Cabinet’s welfare-oriented decisions

AT its meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Cabinet disposed of a lengthy agenda including some of the decisions that would directly benefit people. These include approval of the New Hajj Policy, lifting of moratorium on provision of new gas connections, issues pertaining to housing sector and future of contract and daily wage employees.
People were anxiously waiting for announcement of the Hajj Policy, the salient features of which were made public by Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf at a press conference, which envisages completion of the application process and balloting this month. Majority of intending pilgrims would be sent to the holy land under Government Hajj Scheme, which was highly appreciated last year because of elaborate arrangements made by the Ministry to look after the pilgrims. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif deserves credit for giving instructions to the Ministry to bring down Hajj expenses, which would provide relief to intending pilgrims in performing a religious obligation. Criticism of some vested interests notwithstanding, the decision to lift moratorium on provision of new gas connections especially to housing schemes would go a long way in mitigating people woes. There was no justification to deny benefit of gas supply to some segments of the society while others around them enjoyed the facility. Contract and daily wage employees had pinned great hopes that there services would be regularised but Cabinet decision is somewhat vague and fate of such employees would remain in doldrums. No doubt, wholesale induction of people into government service without codal formalities, fulfilment of criteria, merit and written test and interview is a crime that not only amounts to laying hands on the rights of those who could have been selected on merit but would also cause further deterioration in quality of civil service and efficiency of various departments. However, a clear-cut policy should have been devised keeping all factors in mind. The Cabinet also failed to take any concrete decision as far as housing for low and middle class sections of the society is concerned. Government has already lost four years and even if it announces some doable initiative it is next to impossible that authorities would show anything worthwhile to the people before next general election. Let us wait for ingenuity of the cabinet sub-committee that has been assigned the task to come out with a plan of action.

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