HEC’s budget increased to Rs47b for providing better opportunities to youth: Ahsan Iqbal

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ISLAMABAD Federal Interior Minister, Ahsan Iqbal has said the incumbent government has increased development budget of Higher Education Commission (HEC) from Rs. 13 billion in 2013 to Rs. 47 billion for providing better opportunities to the youth.

Addressing a launching ceremony of National Human Development Report – Unleashing potential of a Young Pakistan here on Wednesday, Ahsan Iqbal said that development budget of HEC was Rs. 22 billion in 2016-17, Rs. 35 billion in 2017-18 and now it has been increased to Rs. 47 billion.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan has launched the report which has been authored by Dr. Adil Najam and Dr. Faisal Bari. The Report focuses on the youth as a critical force for shaping human development, because Pakistan currently has the largest generation of young people ever in its history, with about two-thirds of total population under 30 years of age.

Ahsan Iqbal said, “Future of Pakistan is linked with its youth. We have to train the youth as per our future requirements. The incumbent government is making concerted efforts to make the youth an asset of the country.”

The Minister said the youth have a crucial role in economic development of a country, adding that “We are digitally empowering the youth through provision of laptops to ensure their contribution in process of progress and prosperity.”

Pakistan is included in countries where youth is in majority, he said and added the government’s utmost priority is to make investment in youth for ensuring peace and prosperity.

He said that the incumbent government has laid foundation of knowledge economy in the country. The basic of literacy, he said is computer literacy which would transform entire system based on modern technology.

Ahsan Iqbal, who is also Minister for Planning Development and Reforms said, standards of development had changed and now the development of a country depended upon a few things.

“We need to enhance our production capacity and improve our standard continuously. We need to introduce knowledge and information revolution in the country and introduce innovations in all sectors,” he said.

The Minister said Pakistan had huge potential to get place among top economies of the world for which “We need to conduct research on modern ground,” adding that the government had already started projects to establish centres of excellence for artificial intelligence, cyber security, big data, cloud computing and robots.

He said digital Pakistan was aimed at equipping the young generation with modern technology to ensure its effective usage.

“We must put Pakistan on road to prosperity with help of all areas and segments of the country,” however, it is only possible when we have competitiveness and stability.

He said the government had already taken effective initiatives to establish universities campus at each district of the country to provide quality education for students at local level.

Speaking on economic turnaround of Pakistan, the Minister said the economy has seen a steady growth from 2.5% in 2013 to 5.8 %.

The Minister also updated the audience on improved energy situation in the country and said more than 11,000 MW electricity has been added to national grid during last five years while during 66 years only 18,000 MW electricity was generated.

He appreciated UNDP for launch of its report which, he said, would help in shaping policy for Pakistan’s youth.

In her brief address, Chairperson, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Marvi Memon said she is committed to putting into action the important recommendations of this report and will take the report to parliament.

Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, Takashi Kurai termed the report as excellent and comprehensive and emphasized the need of urgency to act and realize true potential of youth in Pakistan.

Dr. Adil Najam said he is proud to have been part of such a bright, dedicated and insightful team and thanked the other team members.

On the occasion, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Neil Buhne and UNDP Country Director, Mr. Ignacio Artaza highlighted different features of the Report.

They said it is imperative to invest in youth now, today, while they are still youth; not only to enhance personal well-being of the youth but also to enhance country’s human development.

Orignally published by INP

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