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As the people in Scotland vote "Yes" or "No" today in an independence referendum, others with similar aspirations in different parts of the world would be watching closely. Those evincing keen interest, say media reports, are Catalonia in Spain, Bavaria in Germany, Flanders in Belgium and West Papua in Indonesia. Even though the Kashmiris are not mentioned, they too must be enthused by the event. The interested outsiders share history of separateness and hopes of independence.

In recent years, tax practitioners have had little interest in the question whether or not a relationship exists between structural changes in a country's economy and the level of taxation. About 20 years ago, this question did attract some attention especially in connection with the tax system of developing countries. A small group of fiscal economists, including Professor Richard Musgrave, tried to determine inter se relationship between economic policy and its influence on the level and the structure of tax system. Tax experts used this experience to advise policy makers on changes that they could bring to the tax systems.
The Pakistan leg of President Xi Jinping's visit to South Asia has been postponed and new dates of his visit will be worked out between Beijing and Islamabad anytime soon. However, there is little doubt that the mutually-agreed postponement of this visit, which could have jump-started implementation of several important projects in the pipeline, will not adversely affect the overall close and deep-rooted relationship between China and Pakistan. All the projects agreed under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (SPEC) will continue to move ahead irrespective of rescheduling of Chinese leader's visit.
"Dar is extremely hospitable."
We talk much about the power crisis but equally important is availability and affordability of gas, which across the world is a prime source of fuel to run power plants, industry and homes. Pakistan is among only a couple of dozens or so countries that are blessed with a fairly substantial availability of natural gas. It was first discovered in 1953 at Sui amidst countrywide celebrations. It was readily made available in abundance to the public in the mid 1950s. Today the Sui fields, once the pride and energy lifeline of the country stands depleted by 70%. It is estimated that only 2.3 TCF is remaining. Likewise, the capacity of Badin Gas fell from 170 mmcfd to 80 mmcfd and same is the case with other fields as well.
Fiscal stabilisation is the key feature emerging from the statistics presented in the federal budget documents 2014-15. According to the budget documents, revised estimates for 2013-14 indicate that budget deficit was much lower compared to what was envisaged at the time of budget making. At the time of budget making, authorities estimated the budget deficit of 6.3 percent of GDP, while as per revised estimates overall budget deficit would likely to be 5.8 percent of GDP in 2013-14. Even in absolute terms, it declined from Rs 1.65 trillion to Rs 1.45 trillion as per official estimates. Pakistan's authorities believe that this positive deviation is the result of their austerity efforts; they claimed that their policies act as a stimulus to economy and helped to achieve much needed fiscal stabilisation. The question is whether this deviation is an outcome of sound macroeconomic policies or flawed computation made during the budget making exercise.
Erratic weather, rising temperatures, declining water resources and labour shortages are threatening India's breadbasket state of Haryana, forcing farmers to abandon age-old practices and adopt technology to ensure food supplies for millions. Using machines which sow rice directly, devices to inform when to irrigate and phone messages warning of infestations, thousands of farmers are learning to adapt to climate change, boost soil fertility and reduce their carbon emissions.


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
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WeeklySeptember 15, 2014
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