Government is spending more funds on a kilometer of metro bus route than the total budget allocated to Ministry of Science and Technology and its attached departments.
This was revealed in the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology which met with Osman Saifullah Khan in the chair. The committee chairman, also vowed to move an adjournment motion in the upcoming Senate session to invite government s’ attention to this important matter.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Rana Tanveer Hussain admitted that this sector is not on the government priority and spending on research in the country is 0.29 percent of the GDP, keeping it at 87th position in the world.
The Committee discussed the COMSATS University Islamabad Bill, 2017 and Pakistan Council of Science and Technology Bill, 2016 and Pakistan National Accreditation Council Bill, 2016. The Committee was also briefed by Ministry of Science and Technology on steps/policy measures being taken for the popularization of Science in Pakistan.
The Ministry briefed the committee regarding the COMSATS University Islamabad Bill, 2017, and maintained that the proposed bill was necessary for upgrading the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology as COMSATS University and that the university will have a its own senate and syndicate for the governance and general supervision of the affairs of university. The committee said that it is an important bill and will be discussed in detail in the next meeting.
The committee expressed anger over the Law and Justice division while observing that amendments in bills have been made without taking on board the Science and Technology Ministry.
Responding to the question of Senator Haji Momin Khan Afridi, it was informed that COMSATS provides various opportunities to the students of FATA, including scholarships. The chairman of the committee directed to submit the original draft of the bill after 10 days and also present details regarding number of FATA students in the institute.
Ministry of Science and Technology apprised the committee about the background of the Pakistan Council of Science and Technology Bill, 2016. Chairman of Committee raised the question of overlapping in the functions of Pakistan Council of Science and Technology (PCST), and Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) and proposed the merger of the both. The Minister was of the view that the functions of the PCST and PSF are different and that it was also approved by restructuring committee, at the time of restricting various bodies. However, the chairman asked for a combined presentation from PSCT and PSF, over the roles of both the institutions.
The Committee was briefed by the ministry on the background of Pakistan National Accreditation Council Bill, 2016, that the bill was already passed in National Assembly in 2016 and Supreme Court of Pakistan has also instructed for the said. The committee was also informed about the various achievements of the Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC), such as membership of various apex bodies for accreditation globally and about the future expansion plans. The Bill was adopted by the committee in its original form.
The Committee was also briefed by Ministry of Science and Technology on steps/policy measures being taken for the popularization of Science in Pakistan. Famous educationist, Musharaf Zaidi as a special invitee, also briefed the committee and presented documents and other informative materials regarding the status of Science and Maths in the country. He urged the committee for allocating more developmental funds to improve the standard of education. The ministry informed that it has funds for various developmental projects and also agreed that even more funds needs to be allocated. The minister further informed that an MOU has been signed between the Ministry of Defence Production and Science and Technology for amplified collaboration.
Committee was attended by Senators, Attique Sheikh, Haji Moin Khan Afridi, Profeser Sajid Mir, Minister concerned and the concerned Senior Officials.