enter image description hereFollowing the announcement of the federal budget for the 2013-2014 year, the four provinces also announced their budgets, and with each announcement came a string of complaints from different sections of society.

The Punjab budget, for example (the wealthiest province in Pakistan) was lauded for its attempt to increase provincial revenue – on the other hand, ‘populist’ schemes with the political purpose of luring potential support for Imran Khan towards themselves were also pointed out by the cautious observers.

Meanwhile, in Balochistan, Chief Minister Dr. Malik Baloch increased the funding for education as well as law and order – but it remains to be seen whether this has been allocated within these sectors efficiently, and whether they will have a positive impact. However, the fact that spending on education is going up by 42 per cent is commendable – but on the other hand, many of the budget documents are still to be prepared for the province, which one hopes is not a symptom of yet more state inefficiency.

In Khyber Pakthunkhwa, the budget involves an increase in the prices of several commodities, including fuel, which are not popular measures but which may not necessarily be harmful measures in the long run. On the other hand, the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf, the party leading the provincial government in KP, has not proposed any radical changes in the budget despite its slogan for change. While the governor and chief minister’s expenses have been reduced, it does not necessarily translate into economic reforms which can actually bring about transformation in the KP economy.

In Sindh meanwhile, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government produced yet another uninspired budget, with almost no changes. No reforms regarding agriculture income tax have taken place yet again – an initiative that could have brought in a considerable amount of revenue. Development in Sindh will also depend on the law and order situation in Karachi – which so far has been a problem largely unaddressed.

Keeping in mind the broad contours of the different provincial budgets, what do you think each provincial administration can and should do differently, according to their own unique needs? Which of the provinces seems to have done the most commendable job?

Dawn.com invites its readers to express their views.

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Comments (8)

Rajab Ali
June 21, 2013 10:28 am

What the administration can and should do differently is just honestly, not accordingly to their need but people's , need.

June 21, 2013 11:09 pm

"No radical changes in the budget" in KPK? Have they not read the massive increases in education and healthcare allocation? The valid criticism in the KPK budget is its negligence of the law and order funding as well as the "no new taxes" clause which limits fiscal space.

In my opinion, KPK and Balochistan budgets were best while Punjab was decent, but not ambitious enough but it is more long term in nature.

Still, criticism for all budgets: no agricultural income tax, no GST additional levy etc. NFC Award is not a long term solution.

Muhammad Ahsen Khan
June 22, 2013 1:16 pm

The governments should spend more on education and then law and order along with policies that encourage economic growth.

June 23, 2013 2:35 am

In India they have "BIMARU" states (BIhar, MAdhyapradesh, Rajasthan and UP). In Pakistan we have Sindh (with Karachi being in the intensive ward). Given that neither PPP nor MQM seem to have learnt anything from the recent elections, the gap between Sindh and the rest of Pakistan is bound to grow. And this is reflected in their budget.

Syed Ali
June 23, 2013 4:44 am

Personally, I believe Pakistan has been led towards doom, by the corrupt politicians..and the scenario continues, unfortunately. As long as general public does not want to elect honest politicians...and most of the public itself being corrupt, keep on bringing back the corrupt..there is no hope for Pakistan! I was hoping that after all that had happened during past several years, there was a ray of hope in Imran Khan; but the people of the largest province of Pakistan showed their mettle and ignorance by bringing back the old corrupt politicians..so forget about getting any real benefits, my brothers & sisters in Punjab and Sind. Unless you all are awaken to the fact that we need to get rid of the 'Land-lords', 'Jagirdars', the feudal corrupt families of Sind, Balochistan and Punjab, there can not be any meaningful change, nor any improvements for the general public.

June 23, 2013 6:16 pm

Government should devise budget keeping in mind the energy crisis, joblessness, education, law and order, agriculture, health, defense and infrastructure.

June 23, 2013 7:01 pm

What an abysmal analysis. They are paid for negative propaganda against PTI

June 23, 2013 9:04 pm

Why didn't writer mention about the laudable real changes in KPK budget especially in the sector of Education and health? No new tax is imposed. I am sorry to read such poor analysis. Furthermore, aren't fuel prices managed by Ogra which is under Prime Minister authority?

Sadly, Punjab's budget is very disappointing. Its 24% budget for education is actually 5%. All the things they mentioned under the head of Education shouldn't be included in education budget. Budget for technical and vocational training is separated from regular education budget. At least, KPK govt. maintained that segregation.

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