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August 21, 2018

CADD’s days are numbered


August 21, 2018

Islamabad : Though whether or not to disband the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) has long been a moot point, it is bruited after the installation of the new democratic dispensation that the federal government’s administrative unit overseeing Islamabad’s educational and health institutions in the post-decentralisation regime faces imminent death.

The rumour has gained credence in light of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision of not appointing a minister to the CADD after his swearing-in on Saturday and engaging noted economist and rightsizing advocate Dr Ishrat Husain as adviser on institutional reforms and austerity.

If things happen the way they’re anticipated, the federal organisations currently governed by the CADD will go to the relevant federal ministries for administrative control like the educational ones to the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and the healthcare-related to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination after the premier’s mandatory approval.

The CADD was created in 2011 after the devolution of over 20 ministries to all four federating units through 18th Constitutional Amendment with an aim to oversee the Islamabad Capital Territory’s educational, health, population and social welfare organisations.

Initially, it got the control of 22 organisations related to ICT but later, the capital’s social welfare and child welfare development, FG Polytechnic Institute of Women, the departments of libraries, archaeology and museums, population welfare, Zakat and Ushr, the training and education and rehabilitation of disabled and charitable endowment were also placed under it.

Some organisations were later taken away by powerful divisions from it despite being ICT-only. Noted among them is the district administration, which is currently answerable to the interior ministry. Ironically, few CADD employees are understood to be drawing salary and fringe benefits from the health ministry’s foreign-funded projects as well.

Officials at the CADD blame their failure to bring home the bacon over the years on the frequent changes of top bosses, especially secretary during the last PML-N government, for defying the politically-motivated moves of the ministers over policy matters.

Fearing their division’s dissolution will not only cause some serious administrative issues, including their seniority’s, they recommended the placing of all CADD-overseen organisations under the administrative control of the capital’s civic agency, CDA. They also opposed the idea of being governed by the health services and education ministries, insisting the two ministries take care of the relevant national and international matters only post devolution.

According to officials, the CADD’s disbanding was suggested by various government forums many times in the past.

Twice during the then PPP government, summaries for the purpose were sent to prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf but they got the thumbs down on both occasions.

The matter again came up for review after the PML-N formed the government in the centre in 2013, with many cabinet members favouring the dissolution of the CADD declaring it to be worth nothing, especially following the creation of separate federal health and education ministries in the post-decentralisation regime.

The opinion had also won over finance minister Ishaq Dar-led powerful cabinet panel on restructuring of public sector enterprises, which recommended the CADD’s immediate shutdown in 2015, strongly feeling that the division has ‘outlived its utility and therefore, it should cease to exist to relieve the national kitty of unnecessary financial burden.’

However, the proposal didn’t sit down with the then premier, Nawaz Sharif, who chose to change the then minister instead of ordering the division’s close-down.

Now if the PTI government does away with the CADD, whose likelihood is very high in light of its plans to merge or close down ministries over ‘overlapping jurisdictions and duplication of work’, then the Federal Directorate of Education, Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority, Federal College of Education, Federal Government Polytechnic Institute, National Institute of Science and Technical Education, Directorate General of Special Education, Directorate of Workers Education and Federal Government Physical Training Institute will go to the Shafqat Mehmood-led Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, while the administrative control of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Federal Government Polyclinic, National Institute of Rehabilitative Medicine, and Human Organs Transplant Authority will be shifted to the Aamer Mehmood Kiani-headed Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Services. As for the CDA, it is likely to go to the Cabinet Division.

Also, chances are the new government’s institutional reforms agenda will bring down the curtain on the divisions created by the last PML-N government, including Aviation Division and National History and Literary Heritage Division.

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