Islamabad, July 02, 2014 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Prof. Ahsan Iqbal chaired the 5th Advisory Committee Meeting of Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform.
Meeting was attended by members of advisory committee including Vice Chancellor Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Asad Zaman, Dean NUST Business School Dr. Ashfaque Hasan Khan, Executive Director Sustainable Development and Policy Institute Dr. Abid Qayyum Sulehri,famous economist Farrukh Saleem and Secretary / Members /Officers of Planning Commission of Pakistan.
Addressing the committee, Minister for Planning congratulated the employees of Planning Commission of Pakistan on preparation of Vision 2025 and 11th 5-year plan and subsequent approval by National Economic Council (NEC).
He asked the members of committee to provide their input on Vision 2025 and also discuss / present feedback related to state of economy. He presented the vision of government to bring the economy out of silos and run it in a collaborative mode through partnership with private sector and academia. He urged the members from Planning Commission not to let the Vision 2025 rest on shelves but turn it into reality.
Minister apprised the members about several initiatives related to Vision 2025launched by the government in new budget. He said that initiatives have been funded in the federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) to steer the country towards Knowledge Economy.
Briefing about the new initiatives, he said that the government has accorded high priority and allocated significant resources to human resource and social sectors despite it being provincial subject. He said that previously human resource was a subject only discussed in speeches now our speech on education is backed by funds.
He said that government has planned community-led MDGs initiative with Rs 12.5 billion and is launching National Human Resource Endowment Fund with a commitment of Rs 10 billion that will provide higher education to merit students from the lower strata of society and will also include students from FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Minister said that a National Curriculum Council is being setup with the help of provinces to coordinate on matters related to curriculum and preparing a curriculum that will teach problem solving skills to students and instill tolerance.
He elaborated that the government is also launching a Modernization and Standardization of Examination System which will standardize the education system across all boards of examination with the help of provinces.
Another program, he said, is being launched to bring the Madressahs into mainstream. He also announced introduction of Science Farming Scheme to pick science talent from schools and produce future Nobel Laureates.
He said that a Research Innovation Fund for Ph.D. scholars has been setup for Ph.D. students who have returned from abroad. He said that the programme will turn them into entrepreneurs and if any Ph.D scholar has industry-based or industry-driven project that has an economic derivative will get funding from that fund.
He also said that the government has provided all time high funding in development budget to HEC to upgrade and build new universities and provide scholarships to deserving students and also taking good quality education to students in their own districts.
Talking about agriculture and industry, he said that programmes are being undertaken to add value to Pakistan’s agriculture and industry and cluster mapping to map and work out interventions to maximize the value of finished goods.
Prof. Ahsan Iqbal said that the government is establishing Pak Aid to develop goodwill in the countries where Pakistan is providing support. He further said that a Cancer hospital is being developed in Islamabad and after the directions of Prime Minister, it will be taken to other cities as well.
He expounded on the funds allocated for Olympic-style games in different cities of Pakistan to revitalize the sports arena. He said that the government has allocated Rs. 250 billion for the power sector which includes coal-based projects, hydel energy projects, renewable energy based projects and transmission lines projects for evacuation of power.
Regarding the in-house initiatives of Planning Commission, he said that the National Fertilizer and Development Center (NFDC) under Planning Commission is being transformed into a Center for Rural Economy.
He said that social entrepreneurship centre is being set up to foster enterprise among the citizens and reduce poverty. He also briefed members on establishment of an Urban Planning Center in Planning Commission to coordinate with provinces and turn the cities into creative engines of growth.”
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