Going against the tide of public opinion and, indeed, the logic of austerity that the countrys precarious economic condition cries out for, Prime Minister Gilani has created four new Ministries. Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani has been assigned the Ministry of Inter-provincial Coordination, Senator Mir Ishratullah Zehri the Ministry of Food Security and Research and Ms Samina Khalid Ghurki the Ministry of National Heritage and Integration. The fourth Minister would be appointed later to look after the Ministry of Disaster Management and National Regulation and Services. Earlier on June 30 when the federal government had completed the process of devolution of 18 Ministries to the provinces, Mr Gilani created three Ministries the Ministry of National Harmony, the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Professional and Vocational Training to accommodate parliamentarians of the PML-Q, which had just joined the PPP-led coalition. It is pertinent to recall that soon after the passage of the 18th Amendment a consensus decision was made to reduce the number of Ministries in order to meet the challenge of the economic crisis gripping the country. However, since the devolution was carried out under the Amendment, seven new Ministries have been established and each one of them would cost millions to the national exchequer. That would, undoubtedly, constitute a further drain on our already scarce resources. One should have thought that, under the present circumstances, it would be quite hard for those in power to decide incurring any additional expense. In fact, there would have been no harm had the Prime Minister implemented the provision of the Constitution that restricts the number of Ministers to a maximum of 50, even though the provision is due to become operative after the next general elections. With people dying of hunger; committing suicide and forced to even sell children they are unable to feed, inflation touching an all-time high and the government kitty short of funds even to pay salaries and pensions to its employees, it is a cruel joke to incur expenses just to put ones cronies and supporters in high-salaried jobs. The need of the hour is to cut expenses drastically and practice austerity at the national level.