India inspires Pak budget

Himalayan News Service

Islamabad, June 8:

India has proved to be the inspiration on several counts in Pakistan’s budget for fiscal 2005-06 — like the move to levy a 0.1 per cent tax on large cash withdrawals from the bank.

The Pakistan budget presented yesterday has introduced the levy on cash withdrawals of Rs 25,000 Pakistani Currency (PC) and above to help track and check money laundering activities, very much on the lines of similar moves announced by India.

Among the other key similarities in the budget is the lowering of duties on compressed natural gas kits for buses to encourage a switch to the green fuel by the public transport sector.

Lowering of import duties to encourage the dairy sector and help farmers are also similar to Indian moves. This will help Pakistan’s rural economy and promote the export of cattle from across Indian borders. It is not just on economic issues, but also on parliament proceedings that Pakistan taken a leaf out of the Indian book.

Another key issue for which Pakistan drew inspiration from India was the quelling of opposition protest at president Pervez Musharraf not personally addressing the parliament at the start of the budget session. Defending Musharraf, who returned yesterday evening after official visits to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, minister for parliamentary affairs Sher Afgan stated it was not necessary for the president to personally address the joint session of parliament.

He said the precedent for this lay in India where in 1965 the then governor of West Bengal had only sent copies of his address to the assembly after some members tried to disrupt the proceedings. The articles of the constitution of Pakistan and India dealing with the presidential and governor’s addresses are similar, Afgan pointed out.