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December 4, 2018

PM orders secretariat for south Punjab by July 2019

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December 4, 2018

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday instructed the Punjab chief minister to establish and make operational the Administrative Secretariat for south Punjab by 2019.

He also sought measures for allocation of extra resources to end disparity in the region and a sense of deprivation among the area people.

The instructions were issued by the prime minister at a briefing given by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, along with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Provincial Finance Minister Makhdoom Jawan Bakhat Hashim, the three empowered elected representatives of south Punjab.

The briefing was delayed as the Punjab leadership was unable to complete work on south Punjab province due to which it was not announced in the first 100-day accomplishments of the PTI. The Punjab government prepared the presentation on south Punjab, which was presented by the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms.

However, the issue of required number of votes in both houses of the parliament – National Assembly and Senate – was also discussed in the meeting for which the PTI will require support from other political parties. The federal minister pointed out in the presentation that the government would require two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, Senate and Provincial Assembly of Punjab for passage of constitutional amendment bill for the creation of the new province.

The elected representatives of south Punjab termed creation of administrative secretariat for south Punjab a transition towards Naya Pakistan. It was further proposed that Prime Minister Imran Khan should announce a special development package to initiate equalisation of south Punjab with north Punjab for five years.

Similarly, key administrative departments and special institutions are to be relocated to south Punjab from July 1, 2019. Additionally, increase in job quota for south Punjab to 35 per cent at provincial level for all positions was proposed.

The proposed plan of the administrative set-up is creation of administrative secretariat in south Punjab, Punjab Police headquarters south Punjab and office of ACS for supervision, implementation and coordination. It is proposed that fully powered special secretaries would be appointed to the administrative secretariat of south Punjab including Planning and Development, finance, home, agriculture, local government and community development, Board of Revenue, school education, and higher education, primary health, specialised health, forest, livestock and dairy development, communication and works, irrigation and housing urban development and public health engineering departments. Besides, a Provincial Development Working Party for South Punjab and South Punjab Public Service Commission should also be established by July 1, 2019.

The three empowered elected representatives of south Punjab suggested to the PM to announce a PM special assistance package for regional equalisation with allocation for south Punjab to address disparities and deprivations. The funds should be allocated 50 per cent each from the Annual Development Programme of Punjab and Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of the federal government.

Additionally, the prime minister should also announce sector specific interventions for health, education, transport, production sectors and other sectors of south Punjab. They also suggested to give special incentives to the government officials posted to south Punjab, based on key performance indicators (KPIs). Currently, the government officials hailing from south Punjab did not want their posting there. It was highlighted that south Punjab development allocation was reduced by 50 per cent through re-appropriation to north Punjab during the fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2016. The total development allocation of Punjab during the five years was Rs1,265 billion, out of which Rs1,106 billion were spent, incurring a loss of Rs159 billion to the province. However, out of this Rs159 billion loss, south Punjab suffered loss amounting to Rs224 billion and north Punjab gained Rs65 billion through re-appropriation.

In the fiscal year 2012, allocation for south Punjab was Rs60 billion and expenditure was only Rs23 billion, in FY 2013, allocation Rs62 billion, expenditure Rs18 billion, in FY2014, allocation was Rs70 billion, expenditure Rs23 billion, in FY2015 allocation was Rs97 billion, expenditure was Rs44 billion, and in FY2016 allocation was Rs100 billion and expenditure was Rs57 billion. This caused accumulated loss of Rs224 billion to south Punjab.

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