KARACHI: Sindh has allocated Rs274 billion for development for the next fiscal year, an amount which “is unprecedented and an all-time high”, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said during his budget speech on Monday.

By including Rs27.3bn of federal grants and Rs42.7bn of foreign project assistance, the total development budget comes out at Rs344bn. The revised estimate for the outgoing fiscal year is about Rs248.7bn.

The provincial government allocated the highest amount of Rs105.2bn for social protection compared to Rs47.88bn a year earlier. However, the revised estimate rose to Rs111.78bn for 2016-17.

Under the development budget, Rs82.68bn will be spent on economic affairs in the next fiscal year compared to revised budgetary estimates of about Rs61.7bn in FY17.

Under the head of economic affairs, Rs6.985bn will be spent on agriculture. The highest amount under the economic development will be spent on irrigation, i.e. Rs37.295bn. The budgetary estimate for FY17 for irrigation was Rs26bn but the revised estimate became almost double to Rs48.23bn. Moreover, Rs840 million will be spent on forestry.

The government will spend Rs19.55bn on mining and manufacturing; of this, Rs16.775bn has been allocated for ‘other sector’. For mining for mineral resources, an amount of Rs2.745bn has been allocated.

An amount of Rs14.695bn has been allocated under the head of development spending for construction and transport. The budgetary document shows the estimated budgetary allocation for FY17 was Rs17.195bn but the revised estimate was as low as Rs1.509bn.

Besides, the government will spend Rs400m to protect environment against Rs288m in the outgoing year.

The government has decided to spend Rs15.4bn for the health sector in the next financial year compared to Rs15bn for FY17. However, the revised estimate for this health sector presents a poor picture as the revised estimate was just Rs10bn.

The province will spend Rs21.4bn for the development of education affairs and services compared to revised estimate of Rs12.4bn for FY17. This year’s budgetary estimate was Rs17.866bn.

Under the head of social protection, the government will spend Rs73.5bn on administration side for social welfare measures. The revised amount for FY17 was Rs86bn. Another major allocation of Rs30bn was made for the district programme which was higher by Rs5bn compared to revised estimate of Rs25bn.

The ADP of health is pitched at Rs15.5bn compared to Rs14bn for the current financial year. The chief minister said the next financial year will witness an increase of 26 per cent in total allocation for the health sector.

In terms of resource allocation, the share of Home Department — including police, jails, Rangers and other law-enforcement agencies — is the second largest at Rs92.91bn, a year-on-year increase of 10pc.

The government has allocated the highest percentage of resources towards education in the year 2017-18. It will see an increase of 24pc over current year’s allocation.

“For the next financial year we propose to enhance the budget for education to Rs202.2bn from Rs163.12bn. Grants for universities and education institutions have been kept at Rs5 billion,” the chief minister said.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2017

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