LAHORE, June 9: Budget allocations for Information, Culture and Youth Affairs in the development sector have been increased to a not too grand Rs200 million from Rs170 million in 2011-12 ADP – but its still falls much short of the demands by those who have been calling on a increased emphasis on youth and culture to fight various current challenges.

Only one new scheme has been listed in the budget for 2012-13 for which Rs20 million have been allocated. For seven ongoing schemes, a sum of Rs29.5 million has been allocated. But after the sum has been broken into various installments, the Punjab government ends up spending not too huge an amount on each one of these projects.

The single new scheme that has been approved has little to do with culture and is more concerned with propaganda. It envisages the establishment of an ‘Electronic Media Cell’ at the DGPR office for which Rs20 million have been allocated.The ongoing projects and the allocated amount is: The Reconstruction of Murree Arts Council (Rs10 million), construction of Information and Cultural Complex at Raiwind (Rs4.263 million), construction of auditorium for the Sargodha Arts Council (Rs0.5 million), construction of auditorium for the Gujranwala Arts Council (Rs0.5 million), digitalisation and upgrade of library of the Lahore Museum (Rs2.295 million), improvement, upgrading and renovation of the Lahore Museum (Rs0.133 million), and construction of conservation lab in the Bahawalpur Museum (Rs0.5 million).

The total amount allocated for the Archaeology Department is Rs350 million. For 20 ongoing archaeological schemes, a rather miserly amount of Rs725.706 million has been allocated. No allocation has been made for any new scheme. The schemes are: development and restoration of archaeological sites from Taxila to Swat (Rs30 million), establishment of a museum at Kallar Kahar (Rs10.015 million), conservation and development of Katas Raj complex (Rs22.546 million), preparation of master-plan for preservation and restoration of Rohtas Fort, Jhelum (Rs25.7 million), establishment of a museum and art gallery in Gujrat (Rs6.226 million), conservation, preservation and rehabilitation of Iqbal Manzil, Sialkot (Rs0.300 million), five-year programme for preservation and restoration of Shalamar Gardens (Rs30 million), five-year programme for preservation and restoration of Lahore Fort (Rs30 million).

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