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The Punjab government is expected to continue with its austerity measures through which it has recently saved nearly Rs6 billion. - File Photo

LAHORE: The Punjab government plans ban on recruitments in all but three departments and increase allocations for law and order by 5 per cent in its budget for the year 2011-12 being announced on Friday (today).

The budget will be presented by the newly appointed finance minister, Kamran Michael, who previously held the portfolios of Minorities Affairs and Human Rights ministries.

Officials said on Thursday that the minority minister was chosen to present the budget for the first time in the history of the country to give a message that the minorities were an equal partner in the affairs of Pakistan.

Giving salient features of the budget, they say that expenditure for the chief minister's house is being reduced by 33 per cent. The Punjab government is also going to increase the salaries of its employees by 15 per cent as has been done by the federal government in its proposed budget for the next financial year announced last week. It also intends to increase pensions of its retired employees from 15 to 20 per cent on the pattern of the federal government.

The government will also ban all kinds of recruitments. However, the policy will not be applied on recruitments in education and health departments, and in judiciary.

The budget for the Punjab Education Foundation is going to be increased from 20 to 25 per cent.

The budget will reflect an additional Rs5.50 billion for the salaries of doctors which the government had promised after their month-long strike this year.

The budget will contain an additional Rs1.50 billion for the running expenditure of 10 federal ministries which have recently been devolved to the province in the light of the 18th Amendment.

While devolving the ministries, the federal government had made it clear that it will foot the salary bill of such ministries only till June 30, rejecting a demand by all provinces, particularly Punjab, that they should be given extra budget to meet the expenditure afterwards.

The non-development budget is going to be more than that of the current fiscal year. But it is expected to be less than the revised estimates.

The Punjab government is expected to continue with its austerity measures through which it has recently saved nearly Rs6 billion. The government is to disallow project allowances for its officials working in special projects and upgradation of posts, and ban on construction of new official residences all over the province to save money.