Rs 1.68 trillion Punjab budget announced

The Punjab government on Monday presented a development-oriented budget with a total outlay of Rs 1681.41billion for fiscal year 2016-17.

This is the fourth budget of 16th Punjab Assembly chaired by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal and presented by Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha.

General Receipts have been estimated at Rs 1,319 billion, while province’s share in the Federal Divisible Pool (NFC Award) is Rs 1,039 billion.

Under the provincial revenue, Punjab is expected to generate income of Rs 280 billion (taxes – Rs 184.40 billion; non-tax revenue Rs 95.61 billion).

Finance Minister stated that provincial government had laid down five priorities in the proposed budget. These were in the sectors of health, education, agriculture, law & order and provision of clean water.

The minister stated that Rs 168.87 billion had been placed for development of education, health, water supply & sanitation, women development and social security in the proposed budget.

This is 31 percent of the development budget, according to her. The Finance Minister said that besides initiating computerisation of record, Punjab government is establishing E-Khidmat centres in divisional headquarters of the province.

She said the government had allocated Rs 43.83 billion under the head of health in the coming fiscal year.

Pasha averred that Rs 73.323 billion is being kept on development of education sector in the proposed budget.

The Minister stated that Rs 12 billion has been allocated for Punjab Education Foundation in the proposed 2016-17 budget.

She stated that Rs one billion has been earmarked for special children in the coming fiscal year.

Pasha stated that under the head of Agriculture an amount of Rs 50 billion has been kept for Kissan Package in the new fiscal year.

She said Rs 147 billion has been allocated for Irrigation, Livestock, Forests, fisheries. Minister Finance stated that more than Rs 100 billion loans would be granted to small farmers in the coming budget 2016-17.

Finance Minister Punjab said that Rs 41 billion has been allocated to development of irrigation.

Appreciating services of the late Colonel Shuja Khanzada (Shaheed) and others who laid down their lives in the war on terrorism she stated that provincial government was initiating Punjab Safety Programme in six big cities (Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Multan and Bahawalpur).

She stated that Dolphin Police, Police Emergency Response Unit, Counter Terrorism Department are some of the measures to improve law and order in Punjab.

Speaking about efforts of her government in generation of energy, she stated that they were providing finances towards completion of 16 projects.

She stated that power projects (Haveli Bhadur Shah-1230MW, Balloki123 MW, Qadirabad/Sahiwal 1320MW) would be complete by December 2017.

The minister stated that electricity had been provided to national grid from Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park since July 2015.

The minister said that a project had been initiated to provide 900MW under the CPEC – China Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

Punjab Minister Finance averred that different projects of 6554 megawatt are being undertaken in the province currently.

She stated that provincial government had created a Minorities Development Fund of Rs 460 million.

The minister stated that government laying a special emphasis on development of southern Punjab.

In this regard, it has allocated Rs 173 billion to this region. She stated that the creation of Help Desk for Women in Police Stations, establishment of Women Protection Center and other measures were taken by the provincial government in coming fiscal year.

She said that Rs 50.83 billion is being allocated to irrigation projects in the coming fiscal year.

She stated that the government has raised salaries and pensions of government servants by 10 percent.

She said pays of workers have also been proposed to be increased from Rs 13,000 to Rs 14,000 in the coming fiscal year.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was present in the house on the occasion. The proceedings of the assembly were later adjourned by the chair.

APP adds: Giving A break-up of the budget receipts and expenditures, she said that next financial year’s general revenue recipts estimated at Rs 1319 billion, as the provincial government would receive a total of Rs 1039 billion from federal divisible pool under National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, while a total Rs 280 billion from provincial own revenues which include 184.40 billion tax revenue and Rs 95.61 billion non-tax revenues.

Dr Ayesha Ghous said that out of the Rs 550 billion ADP, Rs 168.87 billion had been proposed to be allocated for vital social sector that encompasses Education, Health, Water Supply and Sanitation, Women Development and social security.

He mentioned that social sector development budget consisted of 31 percent of the total ADP. She said that next fiscal year’s the ADP of Rs 550 billion was 37.5 percent higher than the Rs 400 billion ADP of current financial year ending June 30, 2016.

She expressed the hope that huge allocation for the ADP would result in creation of 500,000 new employment opportunities due to initiation of developmental programmes. During the next Financial Year, she added, the government’s total running expenditures/non-development funds estimates calculated at Rs 849.94 billion. -Business Recorder