The government has allocated Rs1.5 billion under the public sector development programme (PSDP) for 20 old and new schemes under the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) in the federal budget for 2015-16.
For officials at CADD, the development budget this year is “disappointing”, compared to last year’s allocation of Rs1.8 billion.
They said the Planning Commission has included its own projects in the new schemes and has rejected some of the projects proposed by the division.
According to the proposed PSDP for CADD, most projects are ongoing, including a bone marrow transplant centre at PIMS — approved in 2010 — establishment of safe blood transfusion services project in ICT, and seven others.
The total proposed amount for ongoing schemes is Rs728 million.
There are six new schemes worth a total of Rs815 million, with four of those relating to education. The new education schemes include Rs100 for upgradation of ICT schools, Rs100 million for the establishment of ICT smart schools, Rs15 million for the uplift of Islamabad Model College for Boys G-10/4, and upgradation of the special education centre for hearing-impaired children in H-9/4 from high school to university level.
Last year, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal had also included a project for computer and science labs in ICT high schools, allocating Rs200 million. However, neither was any progress made on the plan, nor was any amount released for it. This year again, the Planning Commission has included a 15-million-rupee smarts schools project.
The government has also banned enrolment in evening shifts at schools, increasing the burden on morning shifts. As a result, a month after the start of the academic year, many parents are still looking to secure admission for their children.
A CADD official said they had also requested Rs300 million for expanding school buildings to accommodate all the students in one shift, thus ending the need for evening classes. “But they have turned down the proposal,” he said.
Similarly, the health sector has received only one new project worth Rs70 million for the establishment of a centre for neurosciences at PIMS.
A Rs500 million allocation for an “ICT social sector reforms” project was also included on the directions of the planning minister. The CADD proposal to establish an autism centre has also been turned down.
Another official said that several of last year’s projects have yet to be completed. The reason for the delay, he said, was a delay in the release of funds.
CADD Secretary Khalid Hanif said it was the Planning Commission prerogative to approve or reject their proposals. “Our focus is to complete ongoing projects,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2015.