ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to transform the Planning Commission into a knowledge-based think tank to guide the country’s decision-making forum from its current nature of just a project approving and monitoring agency.

Appointment of a full-fledged federal minister for planning and development is the first step towards upgrading the Planning Commission to an independent think tank as compared to a commission which was a division subordinate to the finance ministry that used to be headed by deputy chairman planning commission or at best by a minister of state.

Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday that he would also act as deputy chairman planning commission along side performing his duties as a minister.

“It will be a two-in-one assignment,” he said.

Mr Iqbal said he had given a target to the Planning Commmisson to convert into a paperless organisation and put all plan, summaries, and provincial projects and funds on website and give access to provincial governments through e-government.

Also, it has been decided that no visitor would be allowed in the Planning Commission before 11am everyday so that officers and staff could concentrate on their work instead of entertaining outsiders who would be free to visit after 11am.

He said the Planning Commission would soon advertise vacant posts of members to the commission to attract people of knowledge and experience from outside Pakistan as well to join it.

The commission is introducing cash awards and bonuses on performance by giving maximum bonuses to top 15 per cent performances.

From next month, the Planning Commission would start distinctive lecture series by inviting economists and development experts from throughout the world to share their knowledge and experience with Pakistani human resource officials.

All section chiefs have been directed to produce at least two research papers every year besides their sectoral duties to upgrade their knowledge and vision.