KARACHI: The Sindh Cabinet members on Saturday approved proposals for the 2015-16 provincial budget of approximately Rs739 billion.
The budget was presented in the Sindh Assembly by provincial Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah amidst shouts and sloganeering from the opposition.
"This budget is prepared with focus on overall prosperity of the people through optimal utilisation of the resources to achieve targets of socio-economic development," the finance minister said during his budget speech.
|Provincial Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presenting the budget in Sindh Assembly —DawnNews screengrab|
"The revised estimates for the total receipts of the province for the current financial year are Rs617 billion, as against the budget estimate of Rs672 billion," the minister said.
Shah further added that the developmental expenditure of the province is estimated at Rs214 billion. This includes a provincial Annual Development Programme (ADP) of Rs162 billion.
"This budget aims to bring relief in the shape of better education, health and municipal service and a more responsive police force," the finance minister said. "Maintenance and repair funds for public sector infrastructure has also been increased."
According to a report published on Radio Pakistan, Ten per cent relief allowance has also been announced on basic pay for all Sindh government employees.
There has been an overall increase of 7.7 per cent against the estimated Rs686 billion for the current financial year.
The estimated current revenue expenditure of the province is at Rs503.34 billion against the current financial year's estimate of Rs436.09, indicating an increase of 15.4 per cent.
With a 10-15 per cent increase, the allocation for education sector has been tipped to go up to Rs133-Rs144 billion while the health sector is expected to get an allocation of Rs53 billion for the next fiscal.
The major chunk of Rs106 billion in the education budget has reportedly been earmarked under the non-development head with Rs2.503 billion being spared for education secretariat and Rs2 billion for unforeseen expenditure.
The sources believe that a sum of Rs65 billion is being earmarked for law and order with allocation for the police to be at Rs60 billion and the Sindh Rangers at Rs2.44 billion. The Frontier Constabulary will get Rs1 billion in addition to Rs5 billion meant for procuring modern weapons. The proposals on law and order include raising of a 10,000-men anti-terror force.
The Annual Development Programme is estimated to be at Rs200 billion to complete the 2,370 ongoing schemes and execute 590 new schemes.
The sources say the budget has more emphasis on development sector with planning for modernisation of cities. The increase in allocation for urban projects is aimed at ensuring a better transport system and availability of clean drinking water. For the rural areas, priorities have been accorded to development projects relating to the lining of canals a better civic infrastructure to the benefit of common man.