Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology in its meeting has recommended increasing the annual budget of the ministry and the 16 organisations working with the ministry. The Committee expressed its concerns over the alarmingly low percentage of 0.00025 of GDP spent on this sector and called for reforms and bringing this percentage to 4%. The Committee in the inaugural briefing was told that for the year 2017-18, the ministry was given a total of 6.394 billion in the head of non-development budget and 2.497 billion as development budget.
The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Mushtaq Ahmed here at the Parliament House on Tuesday and was attended among others by Senators Nuzhat Sadiq, Gianchand, Faisal Javed Khan, Dilawar Khan, Caretaker Minister for Science and Technology, Secretary Science and Technology and heads of a number of organisations working with the ministry.
The Committee observed that Pakistan today is facing acute water scarcity, energy shortage and drastic climatic changes and if urgent measures are not taken, we shall be faced with disastrous consequences.
Chairman Committee remarked that reforms in the area of science and technology has made strategic locations and availability of natural resources irrelevant for many countries and success in science and technology has proved to be a decisive factor in progress and development of many countries. He said that despite being a nuclear state, we are facing shortfall in electricity and are declared water scarce country. Members of the Committee were also of the view that the ministry and its attached departments should help spread awareness into the new technologies available for saving water and other resources.
The Committee was given a detailed briefing on the academic institutions working with the ministry including NUST and COMSATS, and other bodies including Pakistan Council for Science and Technology, Pakistan Science Foundation, National Institute of Oceanography, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources, Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technologies, Council for Working and Housing Research, Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority, National Institute of Electronics among others.
The Committee called for developing more opportunities for spotting and grooming young scientists from educational institutions and having a ten year plan for the purpose as well as a ten year plan for reforms in the science and technology sector, human resource required, funds and budget and road map of strategic policy. The Committee also directed the ministry to give details of all those eatable products that are being imported in the country and whether they are Halal or not. The Committee also called for having a strategy to avoid misuse of 60% water in the agriculture sector, to make use of the excessive rain water and to make sea water usable through desalination and reverse osmosis.