ISLAMABAD - While answering to the question of Riaz Fatyana on population explosion during National Assembly question hour on Monday, Federal Minister for Population Welfare Dr Firdous Awan said the government might impose tax on kids more than the permissible number if the Parliament gave nod to do so. She said that there was no doubt that the country needed to control the population explosion which was causing the menaces of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and terrorism, adding, But in my opinion, if excess kids are to be taxed, we should start it from the parliamentarians. PML-Q MNA Riaz Fatyana had asked the Minister whether there was any plan to impose a tax on the excess kids. The Minister in response called for backing from the Parliament to impose the tax, further saying that concrete efforts of both the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Population Welfare were necessary to address the root causes of population growth. The National Assembly was also told that health insurance would be integral part of new Health Policy that would be shortly announced. The Ministry of Health in a written reply told the House that the health insurance was meant to provide protection against catastrophic health expenditure, especially to those living below poverty line. The Ministry further told the House that the health insurance policy would be implemented from the next year when the funds proposed by the Ministry of Health in that regard would be made available in the next fiscal year. This will cover about four million poor people in the country initially, told the Ministry. To another question, the Ministry of Social Welfare told the House that there were more than 100,000 NGOs working in the country. However, the Ministry said that due to fragmented legal and regulatory framework, exact number of NGOs was unknown. The Ministry of Social Welfare told the House that it had developed a national database of NGOs which contained data of 45,000 NGOs registered under different laws. The Ministry is neither the registration nor the monitoring authority under any of the major laws governing the NGOs. Therefore, monitoring the activities and performance of NGOs does not come under the ambit of the Ministry, says the Ministry. To another question, Federal Minister for Railways told the House that Pakistan intended to extend rail links up to Central Asian States through Afghanistan from Chaman. It further revealed that the feasibility study for new rail link from Chaman to Kandhar (105 kilometres) had been completed. Federal Minister for Population Welfare Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan told the National Assembly that her Ministry was planning to establish eight Safe Mother Homes in the next five years (2009-2014). These centres will be primarily focusing upon antenatal care, delivery services and counselling for family planning services which would reduce maternal mortality ratio (MMR) and infant mortality rate (IMR), said the Minister. She told the House that so far the PC-1 of the project was being prepared and an allocation of Rs 100 million had been kept in the PSDP of the financial year 2009-10. Replying to a question, Minister for Population Welfare Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said total population of the country as projected on 30th of November last year was one hundred sixty three millions. She said Pakistan was the 6th populous country of the world after China, India, USA, Indonesia and Brazil. Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Muhammad Gondal informed the House that 68 new crop varieties had been developed and about 52 more were in the pipeline. He told the House during question hour that each new variety had the potential of 10 to 20 per cent high yield and resistant to insect, pest and diseases. He said that the adoption of integrated pest management had reduced pesticide use in the target area by 38 per cent and had increased cotton production by about 55 per cent. He said that grain quality testing laboratories at Islamabad and Karachi had been established and accredited for quality assurance of agricultural products intended for international trade. The Minister said that tea production technology had been standardised and about 4.6 million tea plants had been distributed among the farmers who planted tea at about 607 acres of land. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Ammad told the House that Sir Creek issue between Pakistan and India was close to resolution but further progress was halted by suspension of composite dialogue process by New Delhi after Mumbai attacks. He said that the resolution of Siachin and Sir Creek issues would facilitate the settlement of other issues including Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The Minister of State said that Pakistan believed that instead of halting the composite dialogue, it would be better to resume the process in greater interests of the both countries and the regional peace. The National Assembly was also informed that Pakistan Baitul Maal was establishing medical centres at each provincial headquarter and Islamabad for treatment of Hepatitis-C with the cost of Rs 250 million.