Democratic deficit fuelling inflation | By Riaz Missen

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Democratic deficit fuelling inflation

WHAT about the nefarious politics that is putting the burden of recession on the very class that needs support?

The interests of a small class are being protected. The majority of the population has been handed over to the merciless waves of circumstances.

Thus, this politics does not help in establishing social peace nor does it meet the requirements of national security.

External aid is cut off and the economy cannot afford to meet current costs.Public welfare schemes have been frozen.

Taxes have been raised while government spending on education, health and clean water is pathetically low.

The delivery of these services is left at the mercy of the private sector, but the institutions that keep them on the right track are paralyzed.

The main problem right now is inflation.Why?The people do not know how to do it.

They know that pulses, ghee, meat, wheat, rice and gram have gone far beyond their purchasing power.?

Five per cent of the remaining half of the population also have the means of production and control over industry and trade.

These are the people who swing the cradle of power.He also holds the highest positions in the State.

If the economy is in a fist, they are also in control of politics. Democracy is an honour, and expensive undertaking, is still reserved for the elite.

See how the elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies are held on time but the local government elections are constantly obstructed.

Without the provision of basic rights, an independent judiciary, local governments and free regional trade, the benefits of democracy cannot reach the common man.

In an economically unbalanced society, the balance of power, not justice, is the focus of politics.

Parliamentary supremacy, provincial (financially, administratively and politically) autonomy and general elections are what the 18th Amendment has delivered.

Fundamental rights and the rule of law are guaranteed, however, by an independent judiciary.

Where the constitution-makers gave autonomy to the provinces, they made it mandatory for the United States to arrange for the transfer of power to the lower echelons in order to ensure equitable distribution of resources.

In Punjab and Sindh, where the majority of the population lives, local government system is paralyzed and elections are being obstructed.

As for basic rights, access to adequate food for half of Pakistan’s population is impaired. Half of them are really malnourished.

That is, they do not cultivate their land, nor do they have a permanent source of employment.

People in the land of rivers do not even have clean drinking water.Thus the burden of both hunger and disease is on the head. In such a situation, this back-breaking inflation!

See how the nine political parties that authored the 18th Amendment have returned to power.

The slogan was to end inflation, but it has also imposed a tax on essential commodities that were previously in demand.

As electricity and oil prices rise, not only has inflation taken the form of a tsunami, but agriculture, which has been hit by climate change, is paralyzed as its productivity depends on mechanical means.

Small and medium farmers have been pushed below the poverty line. Canal water is mostly provided to Central Punjab or Sindh where cash crops, rice and wheat are grown.

The regions and river deltas supporting pulses, gram and oily seeds have no water.

The developmental ideology of British India has been adopted as an innovation.

Water resources are not being utilized properly in the cycle of diversion of rivers from canals to deserts, but deterioration in the ecosystem has left the majority of the population in the grip of hunger and disease.

These rivers were also trade routes and responsible for the abundance of pulses, oilseeds and protein.

It is understandable that if agriculture is not able to satisfy the hunger of 22 crore people then what role can it play in controlling the trade deficit.

By devaluing the rupee, food items have become more expensive.

If one can expect the benefits of regional trade in the supply of cheap raw material and commodities, the situation is that one of our neighbours is Afghanistan and the other is India.

If we trade with China, which can cater to needs of consumers, but what can we sell it to?

Agriculture, on the other hand, is using 95% of its water resources at the cost of fish, livestock, pulses and edible oil.

Since Pakistan has natural resources, fertile soil and water from monsoons and glaciers, the wise use of these resources will have to pave the way for sustainable development.

Food self-sufficiency does not necessarily mean focusing only on growing wheat, but also pulses, fish and livestock.

This will happen when the industry is shifted to alternative sources of energy rather than damming rivers for hydel power generation, wheat and pulses are grown in active flood plains, and if these crops need water then underground reservoirs can be used.

Farming should be banned in Thal and Cholistan, canals should be drained to the surface and their water should be available only to livestock and forests.

To curb inflation, the Federation should exempt energy and food items from import and other taxes.

The stability of the rupee will keep prices stable.As far as urgent measures are needed to control inflation, the issue needs to be addressed at the provincial level so that they can better allocate areas for crops, use canal water and supply seeds and fertilizers.

One of the reasons for inflation is the negligence of the district administration which is failing to stop the hand of hoarders and profiteers. As much as there is agriculture, it can hardly meet the local needs.

It is better to form autonomous local governments and make them responsible for ensuring education, health and food security.

—The writer is politico-strategic analyst based in Islamabad.

 

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