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LAHORE: The Punjab Finance Department has released Rs47 billion earmarked for 3605 development projects under District Development Programme across the province for the financial year 2021-2022.

This release is part of the District Development Package of Rs360 billion announced earlier this year by Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar as part of a balanced district development strategy to redress the grievances of all districts on equitable grounds, said the Punjab Finance Department here on Tuesday.

Commenting on equitable distribution of funds, Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht said that the provincial government is pursuing a development agenda based on equitable growth for all districts throughout the province. "The District Development Programme is at the core of addressing inequality of opportunities for less developed districts not only in terms of social inclusion but also at bringing them at par with the rest of the province. Urban centres are also not discriminated against and Lahore gets 234 projects under this programme."

It is pertinent to mention here that out of the top 10 districts with the highest uplift projects, seven are from South Punjab, where the indicators for poverty, health, education and infant mortality have been dismal. Moreover, the district development package dispenses off the widely held perception that large budgetary allocations of development funds are concentrated in specific areas only.

In this connection, Punjab Finance Secretary Iftikhar Ali Sahoo said that all projects were identified after a very comprehensive and inclusive process. "Recommendations from a wide range of stakeholders at the district level were taken into account, setting out a more inclusive and evidence-based approach towards allocating funds for these projects at the grass-root level," he added.

"The finance department is providing requisite funds for implementation of public needs projects under the District Development Programme on priority," he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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