The Azad Jammu and Kashmir cabinet on Wednesday approved the state’s near Rs50 billion deficit budget for the fiscal year 2012-13 with major emphasis on ongoing schemes.
Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed addressing his cabinet members at a special session in Muzaffarabad described the budget “balanced” and “people-friendly”, which he said would open new horizon of development in the state.
“We have adopted a fast-track mechanism for improving the economic conditions and managed to bring billion-dollar investment in the state which would bring prosperity and make the state self-sufficient,” the Prime Minister observed.
Majeed said that his government was focusing on exploring new ways to generate revenue. Apart from the allocation for development, he would manage additional funds for some mega projects to be started soon.
Earlier the Azad Kashmir Finance Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Ashraf presented Rs49.59 billion tax-free budget for the financial year 2012-13 in the legislative assembly, showing an increase of 15 per cent in the volume of the budget.
The budget document shows a deficit of Rs5.1 billion in the revenue of the government.
A meager amount of Rs9.547 billion has been allocated for development, and Rs40.050 billion for the current expenditure.
Ashraf said the budget lays solid foundation for socio-economic uplift and provision of basic amenities of life to accelerate the pace of developmental activities in the state.
He announced 20 per cent increase in the salaries of the government employees and 20 per cent raise in pension in line with the federal government’s announcement.
He said that the Federal Ministry for Kashmir Affairs has allocated over Rs2.46 billion for the completion of ongoing developmental projects.
Transport and communication sector has been given top priority in the budget with an allocation of over Rs3.91 billion.
To overcome energy crisis an amount of Rs1.13 billion has been set aside for projects in electricity sector, Ashraf said, adding that solar energy system would be introduced in the remote area of Neelum Valley and Bagh district to provide electricity to the people.
The minister said that education sector would get Rs887 million, adding that unified educational syllabus would be introduced. Local government and rural development would get Rs770 million while physical planning and housing would get over Rs720 million.
In health sector over Rs580 million have been earmarked. Basic health units, cardiac centres and new rural health centres would be set up at Mang in Sudhnuti and Sarsawa in Kotli districts. A 100-bed child and maternal hospital would also be set up at Rawalakot, the minister said.
He announced to introduce ‘Rozgar’ scheme and ‘green cap’ transport scheme to provide livelihood to the people. He also announced Rs100 million for the Jammu and Kashmir refugees.
The minister also laid before the house the revised budget estimates for the current fiscal years.
About the expected revenue, the minister said Rs15.310 billion will be generated from state resources, Rs840 million from Mangla Dam Royalty, Rs7.40 billion from the tax collection from AJK Council and Rs11.4 billion from federal government taxes.
He said that the government expects to generate Rs40.050 billion as compared to the expected expenditure of Rs49.059 billion, showing a Rs5.10 billion deficit which will be met by the federal government.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2012.
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