THE Azad Jammu and Kashmir government also revealed its budget for 2010-11, joining the federation and the four provinces, with AJK Finance Minister Raja Nisar Ahmad Khan presenting a Rs 47.33 billion Budget, with a development component of Rs 11.17 billion to the AJK Assembly on Friday. The AJK budget did not contain any austerity measures, and though the AJK government too has followed the federal government in increasing salaries, that increase seemed to apply to the Cabinet as well. This made the AJK government the lone standout in the privileges of Cabinet members. However, the National Finance Commission Award, though providing the provinces with the wherewithal for this increase, as well as substantial increases in budgetary allocations generally, cut the AJK allocation, with the result that the AJK government faces a deficit of Rs 17.6 billion. Not only is the deficit greater than the entire development budget, but AJK's own receipts are not enough to meet all the non-development expenditure planned. The AJK deficit on non-development, or current, expenditure is supposed to be met by federal grants, but that is an unsustainable basis for budget-making, as was shown by the experience of the 1980s, when the provinces were given grants when the then Zia regime wriggled out of making an NFC Award. To expect the AJK government to practise austerity when the federal government will pick up non-development expenses is not realistic. However, the AJK's plea for consideration should be examined favourably. The provinces should be convinced of the need to give AJK a share equivalent to that of a province, and the NFC Award revised to allow AJK its due share in the federal divisible pool. At the same time, the Haider Zaman government should be prepared to make sacrifices that are being made by all the other governments.