A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Special Initiatives was held to consider the recommendations of members of the Senate regarding the Public Sector Development Program in the Budget Statement 2020-21. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani here at the Parliament House on Wednesday and was attended among others by Senators Kalsoom Parveen, Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi, Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar, Gianchand, Hidayatullah, Naseebullah Bazai, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and senior officers from the ministry.
Chairman Committee Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani observed that Parliamentarians are public representatives, they take steps for resolution of their problems and for dveleopment and welfare of the area. He said that everytime the members of Parliament try their best to have numerous schemes and projects added into the PSDP for the next financial year for welfare and prosperity of their respective provinces but it is a disappointment when recommendations are invited but are not made part of the final budget statement that is passed. Senator Usman Kakar observed that every constituency and every district of the province Balochistan needs development work but it's a pity that our recommendations are not implemented and till we are given assurance of this implementation, there is no use of presenting our recommendations.
Senators Kalsoom Parveen, Mir Kabeer Muhammad Shahi, Gianchand and Naseebullah BAzai were also of the opinion that not incorporating Senate's PSDP recommendations is an insult to the House and Senate which is the representative of the federating units should be heard when provincial projects are being finalized and they should not be entirely based on just the recommendations of provincial governments or the recommendations of MNAs. Senator Hidayatullah remarked that he has been presenting PSDP recommendations for the last 8 years but none has been worked upon or accepted. He said that for every 300 students there is only one classroom on average and for every 180 students there is just one teacher.
He said that former FATA which has been merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was allocated 100 billion out of which only 30 billion was released which did not serve any purpose.
Minister for Planning Asad Umar said that it is stated in the rules of Senate that Senate will make recommendations in 2 weeks to the budget statement but nothing has been mentioned afterwards as to what will be the course of action on those recommendations. He said that that the budget is the prerogative of the federal government and the National Assembly who has to pass it. He also said that when it comes to PSDP projects the provinces have the basic and most important role and federal government cannot add any project or scheme that has not been approved by the province.
The minister told the committee that provinces are represented in ACNEC and CDWP and soon the government will make a committee where members of National Assembly and Senate will be given representations and the implementation status of the PSDP schemes will be analysed.
The members of the Committee expressed serious concerns over this situation. They were of the view that when projects cannot be added without provincial consent then why is the Senate asked to give recommendations. Members spend huge time and energy over preparing recommendations and when they are not heard or accepted this turns out to be nothing but wasting precious resources. Members decided to boycott the proceedings of the meeting and decided that in protest no recommendation will be given to the National Assembly on the PSDP for the Budget 2020-21.