Devolution plan: More ministries could go

NA Standing Committee hears briefing about the 18th amendment’s implementation.


Express January 11, 2011

ISLAMABAD: All provincial chief secretaries have been summoned on January 19 to discuss the challenges following the 18th Amendment.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Inter-provincial Coordination chaired by Mir Ahmad Khan Bugti was briefed on the amendment’s implementation plan and the Aghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan Package by officials of the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination and Establishment Division on Monday.

The chairman stressed the importance of heightened interaction between the provinces and centre for the settlement of outstanding issues.

The ministry’s secretary, Ahmad Mehmood Zahid, told participants that the comission on the implementation of the 18th constitutional amendment plans to hand over five more ministries to the provinces by the end of the current month. These ministries include Education, Social Welfare and Special Education, Tourism, Livestock and Dairy Development, and Culture.

Moreover, it was revealed that five additional ministries were being considered for devolution, which include the ministries of Finance, Revenue Division, Ports and Shipping, Interior and Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.

It was claimed that the implementation commission was making maximum efforts to complete the process of devolving the ministries by June 30, 2011.

The committee was also informed that the 18th amendment had introduced the concept of participatory management by the federation and its units through strengthening the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

Parliament can now only legislate on items listed in part-I and part-II of the federal legislative list, which means that a large number of federal ministries’ previous mandates would be handled exclusively by the provincial governments.

Some committee members criticised the likelihood of a uniform curriculum across the country with the Ministry of Education’s devolution, which gives complete authority over the subject to the federating units.

Speaking on the Aghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan package, Deputy Secretary of Establishment Division Aziz Jamali informed the committee that only 15 of the package’s 161 proposals had been implemented so far, 12 of which were in their advanced stages.

In line with the package’s announcement of 5,000 jobs for Baloch youth in the Education Department, 4,786 successful candidates had been issued appointment letters for grades 14 and 16, informed Jamali. He added that the posts were fully funded by the federal government, which would give the provincial government Rs10 billion each year.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2011.

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