ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Khusro Bakhtiar said Saturday that government had allocated 80 percent of the total Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) funds for the upcoming fiscal year (2019-20) for timely completion of around 295 ongoing projects across the country.

Addressing a press conference to highlight salient features of the annual development programme, the minister said that despite financial crunch and hardships, the federal government had allocated Rs 951 billion development funds for the upcoming fiscal year.

The minister said that focus of the development programme was on less developed areas, building water reservoirs, promoting knowledge economy and higher education.

He said that the government had allocated Rs 48 billion for uplift of less or under-developed areas and regions of south Punjab, south Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and rural parts of Sindh while Rs 76 billion had been allocated for development projects of Balochistan province.

He said Karachi, the economic hub of the county, had been ignored in development funding in the past, saying that Rs 34 billion would be spent on 41 development projects of the city during the upcoming fiscal year.

Rs48b allocated for uplift of less, under-developed areas of south Punjab, south KP, rural Sindh

He said the government also earmarked Rs 8 billion development budget for health and education sector projects in Islamabad.

Khusro said for improving condition of electricity in the country, the government had allocated Rs 80 billion in the federal PSDP 2019-20 for various projects of this sector.

He said the government had enhanced development funding for water sector from 10 percent of total development funds during the PSDP 2018-19 to 12 percent and would spend Rs 70 billion for water projects, especially developing big dams including Diamir-Bhasha, Mohmand and Dasu Dams.

The minister said that agriculture sector was also among priorities of the government, for which development allocations had been enhanced from just Rs 1 billion during the ongoing fiscal year to Rs 18 billion for upcoming year.

In addition, the minister said that keeping in view the climatic change and its impact on the country, the government had allocated Rs 9.5 billion for Clean Green Pakistan and tourism development programmes.

For development of Azad Jammu and Kahshmir, the government had allocated Rs 62 billion development funding.

He said that an amount of Rs 43 billion had been earmarked for Higher Education Commission and knowledge economy projects while Rs 10 billion for Youth Skill Development Initiatives.

The federal minister for planning development and reforms said that government in its PSDP 2019-20 had allocated appropriate funds for projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and work on Western corridor Quetta Zhob had also been started, adding that the remaining segments of the eastern route would be forwarded on built operate and transfer basis.

Besides, he said, for modernization of the Pakistan Railways, under ML-1, negotiation with the Chinese companies were in progress. He added that modern rail links were vital in economic development and industrial up gradation in the country.

To a question, the minister said that government had also increased allocation for development of water sector projects, particularly small and medium dams as well as enhancing command areas under these dams to bring more land under crop cultivation and allocated Rs 8 billion for the Kachi Canal project.

The planning minister said that government had significantly increased its budgetary allocations for rural Sindh, where as it had allocated Rs 5 billion for various development projects of Karachi city.

He said that special amount had been allocated for Green-Line Bus Project, up gradation of Keti Bandar and construction of cancer hospital, besides other projects of clean drinking water.

Khusro Bakhtiar said that revenue target was fixed at Rs 5,555 billion in fiscal year 2019-20, targeting the privileged class to bring them under tax net and enhancing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to create more space for developmental spending and increasing the provincial shares.

The government would provide Rs 3,355 billion to provinces as compared to this year’s Rs 2,450 billion, adding that allocations for Sindh was increased from Rs 616 billion to Rs 815 billion during the fiscal year 2019-20, he remarked.

To another question, he said the allocation for Southern Punjab was also enhanced and the amount was allocated for development of roads, health, education and other social sector development programs.

The minister said that there would be no compromise on transparency, efficiency and service delivery, adding that sufficient direction was issued for the timely completion of all development projects in order to keep them in the allocated amount as well as cost cuttings.

He said a monitoring and implementation wing was working in the Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms, adding that it would be further strengthened and activated in order to use national money more efficiently and in a judicious manner for equal uplift of all areas of the country.