited as the main reason for slow progress become obvious. Technology which is economically viable, technologically feasible, and socio-economically acceptable should be identified and disseminated in an appropriate manner without which neither political nor economical objectives can be achieved on which rests socio-economic stability of paramount nature. We were now faced with a very serious dilemma. Our technology and our life style had been developed with very little, if any, consideration for the natural environment or the finite nature of our Resources. We had grown dependent on this technology and very used to the so-called "good life" that it provided. Technology implantation involves the direct transfer of the most advanced technologies with little or no modification. The use of orbiting satellites, micro wave transmissions, radio and television are only a few of such transfers that have had and will continue to have substantial impact and are certainly justified, similar transfers involve modern industrial equipment and or plants. Technology substitutions would include many capital intensive technologies, most of which have originated in the developed countries, that substitute for existing technologies in the receiving country by updating their equipment or procedures. These technologies tend, however not to be in the forefront of technological development. In most cases there are established technologies that emphasize productivity, capital investment, quality of product, and similar criteria. The provision of a modern sugar refinery to replace a thirty to fifty years old refinery and the substitution of modern textile mills for more ancient varieties are pertinent examples. Characteristically, then, these technologies update the status quo, usually with greater capital investment per employee and a possible decrease in the number of employees. The category of labour-intensive technologies would include all types of technology, whether indigenous or transferred, where the capital investment per employee is substantially less than that employed in the development countries. The Research of labour-intensive technology can be developed from one of four primary sources. First, there is a revival of older technologies. These technologies were used to build the original manufacturing plants and basic infrastructure of the developed countries and were much more labour-intensive than technologies today. The second source of labour-intensive technologies is the adaptation of current technologies to a smaller scale for implementation in the receiving country. The Third very important source is the adaptation and improvement of indigenous technologies. The Fourth source of more labour-intensive technologies, which currently is least used, is simply the invention of new technologies that are labour-intensive rather than capital intensive. Every day, there are new developments in the relevant sciences and new machines available. The fast rate of the generation of scientific and technological knowledge has led to the high rate of obsolescence of processes, techniques and technologies. What is a revolutionary innovation today becomes a museum piece in a span of a decade or so. This fact has forced the educators around the world to drastically review the nature of the curricula in sciences and engineering. There has been a reorientation towards the teaching of Principles of fundamental sciences, in order to equip future graduates with the ability to grasp the advancing technologies and stay in step with the times. We are all aware that materials, machines and designs can be imported. Most of the technology imported has been on a contractual basis through the multinationals or their subsidiaries or through joint ventures with domestic companies in the agriculture and industrial sectors of the economy. It has always been the technology of the past not specify any form of training facilities for the purchaser leaving him dependent on foreign supplier. 'Import of technology' in whatever form it occurred, did not add to our technical skills or production of goods and had little impact on the economic development of the country. On the other hand, it resulted in negative effects on the socio-economic set-up of the country, employment of the skilled youth on the science and technology education. Research institutions in the country were rendered unserviceable and redundant with no challenges to work on the economic development of the country. Subsequently there has been a mass scale "brain drain" i.e. migration of the scientists, technologists and engineers to greener pastures in the west. In the present age, a high level of skill is required to work in a modern machine and reproducing it will need not only have high proficiency in science but also sophisticated materials of construction unfortunately, Pakistan is presently deprived of both. The main argument for technology that it will lead to increase in cropping intensity may not be very impressive because in case the water becomes the limiting factor so the provision of a tubewell alone can increase the acreage cropped as well as output per hectare. With the complementary inputs of fertilizer and new seeds, this will result both in increased output and in increased demand for labour. The provision of tubewell irrigation is a necessary condition for the increase of tubewell irrigation as a necessary condition for the increase of cropping intensity.

The Petroleum industry is capital intensive and technology drive. It has traditionally been faced with difficult technological problems that it has managed to solve through innovative abilities. It has been an eager promoter and consumer of modern technology. For example, the first super computer was designed for an oil company. The new technological breakthroughs of the 1970s and 1980s are changing the methods of exploring, developing and producing Petroleum Resources. A typical developing country like Pakistan, lacks modern technology needed for efficient utilization of its Resources. The modern technology is available to it through foreign oil/service consulting companies but at a price which occasionally is too high in terms of national pride. The technological dependence on developed countries involves a relationship of subordination and it is this a symmetry that makes the theme of transfer of technology a central concern for the policy makers in the developing countries. We have avoided the cook book approach of introducing the new technology to the young professionals and therefore the formal training has been kept to a bare minimum people are urged to be aggressive in experimenting with the new technology without worrying about damaging something although occasionally they are criticized for not taking that extra logical step. In recent years there has been exhaustive search for environmentally, appropriate technologies to replace those that impact most heavily on eco-systems. Much of these efforts have been devoted to developing new sources of energy. This is because we have recently come to realize that continued supplies of energy are vital to keeping our highly technological society functioning, also because it is the production and particularly the consumption of energy in our present society that is having such a wide range of detrimental effects on our environment. At stake here are not only city smog, polluted rivers, oil spills, and so on, but more important, the long-term cumulative impact on the total biosphere, the effect of increasing quantities of particular matter. Technology is really a combination of factors that include all tools, equipment, processes and patents. But it also involves a certain intangible additional input knowledge of an ability to manipulate and use those tools, equipment, or processes for the attainment of specific ends, This involves human development, a conditioning of the human mind to comprehend certain techniques and relationship, how certain things work and why or why not. The true invention the radical new idea that departs from accustomed way of thinking and doing. The process of innovation translating invention into commercially feasible technology or adopting known ideas or methods in new combinations, in new areas and with new results. Simple rationalization or scientific management is the application of better methods and techniques. It is necessary to differentiate between the above stages of technological change.


Technology is the principle sources of income and employment in all countries including Pakistan, and will remain so within the foreseeable future. The outstanding problem in the region is the pressure of population on the land, in the early 1950s attempts were made to mechanise agriculture, but it could not introduce due to lack of technical knowhow, so the new technology was essential for increasing the agricultural output. In 1964-65, the emphasis in mechanization began to be shifted to small tractors and other light machinery. As computerized systems provide business form with the ability to collect, analyse, store and process information for management decisions at a speed and accuracy unparalleled in history. There should be no constraint in the development of this important industry on a sound footing, with a foreign exchange earning potential. The scope of technology introduction for management accountants, office equipment and manufacturing industry is wide, in Pakistan it is in the progressing stage and the need is to take appropriate steps to manufacture technology machines of quality. The ability to reap the benefits of the new technological break-through thus depends on the ability to mobilize enough funds, borrowing for undertaking such investment.

Any socio-economic programme designed meant for rural artisans, landless and near landless rural poor, rural women and other service class of rural folk cannot attain desirable results unless healthy environment for investment is created. A time has come when priorities in plan have to be cast to suit the growth of village industries sector for balanced growth of rural economy. It also would contain the range of technologies defined as intermediate technology. Many of these technologies are being indigenously developed and refined in many developing countries. In these cases the basic economic concern is the substitution of local labour costs for foreign exchange equipment costs. This is an important factor for the oil importing developing countries that are extremely deficient in foreign exchange.

References and Bibliography

1. Daily Dawn, Dawn Economic and Business Review, Karachi, "Reliance on Foreign Technology", November 23-28, 1991. P-IV.

2. Pakistan Agriculture, Karachi, "Transmission of Technology", July 1982, P-14, Published by Sikander Dervish for and on behalf of Economist Publication and printed at Gulf Graphics Private Limited Karachi.

3. Ibid.

4. Pakistan and Gulf Economist, Karachi, July 18-24, 1987, Vol: VI No.-29. P-24, Published by Kaneez for and on behalf of Economist Publications and printed by S. Hasnain Mehdi at Gulf Graphics Ltd., Karachi.

5. Ibid.

6. Khan, M. Jameel (Dr.) Economic of Farm Mechanization and Water Development Policies in Pakistan, Colorado state university, fort collins USA, Colorado fall, 1974, P.4-5.

7. Lewis, William Arthur, The Theory of Economic Growth (London Allen and Unwin 1963, P-63.

8. Daily Dawn, Dawn Economic and Business Review, Karachi, November 23-28, 1991, P-IV.

9. Economic Review, Karachi "Defence Production and Technology", Vol. XVIII No 5, May 1987, P-67, Published by Iqbal Haidari and printed at Asia Printers, Karachi.

10. Modern Agriculture, Karachi, "Appropriate Technology for Sustainable Development", Vol. No. 4, July 1990, P-35, Printed at Print Arts Ltd., Karachi.

11. The Commerce and Economic Review, S.A.L.U. Khairpur, "Impact of Computer Technology on Management Accounting", Vol. II, No. 1, 1988, P-97, Printed by New Talpur Press Khairpur Mirs.

12. The Commerce and Economic Review, S.A.L.U., Khairpur, "Impact of Computer Technology on Management Accounting, Vol. II, No. 1, 1988, P-98, Printed by new Talpur Press Khairpur Mirs.

13. Pakistan and Gulf Economist "Karachi", Wider Application of Technology, Vol. IV, No. 13 March-30, April-15, 1985, P-21 Published by Kaneez For and behalf of Economist Publications Limited, and printed by S. Hasnain Mehdi at Gulf Graphics Ltd., Karachi.

14. Monthly Economic Review, Karachi, "Defence Production and Technology", Vol. XVIII, No. 5, May 1987, P-67, Published by Iqbal Haidari and Printed at Asia Printers, Karachi.

15. Ibid.

16. S.M. Akhtar, Economic Development of Pakistan, Lahore Vol. II, 1986, P-24, Published by him for the Publishers United Ltd., 176, Anarkali, Lahore by Sh. Muhammad Amin at Starlite Press, Lahore.

17. Ibid.

18. Muzaffar Hussain Malathvi, "Fundamentals of Pakistan Economics", Karachi, second Edition January 1980, P-268, Published by Farooq Kitab Ghar, Urdu Bazar, Karachi, Printed by Nazir Press, Karachi.

19. Modern Agriculture, Karachi, "Appropriate Technology for Sustainable Development", Vol. I, No. 4, July 1990, P-35, Published by Noor Ahmed Nizamani, Printed at Print Arts Ltd., Karachi.

20. Economic Review, Karachi, "Significance and Technology Front", Vol. XXIII, No. 6, June 1992, P-35, Published by Iqbal Haidari Printed at Asia Printers and Publishers Campbell Road, Karachi.

21. Ibid.

22. Pakistan Academy for Rural Development, Journal of Rural Development and Administration, Peshawar, "Environmentally Appropriate Technology", Vol. XXI, No. 2, Spring, 1989, P-20, Printed by Printing Corporation of Frontier Ltd., U.P.O. Box. 752, Peshawar.

23. Ibid.

24. Daily Dawn, Dawn Economic and Business Review, Karachi, "Reliance on Foreign Technology", November 23-28, 1991, P-IV, Karachi.

25. Ibid.

26. Dr. S.M. Akhtar, Economic Development of Pakistan, Lahore, vol. II, 1986, P-24, Publishers United Ltd., 176, Anarkali, Lahore, Printed by S.H. Muhammad Amin at Starlite Press, Lahore.

27. Economic Review, Karachi, "Transfer of Technology for the Oil Industry in Pakistan", Vol. XXIII, No. 6, June 1992, P-95, 96, Published by Iqbal Haidari for and on behalf of Economic and Industrial Publication and Printed at Asia Printers and Publishers, Campbell Road, Karachi.

28. Ibid.

29. Pakistan Academy for Rural Development Peshawar, "Journal of Rural Development and Administration, Peshawar, Vol. XXI, No. 2, 1989, P-21, Printed by Printing Corporation of Frontier Ltd., Peshawar.

30. Economic Review, Karachi, Vol. XXIII, No. 6, June 1992, P-95, Printed at Asia Printers and Publishers, Campbell Road, Karachi.
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Author:Memon, Musrat
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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