Altaf Hamid Rao:
MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) government on Thursday presented over Rs. 1.39 trillion peoples-friendly and historic tax free budget for the new fiscal year (2020-21) coupled with the revised over Rs. 1.18 trillion budget for ongoing financial year of 2019-20, it was officially announced.
Presenting the budget at the AJK Legislative Assembly in the State’s metropolis on Thursday, Minister for Finance Dr. Najeeb Naqi said total revenue has been projected to the tune of over Rs. 1.15 trillion which include the estimate of Rs. 1.5 billion as capital expenditure. “The government will receive Rs. 28.5 billion rupees from tax revenue, FBR taxes, 70 billion state receipts and Rs. 19 billion on other miscellaneous receipts.
Our AJK Correspondent Altaf Hamid Rao reports from Muzaffarabad that the finance Minister informed the house that Rs.24.5 billion have been proposed for the Annual Development Program (ADP). 72 percent funds of the ADP have been proposed for the ongoing while 28 percent for the new schemes. 199 schemes would be accomplished during the next financial year”, the Minister informed.
He said projecting Kashmir cause, maintaining good governance and achieving sustainable development were three top most priorities of the AJK government. The Minister Finance thanked the federal government for allocating funds for the development of liberated territory in the prevailing financial constraints. “A project costing over 3.64 billion rupees for the Indian firing affectees has been incorporated in the federal development program. About 3 billion rupees has been proposed for the ongoing schemes under the Minister for Kashmir Affairs”, minister added.
He informed the house that 640 kilometer long roads connecting AJK with Pakistan and district and tehsils would be accomplished in the next financial year. Moreover, work on Authmuqam-Kail Tao Butt road has been initiated. 725 kilometer long link roads would be developed. A project costing 5 billion rupees has been included in the development program to promote tourism and trade activities in the region. Dr. Najeeb Naqi told that the government has allocated 72 percent of the budget for the infrastructure development with main focus on communication, hydropower generation, tourism, education and health sectors in the state. “Three power projects have been completed during the current financial year while 14.4 megawatt Jheeng Hydel power project is in the last stage of completion. Work on 127 megawatt different hydel power projects would continue during the next financial year” Naqi informed. He further said that government has identified hydel power projects with capacity of 9257 megawatt electricity. “245 megawatt hydel power projects will gradually be completed by 2023. These projects will help the AJK government generate 10 billion rupees annually”, he added.
He, while elaborating silent features of the budget said three testing laboratories for COVID-19 have been setup at divisional level. So far, 10,000 tests of COVID-19 have been conducted in these labs. The government proposed 700 million rupees for the coronavirus victims. Moreover, the government has embarked upon other special initiatives and land records of eight tehsils would be digitalized during the next financial year. Dr. Najeeb Naqi said that the AJK government is paying attention to the promotion of the technical education and skill development fund costing one billion rupees has been setup. “Youth of the state will be given technical training in the reputed institutions in Pakistan to enable the youth to grab foreign employment. A poly-technical college is being setup in Bhimber while a military college has been proposed in the next financial year”, the minister told.
He informed the house that under the development program agriculture machinery, seeds and fertilizers would be provided to the farmers on subsidize rates. 270 new dairy forms would be setup to promote livestock production in the liberated territory. The Minister said that political interventions have been discouraged in education and 6500 teachers were recruited on merit through NTS. “All three medical colleges were affiliated with University of Health Sciences Lahore. The outgoing students of these medical colleges were accommodated in the major hospitals of the state for the house job. 300 vacancies of house job and 196 vacancies of post graduate trainees were created in the health department”, he added.
Dr. Najeeb Naqi informed that President and Prime Minister of the state as well as opposition members in their visits to the UK, US, Canada, KSA, Turkey, Australia, Belgium, Germany and other European countries represented true sentiments of the Kashmiris. Describing the expenditure of expected income during the next fiscal year, the finance minister said the expenditure of total receipts have been estimated Rs 115 billion. He said Rs28 billion and 500 million is expected from tax revenue, Rs90 million from law and order, Rs76 million from the Land record and Settlement, Rs320 million from stamp papers, Rs58 million from transport authority, Rs16 billion and 900 million from electricity, Rs600 million miscellaneous, 40 million from industries, 230 million from police, 0.500 million from jails, 386 million from communication and works, 175 million from education, 150 million from health, 46 million from religious affairs, 255 million from food department, 10 million from agriculture, 30 million from wild life and fisheries, 35 million from animal husbandry, 400 million from forests, 7.0 million labour, 4.0 million from sericulture, 41 million from government printing press, 15 million from armed services board, 70 billion from grants, 670 million from water use charges, 10 million from minerals, 20 million from tourism and 540 million from loan advances.
The minister said that under annual development expenditures, Rs382 million have been set aside for agriculture and livestock in the next financial year, Rs95 million for civil defence, Rs245 million for development authorities, Rs25 billion and 78 million for Education, Rs70 million for environment, Rs1 billion, 121 million for projects being run by foreign aid, Rs400 million for forests, wildlife and fisheries, Rs1 billion for health, Rs528 million for industries and minerals, Rs20 million for transport, Rs37 million for information and media development, Rs235 million for Information Technology, Rs2 billion, 795 million for local government and rural development, Rs2 billion, 155 million for physical planning and housing, Rs1 billion, 70 million for electricity, Rs268 million for research and development, Rs100 million for rehabilitation/resettlement, Rs150 million for social welfare and women development, Rs220 million for sports, youth and culture, Rs200 million for tourism and a sum of Rs10 billion, 200 million have been set aside for roads, communication and works in the budget.
Sharing details of the ongoing expenditures, the Finance Minister said that Rs5 billion and 073 million is being spent on general administration, Rs1 billion and 24 million on board of revenue, Rs22.300 million on stamp papers, Rs1 billion and 53.1 million on rehabilitation and relief, Rs22 billion on pension, Rs170 million on information, Rs1 billion and Rs78 million on judiciary, Rs6 billion and Rs560 million on police, Rs207.3 million on jails, Rs229 million on civil defence, Rs81.2 million on armed services, Rs3 billion and Rs869 million on communication and works, Rs28 billion and 880 million on education, Rs10 billion and 272 million on health, Rs96.6 million on sports youth and culture, Rs131.8 million on religious affairs, Rs532.8 million on social welfare and women development, Rs805 million on agriculture, Rs734.3 million on livestock, 267.8 million on food, Rs2 billion and 0.27 million on state business, Rs1 billion 184 million on forests, Rs28.2 million on cooperative, Rs8 billion 762 million on electricity, 627 million local government and rural development, 156.8 million on industry and mineral development, 75 million on printing press, Rs.1 billion and 0.1900 million on sericulture, 189.4 million on tourism, wild life and fisheries and 16 billion 524 million on miscellaneous (grants).
Earlier, the cabinet in its meeting presided over by Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan approved the revised budget estimate for current fiscal year of 2019-20 and proposal for the new fiscal year 2020-21-