AJK presents budget with a record outlay of Rs. 139.5 billion

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MUZAFFARABAD:   (Parliament Times)    The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government led by Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan has presented its fourth budget proposal in the house on Thursday with a record outlay of Rs. 139.5 billion for the next fiscal year.

According to an official post-budget handout, issued here on Friday, the government proposed Rs115 billion for recurring expenditures and Rs24.5 billion for Annual Development Program (ADP)

Total 14.8 percent increase on the current years’ budget has been proposed by the government in the next fiscal year. However, the development expenditures proposed in the budget were the same as in FY 2019-20.

The proposed ADP showed 42 percent allocation in Communication and Works, 11 percent Local Government and Rural Development, 10 percent Education, 10 percent Electricity, 9 percent Physical Planning and Housing, 5 percent Foreign Aid Projects, 4 Percent Health and 9 percent in other productive sectors.

Rs2.92 billions was earmarked under the Ministry for Kashmir Affairs’ Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for AJK Legislative Assembly Complex, Medical College Muzaffarabad, Mirpur-Lesswa Keran bypasses and Rathuwa Haryam Bridge Projects. Another new and mega project amounting to 3.6 billion rupees for the rehabilitation of Indian firing affectees included in the PSDP. Rs. 564 millions have been allocated for it in the next fiscal year.

For other important projects like Poonch University, Women University Bagh, Neelum Jehlum Hydropower Generation Project, Authmuqam Kail-Tao Butt Road, other federal ministries also provided 22 billion rupees.

Rs. 3 billion has been proposed for the ongoing rehabilitation and reconstruction program in the quake hit areas of the state.

It is worth mentioning here that 199 development projects were completed in the current fiscal year. 72 percent funds’ allocation has been proposed in the budget 2020-21 for the completion of ongoing development schemes. 199 more projects would be completed in the next fiscal year. 28 percent funds’ allocation proposed for the new ADP projects.

According to the ADP of the budget proposal, 9 percent allocation was proposed for the social sector, 19 percent for the production and 72 percent for the infrastructure.

The projects of the extension phase II, Divisional Hospital with 500 beds strength, 200 beds capacity General Hospital Rawalakot and THQ Pattikha Phase I were also included in the next ADP. Moreover, construction of hostels for doctors and nurses with DHQ Haveli, 30 beds Tehsile Hospital Leepa and establishment of Cardiac Unit along-with Abbas Institute of Medical Sciences and DHQ Hospital Bagh were also proposed in the budget to provide best healthcare facilities to masses.

Rs. 229.8 millions proposed for the treatment facilities of COVID-19 pandemic during the current fiscal year. However, Rs. 200 millions were set-aside for the FY 2020-21.

To provide better traveling facilities to the public, 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.

The government has proposed 72 percent allocation 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. The 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.

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.

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 in the next fiscal year.

Work on 4500 different type of projects would be executed in FY 2020-21under the umbrella of Local Government and Rural Development Department (LGRD).