Pakistan

Punjab unveils Rs1970 bn budget amid anti-govt slogans

LAHORE: The Punjab government on Friday approved  the provincial budget 2017-18 with a total outlay of over Rs 1970 billion amid strong anti-government chanting by opposition legislators in Punjab Assembly. 

Punjab Finance Minister Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha presented the provincial budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 in the provincial assembly, amid constant slogans by opposition lawmakers against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

In her budget speech, the finance minister said despite all difficulties, a balanced budget has been presented. She said international financial institutions are now terming Pakistan as an emerging economy due to successful economic measures.

She said Punjab is expecting an income of Rs 1154bn from the federal government, and there is an estimate of provincial revenue worth Rs 348bn, and general revenue worth Rs 1501bn.

She said a huge amount of Rs635bn with a increase in 29.5 percent have been proposed for the next fiscal year’s Annual Development Program, which are the hallmarks of transparency and speedy completion.

The finance minister said that 59 percent of the budget have been allocated for education, health, agriculture, law and order and local governments, and Rs 1017bn have been allocated for these sectors.

She proposed ten percent raise in the salaries of the provincial government employees and pensions, while the minimum monthly wages of labourers and industrial workers will now be Rs15,000.

She said that Rs345.4 bn have been allocated for education sector, while Rs235.1 rupees has been allocated for the District Education authorities.

In addition, Rs 6.5 bn have been allocated for the Zewar-e-Taalim Program, while ten thousand schools will be converted to solar energy under the Khadim-e-Punjab Ujaala Program.

Also, the Punjab government will provide free text books at public schools worth Rs3.5 bn, and restore twelve hundred school buildings at the cost of Rs4 bn.The Khadim e Punjab School Program has also been allocated Rs5bn to fulfill all infrastructure needs of government schools.

The Punjab government will setup the Education Initiative Management Authority in Punjab for which Rs7 bn have been allocated, while Rs5 bn have allocated for Punjab Education Endowment Fund which would benefit 350,000 students.

She said that 32 percent of development budget is being fixed for the social sector. Higher education has been allocated Rs4 bn, while fifty new degree colleges, teachers academies and three new universities will be setup.

Pasha said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would prove a game changer in the region and various power generation and infrastructure projects are being completed  under its flagship in Pakistan.

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