Despite financial constraints and disruptions caused by super floods last year, the Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives has released Rs 129 billion for development projects under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the fourth quarter of (2022-23). The Water Resource Division and Higher Education Commission (HEC) have been given top priority in the PSDP, a news release said on Sunday. In the last quarter of 2021-22, there was a zero release for the PSDP, which resulted in the government shrinking the PSDP from Rs 700 billion to Rs 550 billion. According to the latest data provided by the Planning Ministry, an amount of Rs 129b has been released for development projects under PSDP for the fourth quarter (2022-2023), including Rs 27b for Azad Jammu & Kashmir AJK, Gilgit-Baltistan GB and Ex-FATA. An amount of Rs 30 billion was released to the Power Division to speed up the projects like Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Mohmand Dam, Kachi Canal, Nai Gaj Dam, Rs 22 billion for the Ministry of Communications to expedite the projects like Khuzdar-Kuchlak Road, Dualization & Improvement of Old Bannu Road, and Rs 8 billion for the HEC projects. Similarly, an amount of Rs 4 billion was released for the Ministry of Housing and Works, Rs 8 billion for the Ministry of Railway, and Rs 5 billion for the Power Division. Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who has been constantly struggling to cope with the economic challenges, has taken several initiatives for the country’s development, particularly the development of Balochistan which faced devastation in the recent floods. The minister said the PML-N government during its last tenure from 2013 to 2018 uplifted the national economy by executing several mega development projects and introducing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But unfortunately, Ahsan Iqbal said the experiment of bringing the PTI rule shrank the PSDP to Rs 500 billion in April 2021. The planning ministry, he said, was committed to allocating funds for development projects despite financial constraints, and the release of Rs 129b for PSDP would be a significant step towards achieving the country’s development goals. The ministry aims to prioritize the Water Resources and the HEC sectors to ensure the smooth implementation of social development initiatives, he reiterated.