The government must not ignore this factor that the population of the country is growing wildly, and it will become impossible to meet the food stipulation of the people if it will keep neglecting this important sector of Pakistan
It was not the agriculture sector that was sidelined by the government in the current budget, and it was the opulence of Pakistan. Agriculture has been considered the buttress of the country since its independence. Pakistan’s agriculture sector plays a pivotal role as it comes up with 26 percent of GDP and almost 60 percent of the population of Pakistan is residing in villages, and they are connected to the profession of agriculture directly or indirectly, so it has been absorbing the labor force which is not less than 42.3 percent.
Recently budget was announced by Hammad Azhar, who is the current Federal Minister of Industries and Production, in office since 6 April 2020. Previously, he served as Federal Minister for Economic Affairs from 10 July 2019 till 6 April 2020. As we take a bird’s eye view of the budget, we come to know that a budget bomb is dropped on populaces, which are connected with the occupation of agriculture. The sector, which is the largest participator of Pakistan’s economy, has been provided only 12 billion rupees in the budget out of 7294.9 billion rupees, which seems a mustard seed against a big massive watermelon.
It is not for the first time that the agriculture sector is being paralyzed. It has become a routine matter by every government that they are neglecting this very important sector. It is out of an understanding of how a country can neglect that sector, which is the mainstay of its economy, and most of the labor force is absorbed by it. How can they be unaware of the gravity of the importance of this sector? If this attitude goes unabated, one day, we will have to import agricultural commodities like wheat, cotton, rice, sugar, and other necessary articles.
Poor countrymen are already being exploited by the capitalist and mafias who are playing a double game by cheating indigent farmers, impecunious consumers as well as the government. At the time of harvesting mill owners pay less to the farmers (as in case of sugarcane this year) and betray them by measuring less and by keeping two record books to hide their treachery from the government. Instead of capturing those crocodiles, the government, too, is supporting them by not taking stern actions against them. And yet here is another budget bomb on impoverished farmers.
As locust attack has already devastated the crops which were the sole source of income of poor farmers before announcing the budget, the government should have kept it in consideration, and it should have provided interest-free loans for the farmers to assuage the poor farmers who are already being crushed by the capitalist and big crocodiles (mafias).
The government must not ignore this factor that the population of the country is growing wildly, and it will become impossible to meet the food stipulation of the people if it will keep neglecting this important sector of Pakistan. It may create a fear of food insecurity among people. Here it is necessary to mention that the government has allocated only Rs 4.5 billion for the education ministry, while illiteracy is the main reason for overpopulation.
When I was taking an overview of the budget, I felt grieved when my eyes caught the attention of defense budget, which was not less than 1.2 trillion rupees, and the reason is only one country, i.e., India. The government is getting more conscious about the defense budget since the Modi government has come to power by bringing its nationalist ideology along with it. If India and Pakistan had been at good terms, this massive investment of defense budget could have been utilized in other sectors like agriculture, education, and structural reforms of the said countries. Moreover, now the time of conventional war is gone, now wars are more intellectual and research-oriented, as this age of biological wars and threats, so we need to more equipped in educational and research areas than nuclear atomic bombs and missiles. As this Covid19 proved and unveiled India’s and Pakistan’s health sector and governments, the way miserably both these governments failed to encounter it.
It seems like we are not ready for the worst until or unless it will approach us in a condition when we are not in a position to combat such a worse condition. Now is the time to take a stand; otherwise, our coming generations will embrace such catastrophes, which will be far bigger than their reckoning and potentiality.
The agriculture sector is interconnected with other sectors like the health sector, industries like sugar, timber, and textile industry. If our government starts to invest in the agriculture sector, it will help it to reduce the health budget because there will be more healthy people when they are nourished well by availing all kinds of nutrients. It will b only possible when there is enough food to eat. It will also help to flourish in the industrial sector when there is enough raw material that comes from the agriculture sector.
So, if a sector is making 26 percent of a country’s GDP, then the government too must be fair with that sector by allocating at least 15 to 20 percent of its budget. On one side notion of green and clean Pakistan is being raised, whereas, on the other side, this sector is being provided a mere 12 billion rupees. The country will not get flourished with notions only. This dichotomy will lead this country towards the risks of food insecurity, poor health, poverty, displacements, and many other issues. What can I mutter about the institutions which are dealing with agriculture? If they were sincere with their duties, this sector would not face such circumstances. They have not strived to introduce technology and revolution in this sector; rather, they have messed up things. The youth is not being involved. Jobs are being given on the basis of nepotism and favoritism.
I will request the government to reconsider this budget and make some fair decisions about the health, education, and agriculture sector that our coming generations may not have to face this menace of poverty and food insecurity. Instead of rhetoric with neighboring countries, friendly relations must be established that we may able to invest in reforms of our countries. We must compete in poverty alleviation, education, and the technology sector. We must get rid of outdated and obsolete methods of farming and learn from countries like Australia, China, Israel, and Canada that how they helped to bring positive changes to improve its agricultural sector. Time is now lest we should become a burden on our coming generation!!!