Although cynics may like to see he government’s policy for women in terms of the party’s internal power struggles, it will nevertheless be churlish to deny that it represents a pioneering effect aimed at bringing about sweeping social reforms. In its language, scope and strategies, the policy documents displays a degree of understanding of women’s needs that is uncommon in government pronouncements. This is due in large part to the participatory process that marked its formulation, seeking the active involvement right from the start of women’s groups, academic institutions and non-government organizations with grass roots experience. The result is not just a lofty declaration of principles but a blueprint for a practical program of action. The policy delineates a series of concrete measures to accord women a decision-making role in the political domain and greater control over their economic status. Of especially far-reaching impart are the devolution of control of economic infrastructure to women, notably at the gram panchayat level, and the amendment proposed in the Act of 1956 to give women comparcenary rights.
And enlightened aspect of the policy is its recognition that actual change in the status of women cannot be brought about by the mere enactment of socially progressive legislation. Accordingly, it focuses on reorienting development programs and sensitizing administrations to address specific situations as, for instance, the growing number of households headed by women, which is a consequence of rural-urban migration. The proposal to create an equal-opportunity police force and give women greater control of police stations is an acknowledgement of the biases and callousness displayed by the generally all-male law-enforcement authorities in case of dowery and domestic violence. While the mere enunciation of such a policy has the salutary effect of sensitizing the administration as a whole, it does not make the task of its implementation any easier. This is because the changes it envisages in the political and economic status of woman strike at the root of power structures in society and the basis of man-woman relationship. There is also the danger that reservation for women in public life, while necessary for their greater visibility, could lapse into tokenism or become a tool in the hands of vote seeking politicians. Much will depend on the dissemination of the policy and the ability of elected representatives and government agencies to reorder their priorities.
Which of the following is nearly the same in meaning as the word 'devolution' as used in the passage?
The public distribution system, which provides food at low prices, is a subject of vital concern. There is a growing realization that thought Pakistan has enough food to feed its masses three square meals a day, the monster of starvation and food insecurity continues to haunt the poor in our country.
Increasing the purchasing power of the poor through providing productive employment leading to rising income, and thus good standard of living is the ultimate objective of public policy. However, till then, there is a need to provide assured supply of food through a restructured more efficient and decentralized public distribution system (PDS).
Although the PDS is extensive – it is one of the largest such systems in the world – it has yet to reach the rural poor and the far off places. It remains an urban phenomenon, with the majority of the rural poor still out of its reach due to lack of economic and physical access. The poorest in the cities and the migrants are left out, for they generally do not possess ration cards. The allocation of PDS supplies in big cities is larger than in rural areas. In view of such deficiencies in the system, the PDS urgently needs to be streamlined. In addition, considering the large food grains production combined with food subsidy on one hand and the continuing slow starvation and dismal poverty of the rural population on the other, there is a strong case for making PDS target group oriented.
The growing salaried class is provided job security, regular income, and percent insulation against inflation. These gains of development have not percolated down to the vast majority of our working population. If one compares only dearness allowance to the employees in public and private sector and looks at its growth in the past few years, the rising food subsidy is insignificant to the point of inequity. The food subsidy is a kind of D.A. to the poor, the self-employed and those in the unorganized sector of the economy. However, what is most unfortunate is that out of the large budget of the so – called food subsidy, the major part of it is administrative cost and wastages. A small portion of the above budget goes to the real consumer and an even lesser portion to the poor who are in real need.
It is true that subsidies should not become a permanent feature except for the destitute, disabled widows and the old. It is also true that subsidies often create a psychology of dependence and hence is habit – forming, killing the general initiative of the people. By making PDS target group oriented, not only the poorest and neediest would be reached without additional cost, but it will actually cut overall costs incurred on large cities and for better off localities. When the food and food subsidy are limited the rural and urban poor should have the priority in the PDS supplies. The PDS should be closely linked with programs of employment generation and nutrition improvement.
What, according to the passage, is the main concern about the PDS?