Proposals to Offer Tax Rebates, Raise Retirement Age for Teachers Under Consideration

Senate Functional Committee on Devolution recommended that retirement age of university teachers should be extended to 65 years and to give them Tax Rebate of 75%.

The Committee discussed the public petition by the All Pakistan Teachers Associations regarding the implementation of 18th Amendment in Higher Education Sector, confining the role of Federal HEC to formulation of standards, and enhancing legitimate role of provincial governments especially in funding and implementation of Higher Education Policy.

They claimed that HEC is encroaching on their rights since the subject is now devolved and HEC, being a Federal body, has no right to interfere in their matters.

Chairman HEC along with Vice Chancellor (of Gov universities) from all provinces attended the meeting.

They submitted their response on the said agenda and told the committee that HEC is abundantly cooperating with universities and looking after matters after the devolution of powers.

Chairman HEC briefed the committee and assured that the only intervention that the HEC does is in matters of maintaining the standards and quality of the education on a national basis.

The Secretary (Cabinet Division) informed the Committee about their recent CCI meeting and said that Prime Minister has designed a special task force under the chairmanship of the Federal Minister for Education in this regard.

He said that this force has to take prompt action to demarcate the boundaries between the provincial and Federal HEC and they are to meet again on 24th December for this purpose.

Other agenda relating to the devolution of PTDC to provinces and the liquidation of its assets among the Provinces were also discussed. They also discussed whether PTDC’s devolution under 18th Amendment was constitutional or not.

The M.D PTDC highlighted the background of the situation. The legal adviser gave a presentation and adopted the view that although the subject of Tourism was devolved, however, PTDC is a corporation which was established in 1971 and registered under the Companies Act 1911.

This means that  the company cannot be devolved.

They also briefed that since the PTDC being a corporation is still a federally owned company, therefore all the assets wherever they might be in the country, are still under the ownership of the federal government.

They warned that their liquidation now will create unequal distribution between the provinces as some provinces have more assets than the others.

However, the committee and all its members were of the view that those assets are now under the ownership of the provinces and should be handed over to Federal.

Chairman directed the MD PTDC to give the detailed briefing on PTDC Budget, Balance sheet, Auditors report, working staff and details of all of its assets, both provincial and city wise.

The chairman of the committee asked about pending salaries of the staff in response. MD PTDC told that regular salaries are being paid on a regular basis and promised that a few months of arrears would be paid within the next two months.

The Committee was chaired by Senator Mir Kabir Ahmed Shahi, and was attended among other by Senators, Taj Haider, Kamil Ali Agha, M. Ilyas Blour, Liaquat Khan Tarakai, Sassui Palijo, as well as officials from HEC and Cabinet Division.

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