KARACHI   -   The Sindh government on Friday announced education and health departments to be on its top priority for the next fiscal year raising budgetary expenditures in both the sectors.

EDUCATION

The allocation for school education has been increased from Rs170.832 billion to Rs178.618 billion in the financial year 2019-20. Whereas, on development side, Rs15.15 billion have been allocated in ADP 2019-20.

The chief minister said that his government developed Sindh Education Sector Plan & Roadmap (2019-23) through a consultative process. The civil society, intelligentsia and academia were taken on board considering them equal stakeholder in development of the society.

He disclosed that the new sector plan focuses on providing additional classrooms to accommodate fresh entrants to the schools and ensuring a conducive environment in schools in terms of provision of clean drinking water facilities, toilets and compound walls to ensure retention of students especially girl students. Girls’ education has been given a significant preference and sufficient funds have been proposed for girls’ transportation in the rural areas in order to address the issue of low female participation in the schools.

He said that his government has also taken steps to bring the ‘Out of School Children’ into the educational system. The Directorate of Literacy & Non-formal Education has been given significant allocation to partner with community-based organizations (CBOs) who would arrange for tutors, while the government would provide school building in evening hours. The (CBOs) will be given management cost on ‘per child basis’.

Public Private Partnership Node of School Education & Literacy Department has been strengthened to work in collaboration with Education Management Organizations (EMOs) to impart quality education to the students.

The chief minister said that Sindh has taken lead over other provinces, and has approved early childhood care and education policy. The government has already established 1500 ECE classes in our government schools, while another 1500 ECE classes would be established in the coming financial year 2019-20.

The School Education portfolio has been allocated Rs 15.15 billion for 279 schemes (188 on-going and 91 new schemes). Further the major initiatives incorporated for next year are:

EDUCATION FOUNDATION

The Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) was earlier able to make a major breakthrough on the side of access; when it increased the enrolment from 256,000 to 550,000 (100%) in a record period of three years. The government has allocated Rs9.597 billion budget for Sindh Education Foundation for 2019-20.

COLLEGE EDUCATION

The allocation for college education has been increased in non-development budget from Rs15.777 billion to Rs18.094 billion in the financial year 2019-20 and on development side Rs4 billion have been allocated in ADP 2019-20.

Major development initiatives in College Education Department for ADP 2019-20 are: 17 new degree colleges are planned to be established in Karachi (Korangi, Malir, West), Hyderabad,Umerkot, Sukkur, Jamshoro, Shikarpur, Jacobabad and in Sanghar.

Construction / rehabilitation and provision of furniture is planned for existing colleges in different districts through different schemes. Provision of missing facilities for Gadap and Pano Akil Cadet Colleges has been proposed in 2019-20.

UNIVERSITIES & BOARDS

The allocation for Universities & Boards Department is increased in non-development budget from Rs9.529 billion to Rs10.585 billion in next financial years.

The government has earmarked Rs 3 billion for 2019-20, through which various initiatives relating to higher education will be financed; such as: Establishment of Center of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain at Sukkur IBA University.

Establishment of Thar Institute of Technology, NED Campus of Tharparkar. Establishment of Sindh University Campus at Badin and Mirpurkhas.

HEALTH

Many major health institutions/hospitals, including SIUT, Indus Hospital, JIMS, JPMC, NICH, NICVD with its 8 Satellite Units and 9 Mobile Chest Pain Units in Karachi have been provided funds both through grants as well as development financing.

The current revenue expenditure of health department, excluding medical education has been significantly increased by 19 percent from Rs 96.8 billion to Rs 114.4 billion in FY 2019-20. For year 2018-19, Rs13.5 billion was allocated for 170 schemes and by June 3, 2019, Rs 4.61 billion were expended against a release of Rs 8.01 billion. 12 schemes are likely to be completed by June2019.

HEALTH ADP

For ADP 2019-20, the sector is being provided similar allocation as the out-going year of Rs 13.50 billion. Few of the major targets envisaged are: Procurement of Machinery /Equipment for different departments at the CMC Hospital Larkana at an estimated cost of Rs 600 million.

Community Mental Health Services Program in Sindh with an estimated cost of Rs 275.00 million to improve the mental health services.

Maternal and Child Health Care Center at Jamshoro

A 200-bedded Hospital has been planned for Sukkur either through PPP framework or through development financing.

The chief minister in his budget speech said that with completion of 43 schemes during 2019-20, service delivery would be further strengthened at all tiers. The effort would be reinforced through more effective implementation of preventive programmes, including Immunization, AIDS, Hepatitis, Malaria, TB Control, Blindness Control etc. for which a provision of Rs 4.08 billion has been earmarked.

Murad Ali Shah said that when federal government had handed over NICVD to Sindh government its allocation was Rs355 million in the year 2011-12 and his government has gradually increased its allocation to Rs 8.876 billion in 2018-19.

GRANTS

The Sindh government is providing Rs 5.6 billion to SIUT as a grant in next financial year (2019-20).

Considering the quality services of liver transplantation provided at Pir Abdul Qadir Shah Jeelani Institute of Medical Sciences, Gambat, District Khairpur, government has increased the grant by 60 percent from Rs 2billion to Rs.3.6 billion during financial year 2019-20. Considering the need of blood diseases treatment to the poor masses of the province, the Sindh government has allocated Rs500 million for the financial year 2019-20.

An allocation of Rs1 billion is earmarked for endowment fund for the welfare HIV/AIDS infected persons during financial year 2019-20.