LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that 51 per cent of Pakistans population comprises of women and the targets of progress cannot be achieved without their participation in the development process, while an amount of Rs15 billion is being allocated in the development budget of the new fiscal year for various sectors of women welfare. He expressed these views while talking to assembly members belonging to various districts at Assembly Chambers on Sunday. The chief minister said that all available resources were being utilised for the rapid development of the province and provision of basic facilities to the masses and a record development programme of Rs193.5 billion had been evolved for the next fiscal year. He said that elimination of poverty, ignorance and unemployment was the top priority of the government and solid measures had taken for this purpose. He said that Sasti Roti Scheme for the poor people, workers and dwellers of Katchi Abadis, setting up of Danish Schools in far-flung and backward areas and provision of scholarships from Punjab Educational Endowment Fund to the talented students facing financial problems were such projects from which hundreds of thousands of poor families were benefiting. He said that the government was launching low-cost housing scheme under which the poor and low-income people would be given constructed houses. Shahbaz Sharif said that Punjab Land Development Company had been set up for this purpose, which had started functioning. Similarly, he said, a scheme was also being initiated for the provision of free of cost 5-marla plots for about two lakh poor families in rural areas. He said that government had also adopted a comprehensive strategy for the development of agriculture sector and promotion of modern agri-technology. He said that agri and veterinary graduates would be given 25 acre state land each for a lease period of 15 years and agri-graduates would also be offered loans for setting up model agri-farms on this land. He said that this step of the government would result in promotion of modern technology in agriculture sector as well as substantial increase in agri-production. The CM further said that special attention was being paid in the development budget of next fiscal year to the improvement of education, health, water supply and drainage and social welfare sectors and substantial funds had been allocated for this purpose. He said that promotion of industrial sector was the need of the hour for the strengthening of economy and elimination of unemployment. He said that government had taken solid measures for accelerating the pace of industrial development. Shahbaz Sharif said that skilled workforce is of fundamental importance for industrial and agriculture development and keeping this fact in view TEVTA has been activated and given the target of producing 0.5 million skilled workers each year in accordance with the market needs. He said that a sum of Rs 2 billion had been allocated in the next years development budget for technical education whereas an overall amount of 6.8 billion was being earmarked for this sector. The chief minister said that in view of the importance of technical education, the government had also decided to set up Skills Development Endowment Fund with the seed money of Rs 500 million. He said that population of Southern Punjab was 31 per cent of the whole population of the province whereas the ratio of development funds for this region was 36 per cent. He said that technical and vocational institutes for women would also be set up in the next budget for enabling them play their due role in national development. The chief minister said that solution of public problems, implementation of welfare projects and timely and transparent completion of development schemes was the responsibility of elected representatives and they should utilise all their energies for this purpose.