ISLAMABAD - The main opposition parties are all set to lock horns with the federal government over federal ministries' failure to submit budget proposals for 2014-15 to respective standing committees.
The major opposition parties (PPP-P and PTI) will seek reasons for missing the deadline of January 31, 2014 to submit proposals to the parliamentary committees for recommendations.
The federal govt, currently entangled in terrorism issue, will be questioned about failure in its own introduced amendment for submitting proposals to the respective standing committee of the NA for scrutiny and recommendations for modifications.
Background interviews and discussions with the senior lawmakers of main opposition parties left this impression that though this practice was new for federal ministries, the government should have at least condoned the period through legal process.
Each ministry is supposed to submit its budgetary proposals relating to Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the next financial year not later than the 31st January each year to the concerned standing committee of the National Assembly.
It would not be out of place to mention here that an amendment moved by a PML-N lawmaker Anusha Rehman, (incumbent state minister for information technology & telecom) in PPP's era, in the 13th National Assembly on January 29, 2013.
Sources said that both the opposition parties will raise this point in the upcoming National Assembly sitting (9th session) as most of the ministries have yet to fulfil constitutional obligation. They said some of the ministries have almost finalised the recommendation but still they have not submitted their proposals.
It is relevant to mention here that PPP's senior legislator had raised this issue in the previous sitting (8th session) on point of order but he did not receive satisfactory response to condone this period or fulfil the required requirement.
When contacted, PPP's senior MNA Naveed Qamar said they would emphasise the government to fulfil the requirement of submitting proposals for recommendations. "It should be fulfilled as further delay would not be good," he added.
Despite repeated attempts State Minister for Information Technology & Telecom Anusha Rehman was not available on phone to share her remarks.
According to the proposed Amendment in rule 201: "That in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007, in rule 201, after sub-rule (5), the following new sub-rule (6), shall be added, namely: "(6) Each Standing Committee shall scrutinize and suggest amendments, if necessary, and recommend Ministry's Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the next financial year before the same is sent to the Ministry of Finance for inclusion in the Federal Budget for the next financial year. Each Ministry shall submit its budgetary proposals relating to Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the next financial year to the relevant Standing Committee not later than the 31st January of preceding financial year and the Standing Committee shall make recommendations thereon not later than the 1st March of the preceding financial year: Provided that where such recommendations are not made by the 1st March, the same shall be deemed to have been endorsed by the Standing Committee."
Commenting on the government's failure, the legal gurus said the federal government would condone it in the upcoming NA sitting and fulfil this requirement to use recommendation in federal budget 2014-15.