Karachi - For the second consecutive year, Sindh’s development budget witnessed a sharp drop up to 18 per cent as the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led Sindh government has allocated Rs. 232.9 billion for development portfolio in the province for fiscal year 2020-21 almost Rs. 52 b less than what it allocated for the same purpose last year.

Presenting budget on floor of the house, Sindh Chief Syed Murad Ali Shah who also holds finance portfolio said that decrease in development expenditure was mainly due to provision of COVID-19 related Social Protection and Economic Sustainability package of Rs.34.2b and Rs.19b and Rs. 22.9b rise in health and education sector Rs. respectively.

The CM said that for the next financial year, the provincial departments in Sindh were earlier advised to prepare proposals for provincial Annual Development Programme at the size same as that of 2019-20 while allocating 85 percent for on-going schemes and 15 percent new schemes. However, he said, in a post Covid-19 scenario and with a reduction in federal transfers and funding for development, the total development outlay for Sindh for the next financial year 2020-21 is proposed at Rs.232.9b. An amount of Rs. 155b was allocated for provincial ADP and Rs. 15b for district ADP schemes. Murad added that Rs. 54.6 b were expected from Foreign Projects Assistance (FPA) and Rs. 8.3 billion from Federal Government in Federal PSDP for 10 schemes under execution by the Sindh government. It may be noted here that the total development budget outlay in 2018-19 was 343.9 b whereas it remained Rs. 283.5 for the current fiscal year ending in June 2020.

EDUCATION

The provincial government has allocated Rs. 21.08b for development in the education sector. The amount would be utilized for completion of 397 on-going and 11 new but unapproved schemes. Out of total allocated amount, Rs. 13.1b has been earmarked for School Education; Rs. 3.7b for College Education; Rs. 0.12b for empowerment of persons with disabilities; 0.71b for STEVTA; and Rs. 1.1b for Universities and Boards.

HEALTH

Similarly, the government earmarked Rs. 23.5b for the Health Department to which its leaders.hip claims of giving top priority. As per details, Rs. 2.9b was allocated for the construction and rehabilitation of Teaching Hospitals; Rs. 19.4b for the construction and maintenance of other hospitals; Rs. 0.72b for Medical Education; Rs. 0.17b PHC Administration and training and Foreign aided projects of worth 0.169b would also be carried out.

HOME

The provincial government allocated total Rs. 0.6b for the development in the home department of which Rs. 0.37b was earmarked for the police department and 0.29b was fixed for the prisons department. Most of the amount was allocated for ongoing schemes as construction of buildings for police at various places, police stations, Malkhana at City Court Karachi and Investigation Complex that was included in the last budget as well would be carried out.

MEGA SCHEMES FOR KARACHI

 The provincial government earmarked only Rs. 1.94b for what it called mega projects for the biggest city and economical hub of Pakistan for fiscal year 2020-21. With a throw-forward of Rs. 3.42b, the PPP Sindh government fixed a nominal amount of Rs. 1.94b of which Rs. 1.93b was fixed for ongoing schemes.

TRANSPORT & MASS TRANSIT

 Transport considered as one of the major issues faced by the people of Sindh particularly Karachi as the people now compelled to use Chinchi and motorcycle rickshaws for commutation. Sindh government like previous years, earmarked fair amount for the development in the department as total 6.4 b was fixed for the purpose. The Karachi Circular Railway and the Bus Rapid Transit Red Line were also amongst the project.

WOMEN DEVELOPMENT

The provincial government in the budget for fiscal year 2020-21 allocated Rs. 0.12 b for women development as the department had 0.54 throw-forward as well. Women Development Complex at Shaheed Benazirabad—the scheme approved in 2009 and was included in the last year as well—and  Sukkur (approaved in 2011) would be established as well as the amount has also been fixed for establishment of Day Care Centres at Karachi, Jamshoro and Sukkur.

 COVID-19 RESPONSE

The provincial government has also fixed Rs. five b for COVID-19 response in the Annuual Development Programme.