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LAHORE: The Punjab government presented budget for financial year 2024-25 with a total outlay of Rs 5,446 billion in the Punjab Assembly session on Thursday.

In its first annual budget, the present government allocated a hefty amount of Rs 842 billion under Annual Development Programme (ADP). This amount is 28 percent more as compared to the current year’s Annual Development program of Rs 655 billion. The total income estimates of the province will be 4,643 billion.

According to the proposed budget 30 percent of the budget has been allocated to development sector, 29 percent to infrastructure, 13 percent to production sector and five percent to services sector.

The Punjab government will get more than 3,683 billion from divisible pool under National Finance Commission. The Punjab government will collect more than Rs 960 billion under the head of provincial receipts which is fifty percent more than the last year. Punjab Revenue Authority will collect Rs 300 billion, Board of Revenue will collect Rs 105 billion and Excise department will collect Rs 57 billion under receipts. The government will collect more than Rs 488 billion under the head of Non Tax Revenue.

As per the proposed budget government has allocated more than Rs 603 billion of the payment of salaries, 451 billion for the payment of pension and more than Rs 857 billion for local government.

Finance minister Punjab Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman during his budget speech announced that government has allocated more than Rs 669 billion for education which is thirteen percent more than the current financial year.

According to the proposed budget documents government has allocated more than Rs 42 billion for schools education. The government has allocated more than Rs 26 billion for Punjab Higher Education Foundation.

The government has allocated Rs 17 billion for the development of higher education in the province.

The government has allocated more than Rs 539 billion for health sector which is fourteen percent more than the current budget. The government has allocated more than Rs 42 billion for primary and secondary health care which is fifty four percent more than the current year.

The government has announced to allocate more than Rs 64 billion for agriculture sector which is one hundred and twenty seven percent more than current year. The government has also announced to allocate Rs 30 billion for chief minister Punjab Green Tractor Program.

The government has announced to allocate Rs 143 billion for the development of roads out of which government has allocated more than Rs 58 billion for the ongoing projects.

Finance minister said development of the South Punjab is the priority of the PML (N) government. He announced to allocate funds for the Rehabilitation of Roads of 684 kilometer in South Punjab. Government has allocated more than Rs 31 billion for the rehabilitation of road from Muzaffar Garh to Trainda Muhammad Pannah. Rs 13 billion have been allocated for the construction and rehabilitation of Multan to Vehari road. Rs 12 billion allocated for Burewala to Vehari road, Rs 10 billion allocated for the construction and rehabilitation of 581 basic health units.

The government has allocated more than Rs 8 billion for the provision of environment friendly buses from Multan to Bahawalpur, allocation of Rs 7 billion for the completion of Multan Safe City project.

The government has also allocated Rs 4 billion for starting non formal schools. Rs 2 billion has been allocated for Asset Transfer to Women of South Punjab and Rs 1 billion has been allocated for the construction of cancer center in Nishtar hospital Multan.

The Punjab government has increased the salaries of provincial employees from grade 1 to 16 by 25%, and from grade 17 to 22 by 20%. The government has also increased the pension by 15%. The minimum wage of laborers has been increased from Rs 32,000 to Rs 37,000.

Major development programs and initiatives for financial year 2024-25 include allocation of Rs 10 billion for the “Apna Ghar” program, providing loans to 500,000 farmers worth Rs 75 billion. Additionally, Rs 9 billion will be spent on the Chief Minister’s Solarization of Tubewells Program, which will benefit 7,000 tube wells. Government will provide tractors of worth Rs 30 billion without interest. The government will also establish a model agriculture market in Lahore at a cost of Rs 5 billion.

The Chief Minister’s District Development Program will be launched with an allocation of Rs 80 billion, which will cater to the development needs of the districts. The government will spend Rs 296 billion on the construction and repair of 2,380 kilometers of roads, and Rs 135 billion on the repair and maintenance of 482 schemes for dilapidated roads.

An amount of Rs 2.5 billion has been allocated for the Undergraduate Scholarship Program, and Rs 2.97 billion for the Chief Minister’s Skill Development Program to promote the textile industry. The government will establish the first-ever Punjab Garment City at a cost of Rs 3 billion, and the “Kheltay Punjab” project will be launched with an allocation of Rs 7 billion.

Basic sports facilities will be provided in all provincial constituencies, and an amount of Rs 6.5 billion has been allocated for the repair and reconstruction of existing sports facilities across Punjab.

Finance minister said that Digital Punjab is becoming a reality, and the Nawaz Sharif IT city established in Lahore is a significant step towards achieving this goal. The government aims to provide easy access to the internet under the Digital Punjab project.”

According to budget documents free Wi-Fi facilities have been launched in various locations in Lahore, which will be extended to other districts of Punjab.

Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman has announced good news for students, as the CM Punjab Laptop Scheme is being restarted with a budget of Rs 10 billion. He also said that young people will make their mark in the IT world and instead of petrol, they will be given laptops.

With a budget of Rs 670 million, the establishment of the Autism State-of-the-Art School in Lahore is underway.

Chief Minister’s Schools Meal Program will be launched with a budget of Rs 1 billion for the mental and physical development of children. Daycare centers will be established across Punjab with a budget of Rs 1 billion for working women.

The Chief Minister’s Himmat Card Program will be launched with a budget of Rs 2 billion for people with disabilities. Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman announced that the Chief Minister’s Skilled Development Program will be launched with a budget of Rs 1 billion for the transgender community. A Minority Development Fund of Rs 2.5 billion will be established for the welfare of minorities, and the Nawaz Sharif Institute of Cancer Treatment and Research in Lahore will be established with a budget of Rs 56 billion.

The Nawaz Sharif Institute of Cardiology will be established in Sargodha with a budget of Rs 8.84 billion. Air Ambulance Service will be launched with a budget of Rs 450 million. The Clinic on Wheels project will be launched with a budget of Rs 1 billion, under which 200 ambulances will be made operational.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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