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Government Focuses Curbing Food Inflation: Says Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar Federal Minister For National Food Security And Research

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Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for NFS&R said that Government has focused to curb food inflation for which a robust early warning system would be developed. He further said that Pakistan being an agrarian economy is largely a food secure country but challenge of food inflation emerges very recurrently due to gaps in demand and supply management system.

Mr. Illango Patchamuthu, Country Director (World Bank) and Mr. John Roome, Regional Director (World Bank) called on the Federal Minister for NFS&R on Thursday in former’s office to brief about the interest of the bank for working with the Government of Pakistan in various areas of agriculture. Officials of the Ministry were also present during the meeting.

Mr. Illango said that the Bank would like to work in close collaboration with the Government on the commonalities like climate smart agriculture, high value crops and water management. The Minister said that we are looking to vertically promote growth of cotton with high quality seed and pest management. He apprised that we have launched a holistic program of Rs.300 billion with five year gestation period. This program addresses key areas of agriculture including fisheries, livestock, water management and productivity enhancement of major crops.

We need to mobilize our farmers for their participation in the initiatives of the government for sustainable development of the sector. Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar underlined the need for harmonizing the crop estimates worked out by Provincial Crop Reporting Services and estimates through satellite imagery & remote sensing to come up with more precise data for devising effective and timely policies. The Minister also expressed that the Government and the bank may together work out their short term and long term agenda for agricultural cooperation. Short term collaboration may include designing of a model of Early Warning System (EWS) for management of food inflation. This EWS would save the interests of both farmers and consumers.

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Long term collaboration may be worked out in other common areas of interest like water management, fisheries and climate smart agriculture. The Minister shared that the Government is also committed to rationalize agricultural subsidies to ensure diffusion of their benefit to the farming community. Mr. Illango apprised that the Bank is in process of hiring an agriculture expert for Pakistan. Furthermore, a team of experts on agriculture is likely to visit Pakistan in a couple of weeks. The Minister appreciated commitment of the bank for collaboration with the Government for agricultural development in the country. The two sides agreed to continue further discussions to develop future roadmap for agricultural cooperation between the Government and the bank.

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President Dr Arif Alvi has called for discouraging the culture of fake news

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President Dr Arif Alvi has called for discouraging the culture of fake news as it creates chaos in the society as well as misleads the people. He said that the media needed to play its role in promoting ethical and moral values and avoid spreading false information. He urged Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to improve standards of information, education and entertainment by optimizing the free flow of information.

He expressed these views while talking to the Chairman PEMRA, Mr. Muhammad Saleem Baig, who called on him, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, today. The Chairman PEMRA presented the Annual Report 2019-2020 to the President and briefed him about the role of his organization in facilitating and promoting free and independent electronic media in Pakistan.

He also highlighted the steps taken for promoting true and accurate information in the country. Talking to the Chairman PEMRA, the President said that the society was facing the challenge of false news and it was the responsibility of the concerned stakeholders to avoid disseminating fake news as it created many problems for the people.

He added that spreading false news was against the spirit of Islam and it was the moral obligation of editorial boards of Media Houses as well as Ulema to play their role in guiding and educating the people to overcome the challenge of false news. He urged Chairman PEMRA to ensure the dissemination of unbiased, accurate and verified information through electronic media so as to curb the scourge of fake news. The President appreciated the performance of PEMRA and assured the Chairman of his full support.

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Education

What is the future of education?

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               “Education is the question of Life and Death for us: –Quaid-e-Azam

Education is the backbone of any country and plays a pivotal role in shaping the future course of the nations in the world. Education builds the nation’s roots deeper and stronger and prepares them for the competitive and contemporary world. It is because of Education.

There is the debate that is the traditional approach to education still relevant in the age of Are traditional approaches to education still relevant in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Fred Swaniker. He negates the idea by saying don’t think so.

Fred Swankier: “It starts with recognition amongst all educators that the world is changing. To prepare people for the future, you need to design an education system that is forward-looking and not backwards-looking.”

According to educational experts that in today’s world, artificial intelligence, robotics and industrial revolution has bestowed the nations with tremendous growth and innovation in education and teaching methodologies. The rapid development is also caused by the advancement in science and technology and space engineering. Scientists have done a marvellous job in changing the landscape of the world with innovative inventions all because of imparting quality education especially the higher education in the universities. This requires a reorientation all the way from early childhood education to primary school to university education. It means encouraging flexibility rather than specialization. It requires training and retraining teachers, as well as redesigning education systems and curricula.

In order to have a futuristic outlook, we need to reimagine and innovate education with the support of ICT (Information Communication Technology that may reshape the future world of Education and make it paper free for the students by providing Digital Education that knows no boundaries at all.  We need to make the learning fun, excitement and interesting so that our parents may not force their children to seek education. Instead, the students go on their own and learn through gadgets.

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In this connection, there need to be overhauling at every level of education from primary to Secondary, College and University level buy designing futuristic course materials with help of experts and training the teachers in the lines of the future generation. Since the communication gateways are flowing like rivers and every person wants to quench his thirst for education with the standard dose of materials developed by the experts. The Startups and Business innovation Ideas should be promoted so that we can produce entrepreneurs for running businesses like Yahoo, Google, Apple, PayPal and Microsoft. We need more standard companies like these by young entrepreneurs so that they may create jobs and do not seek jobs. This approach will change the real face of the countries especially the developing countries.  

Education should be skillet based not just theoretical that destroys prime years of innovation. We need to bring the expert brains to the classroom that can teach the future generations the most latest and advanced Knowledge so that they may take the nation to heights of success.  The societal development should also be focused so that barriers to female education may clear and thus participatory development will boost the economy of the country. Education will help increase the knowledge economy and will definitely in taking informed forecasting and budgeting needs of the nations.

Finally, Education Never ends, it is a life long process. It helps you to focus on what is important for learning and what is not. Every Individual learns a lot from the experiences, schooling at classroom and projects they work on. So, it could be said that you learn a variety of things during learning. Even in a professional career, you attend training and workshop to boost your Knowledge and wisdom. So it is evident from the above discussion that Education is a lifelong process and the future of education bright and the world without education is like a room without light.

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Economy

PM says Tarin’s appointment aimed at boosting growth, containing inflation

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Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said cartels and monopoly as witnessed in the case of sugar mills resulted in inflation. The appointment of Shaukat Tarin as finance minister aimed at controlling inflation and increasing the growth rate. The prime minister made these remarks in a live telephonic call session with the general public. This was the third such interactive session titled ‘Aap ka Wazir-e-Azam, Aap ke Sath’, where the prime minister took questions from people through live phone calls and responded to questions.

On petroleum prices, he said the government had kept the price of commodity lower as compared to India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, United States, Turkey, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Bhutan so as to avoid burden on consumers.

Worldwide, he said, the prices of commodities went up during the pandemic, including gas by 60 percent, food 29 percent, metal 41 percent, crude oil 84 percent, cotton 44 percent, palm oil 54.8 percent, soya bean oil 36.6 percent and sugar 14.5 percent. According to a Bloomberg report on food inflation and agricultural sub-index, Pakistan still kept the prices low, he added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said with solid steps, the government had achieved remarkable economic growth in diverse sectors.

Through reforms the economic losses of public corporations had been reduced from Rs 286 billion to Rs 143 billion, the current account deficit remained in surplus for the last 10 months and the foreign exchange reserves increased to $15.6 billion.

“During the pandemic situation when the whole world is facing financial crunch, our government has saved the economy,” he said.

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He acknowledged that the financial assistance from Saudi Arabia and China also helped Pakistan gain the economic stability.

Imran Khan said now the rupee had strengthened against dollar at Rs 152, exports increased by 13.5 percent, the Euro bond helped gain $2.5 billion and the revenue of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) rose by 11 percent.

The textile and cement industries, he said, witnessed a boom, while the local car manufacturing was recorded at 18 percent. The Pakistan Stock Exchange showed a bullish trend by 66 percent increase as per Bloomberg and the information technology exports increased by 44 percent.

Imran Khan said incentives in the housing sector had encouraged economic activity and the banks were offering loans for the construction of houses. He acknowledged the role of courts in the passage of foreclosure law of banks, which, he said, had greatly helped in materialization of the low-cost housing project.

Responding to a caller who complained about delay in a housing project for government employees in Bhara Kahu (Islamabad), he advised his staff to note the matter for further pursuance.

To overcome issues of water shortage and sanitation, he said the government was making master plans of cities and had also allowed vertical construction to maximum accommodate the population. Imran Khan said lack of planning and civic infrastructure had led to improper expansion of metropolitan cities. Dams were being constructed to overcome water scarcity, he said, adding a special arrangement for water supply to Islamabad was in progress.

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