Allocations fail to match verbal commitments to social sector

By Zubeida Mustafa

76-26-06-1993A

In his budget speech, the Federal Finance Minister emphasised that a key element of the government’s economic strategy was “continued priority to development of education, health, nutrition, housing, population welfare and other social facilities”. But the thrust of the budget and the performance in the social sectors in the outgoing year as documented in the Economic Survey, 1992-93 belied any serious official commitment to human resource development.

76-26-06-1993B

Although some sectors such as health and education are financed and managed mainly by the provinces, the federal budget was a fair indicator of the progress to be expected in these areas of national life. It was plain that in actual fact human development figured low in the government’s priorities. There is now greater reliance on the private sector for filling the enormous gap in education and health. Thus of the Rs 257.7 billion federal revenue expenditure only Rs 6.9 billion (2.6 per cent) is to go towards financing the social services. As usual debt servicing and defence will take away the biggest chunks. On the development side, the social sectors will receive a bigger percentage (3.4) but the amount will be smaller in absolute terms (Rs 1.8 billion).

Education has been badly downgraded. The allocations for this sector in both the revenue and development budgets have been reduced. In fact the allocation for education in the Continue reading “Allocations fail to match verbal commitments to social sector”

Why not organs from cadavers?

By Zubeida Mustafa

75-18-06-1993.AOrgan transplantation technology was introduced in the West in 1904 when the first corneal graft operation was performed in a New York hospital. The first kidney was transplanted in Boston in 1954. Today, surgeons in the Third World have adopted the technology with a growing measure of confidence and success. Nearly 40,000 transplantations are being performed every year all over the world and this technology has come to stay.

As happens in the case of any scientific breakthrough, many related issues, especially of an ethical nature, are now being debated. The 1 Institute of Urology and Transplantation, Civil Hospital Karachi, which has kept up a constant exchange of views and expertise with transplantation surgeons in Western centres, recently played host to two eminent gentlemen from the Royal Free Hospital, London. Dr Oswald Fernando, a surgeon from Sri Lanka, and Dr Zac Verghese, a basic scientist from India, have worked in Britain since 1963. They are therefore well placed to understand the challenges transplantation technology faces in the socio-economic conditions of the Third World. Continue reading “Why not organs from cadavers?”

Education Foundations off to a poor start

By Zubeida Mustafa

IT WAS in his budget speech in May 1991 that the Federal Finance Minister first broached the idea of setting up education foundations to “expand the opportunity for private investment in education”. At that time the proposal had proved to be highly controversial, mainly in conceptual terms. Many found it unacceptable that public funds be channelled into private hands for educating children, presumably for a fee.74-12-06-1993

Two years later, when the veritable thrust in the government’s policy towards the privatisation of the national economy and the social sectors has been unequivocally established, it is plain that the education foundation scheme is here to stay. It still has a number of detractors, though. But this time the criticism is not so much on ideological grounds, with the exception of the voices raised from some diehards on the Left. It is the government’s handling of its own brainchild that is the cause of serious concern. Continue reading “Education Foundations off to a poor start”