Cabinet on transparency track

SECOND meeting of the Federal Cabinet in a week and its decisions clearly show PTI has fast-tracked plans to ensure transparency in governance through a combination of measures. In a landmark move, the Cabinet decided to abolish discretionary funds of all state functionaries, bound them not to travel in first class, banned unnecessary visits abroad, go for massive tree plantation and above all initiate a country-wide cleanliness drive.
Given the past practice, it required courage to discard discretionary funds, which were mainly used to finance projects and programmes sponsored by elected representatives in their areas. Similarly, lavish lifestyle and perks of the ruling class in a country burdened with foreign and domestic debt needed to be discouraged and a beginning has also been made by the announcement that the Prime Minister would not use chartered plane for his visits and, instead of first class, would travel in club class. The entire landscape of the country could change if the PTI government succeeds in its plans to plant ten billion saplings and focus on cleanliness. These two tasks can be accomplished with minimum investment but their benefits would be immense as it would help the country save billions which it is currently spending on health and treatment of people suffering from diseases caused by environmental pollution. The success of cleanliness drive depends on cooperation of the people who need to be sensitized on this issue and PTI can do that with its large youth cadre. The Cabinet also considered a proposal to abolish two-day week-end and wisely decided to keep the status quo. This is a non-issue and it is unfortunate that attempts are made after every few years to go for another experiment. Abolition of two weekly offs would have increased the instance of load-shedding and also travel and other daily expenses of both the individual and the Government. The decision to change office timings from 0900 to 1700 hours is also ill-advised as we would be wasting precious and productive time in the morning on one hand and on the other this would lead to exhaustion of the civil servants who would be constrained to spend the entire day either in office or on roads. This would impact upon their output and the situation would become awkward in winter due to shrinking day time.

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