LAHORE: The Punjab government is committed to devise pragmatic strategies, acquire required resources and pursue public-private partnerships to achieve optimum human development indices.

Presenting the government’s commitment through a declaration at the concluding session of a two-day Punjab Human Development Forum on Wednesday, Planning and Development Department Chairman Jehanzeb Khan said the government would work hand in hand with the support of and provide support to all development partners working in Punjab.

He said the government would also facilitate the stakeholders both strategically and financially to initiate programmes and reforms that would ensure equitable, inclusive and sustainable human development.

“The government has shown commitment to increase budgetary allocations for good governance mechanisms and equitable access to health, education, water, sanitation and health, family planning and nutrition,” he said.

Khan said the government would also support and recognise the efforts of local non-profit organisations and research think-tanks and seriously consider all policy feedback and recommendations. “With this promise, the government will move towards an even better, equitable, sustainable and inclusive Punjab,” he added.

Mr Khan said the Punjab government would be focusing more on the needs of the vast majority by investing and re-investing on those, who lack means including capital and the ability to grow. He acknowledged that the vast majority in the province was not in a happy state as they were facing issues of nutrition and not well-fed, did not have access to clean drinking water, lack good hygienic sanitary conditions and ability to equip themselves with new skills through education.

Mr Khan said the P&D department would analyse the recommendations of the forum and drive the budgeting process beginning in a few weeks or so.

Minister for national health services regulation and coordination Saira Afzal Tarar said the concept of human development should not only be debated but implemented with strong political will. Acknowledging the importance of infrastructure including roads and bridges, she called for the need to invest more and more in human development.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2018