Ministry of Science and Technology failed to fully utilize its allocated funds during financial year 2019-20

Engineering Post Report

Federal Ministry of Science and Technology failed to fully utilize its allocated development funds under the Public Sector Development  Programme  (PSDP)

 during financial year 2019-20.

 Ministry was allocated Rs 7.407 billion for its 31 ongoing and new projects. Against this allocation, the Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission released Rs 1.864 billion and even this very small amount could not be utilized.

According to information  available from official sources, the Ministry could only utilize Rs 0.253 billion up to May10, 2020.

Out of 31 listed projects, there were 8 projects in PSDOP 2019-20 which were recommended by Task Forces on Knowledge  Economy and Science. Only three of these projects were approved, another three  were still in the approval process at various stages while rest of the two projects  were transferred to other Ministers/Division for implementation.

One of the approved projects is  about Biomedical Technology Institute at COMSATS University Lahore. The project has just been started and it will be developing  products for dentistry. Another approved project  is for use of  Artificial Intelligence in Health Sector at Karachi University.

Similarly, the  third  duly approved project  focuses on nanotechnology  research. 

However,  large chunk of the PSDP allocation of more than Rs 6 billion earmarked for Task Forces  projects could not be fully utilized.

Furthermore,  up-gradation of overall Research and Development  Infrastructure of the laboratories and facilities  of Ministry of Science and Technology Organization was another main objective during the last financial year. However, somehow limited progress was reported to has been made in this regard.

Needless to emphasize that Science and Technology  potential is a fundamental  for social and economic progress in developing  countries. Quite obviously, it is imperative  to integrate  the existing technologies  infrastructure for strengthening  of technology institutions, effective governance  of scientific and technological research and enhancing the capacity of indigenous  innovation systems. The development in Science and Technology  shapes the future of the nation and helps to make it  compatible  with nature. It can benefit  to develop clean energy, enhance hi-tech products , manufacturing transport with less emissions and low-energy houses.

 What the Ministry of Science and Technology on the whole did and achieved during financial year 2019-20  and what it plans to do and achieve during the just commenced financial year 2020-21 particularly in the face of pandemic of COVID-19 prevalence and combating it forcefully and effectively will be mentioned in some detail later on, please.