Punjab presents budget amid opposition's uproar

LAHORE – Punjab Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman presented financial budget for the fiscal year 2014-2015 on Friday while the opposition parties shouted in protests with budget copies in their hands.

Out of the 1045 billion volume budget, the minister announced 10% raise in the salaries and pensions of the government employees. He announced Rs 104 billion allocation towards the pension of provincial government employees. He started his speech by promising that the lower class population has been kept as priority in the budget.

He said that Danish School is one of such projects of the government of Punjab. The opposition interrupted the speech with heavy uproar protesting against the budget. Opposition members raised their budget copies and gathered around the finance minister and later torn their copies. The finance minister announced that 36% of total Punjab budget has been dedicated for development of Southern Punjab making it a total of 119 billion rupees. He said that some 2 million individuals of the province will be given technical training over the period of next 2 years.

Shujaur Rehman announced that an agriculture university will be built in Burewala. He said that the economic development ratio for next year is projected at 5%. The finance minister promised that some 20 lakh individuals will be given technical training over the period of next 2 years. Shuja promised in his budget speech that as many as 40 lakh new employment opportunities will be created over the period of next 4 years.

Talking about taxing vehicles, finance minister said that luxury and heavy vehicles’ tax will be doubled whereas the token tax for cars of up to 1300 cc set at 2200 rupees. He said that development work on 19 power projects has resumed, adding that a total of 31 billion rupees have been allocated to the energy sector. Punjab government decided to expand the Rescue 1122 service to another 12 districts of Punjab.

Coming towards the health sector, he said that a total of 121.80 billion rupees have been allocated for the health sector, adding that another 4 billion will be spent on health insurance cards. Talking about the education sector, he announced that a total of 273 billion rupees have been allocated for the education sector. He said that 2 billion rupees will be dedicated to further Punjab government’s Danish School project.

Finance Minister said that a total of 8.93 billion rupees have been dedicated for the livestock development sector, adding that another 2.16 billion rupees have been allocated for women in the livestock sector. Furthermore, a total of Rs 14.5 billion have been dedicated for the higher education. Rs 11 billion endowment funds have been allocated for extraordinary students.

Talking about land and housing, Shujaur Rehman said that a total of 4.14 billion rupees have been allocated for computerization of land records. He further said that four new Ashiana Housing schemes will be launched to facilitate housing for low income families of Punjab. The budget for police was raised from a previously set amount of 70 billion rupees to 82.5 billion rupees.

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