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Event Title: The Senate Standing Committee on Planning Development and Reforms

Event Date: 2019-08-20

The Senate Standing Committee on Planning Development and Reforms in its meeting on Tuesday while discussing the matter of re-allocation of 24 billion out of 27 billion under the head of special initiative of CPEC towards other programmes was told that the mover Senator Mina Raza Rabbani has withdrawn the matter. The Committee, however, decided to hear the officials about the breakup of the allocation of 24 billion on yearly basis in next meeting.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani here at the Parliament House on Tuesday and was attended among others by Senators Muhammad Usman Kakar, Kauda Babar, Rukhsana Zuberi, Gianchand, Mir Kabeer Shahi, Secretary Planning Development and Reforms, Joint Secretary Development from the Cabinet Division and officials from the ministry.

Regarding the current status of Nai Gasj Dam Project the Committee directed to share the investigation report on the causes of delay in the payment by Sindh government and details of the culprits within a week. Special secretary Sindh Irrigation Department told the meeting that the delay has been mainly due to changed design and this has nothing to do on part of Sindh government. Secretary Planning told the meeting that the matter has become quite complex in face of the new water policy and the best solution is to wait for the court decision on the matter which is sub judice. Chief Engineer WAPDA overseeing the project told the meeting that any changes made in the design did not have any financial implications. 

The committee members expressed surprise at the contradictory views presented by WAPDA and Sindh Irrigation Department on the decision being unilateral or not and the changes having any financial implication or not. Secretary Planning told the meeting that when too many projects are out in the yearly PSDP list the funds get thinner and spent over a longer period of years. The Committee also noted that the kind of consultants involved in these projects are often found by to be of high calibre that can bring the projects to a meaningful conclusion and the throw forward liability of any project shouldn’t be more than 4 years.

While discussing the ongoing scholarship programme of Higher Education Commission for the students (undergraduate and postgraduate) throughout the country the committee was told by Fatah Marri, Member HEC that 18 ongoing scholarship projects with more than 14,175 scholarships are present. These include 11,694 scholarships for PhD, 2,336 for undergraduate, 145 for MS/Mphil. The Committee was told that till this day HEC has awarded a total of 218,602 scholarships including foreign, local and need based scholarships as well as the Prime Minister Fee Reimbursement Programme. 

The committee sought details of all students from Balochistan who have obtained scholarships as many people from other provinces use Balochistan domicile to get scholarships. The Committee recommended introducing special need based scholarships for female students if less developed areas in the universities of the Federal capital.