The Federal Cabinet approved the transfer of five ministries from the federal to the provincial governments, thus beginning a process mandated by the 18th Amendments abolition of the Concurrent List. The process will continue with the actual handover of the Zakat and Ushr, Population Welfare, Youth Affairs, Special Education, and Local Government and Rural Development departments to the provincial governments, whose chief ministers were in Islamabad to call on the PM, who also chaired the Cabinet meeting, on the occasion. The process will extend to another five ministries in the next phase, to be complete by the end of February, and the whole process will be completed by the deadline of June 30 next. This was disclosed by Senator Raza Rabbani, the chairman of both the Constitutional Reforms Parliamentary Committee and the Amendments Implementation Commission, at a post-meeting press conference jointly with Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira. Kaira was the one who justified adding two new ministers on the plea that it was a coalition government, and it was made clear that the displaced federal staff would not be sacked, but adjusted in other federal ministries. Neither federal representative explained how the provincial governments would staff the new departments. There was probably no need to fund the devolution, as that had already been done at the last National Finance Commission Award, though the stark reality has been that the extra money made available to the provinces is going to make up for the shortages of the past. Neither made clear what would happen to the Cabinet ministers holding the handed over portfolios, except for Mr Kaira saying that the PM would decide. The purpose of the devolution was to empower the provinces, not save money. Nevertheless, the shrinking of government was to have led to a reduction of headcounts, right from the number of clerks to the number of ministers. If the federal government does not cut either, and the provincial governments increased both, there would be no saving. If preserving jobs is to be given preference to saving, then the devolution exercise would de deprived of meaning. To make this devolution the exercise it is meant to be, the federal government must be ready and willing to give up some of the powers of micromanagement that it is used to. Federal officials should remember that the departments being devolved were in the provincial domain under the united West Pakistan, and were only made federal after the secession of East Pakistan left the Constitution makers after the break-up to pick up the pieces.