Islamabad – The Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology has strongly expressed its dissatisfaction with the handing over of the National Policy on Industrial Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis to any other ministry/department and said the policy is the “property intellectual property” of the MoST and that it should not be stolen. .
The Standing Senate Committee on S&T which met under Sardar Shafiq Tareen further stated that narcotics control could have a watchdog role but the committee strongly recommends that this initiative be spun off from the MoST so that it can be kept by the ministry.
The committee raised the issue of the National Policy on Industrial Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis that was formulated and sent for approval by the then Prime Minister for consideration by the Federal Cabinet; however, the summary was returned by the cabinet division to be resubmitted after the new Federal Minister was approved. The Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Technology informed the Committee that the Cabinet Division, in its recent letter, had returned the summary with the notice that it could be routed through the Ministry of Narcotics Control, the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food Security and Research and Cabinet Division for further placement before the Cabinet; therefore, further comments from the respective departments are awaited. The committee strongly showed their dissatisfaction with this and declared that the hemp policy is the “intellectual property” of the Ministry of S&T and should not be stolen. The committee also decided to raise the matter with the Prime Minister directly with the suggestions of this committee. Senator Afnan Ullah Khan said that the role of the Ministry of Commerce is unsatisfactory in other areas of export, but it claims to promote hemp policy. Senator Humayun added that hemp is a commodity that already has large markets.
The committee was also briefed on the issue of details of all employees working at the National Institute of Electronics (NIE) on a regular and contractual basis, with names, CNICs, rank and province identification . The chairman of the committee expressed his dissatisfaction with the non-appointment of the regular heads of the institutes and said that the ministry was trying to run the buses without drivers. The presidential committee instructed the ministry to inform about the status of appointments of regular heads of all institutes and organizations working under this ministry. The presidential committee ordered to summon the authorities of the institutes and inquire about the filling of the respective post. Regarding the issue of quotas, Committee Chairman Sardar Shafiq Tareen asked why, as a traditional, higher rank positions are only allocated to large provinces and no higher rank positions are allocated to smaller provinces. , including Balochistan. The President’s Committee requested a report on the list policy followed for higher grade positions over the past twenty years at the next meeting.
Senator Engr Rukhsana Zuberi also raised the issue of double salaries after the re-employment of retired officers. She said it has been observed as a trend for government employees to retire early and return to work later, which allows them to receive double pay. Senator Rukhsana Zuberi recommended that the pension not be granted to employers who return to work after taking early retirement for their positions. Senator Rukhsana Zuberi also inquired about the “asset database” and asked which ministry had a register of total assets of different ministries. Regarding the vacancy and reasons for not filling and timing of announcement of the vacancy, the committee was informed that there are 212 sanctioned positions of which 125 are filled as regular employees, 1 position is in delegation and 6 under contract, 70 positions are still vacant. The committee informed that the vacancy advertised on 10-01-2021, the recruitment process could not materialize due to a written petition filed with Islamabad High Court (IHC); the short query has been rejected and the recruitment process is started again, after the announcement is posted, the recruitment process will be completed within 120 days instead of 45 days.
The committee was also briefed on the mega-projects initiated by the National Institute of Electronics (NIE) and the research achievements initiated in the field of electronics and related technologies over the past five years. The ministry informed that due to lack of funds, the NIE has been struggling for the past few years, but now this institute is on the right track and trying its best to attract projects with the help of its own researchers. NIE is in the tendering process for many tenders including maintenance of Ministry of Railways machinery. The committee was briefed on the PSDP project on Establishment of Semiconductor Chip Design Facilitation Center and Network at a cost of Rs 169,500 million with a completion date of 30-06- 2023. Similarly, the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Manufacturing Facility upgrade project is worth Rs 93,500 million and the completion date is 30-06-2023.
Briefed on the research achievements, the committee was informed that the design and development of custom solutions for the defense sector and artificial intelligence (AI) based on an intelligent vehicle detection system are also included. The committee was informed that, including the carrying out of railway research, old outdated machinery was repaired and maintained, which could not be repaired elsewhere. Senator Engr Rukhsana Zuberi said the ministry rather than becoming a commercial entity should play the role of monitoring and facilitating the industry by giving it opportunities for growth and investment. She added that the industry should be commercialized. Marketing, she said, is promotion in itself, and investors will come to invest themselves. Senator Humayun Mohmand said the ministry should play the role of that of a “father” to the private sector and enable and empower the private sector to grow the industry rather than doing business itself.