LAHORE: Advisor to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain says the proposal on merger of Urdu Science Board, Urdu Dictionary Board and National Language Promotion Department (NLPD) is aimed at further improving their working and making them independent. However, he adds, that no final decision has been made in this regard yet as the proposal is at initial stages with consultations still continuing on the matter.

“The proposed move would not affect the working and function of Urdu Science Board and Urdu Dictionary Board and both the boards would continue functioning in the same way as they are doing now. Rather the move would improve their style of working and make them more productive,” he explained while talking to Dawn in reply to its story “Urdu Science Board in peril”. Dr Ishrat Hussain is heading the Task Force on Austerity and Restructuring of the Government that has forwarded the proposal for merger of three institutes. He claimed that the merger proposal can be modified or totally changed as consultations were still in process.

He said the task force’s proposal was aimed at giving more autonomy to these institutes as the NLPD would be turned into the National Language Promotion Authority. The authority would work under a board of governors (BoG) which would include literary luminaries and experts.

“The employees and the workforce of Urdu Science Board and Urdu Dictionary Board under the new authority would continue working as they are doing now. The heads of the boards would have more independence regarding the use of funds and decision-making.”

Dr Ishrat says the move would make the boards under the new authority independent of any intervention by officialdom and they would collaborate with universities and other institutes working for promotion of Urdu. Underlying the importance of the national language and literature and books written in it, he said, “Urdu language and books in it on science and modern knowledge are important. Nobody can deny this fact but there are other institutions as well universities working on it. The Urdu Science Board and Urdu Dictionary Board would be able to collaborate with them freely under the new authority,” Dr Ishrat said and added that the actual vision was promotion of Urdu. He claimed that the proposed move would only strengthen the already existing boards.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2019