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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology, on Thursday, was informed that 745 million rupees have been spent on development work.

The committee was held under the chairmanship of Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen.

Discussing the budget of PSF, Chairman Pakistan Scientific Foundation (PSF) Dr Shahid Mehmood Baig apprised the Committee that 73 percent of the total budget was spent on non-development work and 23 percent plus, the development budget of Public-Sector Development Programme (PSDP), which amounts to 745 million rupees, was spent on development work.

Senator Afnanullah Khan was of view that the budget of the PSF for research and development is too little and how can one think of competing with developed countries with merely spending 74 crores on research and development.

At the outset, the PSF chairman informed the committee about the working and performance of the PSF during the last five years. He said the major functions of Pakistan Scientific Foundation are to grant awards, fellowships, special scientific surveys, maintain a national register of highly qualified and talented scientists of Pakistan and establishment of scientific and technological information dissemination centres, science centres and museums as well. However, while deliberating on the organisational structure of the PSF, the Chairman Committee directed the chairman PSF to provide details of members of Board of Trustees and Executive Committee in the next meeting.

The Committee recommended to ensure the quota of provinces in upcoming recruitments and compensating the previous disparity.

The Committee also asked the ministry to show verified domiciles of the employees working on the quota of Balochistan in the PSF.

Furthermore, the Chairman PSF told the Committee that one of main goals of the PSF is science popularization and for that purpose the PSF has launched “Science Caravans (Mobile Science Labs)”, which visit various public schools and colleges across the country and also conduct “Organize Popular Science Lectures” in various parts of the country.

Chairman Committee Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen demanded details of “Science Caravans” in the next meeting.

Deliberating on the research support projects of the PSF, Dr Shahid Mehmood Baig told the committee that in the last five years, the Pakistan Scientific Foundation has received 5,616 project proposals and 258 are new funded projects, as of right now, 177 projects have been completed. The PSF has also funded 394 PhD/MPhil research projects, 348 research publications, and 12 patents filed in these five years under the umbrella of the PSF. The Chairman Committee was of the opinion that Balochistan holds 43.6 percent of the total area of Pakistan and is rich of minerals resources such as coal, gold, copper, oil, natural gas as well. In Balochistan, there is an ample opportunity of research and research-based projects must be initiated in Balochistan, which helps the locals of that area in their livelihood, he stressed.

Senator Afnanullah Khan noted that the 12 patents have been filed in the last five years, which is very low as compared to the other countries. Patent is a major revenue earning arena and more work should be done in this field, he further suggested.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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