LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly on Monday approved demands for grants worth Rs 677 billion sans any problem since the Opposition was on boycott, and resultantly, it was one of the easiest jobs accomplished by the Treasury, which did not bother to keep the quorum intact even. However, the Assembly also approved Rs 104,348,592,000 under the head of 'state trading in foodgrains and sugar, which is never part of the demands for grants. Provincial Finance Minister Tanveer Ashraf Kaira admitted the mistake. Interestingly, no MPA pointed it out, since everyone present was busy in saying it 'yes only. Hence, the Assembly approved 43 demands for grants amounting to Rs 677.65 billion under various heads of the budget 2010-11. This is in excess by Rs 94bn to total budget worth Rs 583.6bn. Secondly, perhaps for the first time in the history of the provincial Assembly, the Treasury did not have to go through the trouble of opposing cut motions because of the boycotting Opposition. Moreover, after losing revenue, the Punjab government has also withdrawn tax on luxury vehicles since these were registered in other provinces and the federal government. Tanveer Ashraf Kaira, while giving wind-up speech, told the House that the Punjab government had decided to withdraw luxury vehicles tax in order to collect more revenue. He observed the tax was planned to be levied on luxuries and the rich and the idea was to spend the revenue from this tax on the poor. The imposition of luxury tax is causing lost to the provincial revenue since people registered their vehicles with other provinces and the Centre, he said mentioning that Sheikh Alauddin - a vehicle vendor himself - had proposed this. He mentioned that the government had raised the allocation of funds for the southern Punjab to Rs 52bn, which was 26 per cent of the development funds. The allegations of the opposition are not based on facts, he asserted, adding that Rs 2bn had been allocated for Khushab, Minawali, Bhakar and Jhang districts. He further mentioned that the government had allocated Rs 15bn for gender-based initiatives, while adding that the government spent funds for women in school education sports, health, live stock and other areas. He said after proposals from the Leader of the Opposition and Treasury benches, it had been decided not to levy agricultural tax, and the government had decided to give subsidy on solar tubewells in order to raise yield. While rebutting to allegations of the Opposition that merely Rs 74bn were utilised from the development budget of Rs 174bn, he said the budget was revised to Rs 134bn, and Rs 110bn had been utilised till May 30 and maximum funds would be used by the end of fiscal year. All districts will be given equal funds on the pattern of multi-criteria formula as decided in the NFC Award. New incentives have been taken for the southern Punjab where DG Khan Medical College will be set up, and a trauma centre will be constructed in a DHQ hospital, he said, adding that a burn unit would be set up at Rahim Yar Khan and medical colleges in Sahiwal, Multan, Gujranwala and Sialkot would be started. About the tax collection, Kaira said the collection had increased by 25 per cent due to the efforts of the concern departments. By giving comparison to previous years, Kaira maintained that the expenditure of the Chief Ministers House had been reduced by 28 per cent, while the CM had decided to further cut it down by 25 per cent. Later, the Assembly passed all 43 demands for grants. The opposition had to present seven cut motions against the allocation under the heads of State Trading in Food Grains and Sugar, Police, Health Services, General Administration, Agriculture, Industries, and Irrigation and Land Reclamation. The grants (in millions) approved under various heads are as under: Land Revenue Rs 26.888, Provincial Excise Rs 147.304, Stamps Rs 173.839, Forests Rs 1192.535,Opium Rs 3.935, Registration Rs 3.115, Charges on Account of Motor Vehicles Act Rs 33.565, Other Taxes and Duties Rs 77.848, Irrigation and Land Reclamation Rs 7661.937, General Administration Rs 23066.631, Administration of Justice Rs 5606.442, Jails and Convict Settlements Rs 3756.780, Police Rs 49208.697, Museums Rs 38.087, Education Rs 27374.706, Services Rs 22801.408, Health Rs 1400.270, Agriculture Rs 4494.706, Fisheries Rs 262.587, Veterinary Rs 1945.976, Cooperation Rs 97.364, Industries Rs 5605.929, Miscellaneous Departments Rs 982.833, Civil Works Rs 1350.677, Communications Rs 1492.258, Housing and Physical Planning Rs 1766.394, Relief Rs 25.972, Pension Rs 27900, Stationery and Printing Rs 117.612, Subsidies Rs 21000, Miscellaneous Rs 153990.070, Civil Defence Rs 35.458, State Trading in Foodgrains and Sugar Rs 104348.592, State Trading in Medical Stores and Coal Rs 18.804, Loans to Government Servants Rs 100, Investment Rs 2000, Development Rs 100099.054, Irrigation Works Rs 10638.747, Agricultural Improvement and Research Rs 145.865, Town Development Rs 650, Roads and Bridges Rs 49781.208, Government Buildings Rs 34700.126, and Loans to Municipalities/Autonomous Bodies etc. Rs 11531.739. After the passage of the demands for grants, the Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal adjourned the session for Tuesday (today) 10am.