LAHORE - With major focus on existing development projects, the Punjab government is going to present its budget for the fiscal year 2016-17 on Monday (today) with total outlay of about Rs1.73 trillion against the last year’s outlay of Rs 1.45 trillion, with almost 10 percent raise in allocation for Annual Development Programme to Rs462 billion.

Punjab Governor Malik Rafiq Rajwana has summoned budget session on Monday while the Punjab Assembly secretariat has issued the notification of the budget session meeting in this regard.

The budget will be presented by Punjab Finance Minister Ayesha Ghaus Pasha in the 22nd session of Punjab Assembly presided over by speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal.

According to Punjab Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, the budget of the province would be a developmental budget in which increase in growth rate, public friendly tax collection system, social welfare projects, health, communication and strong polices for better performance of important departments besides practical implementation would be introduced.

According to finance department officials, around 10 per cent increase in the salaries of the employees and a 15 percent raise in the pension of retired employees has been proposed in the budget. The government does not intend to launch any other mega project except the Orange Line Metro so that provision of funds could be ensured for this project. The laptop scheme for students will continue this year and Rs6 billion are being earmarked in the provincial budget on this count.

Provincial revenue during FY17 is expected to be Rs 324 billion while Rs 784.

5 billion are likely to be received from federal government under National Finance Commission (NFC) award.

Over Rs 363 billion will be allocated for development, Rs 130 billion for education, Rs 870 billion for non-development expenditure, Rs 18 billion for the power sector, Rs 125 for the social sector and Rs 44 billion for the services sector.

According to budget documents, Rs79 billion will be allocated for roads, Rs15 billion for water supply and sanitation, Rs 610 million for social welfare department, and Rs 570 million for women development.

Rs 41 billion will be allocated for irrigation, Rs23 billion for special package for CM, Rs23 billion filtration plant for drinking water and Rs30 billion for projects established with the foreign investment. The police will get Rs13 billion in the upcoming budget, while Rs10 billion will go for northern part of Ring Road in Lahore.

Rs7 billion will be earmarked for Knowledge Park, Rs7 billion for missing facilities in schools and Rs5b for expansion of canal road in Lahore.

The budget will also announce Rs50 billion under Kisan package for the year 2016-17.

According to finance minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, the Economic Growth Strategy has been drafted and its main targets are to increase the economic growth of the province from 7 per cent to 8 per cent by 2018, create 10,000 jobs for the youth annually, double the private investment in the province by 2018, eliminate terrorism to ensure protection of life and property of the citizens and bringing the exports percentage to 15 per cent.

She said that more than 40 percent of the budget will be reserved for education and health sectors in the budget, while Rs100 billion will be earmarked for providing subsidy to the farmers during the next two years.

Several ongoing schemes and programmes of the Punjab government would continue in the next fiscal year like Laptop Scheme, Ashiana Scheme, Rural Road programme and interest-free loans for youth.

She said special attention was being given to the development of far-flung and backward areas of the province as well.

She further said deserving people would be given interest-free loans to start their businesses.

Ayesha said that some funds would also be reserved in next year’s development programme for the completion of ongoing schemes. She said the government was implementing the policy of balanced development.