ISLAMABAD: A 6.0 per cent raise has been proposed in allocations for the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony for the coming fiscal year, according to the documents available with The Express Tribune.
The federal government has allocated Rs1,036,940 million for the ministry for the fiscal year 2017-18 while the amount was Rs974, 004 for 2016-17. This includes Rs96 million – as against Rs91 million previously -- for mainstreaming seminaries.
The amount allocated for facilitation of pilgrims has been increased from Rs474, 070 million to Rs480, 682 million. The budget for financial assistance in the shape of cash transfers, small development schemes and scholarship for minorities has been increased from Rs80 million to Rs90 million.
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The amount set aside for celebrating religious festivals of the minorities has also been increased from Rs117 million to Rs126 million. For policymaking and administration, Rs168 million will now be spent as against Rs143 million for the outgoing fiscal year, according to the documents.
The government has also raised the budget for facilitation and management of Muslim pilgrimages beyond Pakistan other than Hajj and coordination with Muslim countries and organisations from Rs17million to Rs19 million. The amount for facilitation in collection and disbursement of Zakat has been increased from Rs29 million to Rs31 million.
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An official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity that every year since 2014, the government has only been making minor increases in the budget for the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony.