Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht Monday presented Rs2.24 trillion tax-free and relief-laden budget for the fiscal year 2020-21. The salient features of Annual Development Programme are as follows:

1. The government of Punjab has always worked for the welfare and benefit of the common man. Despite all the challenges, the Planning & Development Board has formulated ADP 2020-21 to initiate sustained development projects and targeted small works programs to restore livelihood, meeting health challenges, and Food Security investments.

2. In this year’s Annual Development Programme, maximum allocation has been attributed to social sector. Government of Punjab’s entire focus is to provide maximum benefit to its people amidst pandemic crisis

3. This year, it was decided to allocate 33% of the total ADP 20-21, but keeping socio-economic prosperity as a priority, 35% of the total ADP 20-21 has been allocated to Southern Punjab. This will uplift the living standard of people of the area as well as to improve the socio-economic indicators. These funds have been ring-fenced and will not be diverted.

4. The priority of ADP 20-21 is to utilize the allocated 35 % in all the major sectors Education, Health, Energy, Agriculture, Social Welfare, Roads, Water supply & Sanitation, Livestock & Dairy, and Industries, Commerce & Skill Development.

5. The ADP 2020-21 has been designed to counter the education, health crisis, and other challenges faced by the economy of Punjab. Livelihood security through social protection schemes; investments to fill health infrastructure gaps and ensure food security; education and human capital development along with support to the Micro Small Medium Enterprise sector are all priority areas of ADP 2020-21.

6. COVID-19 – Punjab Economic Stimulus Program is a prime initiative of ADP 2020-21, through which investments will be made to tackle the health crisis and catalyzing economic growth.

• Allocation of Rs. 30 billion has been earmarked for small works programs that will provide sustainable livelihood opportunities

• Rs 8 billion has been reserved to support the Micro Small Medium Enterprise sector and to provide skill training programs

• Rs 9 billion has been allocated for Communicable Disease Program that will help in combating COVID-19

7. With the total amount of 337 billion budget of ADP 20-21, 1200 projects would be completed by the end of this fiscal year.

8. COVID-19 has disrupted the education sector across the province. To mitigate the impact of the pandemic on education, Punjab has earmarked a budget of Rs 80 million to Taleem Ghar initiative to help in the identification of missed School Learning Outcomes, content generation for distant learning and strengthen of digital infrastructure.

9. This year, Locust Invasion has been challenging for the food & agriculture sector. In ADP 20-21, the Government of Punjab has initiated new schemes like Locust Control Operation and Allied Matters in Cholistan that will help in combating the major threat to our food security.

10. MSME (Micro-Small Medium Enterprise): An allocation of Rs. 8 billion has been reserved for MSME in ADP 20-21to prioritize the impact caused by COVID-19 in form of job losses around Punjab. There will be a strong focus on MSMEs throughout the year that will play a strong role in employing the vulnerable.

11. An Allocation of Rs 9 billion has been earmarked to Communicable Disease Program. Combating and Curtailing COVID-19 is Punjab Government’s utmost priority. Public awareness and knowledge of the risks associated with the COVID-19 outbreak are crucial for successfully tackling the crisis.

12. Rs. 12000 million has been allocated to Health Insurance Program in Punjab to improve access of the poor population to good quality medical services, through a micro health insurance scheme

13. Rural Enterprises in Agriculture Development (READ) will promote agribusiness projects by catalyzing private investment for generating income and Rural Employment

14. Rs. 11.86 billion have been allocated for the FY 2020-21 for 1,348 schemes of Water Supply & Sanitation. Govt. of Punjab has established “Punjab Abe-Pak Authority” for the provision of clean drinking water in the province. In the FY 2020-21 Rs. 2.500 billion have been allocated for the said authority to provide clean/safe drinking water in brackish areas in Punjab, especially in South Punjab.

15. In ADP 20-21, Punjab Government has focused on Women’s Empowerment programs. With major initiatives like Women’s Income Growth and Self Reliance Program (WINGS), the government is supporting the transition of extremely poor women from social protection to sustainable livelihoods, prosperity, and self-reliance in the province