Prime Minister Imran Khan refusal to announce a wholesale lockdown to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus is rooted in compassion. For this, his sentiment must be appreciated, not mocked. it’s rare for leaders to be ready to stand pat to their convictions, but perhaps what separates good leaders from great ones is to be able find how past a policy impasse, with creativity and swiftness.
Prime Minister Imran Khan Refusal To Announce A Wholesale Lockdown
The start line for achieving these outcomes then, given PM Khan’s noble insistence on caring for those most economically vulnerable is to manufacture a policy solution that addresses their economic vulnerability.
Income support for rock bottom quintile is challenging for 2 overarching reasons: one, finding those deserving of the income support; and therefore the second, paying for it. Finding and verifying who is (and who is not) a deserving candidate for support may be a complex and politically challenging task. such a lot of the recent discourse round the Benazir Income Support Programme has been about falsified notions of who is or isn’t deserving. That debate doesn’t just disappear due to Covid-19, it colours it deeply.
If we add inflation since 2015-2016, this figure should be closer to Rs15,000 per month per household, as an absolute minimum to debar a serious hunger crisis during any purported lockdown. To parse this into digestible numbers, perhaps we will start with 10 percent slabs within rock bottom 40 percent. An income support instrument to anybody segment of 10 percent amongst the poorest Pakistanis will cost roughly Rs41 billion. That too may be a massive bill. But suddenly it seems reasonably to allocate that sort of cash. Why?
This successively will reduce the sudden surge of patients descending upon already dilapidated and dysfunctional public health facilities. Our doctors, nurses, administrators, cops and soldiers will all do amazing add this crisis – they always do. But public policy has got to delay for the system to be ready to flatten the curve enough to survive the worst spike in cases of Covid-19.
A Wholesale Lockdown
Who can pay for the income support next month? We are in an unprecedented crisis. The IMF and a number of international institutions are going make credit available during a manner unprecedented. And if Pakistan is demonstrating the type of compassion PM Khan insists on, inshaAllah there’s no negotiation on the earth Pakistan won’t achieve, to secure further support.
PM Khan must act now – Rs15,000 each for rock bottom 2.75 million households within the BISP database. The system can improve targeting and grant sizes next month. And improve them again, the month then . because the WHO has repeatedly said, during a crisis, acting fast is more important than getting the policy perfect.
Act now, PM Khan. Issue the income support. then lock down the country. Allah Hu Akbar.