Friday, September 24, 2010

Ten Commandments for the government in the aftermath of Floods

There are widespread demands of improving governance performance. It appears that some major policy steps and reforms package may have to be launched courageously to assuage concerns in this respect.All policy reforms of any significance carry risks of annoying and even antagonizing some sector or group.Those risks have to be taken.The risks in not taking the measures and appear to be doing something meaningful are probably more .

These are my humble submissions to the Government of Pakistan , especially in the aftermath of the floods,which would have been required to be implemented even before the floods.The list could have been longer,but has been kept brief.More will follow in this series:

0)The most sacrosanct principle and objective should be to survive and let the democratic government to complete its term for the first time in the history of Pakistan..Fighting for it in itself is a respectable motto.Any conspiracy against a Sindh leadership party would be injurious to national fabric and unity.

00)Encourage Americans to depart from Afghanistan as an only peaceful ending to terrorism in due course,despite possible prodding for the opposite from certain quarters, to keep the US in.These are the people who want to have cake and eat it too.Do not listen to them.Keep trying for a Marshal Plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan.Involve Afghans in the process.There should be no hurry for a break-through with India.Let them wait for Nawaz Sharif.

1)Maintain and pursue the politics of inclusion,reconciliation and consensus ,taking the partners along. Pursue the same within as well.

2)Do not borrow unnecessary confrontation from the powerful institutions.

3)Revive local governments( setting an example in Sindh),even if with lesser powers and adjustments for LGs , preferably with the consensus of stake-holders , and encourage provincial governments elsewhere to do the same.

4)Tax(on Income) the agricultural landlords holding 100 acres or more.

5)Launch some significant initiative on Land Reforms and Land Distribution.Introduce land co-operative schemes.

6)Introduce and pursue jobs creating economic policies supporting SMEs and micro enterprises.Large Industrial sector has very little room for growth in the current national and international trade and competition regime,as has also been indicated by recent data.

7)Do not fall into the trap of extractive taxation policies and so called documentation.However do barely enough to barely satisfy IMF boys.These policies would scuttle growth and job creation especially among the poor.

8)Revive Ration Card scheme of the 1960s(free or cheap ration) for flood victims and for the others for cheap rates from the utility stores.

9)Introduce Aqua fishery(cage) for flood areas and coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan.

10)Pay attention to Energy Sector:fast track Thar Coal with Chinese with a deal of 5000 MW;solve hydro royalty issue of KP ala Indian model of 12% free electricity.

11)Bring meaningful reforms in the exploitative Banking sector,bringing lending interest rates and banks margins down , and balance the lopsided free for all brought in by Musharraf and his minions.No wonder all kinds of banks have been coming in for a small economy seeing huge profits.

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