While the Punjab Government makes tall claims of providing education to the citizens this is not reflected in the Punjab budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 which shows a decline in the amount earmarked for Education. A brief analysis of the budget for education has been conducted by Alif Ailaan. It is a campaign that seeks to put education at the front and centre of public discourse in Pakistan. The details of the analysis are given below:

Allocation for education during the fiscal year 2017-18 is PKR 345 billion (17.5% of the total budget allocation) which is one percent less from 2016-17.

The Punjab Government is establishing District Education Authority (DEAs) with an amount of PKR 230 billion, which is 66.6% of the education budget to improve service delivery and have decision making at the local level. The modus operandi is still to be devised, however DEAs function, composition, funds distribution, Local bodies involvement in decision making etc., are question that need to be answered.

As previously the government resolved to increase school enrolment to 100% nut no timeframe has been given

It is important that the Federal Government increases education budget to 4% of GDP only then provinces will be able to increase their allocations, as promise of increasing education budget to 4% of GDP was made by the PML(N) Government.

The 2017-18 budget of Provincial component has decreased by 31% and Development (Revenue) budget decreased by 3% over 2016-17 Budget Estimates, apparently a part of the provincial budget has been allotted to the Districts as their budget has increased considerably. The provincial component has decreased by 11%, whereas the total budget allocation has increased from Rs. 312,800 million to Rs. 345,000 million, showing an overall increase of 10.29%.

The Provincial Component of Rs. 119,136 million is split between Current and Development portions in the ratio of 37% and 63% respectively.

The Development budget is further sub-divided into two parts, i.e. Development Revenue and Development Capital, which share the budget in the ratio of 18% and 82% respectively.

In Punjab government has also devised separate set of rules and procedures for district budgeting. The Local Bodies law envisages formation of District Education Authorities (DEAs) to monitor education service delivery in the districts, with administrative and financial autonomy to develop and implement their own financial plans independently. District component of the Education Budget is not part of Education Departments' budget but is included in each District's share as determined under the Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) Award.

District education budget has been enhanced to Rs. 230,000 million for 2017-18. This indicates an increase of more than 28% over 2016-17.

Overall the trend seen is that the Education Budget of last four years 2014-15 to 2017-18, has been steadily increased Rs 282,000 million to Rs. 345,000 million in 2017-18 with allocation for Pre & Primary Education decreasing by 8% and for Secondary Education by 23% over 2016-17.

It is seen that the overall share of Provincial Education Budget is 21%, a decline of one percent (22% in 2016-17).

While the Punjab government has tried to balance developmental and education expenses yet the promise of making education an important component of the PML(N) government priorities should be kept in mind when allocation finances during the budgetary allocation’s for 2017-18, which can still be done by bringing in revisions during the budget debate and passing of the finance bill.