Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has announced an increase of 41 percent in development budget of Sindh and 20 percent raise in salaries of provincial government employees.

Presenting the annual budget for fiscal year 2021-22 in Karachi on Tuesday, the chief minister who also holds the portfolio of finance minister said that the development outlay is estimated at Rs329.033 billion, an increase of 41.3 percent from the previous year.

Besides increase in employees’ salaries, he announced to raise the minimum wage from Rs17,000 to Rs25,000 per month and also proposed to enhance pension by 10 percent.

The total outlay of the deficit budget for the province is estimated at Rs1.477 trillion, an increase of 19.1 percent from the previous year.

The current expenditure of the province is estimated at Rs1.14 trillion, while the development component is projected to be Rs329.033 billion, which includes Rs222.5 billion of the provincial ADP, Rs30 billion for district ADP, foreign project assistance at Rs71 billion and Rs5.4 billion in federal PSDP grants.

As the chief minister started his budget speech, the opposition members started shouting slogan. They displayed placards inside the assembly hall while some MPAs of Muttehida Quami Movement (MQM) protested outside the hall.

Murad Ali Shah also announced introduction of an allowance for government employees besides police constables.

He said that the federal government is not disbursing due share of the province as a result of which the Sindh government is facing acute shortage of finance for on-going development projects.

He said the Sindh government revenue would be around Rs329.319 billion, while it would receive remaining amount from the federal government through PSDP programme.

He said no new tax is being introduced in the budget 2021-22 by the provincial government.

He said Rs3.20 billion have been earmarked for education, Rs1.70 billion for the IT sector, Rs3 billion for industrial development through small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Rs2 billion for low-cost housing units, and Rs16 billion for social welfare projects for the citizens.

A sum of Rs172.08 billion has been allocated for the health sector, including Rs24.73 for tackling infectious diseases, Rs8.2 billion for PPHI, Rs2 billion for expansion of Indus Hospital, and Rs7.12 billion as a grant for SIUT, the chief minister announced.

He said Rs18.50 billion have been earmarked for development projects in health sector.

Murad Ali Shah said that the education budget has been raised by 14.2 percent for the next year to Rs277.56. A sum of Rs26 billion has been earmarked for development in the education sector, he added.

The chief minister proposed Rs105 billion for law and order, Rs172 billion for health, Rs215 billion for school education and Rs25 billion for college education.

It is also proposed that Rs14 billion will be allocated for the transport sector, Rs75 billion for local bodies and Rs53 billion for the irrigation department.

Speaking about the pandemic, the chief minister said a comprehensive response by the provincial government had been prepared to battle the pandemic. He announced that the Sindh government was allocating Rs24.72 billion to counter the adverse impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said that Rs18.32 billion have been recommended to buy medicines throughout the year, adding that the provincial government has also agreed to create 964 new posts for the health sector.

The chief minister announced that the Sindh government had allocated Rs2 billion to procure PPE and PCR testing kits.

The provincial government also proposed a special development package with an allocation of Rs24 billion that included setting up a government child hospital for Karachi and for launching 10 new mega projects for the metropolis.

Murad Ali Shah said the $400 million had been estimated as the total cost of Sindh Human Capital Projects, which is a comprehensive package by the World Bank in collaboration with the Sindh government.

The chief minister has proposed Rs30.90 billion for recovery of provincial economy and support for the deserving people. A sum of Rs16 billion has been allocated for the social welfare programme for Karachi City, while Rs1.7 billion has been allocated for Sindh IT Sector.

The writer is a member of staff
The reporting desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk

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