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need of the hour
(12 Sep 08)
Pakistan is sinking more and more into the
fiscal deficit quagmire. Our expenses far exceed our income and there
seems to be no viable economic program with the government to allay this
disproportionate earning vs spending ratio. In view of the current
alarming economic situation, emergency Austerity measures need to be
implemented without loss of time, to arrest any further deterioration.
Some of the measures that should be taken are outlined below :-
1. Ban the sale and use of all private
vehicles above 1600 cc. The president, PM and all high ups including the
armed forces chiefs should be made to comply with this restriction. The
benefit is obvious. Besides the upfront saving on buying and running
these vehicles, it will also put a check to the rat race in the society
to compete in buying bigger and more expensive vehicles just to show
off. Instead, aggressively encourage the usage of public transport
(which presently is pathetic and almost non existent), by subsidising
them and flooding the cities /country with them so that they render
private vehicles redundant.
2. Ban the ownership and construction of houses on more than 800 yd plots.
Again this will discourage people from spending money on big houses just to
show off and perpetrate an unhealthy competition in the society. It may be
pointed out that a house and a vehicle are the two most potent weapons of
showing off a persons wealth and Pakistanis are most gullible
in this respect. When these two wasteful pursuits are curbed, the rat race
/corruption in the society would automatically be checked. Also with this
restriction, people with extra money would invest it in productive pursuits
like industries, services etc. instead of squandering it.
3. Remove all grossly misused side perks like free transportation, free
electricity, free servants etc to government servants who are being given, and instead enhance the person's salary in lieu of these perks. This
will not only arrest the misuse and wastage of these perks but the
compensatory cash in salary would be relatively much lesser burden on the
exchequer and much more beneficial to the recipient.
Though the restrictions mentioned above may be hard to swallow for most of
us, particularly for the powers that be (so difficult to give up bad habits!)
but then, taking this bitter pill and personal sacrifice from our leaders is
the only way to cure our illness. If China can put restriction on their
people of bearing not more than one child to control the population (a
direct challenge to basic human freedom), why can't we put control on the
size of houses and vehicles to put the nation on the track of austerity and
thereby check our sinking economy.