Curbing artificial inflation


Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz’s announcement of reduced roti naan and flour prices is a welcome move, aiming to offer some respite to the inflation-weary public. She was seen inspecting a tandoor near her family house in Lahore to check the implementation of her orders along with her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The inspection offers a symbolic gesture; otherwise translating good intentions into reality presents a significant challenge. The success of this scheme hinges on overcoming bureaucratic hurdles. The Sharif family has been in government business for over four decades now, and they are aware of the fact that historical precedent paints a concerning picture. Often, well-meaning initiatives get bogged down in red tape. Crisp presentations and meticulously crafted reports can mask a grim reality on the ground.
The true test lies in ensuring the benefits reach the common people. If the scheme delivers as promised, its success will not require excessive media promotion – satisfied citizens will be its biggest advocates. However, scepticism is warranted. Previous efforts, like the subpar flour distributed during Ramazan, raise concerns about quality and weight control. These issues can quickly erode public trust and offer duck shooting to bleak-scenario-hungry media.
Furthermore, Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz’s claims of a flourishing economy under her father’s guidance seem at odds with the lived experiences of many people in Punjab. Inflation remains a crippling force, rendering even necessities a luxury for many. The unfulfilled promise of 300 free electricity units adds to the frustration. People desperately need concrete measures, not just pronouncements. The real enemy of this scheme, and many others, is the “artificial inflation mafia”. This shadowy network, if it exists, thrives on exploiting loopholes and manipulating markets. The government must demonstrate a strong will to dismantle this mafia, not succumb to its pressure. Mere notifications would not suffice. Strict enforcement mechanisms are crucial. Any sign of weakness will only embolden the mafia and ensure the scheme’s failure. Punjab government’s sasti roti plan has the potential to alleviate suffering, but the road to success is fraught with bureaucratic challenges. Overcoming Baboo’s inertia, ensuring quality control, and dismantling the inflation mafia are all critical to its success. Only time will tell if this scheme rises above the dough and delivers real relief to the people.