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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology was informed on Friday that the National Hemp (bhang) Policy was approved as there are vast opportunities for bhang to be used in medicine globally.

“It is currently a Rs40 billion market that will reach Rs100 billion over the next four years”, said the ministry officials, while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology, which met under the chairmanship of Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, here on Friday.

Officials said that the ministry has formulated a comprehensive policy with all stakeholders and it will be implemented as soon as possible. Confirmation of the nomination of Senator Samina Mumtaz as a member of the Board of Governors of the National Institute of Oceanography, Karachi, was discussed in detail in the committee meeting.

Senator Muhammad Humayun Mohmand was of the view that according to the Constitution of Pakistan, parliamentarians should not be associated with any government institution in any way. And this nomination could cause problems for Senator Samina. After due deliberation, the committee approved the nomination of Senator Samina as per the majority opinion.

‘Bhang policy’ will be ready by Dec: Faraz

The committee was briefed by the secretary Ministry of Science and Technology on the project of STEM education system under PSDP. Under this project, 50 schools from all over Pakistan have been selected in which state-of-the-art science labs will be set up and students will be given hands-on training in various science programs.

Senator Kamran Murtaza said that schools in backward areas should also be included under this scheme. Senator Shibli Faraz said that this project was started during their tenure and according to this it will be implemented in the first 50 schools and in the future it can be extended to 400 more schools.

Appointments to the posts of project director and other posts in the Project Management Unit of the project were discussed in detail. Senator Faraz said that these posts were advertised under open merit and all the work on it was completed. The same process should be followed for the appointment.

Ministry officials said they had received a letter from the Establishment Division asking that project appointments be made keeping in view the provincial quota. Due to which, the appointment process has been stopped and will be advertised according to the new quota.

Senator Murtaza said that the basic law introducing quota system has also lapsed. Therefore, there is no restriction on appointment according to this quota. The chairman of the committee directed the officials in the ministry to reconsider the matter and inform the Establishment Division in a letter about the position of the committee and the legal situation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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