LAHORE - The Punjab government is all set to fix massive funds to give allowances upto Rs 60,000 to District Monitoring Officers (DMOs) posted in various districts of the province to scrutinise social reforms, especially in health and education sectors, TheNation has learnt.

Sources privy to the development told this scribe that working paper in this regard is in progress and after the approval of Review & Rationalisation Committee to whom the Chief Secretary chairs, the amount for the monitoring officers will be finalised.

The Committee may review the Chief Secretary’s recommendations, sources stated.

It is to be noted that the CS had already decided to increase the amount to a maximum level that may cross Rs 50,000.

They said that earlier, the Punjab Education Sector Reform Programme officers in 2004 had drawn Rs 15,000 that was increased later up to Rs 20,000.

PESRP engaged the District Management Group (DMG), ex-PSS, ex-PCS and PMS Officers on heavy allowances in addition to salaries, luxurious conveyance and powers.

The allowance was withdrawn later as the sponsoring agencies including the World Bank and ADB refused to finance the reforms programme.

The DMOs were appointed during the then govt of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in 2004 after govt’s commitment to devolve powers to the grass root level by National Reconstruction Bureau.

Moreover, the purpose was to restructure the bureaucratic set up and create new seats after abolishing of the district magistracy.

Besides funds, luxury vehicles were also offered to the DMOs who were to ensure the guidelines and internal monitoring through their team of Monitoring and Evaluation Assistants (MEAs).

The purpose of such appointments was to develop equity within the school, increasing students enrolment, controlling dropout, increasing teacher student ratio, reducing teacher absentees and monitoring of the schools.

Sources in the S&GAD disclosed that the monitoring was inversely affected when the government’s focus on the programme reduced.

It was decided that the DMOs would report to a steering committee formed to monitor reforms and the Chief Minister would himself supervise the activities.

The Secretaries concerned as members of the committee will have to regularly collect reports to monitor the progress of projects in various districts.

The committees and the DMOs could not ensure transparent and speedy completion of public welfare reform projects. Thus the donor agencies had to stop funding.

Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif’s government intends to spend generously on Education Sector Reforms and the current move to fix over Rs 50,000 funds for the DMOs was a clear indication towards change.

ACS Sohail Amir Mirza was not available for comments.