lahore - The progressive and public welfare based Punjab budget 2014-15 will lift the growth rate of the province to 8 per cent during next four years, pulling out more than 7 million people out of poverty, providing jobs to over 4 million youths and imparting technical training to about 2 million people.This was stated by Punjab Finance minister Mujtaba Shuja Ur Rehman while addressing a post budget press briefing here at CM House along with secretary finance and P&D chairman who also shared their views with the media on budget. The minister said that biggest development package of history has been announced for the development and welfare of the people of South Punjab in the new budget. He said that Punjab government of PML-N had allocated 32 percent development funds against the ratio of 31 percent population of South Punjab during previous year whereas 36 percent resources have been allocated in next financial year which is a record in the history of Punjab province. He said that a huge amount of Rs. 119 billion has been allocated for development projects of South Punjab for next year and Rs.260 billion will be spent on the completion of these development projects. “The best, balanced and poor-friendly budget of Punjab has been prepared with round the clock efforts and huge amounts have been allocated for the development of education, health, law & order and social sectors. Record amount of Rs.345 billion has been allocated for the development projects which is the biggest development budget in the history of the province.”Mian Mujtaba said that Punjab government proposed measures in the budget for 2014-15 to revamp its tax administration to curb tax evasion and raise collection through imposition of new levies, rationalise the existing taxes and initiating schemes to reward taxpayers in the province. “It is targeting tax revenue of Rs164 billion for next fiscal year, up from original estimate of Rs126bn for the outgoing fiscal year. The additional taxation measures are expected to yield Rs16 to Rs18b. The focus of the tax reforms introduced in Punjab Finance Bill 2014-15 is to target big and luxury house and car owners, expanding the number of services to extend the scope and enhance collection of the provincial sales tax on services and raising stamp duty rate on transfer of immovable property.” He said that earlier claims were made for the development of South Punjab but, in fact, practical steps for development have been taken only by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the real sense upon which he deserves congratulation. He said that rapid development and prosperity of South Punjab will be possible through these allocated funds and modern facilities will become available to the people of the area.He said that Punjab’s Rs1.033 trillion revenue budget for the next financial year proposes a major fiscal stimulus for the provincial economy to grow by 5.5 per cent and seeks to increase the province’s own tax collection. He said that Shahbaz Sharif government plans to invest Rs345bn in large infrastructure and social development projects next year to stimulate growth from the present 4.8pc to 8pc by 2017-18. “The development spending will aim at creating opportunities for the private sector to put in its bit to help the government achieve its medium-term objectives. It will be financed primarily through revenue surplus and foreign project assistance.” He said that budget plans to develop ore iron and coal deposits estimated to be worth $70b in the province, increase spending on policing and security, improve public service delivery in education, healthcare, water supply and sewage sectors, launch a health insurance scheme for the deserving people and raise its development and non-development investment in agriculture, irrigation, industrial infrastructure and roads.