In a refreshing report out of Fata, the planning and development department (PDD) has created a comprehensive annual development programme (ADP) for the 2013-2014 year. The ADP’s budget allocations total Rs18.5 billion — from Rs10 billion last year — to be used for hundreds of existing and new development projects across the area. This is a welcome development and we hope the Fata administration will be able to follow through with the programme to help improve the lives of the disadvantaged people in the region.
The citizens of Fata have been constantly barraged by violence and extremism. Providing education has been a particular challenge and in this light, the most notable allocation in the ADP budget is that for the education sector, which is to receive the highest allocation of Rs3.68 billion. Additionally, the programme places an emphasis on recreational rehabilitation and youth jobs and the budget mentions the introduction of a sports, culture and youth affairs sector, which is highly laudable considering the potential pitfalls of the region’s youth going down the wrong paths.
It seems that the ADP has been drafted meticulously this time around. Appropriate sectors such as education, health and public health engineering are to receive the highest allocations. Furthermore, rather than introducing countless new schemes, the priority of the ADP is to revamp and strengthen already existing schemes and infrastructures over introducing new projects. The energy crisis with respect to alternative forms of energy has also been given emphasis. Strategic documents such as the Fata Sustainable Development Plan and the Post Conflict Need Assessment were consulted before developing the plan. All of these steps, indeed, point to prudent foresight.
With the region having faced challenging conditions for over three decades, Fata is certainly deserving of these decent allocations. Governor Shaukatullah Khan, the first governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa from the tribal areas, should be commended on these initiatives.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.
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