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ISLAMABAD, June 1: A 20 per cent ad hoc relief allowance for government employees and pensioners was announced in the budget on Friday.

According to Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, it is the fifth consecutive relief given by the present government to employees and pensioners, resulting in more than 100 per cent increase in salary and pensions over the past four years.

He announced that the government would provide subsidies to low-income groups on food items through utility stores.

Under the scheme, holders of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) cards will get 10 per cent discount on purchase of essential items -- sugar, ghee, rice, gram and moong pulses and wheat flour. This means that the poor will get the items at 17 per cent less than the market price.

Mr Shaikh said the government was planning to open 2,000 new utility stores across the country to provide immediate relief to 3.5 million families.

He said that 100,000 educated youths would be provided jobs through internships and technical trainings.

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