LAHORE: Budgetary allocations for social and economic development of women should be doubled in the forthcoming budget as women in Pakistan are neglected and not getting their due rights.
Budgetary allocations for the schemes focused on women development can be possible by cutting down the non-development expenditures and defence budget.
These views were expressed by the women participants in Jang Economic Session on ‘Expectations of different segments of women with budget 2012-13’ here o Wednesday. The participants were Pakistan Study Centre of Punjab University Director Prof Dr Musarat Abid, PPP MPA Uzma Bukhari, South Asia Partnership (SAP) Pakistan representative Farzana Mumtaz, WISE Executive Director Bushra Kahliq, students of different varsities Anam Hafeez and Mahrosh Laila.
Sikindar Hameed Lodhi and Intikhab Traiq hosted the event.Prof Dr Musarat Abid said that 52 percent population of Pakistan comprised women but their majority was dependent on their male family members while 58 pc were illiterate and only 0.2 pc were highly educated. She opined the country could grow with active participation of women in the society. She said every government made tall claims of women empowerment but no action was taken in this regard. She said out of nine budget committees, no one understood the problems of women.
She called for maximum allocation for women education in the forthcoming budget. She suggested allocation of funds for small loans for domestic women to make them entrepreneurs. Uzma Bukhari said the PPP faced constitutional issues and challenges of revival of institutions and the war against terror after coming into power due to which it failed to deliver according to the public expectations. She said the tax culture did not prevail in Pakistan while tax resources and foreign investment were vital for economic growth. She said after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, education and health sectors were devolved while provincial financial rights rose to 56 pc from 47 pc. She said it would be the last budget of the ruling government while the prime minister already had declared it tax-free budget and it would be good if the public got relief in the last budget.
Farzana Mumtaz said the budget always disappointed the women as every government before budget announced to give relief to the public but always gave pain to them in it. She said non-stop inflation had increased kitchen expenditures. She said the major portion of budget was eaten up by defence expenditures due to which other sectors were not getting their required share from the budget.
Bushra Kahliq said that basic health units in Pakistan were 5,344 while government announced the establishment of one unit at every union council. She demanded handsome budgetary allocations for the social sector development schemes. She said mini budgets and indirect taxes played havoc with the public so the government should impose direct taxes and reduce GST.
Anam Hafeez said a majority of students was female while limited public transport facilities created troubles for them. She said in the budget 2012-13, the government foreign scholarships and loans for home-based industries should be started.
Mahrosh Laila said that globally, the average budget spending on education sector was 4 pc while in Pakistan it was only 1.8 pc. She called for uniform education system across the country.