Month: June 2010

Rs12.98 billion Budget for Gilgit-Baltistan

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GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan government presented on Wednesday its first budget with an outlay of Rs12.984 billion and Rs6.404 billion non-development expenses.

Finance Minister Mohammad Ali Akhtar told the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly that Rs1.227 billion would be required to increase the salary of government employees by 50 per cent and medical allowance of employees up to BPS 15 by 100 per cent and higher pay scales by 15 per cent.

He also announced a 50 per cent raise for police personnel and revision of their pay scales to bring them at par with other provinces.

Mr Akhtar said 1,500 new jobs would be created during the 2010-11 fiscal year.

He said that Rs1.878 billion would be spent on subsidising wheat in Gilgit-Baltistan, although this subsidy had been stopped in other parts of the country.

He said 25.16 per cent of the budget would be spent on education and the number of scholarship for students from the region enrolled in educational institutions across the country would be doubled to 600.

The minister said the government’s operating expenses had been reduced by 26.5 per cent and the amount saved would be used to create new posts, adding that 250 new posts would be created in police to improve law and order.

He said expenses on entertainment, gifts and purchase of physical assets had been frozen.

The non-development budget has been increased by Rs638.486 million and Rs700 million has been released for implementing the Empowerment Order of 2009. He said six new departments, headed by secretaries, had been set up.

He said that in view of the increasing population, new divisions, districts, sub divisions and tehsils had to be created. A department will be set up to improve the prisons system and another to deal with disasters.

The finance minister said the services department had been asked to ensure 10 per cent jobs for women.

The budget sets a revenue target of Rs355.124 million and earmarks Rs3.127 billion for one new and nine ongoing projects under the Public Sector Development Programme and Rs1.234 billion for a Special Development Package.

The finance minister said 80 per cent of the allocation would be spent on ongoing projects and 20 per cent on new plans. He said work on 258 of 611 ongoing projects would be completed during the year.

He said Rs1.14 billion had been allocated for completing 14 projects in the power sector and Rs952.2 million for the transport and communications sector.

He said Rs387.7 million had been allocated for improving infrastructure for education, health, tourism, fisheries, agriculture and forests.

The minister said Rs698.35 million would be spent on new projects to be launched in consultation with members of the assembly.

Courtesy: The Daily Dawn

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District Disaster Management critical for effective Disaster Mitigation

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LAHORE, (SANA): District Disaster Management Authorities are the linchpin of the new disaster management system in the country as demonstrated by the effective measures taken in districts affected by the recent Cyclone Phet.

According to a press release received here on Tuesday, this was highlighted at a two-day workshop organized by the United Nations in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority of Punjab.

Under the “ONE UN” joint programme on Disaster Risk Management, the emphasis is placed on building institutional capacities of districts and communities in 12 hazard prone districts throughout Pakistan.

These districts will serve as model to more effectively manage hazards which would be replicated in other 50 disaster prone districts in the country.

The workshop reviewed experiences of 12 model districts prone to natural disasters including the response to Cyclone Phet and Attabad landslide disaster.

The participants discussed thematic issues such as: Institutional Mechanisms; Capacity Building; Disaster Risk Management Planning; Community Based Disaster Risk Management; and Financial Mechanisms. The workshop concluded with 12 model districts developing Disaster Risk Management Action Plans.

Mr. Ikhlaq Ahmed Tarar, Senior Member Board of Revenue, Government of the Punjab was the chief guest on the occasion. Mr. Wolfgang Herbinger, Country Representative of World Food Programme (WFP) in Pakistan and Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka, Country Director of United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), Mr. Amir Mohiudin, Director Planning and Development, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Mr. Shaukat N. Tahir, Former Senior Member NDMA, District Coordination Officers from 12 model districts, representatives from United Nations agencies, NGOs and government officials from Punjab participated in the workshop.

Wolfgang Herbinger, WFP Representative while welcoming the participants said, “Natural as well as man-made disasters are growing all over the world including Pakistan. Timely preparedness, mitigation and response could effectively help in reducing the impacts both on humans as well as physical and economic losses.”

“I am sure the deliberations in these two days will reflect the needs of districts and we assure UN commitment to support priority joint interventions in the disaster prone districts during 2010-11,” he added.

Amir Mohi-ud-Din, Director Mitigation and Preparedness, NDMA deliberated upon the pre-2005 earthquake scenario.

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He brought attention of the participants to the disaster management arrangements before the creation of NDMA.

He said that all Ordinances and Acts were post disaster response, however, the 2005 earthquake was a trigger where Government of Pakistan adopted a comprehensive approach of managing all phases of disasters including prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response/relief and reconstruction and rehabilitation.

He said that the National Disaster Management Framework is an overarching document which is based upon not only domestic requirements, but also international commitments.

He said the framework identifies nine priority areas, such as establishment of institutions and legal arrangements, conduct national hazard and vulnerability assessment, promote training, education and awareness, promote disaster risk reduction, establish multi-hazard early warning system, mainstream DRR into development process, role of media, private sector, etc.

In his key note address, the Senior Member Board of Revenue, Government of Punjab, Mr. Ikhlaq Ahmad Tarar said that “we need to have professional arrangements at the federal and at the provincial level which should ensure that the risk assessments are carried out, we prepare our plans according to risk assessments, the 2005 earthquake was an eye opener for everyone. We had been dealing with floods, disasters in Cholistan and lately we had been managing disaster like virus that infested cotton crops in Punjab. We did not have a professional institutional mechanism in place, which NDMA has taken up the responsibility. On behalf of the Punjab government, we are appreciative of these efforts, assistance and guidance in the provinces and districts. This is the best way to do things.”

District Coordination Officers from the 12 Model districts were invited to share their successful experience through the planned interventions, lessons learned and exchange information on best practices that the districts adopted during any recent disaster.

The model districts include Badin, Thatta, Dadu and Tharparkar in Sindh, Quetta and Gawadar in Balochistan, Haripur and Nowshera in KP, Sialkot, Jhang, Bhakkar, and Rajanpur in Punjab and Gilgit in Gilgit-Baltistan province.

During the presentations, it was encouraging that more DDMAs are now functional and started work on strengthening of DRM activities at District and community levels.

The Country Director, UNDP, Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka said “recent Cyclone Phet experiences demonstrated the invaluable evidences of importance of disaster preparedness and mitigation measures implemented by DDMAs and partners. The people of Gwadar were well organized when they were asked to evacuate. All families had essential documents and identity cards with them. The loss of human lives and assets were minimized as compared to earlier disasters. We were able to make a difference in the lives of people because of effective disaster risk management.”

He said that as the co-chairs of UN DRM programme, Wolfgang and Toshihiro concluded that the DDMAs workshop was very successful and productive, and the UN will continue to support communities, District Governments and build national capacity in the upcoming years adding eventually the national stakeholders both governmental and non governmental including the private sector need to build locally tailored mechanisms for enhanced resilience of the communities.

He stressed to have a hope that through a unified approach by combining the strengths of United Nations, Government departments and communities “we will continue to save precious lives and protect livelihood by building capacities for disaster response, recovery, mitigation and preparedness.”

Courtesy: SANA News

Gilgit-Baltistan Maiden Budget

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GILGIT: The maiden budget of Gilgit-Baltistan will likely be presented today after the formation of new government there, Geo news reported. The provincial Finance Minister, Mohammed Ali Akhter, will be presenting budget in Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly. Budget session is due to begin at 10am in Legislative Assembly. Provincial Law minister said the budget will be public-friendly which is nearly 2 billion less than previous budget. He vowed concrete actions for uplift of poor people and quick completion of development projects after passage of budget and its proposals.

Courtesy: The News

University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore, announces entrance test-2010 for admission in Public and Private Medical/Dental Universities in Punjab

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The University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore, will conduct Entrance Test for admission into Public and Private Medical and Dental Institutions of the Punjab on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 at 09:00 A.M. Passing Entrance Test of UHS, with a minimum score of 60% marks, is mandatory for admission into all public or private sector medical or dental institution of the province. It is also a mandatory requirement for University Registration of MBBS and BDS students admitted in all affiliated institutions.

  1. Eligibility Criteria for Entrance Test
    1. A candidate who has appeared in F.Sc. (Pre-Medical) Part-II or Equivalent Examination, provided that
      a) He / she presents F.Sc. (Pre-Medical) Part-I Marks Certificate attested by the Head of his / her Institution.
      b) He / she provides a Certificate issued by the Head of the Institute where he / she is admitted stating that he / she has appeared in F.Sc. (Part-II) or Equivalent.
    2. A candidate who has passed F.Sc. (Pre-Medical) or Equivalent Examination with a minimum of 65% Marks (excluding the marks of Hifz-e-Quran).
  2. Format of Entrance Test
    1. Entrance Test shall consist of 220 multiple choice questions (MCQs) which will be divided in four sections, namely:
      Physics – 60 MCQs
      Chemistry – 60 MCQs
      English – 30 MCQs
      Biology – 70 MCQs
    2. Time allowed for the Entrance Test shall be 150 minutes.
    3. Entrance Test pass percentage is 60%.
  3. Syllabus of Entrance Test
    1. There shall be separate tests for F.Sc. and Non-F.Sc. candidates at the same time from their respective syllabi and books.
    2. Non-F.Sc. candidates taking the test of F.Sc. students shall be disqualified from the test and vice versa.
    3. Syllabi for both F.Sc. and Non-F.Sc. Groups are available at UHS website.
  4. Centres for Entrance Test
    1. Entrance Test 2010 will be held simultaneously in following cities:
      Southern Punjab:Bahawalpur , Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, and D.G. Khan.
      Central Punjab:Lahore, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Gujrat, Gujranwala, and Sargodha.
      Northern Punjab:Rawalpindi and Hasan Abdal
    2. Candidates can mention on their application form the centre city from which they wish to appear in the test. Centres will be allotted by UHS subject to administrative / logistic arrangements which shall not be changed subsequently.
  5. How to Apply for Entrance Test
    1. Entrance Test Application Form, Information Bulletin and Model Papers will be available at UHS and all public sector medical and dental colleges of the province from June 20th to 26th, 2010 (including Sunday) from 08:30 A.M. to 01:30 P.M.
    2. The Entrance Test Application Form, Information Bulletin and Model Papers can also be downloaded from the UHS website
    3. Candidates will submit the duly filled application form along with three passport size photographs attested at the back and copies of F.Sc. (Pre-Medical) Part-I (Part II where available) or Equivalent Examination Certificate and Matric or Equivalent Examination Certificate attested by the Principal of his/her college along with two self addressed and stamped envelopes.
    4. The candidate will submit his/her application from 27th June to 4th July, 2010 in the same city from where he/she wishes to appear in the Entrance Test between 08:30 A.M. to 01:30 P.M.
  6. Orientation Seminars
    1. Orientation seminars for candidates who are appearing in Entrance Test 2010 will be conducted in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sahiwal, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sargodha and Rawalpindi between 5th July to 15th July, 2010. The exact dates and venues will be notified in the newspapers later.
  7. Admission Process
    1. Admission process for public sector medical / dental institutions for the Punjab is separate from that of the Entrance Test.
    2. Admission shall be made strictly according to the rules and regulation and Merit contained in the Prospectus for Session 2010-11, which will be available in August, 2010.
    3. Admission process shall be duly advertised in the national press in the month of August, 2010.
    4. It should be noted that last year the last merit for admission in Public Medical / Dental Colleges in Punjab was 82.6% (aggregate).
  8. IMPORTANT
    1. Candidates must reach their respective centres one hour before the commencement of Entrance Test.
    2. Complaint, if any, against the result may be lodged within 15 days of the declaration of result of Entrance Test. No complaint will be entertained thereafter.

The Government of Punjab has decided to conduct Entrance Test free of charge. No costs will be paid by the Candidate at any level.

Source: http://www.uhs.edu.pk/mcat/et2010.html#two

Locals start widening Hunza lake spillway

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HUNZA, June 17: Hundreds of local people have taken upon themselves a much-awaited task of widening the spillway of the Hunza lake amid protests in Aliabad town against police torture of volunteers leaving for the site.
The volunteers broke police barriers and reached the spillway, where they were joined by about 200 people from Gojal, who had arrived by boats.
The protesters condemned the police action against volunteers and blocked the Karakoram Highway for two hours.
They raised slogans against the Gilgit-Baltistan government, former chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, Gen (retd) Farooq Ahmed Khan and former governor Qamar Zaman Kaira and accused them of destroying four settlements in Gojal. They called for a judicial inquiry against the authorities for lack of timely action.
They urged the government to facilitate volunteers in widening the spillway.
“We don’t have any political agenda and we are here to save our villages from further submersion, as the government is following a policy of wait and see, which is detrimental for Gojal tehsil,” a volunteer said.
They warned the government to stop international trade through the lake formed after submersion of their houses and belongings.
They alleged that the government had refused to run ferries for stranded people but was allowing it to Chinese smugglers.
They said the affected families were facing an uncertain future and the authorities had not yet taken any concrete step to help them.
The volunteers said hey would continue the work on a regular basis, using safe mechanical methods.
The helicopter service from Aliabad and Gojal remained suspended despite clear weather, increasing the problems of the stranded people.
The water level in the lake increased by two inches over the past 24 hours, while erosion around the spillway remained slow. The inflow on Thursday was 6,400 cusecs and outflow 6,350 cusecs.

Courtesy : Daily Dawn

Introduction of Credit Guarantee Scheme for Small and Rural Enterprises of GB

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With a view to motivate the banks to lend to borrowers, which would not have access to credit under normal circumstances, State Bank has launched the Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) for Small and Rural Enterprises with the assistance of Government of Pakistan and donor agencies, says the circular of SBP issued on March 19, 2010.

As per the circular, the Scheme would allow the banks to develop a portfolio of fresh borrowers who are creditworthy, but cannot fit into their usual credit parameters, especially when collaterals are required. It will allow banks to assess Small and Rural Enterprises on the basis of Cash Flows.

Further, the Scheme should not be construed as a permanent source of support; rather an opportunity for the banks to make necessary alignments in strategic direction and meet SME financing needs on a sustainable basis.

The Scheme has been bifurcated into two segments-One for NWFP, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan; whereas the other is reserved for priority clusters/areas of other parts of the country. The eligible Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) will be allocated limits, wherein SBP will share bonafide losses on the loans to the extent of 60% of PFI’s fresh portfolio of financing to Small & Rural Enterprises. In NWFP, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan, all banks would be eligible to apply for limits, while for other areas; few banks will be selected as PFIs. The banks are, therefore, advised to apply for status of PFIs after which limits will be allocated to selected PFIs as per criteria outlined in the scheme.

The Credit Guarantee Scheme is attached as Annexure-I while the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the Scheme are placed at SBP Website

Details can be seen at: http://www.sbp.org.pk/smefd/circulars/2010/C1.htm

Refinance Scheme for Revitalization of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB)

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State Bank of Pakistan has started providing Refinancing facilities (Subsidized Financing) to Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of Gilgit-Baltistan as a measure to generate economic activity in the region, says the circular of SBP issued on March 19, 2010.

Short Term / Working Capital Facility

Under the Scheme banks may provide short term facilities up-to a maximum period of one year to SME units of all categories, of GB to meet working capital requirements.

Medium & Long Term Facility

Under the Scheme banks may also provide Medium & Long Term Facilities for Balancing Modernization and Replacement (BMR)/Up-gradation of existing SME units or installation / setting-up of new SME units in NWFP, GB and FATA. Medium & long term facilities under the Scheme shall be available for purchase / import of plant, machinery and equipments and investment in construction of factory / office / warehouse; and allied infrastructure. Financing facilities shall be provided for a maximum period of 7 years including a grace period of six months.

Financing availed under the Scheme shall have to be utilized for investment in SME units located in NWFP, GB and FATA only. The details of the Scheme are given in attached Annexures.

Note: For details visit SBP at:

http://www.sbp.org.pk/smefd/circulars/2010/C2.htm