ISLAMABAD The ruling PPP and its coalition partners are not on the same page over the issue of reducing the number of ministries in the federal government from 52 to around 35. According to well-placed sources, Secretary Finance Sulman Siddiq, and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Nargis Saithi, were calling the shots in the governments austerity drive by cutting its size. However, the government is to finalize the cabinet reduction early next week, the sources added. The sources told TheNation that the MQM was not in favour of merging the Ports and Shipping Ministry back to the Communication Ministry. Meanwhile, the MQM was also not in favour of merging the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis with the Labour and Manpower. Both the reports of National Commission on Government Reforms under former Governor State Bank Dr Ishrat Hussain and the Shaukat Tarin Committee have recommended merger of postal, ports and shipping, and telecom into the Communication Ministry. The Information Technology should go back with the Science and Technology, it is recommended. Shaukat Tarin Committee also wants the abolition of the Education and the Health ministries. The sources were of the view that a Human Development Ministry as proposed by the NCGR should include Health, Women Development, Population Welfare, and Social Welfare. Education, the sources said, could be merged into the Culture, Sports, Tourism, and Youth Affairs as one Ministry. Since the Education and Health were the provincial subjects, only work on standards for both the areas is to be done at the centre level. Therefore, the sources added, some subordinate institutions under a lean set-up could serve these purposes. The sources pointed out that the merging of Ministries would not serve the purpose, unless the redundant outfits attached to these Ministries were not abolished. The Planning and Revenue Divisions have already been merged into the Finance Division. Human Rights and Parliamentary Affairs have also gone to the Law Ministry. Finance Ministry believes that the Privatization Division should also be merged into the Finance. However, the sources observed that there were bleak chances of the Privatization Divisions merger in the Finance Ministry. The sources also pointed out that there used to be only the Cabinet Secretariat in traditional governance plan and there was no room for an extended set-up of Prime Ministers Secretariat. The Cabinet Secretariat, housing both the Cabinet Division and the Establishment Division, was supposed to serve as the PMs Secretariat as well. It was also proposed that the Commerce, Industry and the Textile Ministries should be merged into one. However, the sources said, the Ministries of Industry and Commerce were most likely to stay as separate. The government was also not inclined to implement another plausible proposal of creating an Energy Ministry by merging the Petroleum and Natural Resources and the Water and Power Ministry. However, Narcotics Control Ministry is most likely to be merged into the Interior Ministry.