Stories about budget

Education at square one

Sixty-three years worth of disparities. I find it an illogical argument that for the majority of this country an important life-changing issue such as education will remain secondary to clothing, housing and nutrition. Why must the underprivileged be responsible for changing their own fortunes? How come there is Shining India, with the youth from middle class Calcutta, Hyderabad, and even the smaller suburbs of Delhi and Bombay, doing well in sectors such as IT, both at home and abroad? How come the youth in these countries and cities have more opportunities than us? I pin that down to the fact ...

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Shahbaz’s health plan: Adding insult to injury

The Punjab government has failed yet again to address the problems of dealing with emergency situations, especially when it comes to treating the injured at hospitals after terrorist attacks. Lahore has witnessed plenty of blasts and suicide attacks in recent years. And the casualties seem to be rising due to inefficiencies in rendering emergency aid, and due to a lack of trauma centres. While many die on the spot, a majority of the victims are rushed to emergency wards of teaching hospitals where they either eventually succumb to injuries, or suffer life-long disabilities – both of which in most cases are ...

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Whose country is this anyways? (Part III)

Corruption is the one word that explains government failure, greed, misallocation of public resources, abuse of power and undeserving state patronage. However, depending on who is involved, the degree of condemnation varies, which is a curious anomaly in what should be outright condemnation and a clear recognition of right from wrong. A dog’s life Recent reports have suggested that Pakistan’s Defence Ministry is demanding Rs1.66 billion to establish a National Canine Centre to train dogs.  3,260 dogs are to be trained over a period of 10 years, which works out to Rs2.7 million per dog. The army already manages a well regarded dog-training ...

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‘Strike tomorrow, school’s closed!’

How many countries have more unofficial (read: unnecessary) holidays than official ones? Now that 2011 has been announced as Pakistan’s year of education, we might want to start focusing less on who killed whom and more on keeping our schools open. My high school years in Karachi were a blur of classes, canteen breaks, throwball, netball, and bonfires. Sounds like fun, I know. But it would have been a whole lot more productive had it not been interrupted by school closures thanks to random strikes and curfews. As a young’un, who really cares? After all, no school is usually good ...

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Money 101: The lowdown on monthly installments

You know you have money managing issues when you resort to borrowing Rs500 from your maid at the end of the month. Living the urban upwardly-mobile middle class lifestyle is a dream for many and the source of income for businesses ranging from fast food to electronic dealers.  And what I am going to harp on about today are the dreaded monthly installments. Picture this: Ayaz and Aziza are a newly married couple living in one of Karachi’s many high rise apartment buildings. Both are working in the corporate sector and together bring in about Rs150,000 (which is possibly the ...

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Tax contribution: Show me the money

Taxation forms the backbone of state finances. The military, as an arm of the state, relies on state finances for its budgetary requirements. As I am often reminded, the Army is in a state of war, so one should support it without any criticism. However, any commentary that comes through the media or official sources, everyone agrees that the military is underfunded. A political hot potato While we are in a state of war, the RGST has become a political hot potato. The opposition has jumped on the anti-RGST bandwagon, while other parties such as the TI and JI prefer the, “taxes imposed under foreign diktat” line of argument. Whether the RGST is required or not, is a debate for another article. Why those patriotic Pakistanis that should ...

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Will privatising the existing education system work?

Recently, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has been calling on a new wave of educational reforms in an effort to privatise colleges in Punjab. The government of Punjab has decided to replace the existing system with a board of governors having power over 26 colleges in Punjab.  While the privatisation of colleges is not a new concept in Pakistan, it has certainly aroused a lot of passion from a range of groups lately. Student groups and teachers’ rights associations are fervently against such a move because they argue that along with the inevitable hikes in tuition fee, professors’ rights will be severely ...

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Five fashion must-haves which won’t leave you broke

Women often tend to have wishlists but unfortunately, we also tend to go broke. So I took the liberty to come up with a list of wishlist-worthy things, with their more affordable alternatives. An oversized men’s watch The trend started a while back and is still going strong. The obvious first choice here is a man’s Rolex. It’s been spotted on a lot of celebrity wrists, and if you can’t borrow your husbands, why not get a cheaper alternative? Michael Kors has a decent collection of watches. The one in gold is my personal favorite. A pair of Balenciaga shoes Each pair is loud ...

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Illiterate democracy

In a democracy that thrives on fake degrees, it is perhaps little wonder that our political leaders do not think much about the financial woes of the Higher Education Commission (HEC). So what if 9,000 PhD’s are unable to continue with their studies? So what if our education system, already in a terrible state, falls into oblivion? No, the money should much rather be spent on extravagances such as expensive renovations of the Parliament Lodges (Rs60 million) and serving meals at the 2009-2010 budget session (Rs11.5 million for just half a month) and an $11 million statue to commemorate a ...

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A building for Bhutto: A monumental mistake

Is our leadership foolish or do they simply enjoy poking the nation every now and then? A monument for Benazir would have been a good idea, had there been no floods! As the millions affected by the flood await help and support, our leaders have been going around gathering funds from around the globe. While the initial aid received will help the government support the affected people on an emergency basis, billions of dollars are required to get Pakistan up and running. While we receive international money and continue to ask for more, there was an urgent need to pay our ...

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