ISLAMABAD: Under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), the government has allocated Rs 35,662 million for the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for fiscal year 2017-18. According to budgetary documents, a total amount of Rs 9188.651 million has been earmarked for the new schemes of the HEC, while Rs 26474.150 million would be spent on the ongoing schemes. According to the budgetary plan, several new universities and their campuses will be opened. It added that in the first phase 22 new campuses of the existed universities will be opened at district level. In fiscal year 2017-18, five new universities, including University of Baltistan (GB), University of Chitral, Agriculture University in Dera Ismail Khan, University at Gwadar and Federal University in Hyderabad Sindh will be launched. The commission has been allocated amount for the new important schemes, including Development of Academic and Research Infrastructure of University of Gwadar, with total funding of Rs 200 million, while Rs 400 million has been earmarked for Establishment of National Science and Technology Park (NSTP) at Central Campus NUST (Public Private Partnership). An amount of Rs 240 million has been allocated for the establishments of sub-campuses of public sector universities at district level (Phase-II). A total of Rs 300 million has also been allocated for the establishment of university campus of CIIT, Kala Shah Kaku. The ongoing schemes of the HEC included establishment of Women University Multan for which Rs 339 million has been earmarked, while Rs 300 million would be spent on the provision of higher education opportunities for students of Balochistan and FATA (Phase-I Rs 1736 million allocated for establishment of sub-campuses of public sector universities at district level. A sum of Rs 550 million has been earmarked for the Fulbright Scholarships Support Programme of HEC-USAID Phase-2, while Rs 527 million has been allocated for Pak-USAID Merit and Need Based Scholarship Programme (Phase-II). A sum of Rs 350 million would be spent on PhD scholarship programme under Pak-US Knowledge Corridor(Phase-I), while an amount of Rs 384 million will be utilised for the Strengthening and Upgradation of the universities of backward areas. Moreover, the initiatives to provide scholarships to the Afghan students will be enhanced more in this financial year. The new phase of the programme namely award of additional 3,000 Allama Muhammad Iqbal scholarship to Afghan students. The projects for up gradation of infrastructure on universities will also be an important aspect of programs in 2017-18. Those include up gradation of Bannu University of Science and Technology, campus of Turbat University, development and improvement of the facilities at Ghazi University Dera Ghazi Khan, expansion up gradation of International Islamic University Islamabad, strengthening of Dawood University Karachi and up-gradation of Hazara university campus Havelian campus. Furthermore, it estimated that a total of 2,610 Master/MPhil leading to PhD and PhD scholarships will be provided to the students during the year 2017-18. This will include 1,350 indigenous and 1,260 foreign scholarships. In addition to that 2,136 bachelor level students will get need based scholarships. Under fee reimbursement programme, 40,000 students across the country will be accommodated. The officials in the HEC viewed that the overall budget has been increased. However, the proposed budget was not approved by HE C Board and even provincial governments and other stakeholders were not consulted. They further said that almost 89 percent universities 160 out of 183 are universities which are under the domain of provincial governments. There has not been so much increase in recurring budget which is meant for day to day expenditure of universities, research and hiring of faculty etc. Moreover, they said that according to Federal Audit Report 2015-16, 47 percent of the total development budget Rs 1324.67 million out of 2762.30 remained unutiltised.