Stories about budget

Will the Budget 2015-16 be merciful to the common man?

Zeenat Bibi lives in a small city in interior Sindh; she works as a housemaid to make ends meet. Every year she works harder and secretly hopes that her life will get better this time around. She hopes she can earn enough money to purchase sufficient food for her children, send them to school, and buy new clothes for them on Eid. But she is disappointed each time, because the harder she works, the higher the inflation rates soar, making life even more difficult for her than what it was in the past year. The life of a common man in ...

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Wagon-wheel pasta: A little taste of Tuscany on your Pakistani plate

So if you are amongst 95% of the people of the world, you are probably intimidated by cooking. So was I, once upon a time. To look at a well-cooked dish was like looking at the great pyramids; fascinating and intriguing, but a mystery as to how it was built. But watching Nigella Lawson cook, who made it look like a piece of cake, inspired me to start cooking. And to avoid any complications, I started developing my own simple recipes. And if I can cook, trust me, so can you. Unless you have a cooking-phobia and faint upon stepping into ...

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Are you a true football fan or a Pakistani football fan?

In Pakistan, summers usually have a few trademarks. These include myriad lawn brands, juicy mangoes, skin infections and a never-ending spree of load shedding. This year, however, a peculiar viral disease hit the urban areas of Pakistan in form of the FIFA World Cup 2014. Pakistan is not amongst the ‘big boys’ in football and the national team has never qualified for World Cup matches, yet the football fever still, somehow, hits Pakistan each time there is a football tournament taking place. The English Premier League has only recently attracted a substantial number of followers from Pakistan, but people have been following the ...

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We should have seen it coming…

In hindsight, I suppose we should have seen it coming. Karachi had been a great city, once called the Queen of the East, but for a long time now it had become unlivable, given the daily killings, terrorist attacks, the rampant looting of pedestrians and motorists by armed gangs. We should have seen it coming. The city was the most highly taxed in the country, but no one knew what happened to the hard-earned money we gave as tax. It was widely believed, though, that our corrupt rulers were siphoning away most of the budget amount into their foreign ...

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Dear finance minister, your new budget is killing us

Dear Finance Minister, I belong to the class of ‘common men’; some people also call us ‘mango men’ or ‘aam admi’. Ours is a species that is found in abundance everywhere in Pakistan. If you ever look out of your bullet proof BMW, you will notice one of my fellow beings selling something or the other on a footpath. We are also found polishing shoes, unloading trucks, offering window covers during a traffic signal, pouring hot tea in a cup at a tea stall, pushing a fruit or vegetable cart or driving a donkey cart loaded with a number of things. There ...

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Article 25-A: What does the ‘free’ in ‘right to free education’ imply?

Pakistan faces many challenges today, but education is one of the biggest. It includes huge disparities in terms of opportunities, particularly for girls and the rural population. There are also the issues of poor quality of education, low enrollment and high drop-out rates. Reportedly, over 25 million children between five and 16 years of age are out of school. This fact points to the emerging and critical social imbalance of education, even as a fundamental right. Article 25-A, the Right to Education, was inserted in the chapter of the fundamental rights of the Constitution as part of the Eighteenth Amendment. ...

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Our new, increased education budget is a victory for Malala and every Pakistani

We have never given a toss about education in Pakistan. This is not a blanket statement but a fact pretty easily verified if you look at statistics of literacy in this country or the work done on education in our sixty year history. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) puts our literacy at 56%, but also reports that the largest part of our nation which is the rural Pakistan has more than 70% illiteracy, when our regional neighbours like India and Sri Lanka boast literacy rates of around 75% and 91%. In fact education is such a huge priority ...

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Federal Budget 2013-14: More business friendly than people friendly

I still remember my Economics professor’s words, “The political cost of economic decisions is the worst nightmare for the policy-making circles particularly political parties and this is what plays the most significant role in budgetary allocations.” The federal budget 2013-14 has proved this statement correct. With the new political administration at the helm of affairs, the situation is surely somehow different than the past five years, though not an ideal one. A short glimpse of the budget document clearly shows that the budget is more business friendly than people friendly. We find that the government has focused on fiscal discipline, development, power generation, political ...

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Budget2013: Research and Development in Pakistan

The initial prognosis of the recent budget by pundits is positive, with the phrase “business-friendly” or some other variant prefacing their every breath. While that’s an italicised development from past years, let’s hope there is a noticeable change in the fields of research, development and technology as well. To say the least, Pakistan has had its share of intestinal economic and political disruptions. Incessant wars, military rule, flogged bureaucracy and corruption represent some of the determinants of Pakistan’s snail-paced economic growth. Recognising these factors, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar during his budget presentation speech invoked the word “development” 26 separate times, but ...

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The economics behind the Lahore Metro Bus Service

According to the Punjab government, 30 billion rupees is the amount of money spent on the Lahore Metro Bus Service. The actual figure may be a lot more, but let’s just take their word for it and apply a bit of perspective to it instead. Overall the entire allocated money for Punjab infrastructure development is Rs63 billion which means that 50% or half of the development budget of Punjab was spent in Lahore. This excludes the cost of the numerous underpasses and overhead bridges that were built in Lahore. Compare this Rs30 billion to the Rs16.5 billion allocated to the health sector for ...

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