Rs 680bn Sindh budget 2014-15 to be presented today

KARACHI: Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah will present Rs 680 billion provincial budget for 2014-15 on Friday amid strict security measures around the assembly building and secretariat. 
According to security sources, on the directives of Chief Minister Sindh, strict security measures have been taken around the assembly building, where special police commandos and sniper shooters would be stationed for any untoward incident. Special stickers would be given to lawmakers for parking their vehicles within the premises of the building. 
No security or media vehicles would be allowed to enter into the assembly premises while the route to the assembly building would be sealed off and government employees or residents would only be allowed to go through after verification of their service card or national identity card. 
The police officials were directed to sweep buildings surrounding Sindh Assembly while snap-checking would also be carried through the routes leading to assembly building. 
The Sindh Assembly would meet at 5:00 pm on Friday. The session was called by government lawmakers for presenting budget. According to sources, the provincial budget will have a total outlay of Rs 680 billion, along with estimated income of Rs 670 billion and deficit of Rs 10 to 15 billion.
The provincial government has also proposed to increase salaries of the government employees from 10 to 15 percent while 15,000 jobs would be given in next fiscal year - 10,000 jobs in police department and remaining in health, education and other departments. The government has proposed to include more than Rs 6 billion for creating new jobs. 
The expenses estimated for 2014-15 were Rs 440 billion, which would be Rs 85 billion more than the previous year. The development budget for the province was estimated at Rs 210 billion, which included Rs 160 billion for Annual Development Plan (ADP), Rs 25 billion for District ADP and Rs 25 billion for projects running under federal grants and foreign investments. 
The government has also proposed to extend the tax net on property and sales tax. The government has also estimated that the federal government would sanction Rs 464 billion in terms of revenue assignment and Rs 25 billion in terms of other taxes and grants under NFC award. Income of Rs 150 billion in term of taxes gathered by provincial excise department, revenue department and board of revenue were also estimated while they hoped to get Rs 20 billion from foreign aids and investments. 
Rs 6.30 billion were sanctioned for special grant to KMC and other municipal departments of Karachi, while KWSB would get Rs 5 billion, WASA Hyderabad will get Rs 3 billion to pay-off their utility bills. Meanwhile, amount was also sanctioned in the budget for Karachji Circular Railway, Lyari Expressway, Karachi Water Supply Project (K-IV), S-3. 
According to sources, the non-development budget for education department would be Rs 122 billion, which included more than Rs 1 billion for student scholarships, Rs 1.75 billion for school management committees, Rs 1.54 for free distribution of books, Rs 13.30 billion for Sindh Education Reforms Program-II. 
The non-development budget for health department was proposed to be set at Rs 46.62 billion. The Sindh government has estimated spending of Rs 55 billion on maintaining law and order situation in the city. It included Rs 47 billion for police, Rs 8 billion for Rangers, FC and prisons and Rs 250 million for computerization of armed licenses. The government had also proposed Rs 3 billion subsidy on wheat in order to provide flour on cheap rates to people.
Sindh Assembly would get Rs 140 million for purchasing new cars and other equipments while irrigation department will get Rs 50 million, education-Rs 1.12 billion, and other departments would get Rs 32.9 million for new expenses. 

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