• Rs47bn earmarked for Economic Stimulus Package
• Communicable Disease Control Programme allotted Rs9bn
• Rs30bn for small works programmes

LAHORE: Punjab government on Monday announced the Annual Development Programme (ADP) worth Rs337 billion, up by 9.42 per cent from Rs308bn last year, for the fiscal year 2020-21 with a focus on economic stimulus in the backdrop of Covid-19.

Provincial budget documents showed that 29pc of the ADP will go to the social sector, followed by 23pc to infrastructure development, 14pc to special initiatives, 13pc for services sector, 5pc for production sector and 15pc for others.

Of the total ADP, 35pc has been earmarked for 11 districts of south Punjab “to uplift the living standard of people of the area as well as to improve the socio-economic indicators”. These funds have been ring-fenced and will not be diverted unlike in the past.

Overall, a sum of Rs47bn has been earmarked for the Covid-19 — Punjab Economic Stimulus Programme — to invest in tackling the health crisis and catalyse economic growth.

In this regard, Rs30bn have been allocated for small works programmes that will provide sustainable livelihood opportunities, Rs8bn to support the Micro Small Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector and skill training programmes and Rs9bn for Communicable Disease Programme to help combat the pandemic.

Following the disruptions in the education sector due to the pandemic, Rs80 million have also been earmarked for Taleem Ghar Initiative to help identify missed School Learning Outcomes, content generation for distant learning and strengthening digital infrastructure.

Moreover, in view of the threat to food and agriculture sectors from the locust invasion, an initiative titled the Locust Control Operation and Allied Matters in Cholistan Initiative will combat the major threat to food security.

An amount of Rs12bn has been allocated to the Health Insurance Programme to improve access of poor population to good quality medical services, through a micro health insurance scheme.

However, the government has reduced allocations for the agriculture sector to Rs8.065bn from Rs15.5bn in the last year’s ADP. The ADP announced a new initiative of the Rural Enterprises in Agriculture Development to promote agribusiness projects through private investment for generating income and rural employment.

At least Rs11.86bn have been allocated for 1,348 schemes of water supply and sanitation, while Rs2.5bn have been given separately to the Punjab Abe-Pak Authority for the provision of clean drinking water in in various districts especially in south Punjab.

The government claims that the ADP 2020-21 has been designed to counter the education and health crisis and other challenges faced by the economy of province. Livelihood security through social protection schemes; investments to fill health infrastructure gaps and ensure food security; education and human capital development along with support to the MSME sector are all priority areas.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2020