PML-N has announced another program called the Provincial Social Protection Program by the Punjab government in which the poor families will be given Rs. 1000 per month per family as subsistence stipend copying the already in vogue ‘Benazir Income Support Program.’ This act will not bring any visible change in the living standard of the poor. It is felt that by doing so we are creating a culture of official beggary. Also in such schemes, the element of corruption cannot be ruled out.
There is a famous Chinese saying that instead of giving fish to the poor as a meal, it is better to train them to catch fish. It is suggested that such social protection and support schemes may be discontinued and with the same cost some pragmatic projects may be launched in big towns where the poor of the area may be given adequate jobs thus earning a respectable wage. These projects may be supervised by the local bodies. Local philanthropists may also be persuaded to invest in such projects. Last but not the least, the goal should be to look for permanent economic solutions rather than quick-fix initiatives.
Lahore, December 13.