budget
Op-ed

Budget and Public Aspirations

By: Azhar Hashmi

Budgets are an instrument to judge whether money is being put where the mouth is. Of course, allocating adequate amount of money is only the first step in service delivery. The trouble is that Pakistan has been found wanting in taking even this first step for a long time. Hence the continuing emphasis on achieving some key expenditure to GDP ratios in the development discourse. In the social sectors, non-development expenditure is as important as the development expenditure. While development expenditure is aimed to reduce the sectorial deficit of facilities, the non-development expenditure is necessary to sustain the facilities already created in the budget.

Adolf Hitler, an Austrian born German politician and leader of Nazi and Prime Minister of United kingdom Sir Winston Churchill unanimously decided that German troops will not attack on Oxford and Cambridge University and in return British troops will not attack Heidelberg and Gottingen University which were located in Germany. Adolf Hitler knew that if Heidelberg remain safe during war, they can reconstruct Germany but if British troops obliterate Heidelberg, the re-structuring of German nation will not be possible. That’s the reason almost 90% children who were born in Germany and England during Second World War was born in Oxford and Gottingen University.

It was a shocking fact for me when I read this in the famous book on the study of universe “A Brief History of Time “by the renowned physicist of the existing era Sir Stephen Hawking.  You will be more surprised when you will know that this great physicist of the modern time was also included in those newly born babies who were born in Oxford and Cambridge University during Second World War.

This shows that how the leaders of west prioritize the things for their nation even in worse times like wars. This also shows their love, commitment and dedication for learning and educational institutes. They know they are superpowers not because of atomic bombs and their oversize economies. They are controlling the whole world just because of their educational institutes and libraries. How can they control the whole world just because of their educational institutes? Condoleezza rice the former American Foreign Minister was a university professor. They always pick best professionals for their country’s representation.

Can we expect such kind of amazing proposal from existing Pakistani political leadership? The answer will be ‘NO”.  On the other hand just look how we take decisions, Jahangir Badar who is law graduate from Punjab University and doesn’t know the ABC of science and technology was once appointed as a minister of science and technology. Was this not a joke????

On the other hand we were blessed with such jokers, who protest against poverty and inflation by arranging press conferences in Pakistan’s most luxurious hotels. We have made such people our Prime Ministers and Chief Minister whose approach, intellectual size and prophecy is more no better than the clerk of a developed country.

Good governance and prioritizing things is not rocket science. It’s very simple and everybody can experience it in our homes. For example being a father and head of the family, first of all you will give good food, proper clothes and home which are the fundamental rights of every human being and then you will give them other luxuries of life. But if father’s first priority is luxury car instead of food, clothes and home. What you will say about this person?

But good development is that now the situation is getting better. Pakistan has the biggest Youth in the world. Youth is rising due to awareness given by social media. Now they question their leadership regarding their priorities. That’s why provincial and federal governments are paying special attention to human development. Human development is mainly about education, health, water and sanitation. A comparison of the just announced budgets of the Punjab and K-P governments reveals an interesting result. In the Punjab budget for 2016-17, the total allocation for education, health and water supply and sanitation is Rs168.87 billion, or 31 per cent of the development program. The corresponding figure for K-P is 25.2 per cent. The lead in Punjab is the result of massive increases of 47 per cent in education, 62 per cent in health and 88 per cent in the provision of clean water. Punjab and KPK government are doing exceptionally very well regarding human development but unfortunately Sindh and Baluchistan are still far behind these two provinces.

For the budget of 2016, we have seen that KPK  spent over 27% of their budget on their educational sector. They had cut down their development spending by the amount of 8%. For the current year, the government of KPK will be starting the project of its 72 elementary schools. It will too be coming up with 200 in a number of smart schools. In their current budget, they will be setting up 160 in a number of primary schools and 100 in a number of secondary schools for the children of their KPK. The government of KPK has rejected and put down most of their annual development projects because their key priority is education.

For the budget of 2016, Punjab government spent 18% of their budget on their educational sector. In current fiscal year Punjab government has increased education budget 47%, health 62% and for water supply 88%. It is reported that now Punjab schools will be handed over to the private sector. In the initial phase, 3500 in a number of schools will be handed over to the private sector so that an experiment can be taken out.

Pakistan is considered one of the richest countries in term of resources and man power but it is also the worst country in the management of resources. Punjab and Kpk deserve appreciation for realizing the importance of human development and allocating healthy amount of budget for education, health and water supply.

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Mian Bilal

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