So­cial pro­tec­tion al­lo­ca­tions for work­ers de­manded

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Af­ter the sign­ing of Na­tional Fi­nance Com­mis­sion (NFC) award and pas­sage of the 18th Amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan, provinces have gained greater ad­min­is­tra­tive and eco­nomic pow­ers.

In this sit­u­a­tion, it has be­come ex­tremely im­por­tant to re-ac­cess the bud­gets of the cen­tral govern­ment and provinces, es­pe­cially in Pun­jab and Sindh. The pur­pose of this ex­er­cise is or­der to find out whether th­ese gov­ern­ments try to strike the bal­ance be­tween run­ning the affairs of the state and sup­ply­ing the much needed equity and so­cial pro­tec­tion to the poor, un­de­fended sec­tions of the so­ci­ety, the women and work­ers in the in­for­mal sec­tors -home based women and men.

This was dis­cussed in a sem­i­nar jointly or­ga­nized by HomeNet Pak­istan and PILER here on Tues­day Ti­tled "Anal­y­sis of Pak­istan's Bud­get (Fed­eral & Pro­vin­cial) 2015-2016 A gen­der per­spec­tive of In­for­mal Sec­tor ". The event fea­tured renowned econ­o­mist Dr Qais As­lam anal­y­sis on the neg­li­gence in bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions for the marginal­ized sec­tions of the in­for­mal sec­tor of the coun­try and its ad­verse ef­fect on the coun­try's de­vel­op­ment process.

The anal­y­sis of the bud­get is a se­ries of in depth crit­i­cal dis­cus­sions on the na­tional and pro­vin­cial bud­gets with re­gard to in­for­mal sec­tor and so­cial pro­tec­tion aimed to find our gap anal­y­sis among bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions for the marginal­ized sec­tors in­clud­ing in­for­mal econ­omy. This was in­formed by Ume Laila Azhar , Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor , HomeNet Pak­istan. Shar­ing the find­ings with the au­di­ence she quoted ar­ti­cles from the Con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan which pro­vide ba­sic hu­man and eco­nomic right to its cit­i­zens.

The anal­y­sis laments' the fact that gov­ern­ments one af­ter the other had de­nied most of th­ese rights to its cit­i­zens. Pak­istan is sig­na­tory to in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions ILO but un­for­tu­nately the level of com­pli­ance is dis­mally low. She said ac­cord­ing to ILO fig­ures, out of the to­tal work­ing pop­u­la­tion in Pak­istan, 75 per cent has been en­gaged in the in­for­mal sec­tor of econ­omy and out of those, 50 per cent are women. Among the work­ing women in the in­for­mal sec­tor, around 80 per cent are home-based work­ers, which make a huge pro­por­tion of econ­omy of Pak­istan.

Farhat Fa­tima from PILER said that the ma­jor­ity of HBWs suf­fer work re­lated med­i­cal prob­lems, but do not get any med­i­cal treat­ment. Ma­jor­ity of work­ers have to squeeze money out of their earn­ings or bor­row and take credit from oth­ers. Yet only 1% said health in­sur­ance was a work re­lated need.72% of re­spon­dents faced health prob­lems re­sult­ing from work, with pos­ture re­lated prob­lems, joint pains and eye prob­lems be­ing the most com­mon. Three fourths of them had not un­der­gone any med­i­cal treat­ment for their ail­ments. The gen­eral state of health was low, 29% say­ing they suf­fered from med­i­cal con­di­tions, which for 62% had lasted over two years. Med­i­cal emer­gen­cies and treat­ments were fi­nanced mostly through their reg­u­lar in­come, or by bor­row­ing money. Pro­tec­tion of HBWs is im­por­tant through proper bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion , she stressed .

Mah­naz Rah­man Res­i­dent Di­rec­tor Au­rat Foun­da­tion briefed the au­di­ence on the ex­ist­ing sit­u­a­tion of the in­for­mal sec­tor of Pak­istan's econ­omy and the plight of peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with it. Dr Qais As­lam said that the gaps in the bud­get mak­ing pro­cesses have re­sulted in fail­ure of the govern­ment to cater to the re­quire­ments of the in­for­mal sec­tor in Pak­istan. He said the ex­is­tence of un­doc­u­mented labour in the econ­omy and lack of so­cial pro­tec­tion for them re­sults in their ex­ploita­tion. Quot­ing Pro­vin­cial bud­get anal­y­sis on women , labour and youth 2015-16 . He high­lighted sev­eral gaps in the bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions for women , youth so­cial wel­fare and in labour.

The over­all al­lo­ca­tion for the women de­vel­op­ment is 0.1 bil­lion, for la­bor and hu­man re­source it is 0.5 bil­lion and for youth it is 0.4 bil­lion for so­cial wel­fare depart­ment it is 1 bil­lion and for kat­achi abadi de­vel­op­ment it is 0.03 bil­lion. The govern­ment of Sindh should in­clude the needs of the women in in­for­mal sec­tor in the an­nual bud­get plan 2015-2016. Link­ing the in­for­mal sec­tor and specif­i­cally home based work­ers with the so­cial pro­tec­tion is the way for­ward in pol­icy im­ple­men­ta­tion.

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