ISLAMABAD - The federal government is devising a multi-year development programme for the Federal Administered Tribal Areas aiming at empowering the youth with modern education and bringing prosperity to the entire area.

Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt. Gen. (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch told the National Assembly during the Question Hour on Monday that the federal government was fully aware of the situation in FATA and devising a strategy to bring reforms in the entire area.

He further said the government is currently taking keen interest in improvement of technical education in FATA. He informed the House that all the Vocational Training Centers and Commercial Training Institutes were upgraded to the level of Government Technical Institute (Mono Tech) and Government College of Commerce and Management Science where three-year diplomas with short courses and B.Com/BBA/BIT/DIT, etc. are started.

Elaborating his standpoint, the minister said the Government Technical Institute, Khar, Bajaur Agency, was upgraded to the level of govt college of technology during 2011-12.

Govt. Polytechnic Institute was established at Parachinar, Kurram Agency, in 2012-13. Govt. Technical Institute Chaghmalai, SWA, was established during 2011-12 with three-year Electrical Technology and short courses, Govt. College of Management Sciences WANA was completed and will start functioning as and when the ban on appointment is lifted.

Answering another query, Qadir informed the House that the Political Administration in coordination with the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) has established Village Defense Committees in FATA where it was possible.

“In FATA the LEAs are busy taking action against the miscreant/ terrorists. In Mohmand and Bdjur Agencies after successful operations of security forces writ of the government has been established. The miscreants in these agencies have shifted across the border to Afghanistan and they are involved in attacks on LEAs on this side of border on check posts.

He made it loud and clear that this has been done in accordance with the collective & territorial responsibilities of the tribesmen under Section-21 of FCR. The involvement of locals in protection of their territories is in line with the tribal customs and has always been used as a tool for ensuring peace and stability in the Tribal Areas.

Responding to another question asked by MNA Nafeesa Anayatullah Khattak, Abdul Qadir Baloch, said, the government was providing free books in addition to scholarship to students in FATA in order to increase the enrollment rate. All male and female students from KG to 10th class in government schools are availing this benefit since 2005-06.

Additionally, the female students of government schools, from class 6th to 10th in entire FATA are given a monthly scholarship of Rs.200 per month per student. The male and female students in government primary schools are given 75g of biscuits packet everyday and females from middle up to secondary schools are given 4.5 kg tin of edible oil on monthly basis.

“It is expected that enrollment of students will be increased by at least 10 per cent in the forthcoming academic session 2014-15,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi informed the House that the minimum pension being paid to an insured person presently is Rs.3600 per month while maximum monthly pension currently stands at Rs. 6240 depending upon the length of service of the insured person. He, however, said the government was planning to enhance minimum monthly pension to Rs. 6000.