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Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology was informed on Thursday that 11 organizations working under the Ministry of Science and Technology have been without heads for long, causing severe difficulties in pursuance of official and administrative matters.
The committee met with Senator Mushtaq Ahmed in the chair wherein it was apprised by secretary Ministry for Science and Technology (MoST) that the officers' promotions are also facing delay due to non-appointment of permanent heads of the organizations.
The performance of majority of the departments working under the ministry has not been up-to-the-mark as officers from other departments have been given the look-after charge of the organizations, he said.
The organizations without chairmen include Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST), Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC), Pakistan Council for Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET), National Institute of Electronics (NIE), National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Council for Work and Housing Research (CWHR), STEDEC Technology Commercialization Corporation of Pakistan (Private) Limited and Pakistan Halal Authority (PHA).
A summary regarding regular appointments in the said organizations has already been moved to the cabinet for approval, the secretary informed.
Reviewing the budgetary allocation, the committee was informed that Rs 1,300 million have been allocated under the Public Sector Development Program for the fiscal year 2019-20 while Rs 6,107 million have been allocated for task force projects.
There were 23 projects approved by the ministry, while the number of task force projects was eight, which are in the approval phase.
Last year, the ministry's budget was Rs 1487.7 million; out of which Rs 716 million were released and Rs 538 million were utilized.
The chairman of the committee directed the ministry to come up with the proposals for useful utilization of the funds so that the ministries of finance and planning can be consulted on the matter. He asked the Science and Technology Task Force to present its progress report after every six months before the committee and urged it to work on water agricultural issues being faced by the country.
Senator Kamran Michael said that Pakistan has a lot of talent and stressed the need to review the policies for strengthening and facilitating such people.
The secretary MoST said that research work is being conducted in every institution but due to inter-departmental rifts, it is not yielding fruitful results.
Regarding the funding issue of 250 destitute children, the committee was told that with the provision of Rs 2 million, the problem can be resolved. To which the secretary MoST and rector COMSATS assured the members for immediate release of funds.
Briefing on the suspension of officers, the secretary PSQCA said that many inquiries have been resolved and two persons have been suspended. To this, the chairman of the committee directed the ministry to prepare PSQCA employees' inquiry report itself.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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