NA body to check PSF performance


ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Science and Technology expressed serious reservations on the performance of the Pakistan Science Foundation, as the organisation failed to be productive in the field of research and development.
The committee formed a sub-committee under convener-ship of Ali Mohammad Khan to probe overall performance of PSF, which according to the committee had insignificant contribution in scientific research and implementation. Committee Chairman Ch Tariq Bashir Cheema directed the sub-committee to submit a detailed report within a month’s time regarding irregularities, chances of improvement, if any, its mandate and justification of huge manpower in the PSF.
During the briefing the management of the Foundation did not answer queries raised by members with regard to its performance. The committee was of the view that since its establishment, the government allocates funds out of its meagre budgetary resources; however no fruitful results have been achieved so far. To probe into the performance of the foundation, its budget utilisation and the work done so far in the field of research and development, the committee constituted a four-member sub-committee.
Ministry of Science and Technology Secretary Kamran Qureshi told the committee that research activities could not be conducted for years while development activities on the other hand, are seen quickly and similar is the case with PSF. The finance provided to PSF is meagre and not even sufficient to carry out research activities. But, Committee Chairman Tariq Bashir Cheema said that efforts usually were made to shift the blame of inefficiency to other people and similar is the case with all government departments. There is no tangible scientific research, one directed by the ministry to take the Parliament House water as a test case and bring a proposal to purify it till the next committee meeting convenes.
To a question, PSF Chairman Dr Khalil Ahmed Ibupoto told the committee that he is working as acting chairman of the foundation while a summary for permanent chairmanship appointment has already been sent to the prime minister. The secretary told the committee of various government departments that are running without proper heads.
PSF Acting Chairman Dr Khalil Ahmed Ibupoto gave a detailed brief to the committee over the performance and function of the foundation. He said the foundation was established in 1974 for the promotion and funding of scientific research and related activities bearing for social economic needs of the country and popularisation of science for the development of science culture in society. 
The PSF has initiated several development projects and has success stories where several talented students from different schools were selected and sent to the United States and other countries for participation. Recently, the PSF acting chairman said three students from Hasilpur were sent to US and were awarded there. 
About budget allocation, he said that the government has allocated Rs 149.271 million for non-developmental expenditure in which Rs 125.342 million were spend on administration purposes and Rs 23.929 million on research. This amount is small for scientific research across the country and is very difficult but the foundation tries its level best to carry on. However, the committee expressed serious reservations that a huge chunk of budget was spent on administration and directed the newly sub-committee to check and recommend to the main committee for an increase of funds allocation for PSF especially for scientific research.
MNAs, Sarzameen, Ch Armaghan Subhani, Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, Makhdoom Syed Ali Hassan Gillani, Shazia Mubashar, Nauman Islam Sheikh, Shamasun Nisa, Ali Muhammad Khan, Dr Imran Khattak, Lal Chand Malhi, Sajid Ahmad, Mehboob Alam, Aliya Kamran, Engr Usman Khan Tarakai MNAs, attended the meeting, besides officials of the ministry.

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