Federal Budget 2017-18: Analysis of Higher Education Component

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Special Report
Overall budget for Higher Education Commission (HEC) has been increased from Rs. 79.505 to 97.855 billion this year. Recurring budget has been increased from Rs. 58.000 to 62.184 billion and development budget from Rs. 21.486 to 35.622 billion.
The proposed budget was not approved by HEC board and even provincial governments and other stakeholders were not consulted. About 89% universities (160 out of 183) are under the domain of provincial governments. There has been not been so much increase in recurring budget which is meant for day to day expenditure of universities, research and hiring of faculty etc.
Read also: HEC Chairman Should Immediately Resign Over Poor Performance: Federal Academic Staff Association
The past patterns of last three years indicate that allocations especially for new development projects remained mere allocations as no significant utilization was made against the allocated amount.
According to Federal Audit Report 2015-16, 47% of total development budget Rs. 1324.67 million out of 2762.30 remained unutilized. Similarly, in 2014-15, 28 out of 54 and in 2015-16, 37 out of 56 new development budgets indicated in PSDP, remained unapproved and universities could not benefit in real terms.
In 2016-17, the number of new development projects decreased to 39, out of those only 4 were approved one which meant the release of funding is conditional to approval by competent forums.
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