BERLIN/LAHORE (Reuters): We in Pakistan mourn over lack of state protections against inflation and social security for the citizens, but things are different in Germany where the people are divided over whether the increase in welfare payments is justified with 45 per cent in favour and 44 per cent opposing it.
Read more: Punjab says it’s LHC which triggered the surge in sugar prices
According to Reuters, which shared the findings of a survey with 1005 respondents, more than half of Germans believe work is not worthwhile after the government’s planned increase in welfare payments and child benefits.
The government said it was raising benefits, first introduced in 2005, to fight child poverty and help citizens cope with inflation, but added it did not want to deter people from work altogether.
Welfare payments, dubbed “citizens’ money”, for more than 5.5 million jobless in Germany will rise to 563 euros ($605.06) from 502 euros per month for single people from next year.
Rent and health insurance costs are also covered by the government for those receiving the benefits.
The increase coincides with a large rise in support for parents on a low income from 2025. They will receive up to 636 euros per month for their first child and another 530 euros for every other child. The sum is currently fixed at 250 euros per month per child.
With a minimum wage of around 12.4 euros per hour or 1,450 euros as net income per month, some 52pc of Germans have the impression that it’s not worth working as those in fulltime employment on a minimum wage don’t earn significantly more than those living off welfare, a survey by pollster INSA published by Bild newspaper showed.
Finance Minister Christian Lindner said last week in a presentation on the basic child allowance that benefits should not discourage people from working.
“Our concern is to maintain work incentives,” Lindner said, adding that employment would be a prerequisite to access some allowances as parental unemployment was a key driver of childhood poverty.
“The best way to overcome poverty is to work,” he said.
STATE OF AFFAIRS IN PAKISTAN
Barring pension for government employees and the small amount disbursed by the EOBI (Employees Old Age Benefit Institution), there has never been any concept of government support to the citizens.
Although the Utility Stores Corporation is also functional in the country for decades, the mechanism and the service being provide mean that the purpose of its existence has been killed in the absence of required funding.
However, the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) introduced in late 2000s proved to be a landmark move which is acknowledgment of the idea that the state is responsible to stand by the weaker segments of the society.
But the amount disbursed is meagre and the coverage is limited, meaning that the society has really felt the effects of the initiative.
Meanwhile, the government is currently responsible for pushing the inflation even higher by repeatedly increasing the power and gas tariffs as well as fuel prices while withdrawing different subsidies after surrendering the powers, including the State Bank of Pakistan, before the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
On the other hand, education and health are getting expensive with each passing day while the improvement in quality remains a dream.
So the two opposite stories from Germany and Pakistan help one differentiate between the First World and the Third World.