ISLAMABAD, Jan 29 (APP):The present government must formulate science and technology centric policies and allocate maximum budget for this neglected sector which can vitally contribute to bring the country out of crisis.

This was stated by the Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed during the meeting held at National Institute of Electronics (NIE) on Tuesday.

The chairman emphasized on revitalization of all the important science and technology departments which are facing neglect since many years.

Additional Secretary of Ministry of Science and Technology, Malik Qaiser Majeed informed that a committee has already been constituted under his supervision to prepare a report after receiving briefing from all the departments working under the ministry about their issues and concerns.

Chairman of the committee directed the ministry to apprise the committee on the progress of the report in the next meeting in February.

The chairman lamented that unfortunately science and technology sector has never remained the priority of any government and the same is happening now.

He said proper functioning of science and technology departments is indispensable for moving toward a knowledge based economy and competing internationally.

The committee also discussed the issue of engineering technologists who have been demanding equal status at par with engineers, proper service structure and formation of National Technology Council (NTC) Act.

The committee after listening to the years long grievances of the technologists through a representative of NTC, assured to resolve this matter.

The committee directed the ministry to ensure presence of Chairman HEC and Chairman NTC in the next meeting so that this longstanding issue can get a logical conclusion.

The committee expressed concern over the performance of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) regarding taking action against substandard fizzy drinks.

The committee was briefed by PSQCA official that the authority has only taken 91 samples of fizzy drinks during the last three years out of which it found only eight non-conformity cases, issued notices to eight companies and seized stock of four.

The committee urged the PSQCA to work more efficiently for ensuring quality bottled drinks to the citizens.

The committee was also given briefing about the working, performance and issues of NIE.

Chairman of the committee expressed serious concern over 43 key post including of Director General which were lying vacant for a long time and is a big hindrance in working of the department.

The chairman also expressed concern over non-provision of development budget to the department for the years 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The committee after looking into the performance of the department during the last two years observed that NIE has great potential to assist the country and it needs proper attention.

The committee also recommended writing a letter to the Prime Minister, Imran Khan regarding filling up the vacant posts and provision of development budget to NIE.

The meeting was attended by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Sassui Palijo, Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah as well as officials of the ministry and various departments.