LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Monday that special emphasis would be laid in the Annual Development Programme (ADP) of the forthcoming budget on poverty alleviation, creation of job opportunities and promotion of investment.Addressing a high-level meeting on the forthcoming provincial budget, Shahbaz said that comprehensive measures would be adopted in the ADP 2012-13 for the welfare of students, women and labourers; development of the agricultural economy; and promotion of industrial and trade activities.The Punjab chief minister said that the ADP 2012-13 would be reflective of the public service vision of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and would usher in a new era of progress and development in the province. The living standards of the people of Punjab would be improved through public welfare projects and good governance ensured through transparent use of government funds.The Punjab chief minister said that the ADP 2012-13 was being prepared in line with the aspirations of the people and a new programme would be introduced for the development of remote areas of the province. “Special attention was paid in the past four years to projects aimed at socioeconomic development, maintenance of law and order, and financial transparency; and this policy will continue in future as well,” he maintained.Shahbaz said that public funds were being spent on the provision of basic amenities to the poor in a highly transparent manner. “The green tractor scheme has helped in increasing per acre yield and tractors will be given to small farmers at subsidized rates under this scheme next year too,” said the Punjab chief minister, adding that besides the provision of laser land-levellers to farmers, the sprinkle irrigation system was being introduced in the province.Shahbaz said that women constituted almost half of the country’s population and development could not be achieved without their empowerment. The Punjab government had taken solid measures for the betterment of women, he claimed. Issuing instructions for accelerating the implementation of the package announced for women’s empowerment, he said that four new universities were being established in the province for equipping women with modern education.The Punjab chief minister said that an effective strategy had been devised for providing job opportunities to the youth. In addition to the yellow cab scheme, interest-free loans were being offered to the youth for setting up their own businesses, he maintained.The meeting was attended by Senator Ishaq Dar, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhood Ahmad, provincial ministers, members of the National Assembly and Punjab Assembly, Punjab chief secretary, Planning and Development Department chairperson, secretaries of various departments and other senior officers.RURAL UPLIFT A MAJOR PRIORITY: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Monday that the provincial government was paying attention to the uplift of not only urban but also rural areas. Shahbaz was addressing a meeting of Punjab Assembly members from Gujranwala, Hafizabad and Narowal districts at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat. The Punjab chief minister said that the quality and timely completion of these projects had been ensured, besides strictly following the policy of third-party audit. Shahbaz directed commissioners and district coordination officers (DCOs) to ensure timely completion of public welfare projects and development schemes.