Expectations of Common Man from the Budget 2012-2013

WORLD TIMES’ At the Department of Economics, Lahore College for Women University (LCWU), Lahore.

Profile of Dr. Riffat Saqlain

Registrar Lahore college For Women University
Dean of Social Sciences
Head of the Economics department

She  did  her  masters  from  government  college Lahore and  won  academic  role  of  Honor, She  has   34  years  of  teaching  experience  in  Lahore  college  for  women  university. She  has  been  the joint  editor  of  Economic  Journal department  of  economics  ,  Government  College  Lahore .Her  area  of  interest  is  development Economics.

Under the auspices of Jahangir’s World Times a Discussion Forum is organized at the Department of Economics in LCWU, Lahore. The discussion was chaired by Dr. Rifat Saqlain the Dean of Social Sciences as well as chairperson of the Department of Economics while MS. Uzma and MS. Hafsa faculty members of the department also participated in the debate along with students. The students and faculty members shared their views on the Expectations of Common Man from the Budget 2012-2013. Their arguments were logical, convincing and categorically sound. Actually, their views reflect a vision and economic concerns of common man as far as annual budget 2012-2013 is concerned. Pakistan. Thus, they applied their general understanding about the present economic situation of Pakistan vis-à-vis economic worries of public.

The discussion was started by MS. Uzma she said, ‘Today peoples of Pakistan are facing a severe energy crisis that is why the common man is expecting an immediate relief from the energy crisis in the upcoming budget 2012-2013. In fact, people want the end of this energy crisis so; they are expecting that government will allocate funds for new dams and other development projects of public welfare. Actually, ‘hydel energy’ is the economical source of power generation available in Pakistan because a unit of electricity generated through hydel power costs less than 1 rupee per unit while a unit generated through thermal power generation costs 6 rupees per unit. Thus why I am emphasizing more on the energy crisis because; it brutally affected the life of not only a common man but businessmen too. Now the students will elaborate other expectation of the common man related to the budget 2012-2013.’

Aattiqa Anwer student of BS-Economics 8th semester the first student speaker said, Defense expenditure is the most important part of our budget because we live in a difficult neighborhood and also facing security threats. In the current year government allocated 495 billion rupees for the defense expenditure but most of these funds are spent on the military officials and on their lavish living styles. In addition, I would say a common man also expects that defense expenditure would be discussed in the parliament during the budget session because peoples of Pakistan want to know what and how government is spending for their security.

Anum Maqsood another student of BS-Economics 8th semester said, I would second the opinion of madam Uzma that the greatest expectation of common man from the upcoming budget is the end of energy crisis. Dr. Samar Mubark is constantly saying that he can produce electricity less than 1 rupee per unit from the Thar Coal reserves but the   government seems reluctant as far as allocations of funds are concerned for this project. Moreover, construction of big dams is also the need of the hour. So, first of all in my opinion government should build consensus for the Kala Bagh Dam and if it is not possible then it should go ahead for other mega dams vis-à-vis taping of renewable sources of energy like wind and solar energy. But unfortunately government is far behind on this count.

Sadia Qadeer student of BS-Economics 8th semester talked about the allocations for the development projects in the upcoming budget she was of the opinion that government should reduce its expenditures by restricting the perks and privileges of their ministers and MNAs and MPAs instead of cutting the development budget.In the fiscal year (FY) 2010-2011 the government spent Rs 216 billion on development projects but in the current FY it reduced the funds for development up to RS: 196billion. Because in my opinion infrastructure is the need of hour for economic growth so; government should pay more attention to railway department and resolve its crisis and develop new roads and bridges in an unbiased manner. Moreover, current healthcare spending which accounts for 0.7% of national budget is quite low. I expect that in the upcoming budget more funds will be allocated for healthcare as it is expected that dengue can attack again. To sum up I must say that government should pay heed to the development expenditures in the upcoming budget at both federal and provincial levels. Equal funds should be allocated to each province so that no one can feel that it is being neglected. Last but not the least development in Baluchistan should be taken into serious account along with a proper check on corruption, if the government doesn’t want to lose that part of Pakistan.

Samra Khalid student of MS economics looking energetic spoke very differently she said, I would say in this budget the government of Pakistan should divert their budget for needy people who are suffering in vulnerable condition instead of spending the money on their l own life style. Because elite class prepare the budget that is why a common man does not show any interest in the budget. In fact, bureaucrats and politicians want to maximize their perks and privileges. For instance, our politician or parliamentarians pay visit to abroad for begging loans in chartered plans and with almost hundred of minister, advisors which is costing million of rupees. But if the government reduces these expanses and will start relying on our own resources whatever we have; then definitely the expectations and concerns of the common man can be addressed surely. Actually, our government burnt million of rupees weekly to maintain their lavish lifestyle. In the end I would like to say that our politicians should realize the importance of austerity and self reliant. We are not realizing the importance of these measures that is why we are standing in crucial situation. This is the only way to maximize the welfare of people through budget.

Nida Munir another student of M.S Economics said that there are many gossips going around about this budget. Most of the public believe that this budget will be another shell bomb being dropped on them and would immensely increase their miseries and troubles. Because in the last four years the government has not done much effort in terms of eliminating or even reducing the economic problems faced by the masses. Its policies have actually lead towards the devastating situation that we are facing today. Massive unemployment, Inflation increasing day by day, high electricity tariffs, energy crisis and so on but there is no end; this all has happened because government spends most of its budget on non-development expenditures. Thus masses want to have a long term relief from the government than a short term benefit as it seems because it is the budget of an election year.

Iqra Ejaz another student of BS-Economics 8th semester was looking elegant spoke in a unique way she said that presentation of Annual Federal Budget in the Parliament is an annual activity. Whereas, all kind of expectations exist before the announcement of the budget. For instance, the salaried classes are hoping for substantial rise in their salaries to protect themselves against the rising cost of inflation and related cost of living expenditure. Similarly, the working class of the country has a desire to get their monthly wages raised from a minimum of Rs. 7,000 per month to some appropriate and befitting level. People expect that government will control inflation. The upcoming Budget of 2012 is very important for all of us because it’s the 5th and may be the final budget of this democratic government. I would like to emphasis here on the education sector literacy rate is claimed to be over 45% in Pakistan. If criteria to calculate literacy rate is considered above Primary Education, real literacy rate in Pakistan may be around 10% which is very low. However, my perception regarding the upcoming budget is not only to concentrate on increasing literacy but to accelerate functional literacy too. Because in my opinion Quality and equality of education is the crying need everywhere. In order to make progress in educational system there is need to raise the percentage of expenditures on education.

In the end head of the department Dr. Riffat Saqlain concluded the debate.  She  said  that  the  most  important  expectation  is relief in  terms  of  increase  in  the  real  purchasing  power  and  the  provision  of  basic  necessities.  She  also  added  that  there  is  rising  income  disparities  among  the  masses and to deal with  this  issue  government  must  bring  the  elite  of  the  agricultural  class  into  the  tax  net  by  imposing  agricultural  income  tax . She  quoted  the  finance  minister  who  said  in  a  recent  press  briefing that  there  are  only  two  taxes  in  the  upcoming  budget  sales  tax  and  the  income  tax.  She  pointed  that  the  general  sales  tax  is  against  the  equity  consideration  so  progressive  and  equity  based  taxation  like  income  and  agricultural  tax  should  be  imposed. About  the  energy  crisis  she  said  that  to  deal  with  the  energy  crises  and  the  rising  unemployment  government  should  start  mega  projects.  She  further  added  that  government  should  take  measures  for  the  prompt  access  to  the  basic  necessities  like  education,  health  and  transportation. Thank You!


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