It appears that democracy in Pakistan will prevail as Finance Minister Ishaq Dar presented the National Budget for 2017-18 at the parliament on Friday. Minister Dar boasted country’s economic progress as he announced what the government termed as lucrative subsidies for different industries. The federal expenditure was increased from 715 billion rupees to 1,001 billion rupees for 2017-18.
The government increased the budget by 40%, which is regarded as robust growth over the next financial year. However, the Opposition parties have traditionally rejected the budget, citing their own differences. Total expenditures are to be amplified by 11% over the course of next year since positive financial indicators and improved law and order situation lures in foreign investment in the country.
Finance Minister Dar stated that the economy is expanded by almost 5.3%, which has been referred to as largest increase in over a decade. There will be a 10% increase in the salaries of all officers and jawans, which will be known as special allowance. A 10% ad hoc relief allowance on the merged salary to entire workforce in civil and armed forces has also been put on the table. Meanwhile the old age citizens have been held in regarded modestly as the budget promises 10% increase in pensions.
On the contrary, the opposition parties rolled up their sleeves and condemned the budget. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s leader Asad Umar stated that the budget is not friendly but instead an enemy of them. Hours before the announcement of the PML (N)’s fifth fiscal year budget, farmers across Punjab gathered to protest in Islamabad’s Red Zone against the budget. However, the agitation enhanced as farmers threw stones on police, provoking authorities to use water cannons and tear gas, driving farmers out in Jinnah Avenue.
Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan dismissed the budget as party chief Farooq Sattar termed it as a “status quo budget”. He added that the taxes mounted on the poor and that ratio of sales tax should be cut down from 17 to 9 percent.
The increase in the budget is due to the construction boom associated with $50-billion Chinese investment to update power and transport infrastructure. Earlier, International Monetary Fund stated in October that the country has successfully combated the crisis and stabilized economy following completion of a bailout program. The country’s credit rating has also improved for better despite foreign investments remain poor as compared to its South Asian neighbors.
What is important to note that despite their differences with the establishment increased the defense budget from 841 billion rupees to 920 billion rupees. This suggests that despite a decade of democracy the increase in the defense budget it only a matter, which is argued on the prime time talk shows. However, the increase is also necessary as the armed forces have been on the frontlines to maintain security and fight terrorism on the borders and the streets as well.
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