The Punjab government will present a Rs3.226 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 with the development outlay of Rs683.5 billion, 15 percent pay raise and over Rs127 billion for health card.

The governor has called the budget session on Monday (today). The government has decided to allocate the portfolio of finance minister to Sardar Awais Leghari to present the budget. The outgoing finance minister also came from south Punjab.

The government has planned an over Rs350 billion subsidy package in the budget, including Rs200 billion for flour subsidy and Rs134 billion for other subsidies. A new subsidy of Rs15 billion is earmarked to the power consumers with up to 200 units consumption. Further, the subsidy on public transport will also continue. The government intends to increase the subsidy on public transport to encourage people to use it and reduce personal vehicles to reduce petrol consumption.

Like the federal government, the Punjab government has also decided to increase salaries and pension of employees with the similar proportionate alongside merging the previous ad hoc increases into the basic salary. By doing it, almost a 20pc real time increase will be in the salaries.

The Punjab government will also continue the PTI’s flagship project of health card with a whooping allocation of Rs127.34 billion. According to the proposed plan, the total allocation for the Annual Development Plan (ADP) 2022-23 is Rs683.5 billion. The health sector has the highest allocation with Rs173 billion, including Rs152 billion for specialized healthcare and medical education and Rs21 billion for primary and secondary healthcare. The special initiatives/programmes have the second highest allocation of Rs110.5 billion while the road sector has the third highest allocation with Rs78 billion. The education sector’s total development allocation is Rs56.2 billion. School education gets Rs39 billion, higher education Rs13 billion, special education Rs1.2 billion and literacy and non-formal education Rs3 billion.

According to the proposed plan, Rs7.5 billion were earmarked for sports and youth affairs, Rs2.4 billion for population welfare, Rs1.6 billion for social welfare, Rs11.95 billion for water supplies and sanitation, while Rs900 million for women development.

The government has planned to allocate Rs19.05 billion to local government and community development projects, Rs78 billion to roads and infrastructure, Rs27.63 billion to energy, Rs21.37 billion to urban development, Rs14.77 billion to agriculture, Rs4.5 billion to forestry, Rs990 million to wildlife, Rs1.1 billion to fisheries, and Rs500 million to food department development projects.

According to the proposed ADP, the government has allocated Rs12.5 billion to industries, commerce and investment, Rs4.29 billion to livestock and dairy development, Rs1.5 billion to mines and minerals, Rs1.22 billion to tourism, Rs6 billion to governance and Information Technology, Rs500 million to labour and HR development, Rs6.32 billion to transport, Rs1.8 billion to the emergency services (Rescue 1122), Rs5 billion to environment and climate change, Rs530 million to information and culture, Rs700 million to archaeology, Rs680 million to Auqaf and religious affairs, Rs2.5 billion to Human Rights and Minority Affairs, Rs28 billion to planning and development, Rs31.5 billion to south Punjab development programs, Rs4 billion to priority programs, Rs5 billion for land acquisition and VGF for development projects, Rs10 billion for road rehabilitation program, Rs58.5 billion to sustainable development program, Rs1.5 billion for solarization or irrigation and water supply system and Rs45 billion for public private partnership programs.

On current expenditure, the education sector received the highest allocation of over Rs415 billion, followed by the health sector of Rs370 billion, excise and taxation department Rs367 billion and police department Rs150 billion. The planning and development department was earmarked Rs104 billion, local government and community development Rs100 billion.

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