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30pc technical posts vacant in S&T ministry

ISLAMABAD, June 4(Dawn): More than 30 per cent of technical posts remain vacant at the Ministry of Science and Technology because of its inability to attract talented Pakistani scientists who instead happen to be leaving for lucrative offers abroad.

This concern was raised during the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology which met here on Saturday under the chairmanship of Senator Razina Alam Khan.

"Unattractive pay scales for these posts remain the biggest discouraging factor for young and bright scientists graduating from universities," said Ms Khan.

"The ministry's output will suffer if it does not come up with the right incentives for fresh minds that are leaving for better offers to other countries."

She said although the government realised the importance of promotion of science and technology in the country for progress and prosperity, S&T contributed less than 0.5 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The committee called for appropriate steps aimed at attracting qualified manpower, and was unanimous while suggesting that besides suitable pay packages, scientists should have tenure track system, similar to the one introduced by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), which should also be implemented by the S&T ministry with some modifications.

The committee also proposed that a National Innovation Fund be established which might be utilised for acquiring the technological research. It was pointed out that though foreign investment paved the way for industrialisation in the country, the element of technology transfer must not be overlooked.

And there was general consensus among the participants that the government should regularly undertake technology foresight exercises to identify specific fields which needed to be developed and that focused efforts should be made to establish centres of excellence in those fields.

Secretary, Ministry of S&T, Dr Pervaiz Butt, who gave an overview of the budgetary position and the expenditure incurred during the current fiscal year apprised the meeting about the proposed restructuring plan of the ministry of science the technology that would make a difference.

The finance division had offered complete support to the revamping process.
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