It is reported that the newly elected Federal and the Punjab governments have collectively reserved Rs 4 billion (2 bn of each) in the name of ‘Ramadan Package’. What does it mean? Is it for the general welfare of the masses or for something else? Let’s take a look, a friend of mine who is a Naib-Tehsildar in district Gujranwala and part of civil administration there, told me that 20 million (2 crore) rupees is an estimated cost for the tents provided at the venues of ‘Ramadan Bazaars’ only in one district Gujranwala, and he added that the changing weather conditions might increase the estimated cost. This information gives a clear indication how Ramadan bazaars are being managed. In fact, ‘Sastay Ramadan Bazaars’ are expensive in national economic terms. If the purpose of the government is to provide benefit to the poor masses, this money could have been given in cash to the deserving families. It could have been given to 4 lack families, a cheque of 10,000 rupees.

I think with this amount a family of 6-8 members can easily adjust its monthly kitchen-budget. Four billion rupees is a big amount and the most important is that it is public money, which is again being used carelessly! The latent objective of this scheme is to offer benefit to a few officials and politicians who are on good terms with the leadership of PML-N. Initiatives like ‘sasti roti’ scheme, distribution of laptops and solar panels and yellow cab scheme cannot be regarded as nation-building measures.

Irony is that PML-N leadership thinks that they have done well in the previous Punjab government giving them a landmark victory in the general elections, but in real sense, that is not true, they have succeeded in acquiring a heavy mandate due to the abysmal and shameful performance of the PPPP’ government, not because of their best policies and governance. Pragmatically speaking, they won the election on the basis of all the promises they made in regard to loadshedding. The main idea is that this government needs to have its priorities set before they start making ridiculous plans for bullet trains and unnecessary schemes i.e. ‘Ramadan Package’, a nation cannot be build on roads and trains only. It is time the government took some nation-building initiatives which would improve the country over all. The first priority should be their educational policy, making sure that government schools are in working order.

The health sector needs serious thought regarding the facilities provided in rural areas, eradication corruption, widening their tax net and improving tax collection, restructuring of the government departments, abolition of “thana and patwari” culture, creation of employment opportunities, controlling law and order situation etc. Of these, education, health and law and order are the most important. There is a dire need to move in this direction before things get worse and the Sharif brothers see a third time humiliation.

ZAMAN RANJHA,

Mandi Bahauddin, July 22.