LAHORE - With a view to achieving eight percent increase in the growth rate within next four years, the provincial budget contains various initiatives to generate revenues of the government besides building capacity of the people on education, skill and professional sides.

The government will initiate new schemes to promote education, provide potable water to the people and help farmers in the backward areas of the province with its own resources while a metro train service will be launched in the city with the Chinese investment.

The Punjab budget has earmarked a whopping sum of Rs 263 billion for the development of South Punjab to bring this less developed part of the province at par with other developed areas. The budget is futuristic as it aims at laying the foundation to achieve the goal of creating 4 million job opportunities and making 7 million youth skilled in four years.

In the next four years, the government plans to produce 2 million technicians in various fields. In order to generate revenue the government is embarking on a very vital project of exploring iron ore, coal and other minerals in Chiniot and other areas in the province. The value of high quality iron from ore in Chiniot has been estimated at $70 billion.

A record amount of Rs 345 billion has been allocated for the development projects of which hefty Rs 199 billion will be spent on development projects of South Punjab, which also include biogas and biomass projects as well as water schemes.

The government is completing 19 projects in the energy sector, which include generation of electricity from coal, solar, hydel, wind, biomass and biogas. In order to motivate people to save energy, the government will spend Rs 2.5 billion on various schemes. An initiative to develop the police system on modern lines, the government will benefit from the Turkish and UAE system. For this purpose, the government has allocated Rs 81.68 billion for police department, which is 16 percent more than the last year’s allocation.

For the first time a separate allocation of Rs 5 billion has been made to deal with terrorism.

The government has allocated an overall amount of Rs 273 billion for education sector at provincial and district level while Rs 14.05 billion have been earmarked for the development of Punjab Higher Education.

The government has revived yellow cab scheme and an outlay of Rs 25 billion has been fixed for providing another 50,000 yellow cabs to jobless persons. A huge amount of Rs 17.11 billion has been allocated for different projects of potable water and drainage of water under public health while Rs 14.97 billion will be spent on promoting agriculture and welfare of cultivators. A subsidy of Rs 5 billion will be given to farmers on fertilizers’ purchase. Rs 50.8 billion have been allocated for the rehabilitation of irrigation system, development of water resources and maintenance of canals, including rehabilitation of Sulemanki Barrage and Pakpattan Canal. Rs 1.2 billion have been allocated in the next budget for converting IT labs into high and secondary schools on solar energy. For the first time Rs 4 billion are being spent on issuing health insurance cards to low-income people to enable them to get the facility of free treatment in public and private institutions while Rs one billion are being allocated for mobile health units.

The budget also proposes allocation of Rs 2 billion to provide interest-free loans to jobless youth. In order to ensure active role of women in socio-economic sector, a sum of Rs 1.86 billion has been allocated. The budget also proposes construction of 20,000 houses for labourers besides another four Aashiyana schemes in the province.