LAHORE - Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has said that the tax-free budget of the province is reflective of the fact that government believes in the service of the people and participation of the poor in the development process. He expressed these views while talking to assembly members at Assembly Chamber on Friday. Assembly members belonging to various districts called on the chief minister for apprising him of ongoing development schemes, welfare- oriented projects and the problems of their respective areas. He said Punjab Government has given the best budget in the existing circumstances and a record amount of Rs193.5 billion has been allocated for the development schemes. Shahbaz said the goal of rapid progress and development could not be achieved without promotion of education and keeping in view this fact revolutionary measures have been taken by the Punjab government for the uplift of this sector. He said overall funds of Rs53.59 billion have been earmarked for the education sector in the next fiscal year, which are 12 percent more than the current fiscal year. He said more than 12 thousand brilliant students who could not continue their studies due to financial problems are benefiting from the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. The CM said in the next fiscal year amount of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund would be increased to Rs6 billion from Rs4 billion. He said no student would now be deprived of education due to services of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. He said after setting up IT labs in high schools the scope of this project was now being extended to middle school level and this project would bring about a revolution in education sector. Shahbaz said besides position-holders of different examinations, Punjab Government was also encouraging outstanding teachers. He said a delegation of 46 position-holders from all over the country has been sent to a study tour of 25 leading universities of five European countries. He said the delegation included students from Sindh, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Balochistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, which was a symbol of national solidarity. The CM said the future of the country was linked with vocational education, therefore, solid measures were also being taken for the promotion of technical education. He said by awarding financial and administrative autonomy, TEVTA has been made an active and vibrant institution, which would prepare a skilled workforce according to the market needs. He said substantial funds have been allocated for vocational education in the development budget of the next fiscal year and Skills Development Endowment Fund is also being set up with the seed money of Rs. 500 million. Shahbaz said that facility of free of cost dialysis has been made available in the hospitals whereas six billion rupees have been allocated for the provision of free of cost medicines to the patients, while liver transplantation is also being started in the province. He said that project of modern mobile hospitals was being started first time in the history of the country, which would result in latest treatment facilities to the people at their doorstep. The CM said this project would be initiated from far-flung areas of the province. He said that an effective strategy has been adopted for poverty alleviation and resolving the problems of deprived segments of the society under which welfare programmes have been initiated throughout the province. He said that Punjab Youth Employment Fund has been set up for providing employment opportunities to the talented youth, as this step of the government will not only help give due status to the youth in the society but also check the trend of extremism. Assembly members lauded the efforts of Punjab CM for the rapid development of the province, maintenance of law and order and uplift of education and health sectors. They said the welfare budget presented by Punjab Government would provide relief to the masses. Those who met the Chief Minister included Malik Nadeem Kamran, Sajida Mir, Ch Nadeem Khadim and Amjad Hussain Dahar.