ISLAMABAD - Executive Director Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri said on Monday that despite many economic challanges the PML(N) government had presented a popular budget benefitting all segment of the society.

“It was a good sign for the democracy and continuity of the policies that in the 70 years history of Pakistan, 5th consecutive Federal Budget has been presented by a government being led by one prime minister”, he said while opresenting his detailed analysis on the federal budget 2017-18 at a post budget seminar here.

However, he said, a careful analysis of the federal-budget 2017-18 suggested a scenario where it was depicting economic stability. He suggested that to link GDP growth with grass root social development, provincial economic surveys should also be conducted. He appreciated that the allocations against Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) have been significantly increased.

Deputy Executive Director SDPI,Dr.Vaqar Ahmad while highlighting various aspects of the Federal-Budget 2017-18, opined that a rational budget formulation process should be aim to reduce the inequalities through different instruments.

He suggested that this objective could be achieved through phasing out federal excise duty, simplification of general sales tax (GST) regime and reduction in GST rates as well as lowering of customs duties faced on inputs and finished goods used by the poor.

He added further that the recent literature on tax incidence also suggested that reducing indirect tax has a pro-poor impact if relief was provided in consumption of food, fuel, cooking oil, bread, milk, fruits, tea, sugar, and vegetables.

Senior Research Fellow SDPI, Dr. Sajid Amin also brought various aspects of the Federal Budget 2017-18 into discussion.

Rs2427m allocated for Science & Technological Research Division

APP: The government has allocated Rs2427.947 million for 12 ongoing and 21 new schemes of Science and Technological Research Division under Public Sector Development Sector Programme (PSDP) for next fiscal year 2017-18.

According to the budgetary document, a total of Rs1361,758 million has been earmarked for the ongoing schemes and Rs1066.189 million for new schemes. Among the ongoing schemes, a total of Rs256.262 million has been allocated for Certification Incentive Programme for SMEs under PQI Initiative 2025 and Rs100.972 million for construction of office building for MoST in Islamabad.

A total of Rs28.917 million has been allocated for construction of the offices and labs of Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), Rs25.167 million for demarcation of groundwater quality zones in Indus plain and marginal areas for sustainable development and management of groundwater (Lower Indus Plain) PCRWR and Rs48.773 million for establishment of National Capacity Building Institute (NCBI) for water quality management at PCRWR.

Likewise, Rs129.477 million had been allocated for establishment of PSTC for precision mechanics and instrument technology at Gawadar PCSIR (CPEC) related project, Rs12. 800 million for establishment of the facility for the indigenous development of Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) Baloon Catheters NUST, Rs24.708 million for Halal Accreditation PNAC and Rs19.464 million allocated for integrated water resources management in highly depleted Pishin-Lora Basin of Balochistan PCRWR.