Dear Colleagues!  This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #738 for Pharma Veterans. Pharma Veterans welcome sharing of knowledge and wisdom by Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi on WordPress, the top blog site. Please email to for publishing your contributions here.

These blog posts are based on WIPO – World Intellectual Property Rights Report on Global Innovation Index 2022.

In the last post of this series, we compare Pakistan with India and Bangladesh.

PAKISTAN                           INDIA            BANGLADESH

GII Rank                    #87                                         #40                              102

Population                  225 million                        1,393                           166

GDP, PPP                  1,157 billion USD                10,181                         953

GDP per capita          5,447 USD                           7,314                           5,733

Income level               Lower Middle                       LM                              LM

Input Rank                 #111                                        #42                              #112

Output Rank               #69                                          #39                              #90

India is much ahead of both neighbors; it is 10 times bigger economy with 6-7 times more population. Poverty is common denominator in all three countries. However, the handling of this issue is starkly different.

In India, between 2005 and 2021, 415 million people climbed out of poverty. The incidence of poverty declined from 55% to 16.4%, which is a great achievement considering the size of population, which increased from 450 million in 1960 to 1.39 billion in 2021. However, the rate of growth has been steadily going down; from 2.36% in 1974 to 0.97% in 2021.

In Bangladesh, 14.3% population lives below poverty line, which is a good improvement from the past. Population of Bangladesh grew from 48 million in 1961 to 169 million in 2021. The rate of growth was at its highest in 1967 at 3.28%, which came down to 1.01% in 2020.

In Pakistan, 22% people live below poverty line, and due to recent floods, it is expected to rise by 4-5%. Population of Pakistan rose from 45 million in 1960 to 231 million now. The highest growth rate was observed in 2016 at 7.07%. The growth rate is steady at 1.9%, with peaks here and there. An interesting news tweeted today (28 Dec) by Khurram Qureshi. “500,000 babies born in Faisalabad in 10 days”. Where are we heading?

In terms of innovation, which is our current topic, India leads by a wide margin. There is a history behind it. India kept tight control on imports in general and forced the local industry to fulfill local requirements. During my first visit to India in 1990, only local goods sold everywhere. The dreaded FERA – Foreign Exchange Regulation Act was in place. You could change money only at the licensed places, not on the street. The industry complied and rose to the occasion. The quality of many products was mediocre, but people accepted it. Secondly, India focused on exports in every industry. Today, India has pharmaceutical export of over 25billion USD, and their entrepreneurs are doing businesses all over the world. I met an Indian guy at Banjul airport, Gambia, who worked for an Indian company which bought cashew nut from many African countries. They would import it to India, repack it properly, and export under their label. In Sao Paulo, I came to know that the Brazilian government forced big business importers to establish manufacturing units there; Ranbaxy of India put up a plant there. The Swiss subsidiary of Glenmark India purchased an Argentinian company. The list goes on. Thirdly, India emphasized on education. Do we know that almost all our medical students are reading Indian books? They pirated, copy-pasted, but they published indigenous books on every subject. Finally, they did not focus on short term support programs to alleviate poverty, they worked towards raising the country economically, technologically, politically, and militarily; the reduction in poverty is a dividend.

For Bangladesh, the World Bank says, “Bangladesh has a strong track record of growth and development, even in times of global uncertainty. A robust demographic dividend, strong ready-made garments exports, resilient remittance inflows, and stable macroeconomic conditions have supported rapid economic growth over the past two decades.” Bangladesh is also working on expanding export beyond garments, reduce unemployment, build a skilled labor force, and build efficient infrastructure. They have their challenges also, and that is why lots of Bengalis go abroad and work under dismal conditions at nominal pay. But on an overall basis, the country is more stable, and progressing. They attract over 3 billion USD in foreign direct investment every year, and their foreign exchange reserves are close to 40 billion USD.

For Pakistan, the World Bank says, “over the past two decades, Pakistan has achieved significant poverty reduction, but human development outcomes have lagged while economic growth has remained volatile and slow.”  Our human development index is constantly suffering. Government instability, political conflicts, backdoor deals, corruption at all levels, and environmental catastrophe of massive floods have brought us to the brink of disaster. The government is still busy in politics while governance has gone from bad to worse. Our GDP growth is estimated to be barely 2% in this fiscal year, which will further stall our progress. Our woes and problems continue.

To sum it up, the three neighboring countries, namely Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh share common issues like poverty, rural-urban migration, unemployment, and slow human development. However, the countries’ response to tackling these issues is widely different. Unfortunately, we in Pakistan, are at the lowest ebb, our government is clueless, our institutions are fractured, and we are going deeper into abyss every day. A huge effort can take us out, but we must be united to fight and rise.


Disclaimer: Most pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images and Pexels. Credit is given where known; some do not show copyright ownership. However, if a claim is lodged at any stage, we shall either mention the ownership clearly, or remove the picture with suitable regrets.


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