PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday concluded its budget session. During its session the assembly approved the Rs603 billion budget for fiscal year 2017-18 and Rs47.2 billion supplementary budget for the outgoing 2016-17.
The house approved all the demands for grants for 43 departments/sectors to meet their requirements during the fiscal year 2016-17. Opposition members also took back all their cut motions after seeking answer for their queries from the relevant ministers.
The house in its last budget sitting also passed ‘the K-P Private Schools Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill 2017, making changes in the composition of the authority.
The secretary elementary and secondary education department would be the chairman of the regulatory authority instead of the minister and the special secretary of the department was also made member of the authority.
The special secretary has been empowered to chair the meeting of the authority in the absence of the chairman.
Earlier, Sardar Hussain Babak of the Awami National Party (ANP) grilled Minister for Higher Education Mushtaq Ghani, asking him to inform the house about his department’s progress in providing access to higher education.
“We have faced very difficult circumstances in our term due to natural disasters and militancy, but still we built nine universities in the province. How would the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which took vote in the name of change, compare itself with the ANP in the field of higher education?” he asked.
Babak advised the K-P government to constitute a system on the pattern of boards of governors at the college level, giving them autonomy to recruit competent people from nearby areas to meet the staff requirement.
Ghani in response told the house that his department has completed 20 colleges, while work on 50 more colleges was underway and would be completed before the expiry of the term of the government.
He said the PTI government had established a women university one each in Mardan and Charsadda, along with starting a Technology University in Nowshera.
He added that the previous government started universities in schools while his department had spent its resources in the procurement of land for those universities and campuses started in schools.
“The Karak University land procurement issue has been resolved and a grand building is under construction for the Swabi University,” he said.
The higher education minister also informed the house that his department had prepared a model plan for setting up the Local College Council that would be autonomous and would take decisions at the college level.
“The model is waiting the chief minister’s approval after which it will be implemented. We are giving the intermediate system to the elementary and secondary education which will further increase space in colleges to focus more on the BS level education system,” he said, adding: “They have already started online admissions and this year all admissions across the province will be made online.”
However, Babak refuted Ghani’s allegation regarding launching of universities in schools, saying his government procured 5,000 kanal land and “the PTI government is now using this land for making grounds and other projects”.
Babak also drew the house attention towards alleged misappropriation in the Lady Reading Hospital’s cardiology ward which, according to him, issued an advertisement a few days ago but the lowest bidder was not given the tender and a firm against which an inquiry was underway and whose offer was not the lowest one was given the tender.
Health Minister Shahram Khan gave the ANP lawmaker assurance to conduct a transparent inquiry into the matter.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Peshawar region president and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shah Farman got appreciation for his good performance from the opposition members, who said that their areas had been given water supply schemes by Farman and his department.
Babak appreciated Farman’s role and performance, asking him to involve the local community in controlling the rapidly depleting water table across the province.
The assembly session was prorogued for indefinite period.