PESHAWAR, Oct 6: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, through the proposed Local Government Bill, 2013, intends to re-devolve several departments to the districts, but in phases.
Officials told Dawn that provincial government departments would not be devolved to districts at once rather in four phases.
The proposed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Bill, 2013 would be tabled in the provincial assembly’s session, commencing from Monday. The provincial government departments, to be devolved to districts, have been divided into four parts. Each part would be devolved in a specific duration.
The mechanism for the devolution of departments has been given in Section 12 of the proposed Local Government Bill, 2013. It states that the administrative and financial authority for the management of offices of government, specified in Part-A of the First Schedule of the proposed law, in a district shall stand devolved to the district government.
Similarly, within six months after implementation of the law the administrative and financial authority for the management of the offices of government and functions specified in Part-B of the First Schedule in a district shall stand devolved to the district government of that district.
According to the proposed law, the offices mentioned in Part-C of the Schedule should be devolved within nine months. Apart from that, the government may set up offices specified in part-D of the Schedule in the City District of Peshawar, the proposed law states.
Section 13 of the proposed law explains that the authority of district government shall comprise the operation, management and control of offices of the departments, which are devolved to it, provided the district government shall exercise such authority in accordance with general policy of government.
The Part-A of the Schedule consists of 12 departments, to be devolved in the first three months after the promulgation of the law. At this stage, several education departments including elementary and secondary education department, technical education, vocational education, special education, adult education and literacy have been given preference.
Besides the education departments, the Part-A also consists of other departments including mother and child health centres, basic health units, rural health centres, social welfare, community development, sports and culture and revenue and estate departments.
The Part-B of the devolution plan consists of 13 departments including public health and public health engineering, agriculture (extension), livestock, on-farm water management, soil conservation and soil fertility, fisheries, cooperatives, social and farm-forestry, population welfare, hospitals other than district headquarters, teaching and tertiary hospitals, rural development and rural works, district roads and buildings, coordination, human resource management, planning, development, finance and budgeting functions for the devolved offices.
The Part-C of the proposed law, names those department that would be devolved within nine months after its implementation. The third part consists of hospitals other than teaching and tertiary hospitals and colleges.
The forth part includes public transport, public transportation and mass transit, passenger and freight transit terminals traffic planning, engineering and parking departments.
These departments had already been devolved to districts under the Local Government Ordinance 2001, introduced during the military government of Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf.However, with the promulgation of the Local Government Act, 2013, these departments were reverted to the provincial government in the last days of the ANP-led provincial government.