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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives has launched a five-year (2022-27) project at an estimated cost of Rs 40 billion comprising special development initiatives for 20 poorest districts across Pakistan.

The project (on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis between the federal and provincial governments) was approved by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP).

Identified on the basis of scores in this MPI, the selected 20 districts included 11 districts from Balochistan, five from Sindh, three from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and one from Punjab. Many of these districts have been direly affected by the recent flood disaster, especially in Balochistan and Sindh.

The main objective of this project is to promote inclusive growth and equitable development through targeted investments in infrastructure and human capital development in the poorest districts of the country.

Investment in human capital development, especially young people and women is among the primary pillars of the project.

CDWP clears six development projects worth Rs139bn

“This is the first of its kind project in the economic history of Pakistan where the federal government is undertaking a national intervention to uplift the poorest districts and address disparity in economic development in the country,” said Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, while chairing the meeting.

“During our last tenure, we completed the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index survey with the help of the United Nations Development Program, which for the first-time mapped poverty at district levels across the country,” he added.

Aligned with Pakistan Vision 2025 and the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, the project aims to make a significant contribution towards reducing regional inequality and strengthening national integration and harmony in the country.

The project is part of the Youth Development Programme launched by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif last month. Other initiatives under this programme included 2,000 internships for young engineers, 250 Mini Sports Complexes Initiative, Pakistan Innovation Fund, and 75 National Top Talent Scholarships.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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