Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, June 24th, 2021

Why Basic Services Matter

Basic social services are the building blocks for human development. Of course, they are now accepted as fundamental human rights. However, there is a widening gap between this consensus and the reality of public spending on basic services in the developing world, including Afghanistan. Considering the discriminatory policies of Afghan governments in the past, basic services usually have been distributed to a specific group, and most of the people have been deprived of them. Even after the Bon agreement in 2001, basic services have not been distributed equally in the country, though they often have made proud claims about how much they spend on health and education services. By denying citizens access to the basic social services – primary health care, clean water and proper sanitation and basic education Afghan governments have violated the human rights of their citizens.
Unless Afghan government expenditures on social services are equitably shared, the gaps between access to basic social services and social indicators will remain. The regional averages for unmet needs hide huge disparities within Afghanistan. These disparities affect ethnic groups, regions, and different households, as well as individual children, women and men, according to their level of income and wealth. Even the location of households is important, and local areas often lack the basic Social services
enjoyed by urban populations.
These differences, however, give only a partial picture of inequity in Afghanistan. Gender is another major issue. While many aspects of gender discrimination cannot be captured in figures, its impact can be seen in the figures on education. In Afghanistan the male literacy rate of 45.42 per cent contrasts with a female literacy rate of only 17.61 per cent – showing a big gap between the sexes.
Ethnicity is another consideration, -a factor considered as the main cause of discriminatory practices in Afghanistan. It is crucial to assess whether different groups in Afghan society receive an equitable share of public spending on social services. While most analysis concentrates on the incidence of the benefits of public spending by income groups, other information is at least as important, as can be seen from disaggregated outcome indicators. Analysis of the gender-based and geographic aspects of the distribution of benefits is valuable and both are linked to efficiency issues. Women play an important structural role in the ‘first synergy’ – enhancing the impact of spending in one sector by improvements in others, and the impact of basic services is likely to be greater in areas that have been traditionally under-served – rural areas in particular.
Provision of social basic services is one of the main duties of democratic governments. Afghan citizens have been denied equal access to social basic services based on ethnicity, geographical and gender. All Afghan people expect the new government of Afghanistan develop more inclusive policies to distribute equally the social basic services to them. Overall, there must be greater and better-targeted resources for basic social services. Afghan government must place enough emphasis on the provision of services that are essential for the well-being of children and women to ensure the human rights of them to primary health care, basic education, clean water and proper sanitation.