Sufi optimistic about reforms


HEAD of Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms Salman Sufi on Thursday announced massive reforms in multiple public sectors like customs, banking, overseas Pakistanis, information technology, health and social welfare to facilitate people by ensuring smooth service delivery.

Addressing a news conference, he said comprehensive reforms are being carried out to facilitate overseas Pakistanis, improve banking system and provide relief as well as ensure protection of rights of vulnerable segments of the society.

The details given by the head of the Strategic Reforms are encouraging as they convey a clear message that life of the citizens can be made easy with technological innovations and adopting the global best practices without incurring any worthwhile additional expenditure.

Sufi has recently been appointed to the coveted post and the planning done and initiatives taken by him in a short span of time need to be appreciated as these would benefit the common man in different ways.

As no project or programme can deliver to the optimum until and unless it has the support and backing of the provincial government, it is satisfying that most of the initiatives and projects have been launched in close coordination with the provinces, which augurs well for their smooth implementation and trickle-down effect.

One such project was setting up dedicated centres to curb violence against women on the pattern of what is being done in other countries.

It has already been launched in Multan and would soon be expanded to Sindh as the province has allocated funds for the purpose in the new year’s budget while three more centres would be set up in Punjab with support of the CM Punjab.

A women on wheels, a signature scheme of the PM, would be launched across the country for providing scooties to working females at subsidized rates, in addition to bike riding training.

As mobility and issues concerning public transport have become major issues, especially for women, the scheme would benefit students and working women including female health workers and technicians, entrepreneurs and others.

Similarly, in view of the pathetic conditions of the transgender community, a nation-wide hotline is being launched in collaboration with the Human Rights Ministry to register and resolve their complaints in an effective way.

The hotline would be connected with all provinces where a post of AIG Gender Crimes would be created to personally monitor their complaints and report directly to the PM Office on steps taken to address their grievances.

Another important plan devised by Sufi is that the government would launch a ‘Safar Saheli’ application before Eid-ul-Azha, which would have a panic button for the female passenger to press in case of any untoward incident and every bogey of train would have a contingent of female police which would respond to the situation swiftly.

Data privacy has also become a prime concern in this technological era and, therefore, the companies would be under an obligation to avoid selling the customers data without their consent.

Any company which would dare to sell the data without the customers’ consent would not only be fined, but their short codes would also be banned.

PM Innovation Hub is another significant initiative, which would ensure public participation in decision-making.

Under the project, a panel of experts would wet the ideas floated by the public and whichever idea gets approved, its initiator will be rewarded by the Prime Minister, while the idea will be made part of the national policy.

This would give people an effective say in policy and decision-making. In the realm of banking, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is introducing a comprehensive system in collaboration with other banks to effectively deal with the issue of bogus/bounced cheques.

There would be an online application of the SBP that would provide details of the account holder, if his/her cheques ever bounced/dishonoured or not.

Another reform in the banking sector would enable a bank account holder to open more accounts, if he/she wanted, in other banks without indulging in the process that he/she had already completed while opening the first account.

There would be a central database that would be accessible by all banks, and upon submitting a CNIC number by the account holder, a new account could be opened with any other bank.

This is indeed a revolutionary approach that would facilitate account opening, which is a cumbersome process at the moment.

These and similar other reforms would surely go a long way in ensuring good governance and resolve day-to-day problems and difficulties of the people at the minimum cost.


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