QUETTA   -   The Balochistan government on Wednesday unveiled the budget amounting to Rs 419 billion for the financial year 2019-20, proposing special measures for the uplift of different social sector development projects including health, education, communication and other developmental projects.

The budget was presented in the Provincial Assembly by Finance Minister Zahoor Ahmed Buledi. The session was chaired by Speaker Abdul Qaddus Bizenjo.

Presenting the budget, the Finance Minister said that out of the total budget outlay of over Rs 419 billion, Rs 26 billion had been allocated for development programmes and Rs 257 billion for non-development expenditures while the budget deficit during the next fiscal year was estimated at Rs 48 billion. He said that an amount of Rs 60 billion had been set aside for the education sector and Rs 44.6 billion for improving the law and order situation in the province.

The Minister said that receivable income from the Federal government was estimated at Rs 339 billion and special allocation was made for the promotion of education in the province. He said that sufficient amount was also earmarked for the health, power sector and irrigation. The government, he said, had proposed 10pc ad hoc relief for the government servants from grade-1 to 16, while 5 pc relief was proposed for officials of grade 17-20, whereas the minimum wage was fixed at Rs 17,500 per month.

The Minister said that 10pc increase in pension had been  proposed, besides special measures were also suggested in the budget for the persons with disabilities for their welfare. In this regard, he said, that government servants with disabilities would be provided an allowance of Rs 2,000 per month.

He said that in order to cope with the natural disasters like flash floods and droughts Rs 3.4 billion had been allocated and out of which an amount of Rs 2 billion was set aside for investing in the disaster relief fund, which was a unique step of the provincial government. The Minister said that Rs 1.4 billion was allocated for PDMA (Provincial Disaster Management Authority) while Rs 370 million would be spent on the construction of rest areas on the sides of national highways in order to minimise risk of accidents.

In order to fulfill the needs of needy and under-privileged segments of the society, he said that the provincial government had established an endowment fund for which Rs 3.7 billion had been allocated in the budget.

The Minister said that the government had also established a fund for the victims of terrorist acts and allocated Rs 1 billion for the treatment of injured of such incidents. Mir Zahoor Buledi said that special measures had been proposed for the welfare of journalists and hawkers and promotion of art and culture in the province. He said that for the first time in the Provincial Assembly’s history, special quota for the disabled in jobs had been enhanced from 2pc to 5pc, whereas a day care center would also be established for female legislators.

For the agriculture sector development, he said that Rs 250 million was earmarked for green tractor scheme and another Rs 250 million for enhancing the command area of Kachhi Canal. He said that special attention was paid to the development of mines and natural resource, with an allocation of Rs 2.267 billion.  The government had allocated Rs 1.310 billion for food subsidy.

The Minister said that Rs 500 million had been allocated for the projects to enhance the water storage capacity and improve irrigation facilities. For the promotion of industrial sector in the province, an amount of Rs 200 million was earmarked for the construction of Balochistan Technical and Vocational Authority, he added.