Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Rural Employment Guarantee Bill

I like to bring to your attention, the following landmark jobs bill passed by the Indian lower house. Details are given on BBC web page.

While some economists will oppose it and raise questions, a vast majority of people in Pakistan need such employment and will support it.

India estimates the cost at between £3bn and £17bn. Pakistan's population is about one seventh of India's. Accordingly, the cost may be between 430 million and 2.4 billion pounds.

At the lower end of cost estimate, it is totally afffordable for Pakistan. Furthermore, with new assured employment, there will be less need for other poverty reduction programs. Accordingly, there will be some savings in the current poverty reduction related expenses. One can find ways and design the program in such a way as to limit the maximum costs.

I seek and welcome suggestions from my readers on ways to make it affordable and fully practical.

In any case, it will generate tremendous economic ativity and eventually boost growth and tax revenue.

"Landmark Indian jobs bill passed The scheme targets India's 60m rural households The lower house of India's parliament has passed a landmark bill aimed at guaranteeing 100 days of employment each year to every rural household. The Rural Employment Guarantee Bill was passed unanimously after a marathon 13-hour debate.
The bill seeks to provide a job to one member from each of India's 60m rural households.
Analysts say it is the first step towards a welfare state in India where 70% of the population live in villages.
The bill will now go to the upper house for approval where it is expected to pass easily.
It will become a law if passed by the house and after it gets the president's assent.
Election pledge
Correspondents say the bill is the most ambitious pro-poor scheme launched by an Indian government.
It was an important plank of the Congress Party's election campaign last year, and is supported by its communist allies.
People employed by the scheme will work on projects such as building roads, improving rural infrastructure, constructing canals or working on water conservation schemes.
The government say special priority will be given to women under the scheme, which will be launched in 200 districts this year and will extend to the entire country over the next four.
The scheme is estimated to cost between £3bn and £17bn and critics say it is not clear how the government intends to meet the costs. "

Kind regards,
Ali Nawaz Memon


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